Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 30_2007 - Cheap Gas or Energy Independence: Not Both

Says economist Robert Samuelson in today's Washington Post:

"It's one of those delicious moments when Washington's hypocrisy is on full and unembarrassed display. On the one hand, some of America's leading politicians condemn high gasoline prices and contend that they stem from "gouging" by oil companies. On the other, many of the same politicians warn against global warming and implore us to curb our use of fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Guess what: These crowd-pleasing proclamations are contradictory. Anyone fearful of global warming should cheer higher gasoline prices, because much higher prices represent precisely the sort of powerful incentive needed to push consumers toward more fuel-efficient vehicles and to persuade the auto industry to produce them in large numbers. Bravo for higher prices!"

True enough. If we want the free market and human ingenuity to liberate us from dependence on foreign oil and we also want a healthy and cleaner environment we have to let oil prices rise to what the owners and producers of that oil ask. It is the only way my friends. We just can't have cheap oil and not be dependent on crude petro from places like Iran, Nigeria, Venezuela and the Middle East. The "cheap" gas we have from what we are doing now isn't all that cheap when you add to it the huge cost in blood and treasure that maintaining a huge military presence all over the world to gain and retain access to it, eh?

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