Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cheap Gas As A Basic Human Right

From the Financial Times:

Pity the leader of a nation that regards cheap petrol as a basic human right. That is President George W. Bush's position as pump prices start to approach a high of $3 a gallon ahead of next month's driving season - and next autumn's mid-term elections - while his approval ratings are closing fast on a low of about 30 per cent.

Do not pity him for too long, though, because Mr Bush has really squandered the chance to do something about what he has correctly characterised as America's "addiction" to oil.

After the attacks of September 11 2001, the president had a unique opportunity to create a bipartisan and public consensus behind increased energy efficiency and reduced energy dependency, especially on oil imported from politically unreliable parts of the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. He did not take it. Instead, the administration took four years to produce an energy bill that, in spite of some electricity network improvements, in no way addresses the fact that per capita energy use in the US is far higher than in any of its competitors - in transport, for example, three times that of Japan.


In the end, however, America's addiction can be beaten only by hard policy decisions: rigorous fuel-efficiency standards, a tax regime that prices petrol realistically, as well as a framework of incentives for investment in alternative technologies. Meanwhile, the best agent of change is expensive oil.

Let's face it: American politicians don't want to face the hard policy decisions needed to be taken in order to end America's addiction to oil and the American people don't want to face the consequences of those hard policy decisions.

All we want is cheap gas. It's our god-given human right to live in the exurbs and drive our huge American cars (no dinky European models for us!) 60-100 miles a day to work.

We're entitled - cuz' we're Americans.

Have you ever looked at a map of gas prices in the United Stated based on county? Have you compared it to the results of a presidential election based on a county winner map? Here are a couple links what do you see?
The more wingnutty the county, the cheaper the gas! Utah, Idaho, and Montana have some of the cheapest gas in the nation. They're also three states where Bush's approval rating is still larger than his disapproval rating.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Thanks for the comment, jason.
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