Friday, June 6

More on oil prices ...

Yikes. Crude oil shot up another $11 a barrel today.

On a local conservative blog the other day, I was labeled an "enviro-commie" for my suggestion that we need to learn how to "live within or means" by transitioning away from reliance on oil. I was pushing for a moderate form of the peak oil theory, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. I don't have a crystal ball. Nobody knows exactly when oil will reach the global peak of its production. I was merely leaning on the conservative side by assuming it could happen sooner rather than later, so that we could better prepare ourselves.

No luck.

I'm not surprised that people disagree over these technical geological questions, but I am surprised that the lines always somehow fall on those tired old liberal/conservative categories. To argue that the conservative position is to rush headlong toward a wall with increasing speed, merely because we don't exactly know where that wall is, seems completely absurd to me. And counter to everything I've ever understood conservatism to stand for. It left me wondering whether years of battling the environmentalists on all fronts have left some folks jumpy and armed with a cadre of pre-packed rejoinders should anyone bring up the prospect of living sustainably.

Anyway, it was nice to read Charles Krauthammer weigh in on oil prices this morning. He's even "pumped" that gas is $4 a gallon. At least some Conservatives are getting it:

"Want to wean us off oil? Be open and honest. The British are paying $8 a gallon for petrol. Goldman Sachs is predicting we will be paying $6 by next year. Why have the extra $2 (above the current $4) go abroad? Have it go to the U.S. Treasury as a gasoline tax and be recycled back into lower payroll taxes.

Announce a schedule of gas tax hikes of 50 cents every six months for the next two years. And put a tax floor under $4 gasoline, so that as high gas prices transform the U.S. auto fleet, change driving habits and thus hugely reduce U.S. demand - and bring down world crude oil prices - the American consumer and the American economy reap all of the benefit."

Oh, but won't the market just sort this stuff out?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Not to sound like a partisan hack, but in economic issues Montana righties always serve big business, even if their advocacy works against their own personal self interest. You see a similar blindness when it comes to climate change legislation.

I'm not sure how this happened to the modern conservative movement, but there it is. And it's frustrating, because you can't reason with these people.