Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Let's examine the gas prices situation for a moment, shall we? Gasoline on the market has decreased by 9.5 cents today. Gas prices at the stations in my area have gone up by 30 cents today. Interesting.

And by interesting, I mean that the system is clearly not working the way it needs to.

Barrels of oil are down $7 over this time last year. Gasoline prices are up $1.00 per gallon over last year. Hmmm. Interesting.

By this time the market should be telling people to build more refineries so that the demand and supply curves can be met. Instead, the suppliers are simply holding their supply steady (or in some cases actually curtailing supply by refinery maintenance.)

There's a simple solution to our problem. Build more freaking refineries!


plang said...

Then tell your congressmen and senators and representatives and the states to let them build refineries, because it isn't the companies holding that up, it is the government. You know it is bad when they are actually shipping gasoline (as in, final form) from brand new refineries in India.

Lindsay said...

Another solution - build a decent mass transportation system in Cleveland. Then I wouldn't have to spend $3.50 a gallon.

Tim said...

We could have a world class mass transit system and no one would use it. Americans love to drive and Americans love to drive by themselves. We don't love to take the bus or the train. It's more convenient to drive, so that's what people are going to keep doing.

Amtrak is subsidized by US tax dollars. How's that working out for everyone? Are people flocking to Amtrak? Far from it. It's time we let them try to make it on their own. That is to say, it's time for Amtrak to go and be replaced by something that can be self-sufficient.

J Money said...

How would a mass transit system in Cleveland help me? Or Paul? Hee!

No, really, though, I sort of disagree with Tim here. I think a good mass transit system WOULD get used. It gets used in New York and Chicago. People knock LA's but it only doesn't work b/c LA is SO spread out it just can't possibly work for the majority. If a city is compact enough (and I don't know if Cleveland is), it can and does work.

That said, if you HAVE to drive places (such as to work or to your lover's house across town), higher gas prices are not going to stop you as an American. It's something we need so people will pay whatever it says to pay. It's part of being a big country. And it sucks.

While watching the news last night, there was a story about rising gas prices and Melissa said to me, "When are going to start using our own resources?" And I said, "Like what?" And she said, "Like Alaska."

That's my girl.

E said...

All states when lower gas prices...no states want to build refineries on their land. "Not in my back yard" attitudes are screwing with our energy policy. People want cleaner more efficient energy, like nuclear power, but no state wants rail cars of nuclear waste rolling through their states. We gotta take some risks here and there to save the planet, folks.

Oh, remember the last gas "crisis" we had in the 70's?? Cars were all huge gas guzzlers. Gas prices went way up and then the compact car age began and gas prices went down. Guess what happened?? Cars got huge again. Do we really need a Hemi in our four door charger? Of course!

Sorry if this makes you mad, but you commute alone in a 3.5 liter, 275 hp, 4 door sedan. Premium gas, too. So you aren't making things easier on yourself.

Yeah, let's destroy Alaska!

Tim said...

Eric, I'm not sure who you're talking to. I don't know why anyone would get mad at what you said... it makes perfect sense.

Who here has a 3.5 liter 275 HP car that takes premium gas?

My car only has 260 HP. It does take premium though.

I wouldn't feel so bad if there was a legitimate reason for gas prices to be so high. There isn't. Last I checked, there were no hurricanes going on right now. There are no OPEC countries refusing to pump oil. The price of a barrel of oil is much lower than it was a year ago.

I want someone to explain why gas prices are through the roof when the raw inputs are cheaper than before.

E said...

Yeah, I want answers too. I don't see how demand can be up this high, yet they always state that as the reason. Like demand shot up 16% in a month?

Just like you said, the markets all indicate prices should be lower.

I guess it is just the lack of refineries and actual liquid gas.

J Money said...

While Eric makes some reasonable points, it's not really as simple as the gross vehicle weights being comparable now to what they were in the 1970s. Cars then were also wholly inefficient as compared to today. I have a 245 HP V6 in my car and I can get 25-27 MPG on the highway. There's no way that kind of HP came with mileage over 20 back then. So it's not exactly apples to apples.

However, you're definitely right, E, in that we need to make some choices and the NIMBY argument always pops up. As for Alaska, I'm not suggesting we destroy it, but there are many, many, many thousands of acres of land with potentially vast oil resources that are untapped as well as unlived in. Let's plunder. I know that's not popular, either, but if I offered you the choice of having uninhabited land drilled into versus, as you said, a train taking nuclear waste past your house, well... which would you prefer?

E said...

Well, for the betterment of the country as a whole...I'd rather have trainloads of nuclear waste. We are just going to continue being at the mercy of these less than friendly oil countries. Instead of spending money to find more oil, why not research other methods of powering cars?

I guess I glossed over the efficiency advances in cars. That would be great if people stopped at 245 hp cars that get decent mpg. But now we have replaced giant sedans and cadillac boats with giant Crew cab pickup trucks and giant SUV's. Drive home and look around at the all these people in their tanks. It is super depressing. Look at a 1990 Ford Ranger and a 2007 Ford Ranger. It's 50% bigger! Same for the Toyota pickups and chevy pickups. All about more power and more room. For what??? So the one dude driving home on his 30 mile commute can stretch out and speed up to the next stop and go quicker?

J Money said...

Oh, I agree with you there, E. The asinine sizes of SUVs and pickups all for 5'6" guys with little penises is so annoying. Plus, it makes the chances of survival in an accident worse, I would think. Being hit by a two and a half ton vehicle, for example.

But America has always been about being the biggest, most extravagant, etc. Biggest meal portions, big houses, owning lots of land, big cars, etc. So I don't know if it's something we can even HOPE to see change except through the natural order of things. And by that, I mean, let's hope that smaller cars become trendy again. It's the only thing that can shrink the glut of trucks on the market.

As for researching other fuel methods, we'd have to find one that is efficient and possible first. Ethanol isn't as simple as feeding corncobs into cars as some would have us believe. But the problem, of course, is that you'd need federal funding and support and nobody can get elected without Michigan (well, not nobody, but it helps) and they make cars there... cars that run on gasoline. Oh well.