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Parsing the Polls: The Politics of Gas Prices

You can't swing a cat in Washington, D.C., this week without hitting a politician talking about the rapid increase in gas prices and what should be done about it.

President George W. Bush on Tuesday sought to address the problem, calling for an investigation into possible price gouging the increased in alternative fuels like ethanol. The president ruled out setting a fixed price for gas.

The rising cost of gas -- now around $3 a gallon across the country -- has Republican strategists concerned (and Democrats elated) about its impact on the national political environment this fall. Already on the defensive over Iraq and the handling of Hurricane Katrina, congressional Republicans are seeking to project a proactive response to gas prices -- although most members admit that there is no quick or easy solution. (Expect GOP leaders to do a series of events on Thursday as Exxon Mobil announces its profits.) Democrats, for their part, have tried to tie gas prices to Republicans' alleged "giveaways" to oil companies over the past few years.

Who will win this rhetorical fight? And is the public paying attention? Let's parse the polls to find some answers.

Two things immediately become apparent when examining recent polling on gas prices: Americans see the rising costs as a major burden and are generally unhappy about what the Bush administration has done to address the problem.

Let's unpack these sentiments one by one.

In a Washington Post-ABC News survey conducted earlier this month, 70 percent of those tested said the "recent price increases in gasoline" have caused "financial hardship" for their families. Those numbers have increased steadily since August 2005 when just 53 percent of the sample said the price of gas had caused a financial hardship.

A recently released CNN poll backs up those findings: 23 percent of respondents said gasoline prices have caused "a severe hardship that affects your ability to maintain your standard of living," while 26 percent identified it a "moderate hardship that affects you somewhat but does not jeopardize your current standard of living." Just more than one-quarter of voters (28 percent) said the gas price increase has caused them no hardship.

CNN asked two other question to test what voters were worried more about: The price of gas or its availability. Asked if the price of gas doubled but was widely available, 91 percent said they would be "very" (70 percent) or "somewhat" (21 percent) worried. If gas stayed the same but became considerably scarcer forcing restrictions on when and where consumers could buy gas and long lines at stations, 47 percent said that development would have them "very" worried and 35 percent said it would worry them "somewhat."

What does that tell us? That considerable anxiety exists in the general public about gas -- its price and availability. It is a prototypical pocketbook issue -- one that every American (Democrat, Republican and independent) can identify with and one that people want the government to address.

To date, the public is dissatisfied with the Bush administration's approach to solving the problem. In the Post-ABC survey, just 23 percent approved of the job the White House was doing on the "situation with gasoline prices," while 74 percent disapproved.

The CNN poll showed just 24 percent agreeing with the statement that Bush was "doing enough to solve the country's energy problems," while 71 percent said he was not doing enough. While Bush never enjoyed particularly strong support on his handling of energy issues, a poll conducted by CNN in May 2001 showed that 38 percent thought he was doing enough compared to 55 percent who said he wasn't -- a more respectable number.

Another question in the CNN survey asks who is to blame for the rising cost of gas. Forty-nine percent say "U.S. oil companies" bear a "great deal" of the blame; the Bush administration takes 38 percent; foreign oil-producing nations take 31 percent; U.S. car companies 27 percent; "American consumers" 25 percent and "environmental laws and regulations" 19 percent.

Putting aside the fact that more than one-third of the sample put the blame on President Bush, the finding that a near-majority of voters cite U.S. oil companies as the root of the problem should concern Republican strategists.


Because most voters have stereotypes of both parties in their heads, images that at different times can be helpful or burdensome. In this case, voters are much more open to believe that Republicans are helping out their friends in Big Oil -- especially when the president and vice president have each served as high-ranking officials in oil or energy services companies.

Expect Democrats to hammer home those connections in the weeks and months ahead of the fall election, and they're likely to lay out a broad vision of their own on energy policy. These numbers seem to suggest a considerable opening for Democrats on the issue (much more so than corruption in Congress), but it remains to be seen if any alternative they offer will resonate with disgruntled voters. A plan should emerge before this summer, according to an informed party strategist.

One potential bright spot for Republicans: The Consumer Comfort Index (as measured by the Post and ABC) was at -11 this week, much improved over a -23 low point last fall. The comfort survey, which can range from -100 to +100, combines respondents' ratings on the overall economy, the buying climate and personal finances to provide a gauge of how people feel about the state of the economy.

The Republican National Committee touted a separate consumer survey yesterday, proudly posting an AP story on the Conference Board's report "that its consumer confidence index rose to 109.6, up from a revised 107.5 in March. April's reading was the highest since the index touched 110.3 in May 2002.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 26, 2006; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls  
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Next: RNC Doles Out Cash, DNC Goes Door to Door


Important Tips for Installing Radiant Barrier and the Reasons Why We Should

Radiant barrier is a relatively new product that consumers are slowly becoming aware of. It consists of a reflective composition placed in your attic that reflects heat before it enters your home. Our government, universities as well as independent laboratories have tested this new energy saving product and it works. People seem to have a hard time believing that their attic can be converted into a giant mirror reflecting heat from underneath their roof. By applying just a coat of paint under the decking surface it will reduce heat transfer and insects by sealing up cracks and crevices.

Roof temperatures can rise to almost 200 degrees. Attic temperature can be as hot as 140 degrees. This heat creates moisture that falls to your attic floor on your insulation. This causes your insulation not to work properly and lowers the insulation value. Radiant barrier works three-fold by reflecting heat from your home, lowering the temperature in your attic that allows your insulation to work more effectively and this causes your A/C unit to work less. An additional benefit is that you're A/C ductwork lasts longer because it isn't exposed to such high temperatures that induce drying and cracking creating air leaks.

When you are building a home you need to inform your builder that you want radiant barrier installed. They have a plywood decking material available that has a reflective film on the bottom. The average extra cost is only 3 cents a square foot and this is the most cost effective installation of radiant barrier. This installation of radiant barrier should be mandatory and not optional. A builder not using this product shouldn't be building any home.

If you have a home without radiant barrier it will be more difficult and expensive to install. You need to use caution when hiring a radiant barrier installer. All products being developed always have copycat companies popping up vying for the market share. Many are inferior products that do not work as well and if not properly installed will not work or last as expected. You also have the option of installing it yourself to eliminate the installation costs.

There are several companies selling a powdered ceramic substance that you add to paint and they claim and even guarantee will cut your electric bill by 15-20%. These products may work but the only radiant barrier product I will use is provided by Hy-Tech Thermal Solutions. Most installers will want to keep the costs down and they will use an interior paint versus exterior paint that costs less. The climate inside your attic suffers the same temperature extremes as the outside of your home. The paint should also be high gloss that has a more reflective value. You also want to ensure that the paint is a water-based latex versus oil based that will create toxic fumes roaming through your home. If you have oil-based paint installed and your gas appliances are not turned off or an electrical spark occurs it could cause an explosion. Aluminum or silver color paint will provide more reflecting properties than white paint. These are the only two colors to use as a radiant barrier.

Every American should be aware that we have a shortage of oil, but we have even less natural gas. Most of our electric plants are run by natural gas. Building new nuclear or coal burning electrical plants will take decades to complete. Many people are complaining about the high cost of gasoline but don't stop to think that their homes use far more electricity than their automobiles. By installing radiant barrier and reducing your electric bill by 30% or more you can do your part to conserve our environment, reduce our dependence on other nations, and help reduce our gas prices at the pump. By running up your electric bill, supply and demand fundamentals dictate that you are also increasing every other Americans electric bill. Besides that our government is offering a $500.00 dollar tax credit to Americans who make their home more energy efficient. Why does our government want us to make our homes more energy efficient? Perhaps they realize that our utility bills could one day be more expensive than our mortgage payments if we don't start to consume less.

Many people are having a hard time selling their property due to the housing market slow down. Something they should know is that the underlying factor for all prospective homebuyers is, "How much is it going to cost me?" Many new homebuyers are inquiring about the utility bills of a home prior to buying. Some people don't even need your permission to get this information. By installing radiant barrier you are adding value to your home and reducing the electric bill, which will help sell your home.

All in all, radiant barrier is an energy efficient product that works and if you take the precautions above, you will maximize your savings. Americans can assist our nation by making their home more energy efficient. Radiant barrier is the most energy efficient product available for your home.

Posted by: Dale B. Adams | September 14, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I actually just began a blog on this topic. You can see it at: Any feedback would be appreciated.

Posted by: Brad | September 6, 2006 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Is Our Government To Blame For High Gas Prices?

Front and center in every form of media is the rising cost of oil and gas. It affects the lifestyles of every American and the costs of all goods and services we use. Many of us are shaking our fists and looking for somebody to blame. Before we start pointing the finger elsewhere maybe we should point it at ourselves.

To our Governments credit, they realized the problem and have done something about it. They passed federal tax incentives that pay each and every American to make their home and business more energy efficient. Our government passes laws that benefit us financially when they want or need us to take action. Have you made your home more energy efficient and done your part to reduce our dependence on foreign countries?

I'll wager you that the percentage of Americans who have made their property more energy efficient and taken advantage of this tax break is very small. If most Americans took this simple inexpensive step (Almost paid in full by our government) we could dramatically reduce our oil consumption.

There are inexpensive revolutionary new products now available to the public that can slash your prices of both gasoline and your electric bill. Almost all new homes being built now have these energy saving products. Doing their part, our Government continues to raise the energy efficiency requirements for appliances and other items via building codes.

One of the best ways to slash your electric bill by 20% or more is to install radiant barrier in your attic. It reflects 95% of the heat before it enters your house. It can reduce the temperature in your home by almost 20 degrees. The average cost for a 1200 square foot home would be under $1,000.00. The government tax break allows a $500.00 tax credit. You could see a $400.00 monthly electric bill drop to around $300.00. It could pay for itself within a year and the government pays most of the bill. If every American took advantage of this, it would reduce our consumption and dependence of other nations by millions of barrels of oil. In turn, you would also save energy on fist wagging and the price of gas.

In America almost 400 Senior Citizens die a year because of heat trauma. If every elder had radiant barrier installed in his or her home and it reduced the temperature by almost 20 degrees inside - I wonder how many lives it would save? I recommend you use the radiant barrier provided by Hy-Tech Thermal Solutions. The only incentive I receive by endorsing this product is the satisfaction of knowing that I provided you with a safe product that works.

There is a new product called Enviro-Max Plus that is a fuel additive that actually works. When added to your gas tank it will increase your gas mileage by 30%. They claim that for every dollar you spend on their product you will save three dollars in gas. A friend used the additive on his way to Florida and he used two-½ tanks of fuel. On his way home he did not use it and it took 4 tanks of diesel to return home. It almost cut his diesel fuel consumption by half. A simple web search will inform you where to buy it and how to be a reseller to make extra money while helping our nation. I have noticed other copycat companies providing similar products and I would use caution.

We now have a paint additive available that will reflect 95% of the heat away from your home. It is the same technology used on the space shuttle and jet engines on our airplanes. This ceramic technology has been around since the 1950's but only recently available to the public thanks to the testing by NASA and Hy-Tech Thermal Solutions. It is the cheapest non-traditional insulation you can buy for your home with the average extra cost of only $120.00.

By visiting the Department of Energy online you can learn many inexpensive ways to save energy in your home and cut your electric bill by 25%. They also provide testing results of Radiant Barrier from 1991. They should update these test results because radiant barrier products have improved.

Other ways we can all do our part to protect our nation and environment is by recycling everything, install a solar backup energy supply, only buy from or invest in companies who are environmentally friendly and invest in innovative alternative energy, only install white reflective shingles on our roofs, buy energy star products and appliances, or by giving unwanted items away versus throwing them in the dump.

We can also blame our media for our lack of knowledge of this new technology. Americans are suspicious of new untraditional products and it takes time for us to accept them. Several salesmen could tell us about them but we won't adopt them until the mass media informs us. The media should be more problem-solution oriented. They will print information about the new tax laws, but don't offer information about the new products it covers. When they talk about the high price of gas they should offer us ways to battle this problem with these new products. The media seems more interested in propaganda and the latest new widget versus their responsibility to inform and lead our nation in the right direction.

We live in the greatest nation on earth. It is a free country that we had the luxury of being born in. For that reason we have the right to remain inactive, wave our fists at and blame our government or corporations all we want. I maintain that the status of our nation and the world requires action from each and every American to do our part to conserve our natural resources. If we don't - it could very well lead to our demise. America can be defeated by its own citizens, as the Romans.

Posted by: Dale B. Adams | August 30, 2006 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Oil Prices Again !!

Your own news investigators, may want to do something with this.

In 1917, A man named John Andrews approached the US Navy with his claim that he could convert fresh or salt water into a fuel with the same power as gasoline. The chemical costs were about 2 cents/gallon.

Andrews was allowed to demonstrate his invention at the Brooklyn N avy Yard, where a motor boat was fitted with a dynamometer for the test. Commander Earl P. Jessup, who was Captain of the yard, said:

"We gave Andrews a bucket of water drawn from the Navy Yard [fresh water] hydrant by one of the yard attaches. He got into his car with a gallon can which we inspected and found to be empty and a little satchel he carried with him. In about a minute he handed out the filled can which I personally carried to the open fuel tank. While pouring the liquid into the tank, Andrews held a lighted cigarette close to the liquid, which did not ignite. That showed it was not gaseous or inflammable at that part of the demonstration, which to me was most important. The engine caught just as quickly as it would have done with gasoline, and after a moment's adjustment of the carburator, it settled down to its work, developing 75% of its rated horsepower, a remarkable showing with any fuel with so slight a readjustment of the carburator".

In a second test, Andrews was put in an empty room with no possible way to get rid of the bucket of salt water with which he had been supplied, except to empty it into his one-gallon gas can. Commander Jessup said:

"In a minute he emerged with the can filled, and the engine again used it up, no difference being noted between the salt water and fresh. Besides myself, Rear Admiral G.E. Burd, the Industrial Manager of the yard, was present and with the precautions we had taken --- our own Navy engine, tank and carburator and our own men supplying the water --- there was no possibility of deception.

"From a military viewpoint, it is almost impossible to visual"ze that such an invention means. It is so important that we have hurried an officer to Washington to make a report to the navy Department. It is obvious that Andrews has discovered a combination of chemicals which breaks down water to a form that is inert until mechanically vaporized by the carburator, when the spark causes it to burn as gasoline burns".

Walter Meriwether, the Navy editor of the New York World, met with Andrews at his home in McKeesport, PA. Andrews was extremely paranoid. He said:

"Somebody poisoned my watchdog last week. The only reason my dog was poisoned was so somebody could get at me more easily. I am being followed everywhere, day and night. A lot of people know about my invention --- how it will put every oil company in the world out of business. Two cents a gallon for a substitute as good as the best they can refine? I tell you, my life is not worth that [snapping his fingers]! Think of what my invention means to nations at war".

Meriwether offered to arrange for a thorough test of his invention with the Navy Department in Washington DC, and Andrews accepted his help. Meriwether managed to arouse the interest of Secretary Josephus Daniels, who said:

"Tell the man to come on at once; I will have a submarine and airplane detailed and ready for him on his arrival".

Meriwether telegraphed Andrews, but received no reply. He returned to McKeesport, but Andrews could not be found. Meriwether then accompanied the police to Andrews' home, where they found signs of a violent struggle in the ransacked house. No trace was found of Andrews.

But Andrews had not been kidnapped or murdered; he had simply reported back to his seaman's post in the Canadian Navy. He returned to the USA in the 1930s. In 1942, a reporter named James Kilgallen found Andrews living on a farm near Library, Pennsylvania. Andrews said that he had forgotten the formula.

Another version of the Andrews mystery states that he was found murdered in his home in 1937, and all of his notes and supply of green powder were missing. His sister allegedly took the notes and fled to Scotland, where she too was murdered only a year later. The eminent journalist Tom Valentine, who has written numerous articles about suppressed technologies, once received a phone call from a man who claimed to be John Andrews, Jr. His innuendos could not be proven, of course:

"My aunt was killed and then some of my relatives suddenly got rich and I believe the process for making the powder is known and the people who know are the Phillips Petroleum Company".

The next person to demonstrate the conversion of water to fuel was Guido Franch, a former coal miner who tried for nearly 50 years to find financiers for his product. He too used a green powder to turn water into 105-octane fuel. He called it "Mota", which is atom spelled backwards.

Franch demonstrated Mota hundreds of times, but never produced it commercially. He did, however, sell about 3000% of his rights to interested investors. In 1973, Franch was subpoenaed to appear in Chicago's Federal Circuit Court "with any records relating to the purchase or the proposed purchase of any fuel, fuel powder, or fuel formula in your possession". He demonstrated his Mota transmutation in the presence of judges William Bauer and Philip Romiti, who believed what they saw, and Franch was acquitted of charges of fraud.

The fuel is produced with one pound of the reagent in 50 gallons of water. It burns clean and leaves no residue. In one demonstration with a lawnmower, it ran for about 15 minutes on a small amount of Mota-treated water. An equal amount of gasoline lasted only 3 minutes. Mota fuel is very sensitive to sunlight, which will turn it back to water with a white powder residue.

Gary Bolz, a consultant on carburetion and fuel engineering, was able to test Mota with the help of chemists at Michigan State University and Havoline Chemical Laboratories. Bolz stated:

"The granules are dark olive green. As they enter water, they dissolve in a string of green, which begins to spread fiber-like throughout the water. As the water begins to react, there is a swirling effect. Reaction is complete in a few minutes. If the crystals are mixed in 1:1 ratio with water, the resulting fluid is highly explosive and can be detonated by a small shock. But it isn't shock-sensitive when mixed at a normal ratio of one ounce of powder per half gallon of water. The finished fuel is lighter than water".

Franch claimed that the manufacture of Mota was taught to him and others in 1925 by a German scientist named Alexander Kraft, who died in 1941.

Franch received about $100,000 from small investors over a period of 40 years. He used that money to live on, and never manufactured any Mota. He received several serious offers from major investors, but his financial demands were unreasonable and nothing practical ever came of his demonstrations and negotiations.

It appears that we are obliged to continue burning gasoline until some genius rediscovers the secret of extracting green crystals from coal.

Posted by: I. Lastdance | June 1, 2006 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Chain letters will not work. But we should stop buying from certain gas companies that support terrorism

Even if we have money, we still wish that gas was a bit cheaper. We blame the government, the war, taxes etc.

I do not like to pay high oil prices eihter, but I do wish that we could all find more ways to not have to buy so much gasoline.

We all love to drive big cars, but do realize that in doing so you are only supporting many of those countries who support terrorism.

If we really want to shut them up, we should all try to buy more fuel efficient cars or hybrids. I know they are a bit more expensive, but who would you rather give your money too? You have a choice: (US and Japan) for the cars

or (IRAN, IRAQ etc. for your gas !)

Let face it: this is the best revenge. I would love to see the day when, nobody buys oil from them, and then they would not have money to start wars against us.

That is really our best revenge.


Posted by: Dave Perry | May 3, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

the real source of corruption....

your leaders making deals that make them richer...

require them to meet the standards that you would have to if you worked for the government.....

you break a law at the felony level, you evade taxes, you hire illegals

you lose you clearance and your job.

the congress, the excutive branches, the judicial and bureaucrats in all branches that affect and access legislation need to adhere to the same standards that the secratary that holds a clearance that makes airport reservations for her people going overseas does....

break the law, you lose the right to work for the government.....

and your right to collect the extra special pension fund and benefits for congress people.

liars will bail out immediately, very simple,

since this is a democracy it could be put into law _now_


Posted by: one thing that does need to happen is that you identify | April 30, 2006 8:02 PM | Report abuse

wanted you to see e-mail that is circulating. It would be so good to see this happen.

----- Original Message -----
From: Leo Abeln
To: tom bryant ; ron brooks ; paulette herberholt
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 9:38 PM
Subject: Fw: Re: Lets Hear It!

----- Original Message -----
From: Kala Eydman
To: ; ; ;
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2006 9:08 PM
Subject: FW: Re: Lets Hear It!

Subject: Re: Lets Hear It!
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 21:22:54 EST

Good reading !!!


My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been completed.

Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete.

This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now to begin the reckoning.

Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there.

The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the world's nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening.

Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war.

The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world Hellholes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption.

Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France.

In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth.

Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China.

I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis.

I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York.

A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are likely to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change.

Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border security.

Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty - starting now.

We are tired of the one-way highway. Immediately, we'll be drilling for oil in Alaska - which will take care of this country's oil needs for decades to come. If you're an environmentalist who opposes this decision, I refer you to List 2 above: pick a country and move there. They care.

It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying, "darn tootin."

Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet. It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thank you guys. We owe you and we won't forget.

To the nations on List 2, a final thought: You might want to learn to speak Arabic.

God bless America. Thank you and good night.

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.

(Please forward this to at least ten friends and see what happens! Let's get this to every USA computer!)

Posted by: Kate Birdsong | April 30, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

If the cat is dead, it's awfully disrespectful, and kind of sick, to be swinging it around. I mean what happens if you're swinging it and the head flies off?? Gross.

But stranger things have happened--read this story about the $10,000 reward being offered for the recovery of a dead woman's head here in Quebec (not recommended before dinner):

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 28, 2006 11:00 PM | Report abuse

They, there's that they again, say it's all supply and demand.

Supply: There are 250 million vehicles in use in America. Reduce vehicle tanks to 1/8 full, and buy each day just what you need for that day. Based on 10 gals. per vehicle less paid for storage, that's 2.5 trillion gals. that the oil depots,stations,tank trucks, etc would need to store daily.

Demand: Only buy daily needs on a daily basis, even if it's only one gal. Charge on a non-oil company credit card each day, and only buy fuel, no lottery tickets, coffee, bread, etc., at an oil-company station.

The "pipe line" would overflow, and pressure to cut prices would be dramatic.

Repeat the process, as well as cut driving to the bone, if prices creep back up.

Posted by: Edwardo | April 27, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

So many comments and CC to respond to but im just gonna flow...

I will be the first to admit that the current gas sitaution is not entirely the fault of the Bush Administration. The President has clearly exacerbated the situation politically, but he also has had to contend with a century-plus of rapid industrial, population and commerce growth that has pushed the demand so high that the rise of the price of oil was just inevitable. But still, production and demand being what they currently are, we cant afford to have these companies and these politicians gaming the system.

But then we have the various situations confronting the oil world.

Oil majors, like Shell, clearly have overstated reserves ( It has been reported that Saudi Arabia is masking their production numbers by including sea water volumes in their numbers. They pump massive amounts of sea water into the ground to improve the extraction process, but they often include the water that is spit back out with the oil in the total output, thus artificially inflating their overall production numbers (

Most everyone else, it seems, is producing at maximum capacity. Except for Iraq, for obvious reasons. Ahem. And for Nigeria, which is smack in the middle of some Shell-induced unrest and conflict. To put it mildly, Shell has completely turned a blind eye to the people who live there, sharing their riches with the corrupt Nigerian Govt instead and causing tension and attacks by tribes in the Niger Delta ( That has also contributed to the rise in gas prices, but it is truly indicative of the state of oil right now.

New finds in the U.S. are scarce. ANWR, which wouldnt be producing for 10 years if they started on it today, (and disregarding any potential envtl harm) even at full capacity, is a total joke volume-wise. The remaining American underground reserves are in sensitive areas environmentally or politically.

But, to the point, there is a mountain of evidence that if we are not RIDING the global oil production peak right at this very moment, we will be there soon. So, the idea that we should continue to drill, drill, drill is just an extremely short-sighted view, based on the evidence, the data. Just look at the graphs of global and U.S. production over the last 100 years and the price of oil or gas over the last 10-20. (

What we really really need is a major spending commitment from all angles on producing biodiesel and ethanol. It has to be done. A total commitment and re-prioritization of spending from public, private, or any other source of funding possible to make biofuel production facilities a reality. Not funding for development. Not labs. Actual facilities. We need to populate them all over the midwest and on down the Mississippi River to major trucking lanes in the South (Texas and California consume the most diesel fuel). But they can produce the fuels locally and transport it out to the nation via river and rail. It could happen and it should happen. But it seems clear to me that Bush will not be the one to do it. Using his own choice of words, he is just too addicted to oil.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | April 26, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I just logged out of here and went to the front page and what do I see? Enron and Karl Rove on the front page. When are we going to make "white collar" crime, at least some of them, a capital offense? One of the outcomes of Enron was thousands of broken marriages, another was hundreds of suicides, another was tens of thousands of ordinary people who lost everything. Lay, Skilling and every corporate executive and every BOARD MEMBER is as surely responsible for those deaths and suffering as any common thug who kills someone in the act of robbing a store. ANd, do not forget those board memebers, they are paid stock options and are DIRECTLY responsible for every bit of the harm done by the thugs they appoint and oversee. I want the board member of Enron on trial.

And Karl Rove. How is it that a professional character assassin, a known liar, a man guilty of treason, and god knows what perversions, is serving in government, is allowed to even walk the streets? Are we all insane?

Posted by: Mike Brooks | April 26, 2006 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I loathe this President and think most Republican are simply crooks. Every Democratic politician, on the other hand, acts like some silly, mindless, self serving twit and blathers on and on about how we ought to feel sorry for the third world porr, we ought to take them in, open our borders, grant amnesty to the millions of illegals already here. Well, I've got news for them all. Iraq is a disaster, it isn't going to get any better, and thousands of our children, our brave and dedicated children, are going to loose their lives becasue this President is too much a macho jerk to admit that it was a huge mistake. At the same time, I want the idiots in the Democratic Party to actually stand up for working men and women instead of the greedy clerks working for some government agency. We DON'T WANT amnesty granted to the millions of illegals. We don't care what it costs or how complicated it is, just get them out. All of them. And get rid of the "guest workers" at the same time. How on gods earth do you justify bringing in foreign engineers when 20% of our pown engineers are out of work? And how can these baffoons justify 50% or more of our college positions in engineering going to foreign students. ANd don't tell us that crap about Amecian's being "behind" in math and science. Every one of those student engineering slots could have been filled by a fully qualified American student! The same thing, now, is taking place in our medical schools. It seems that our public colleges and universities discovered that foreign students pay 4 times the tuition and fees that resident students pay and this has been a quick and "cheap" way of getting more money. I'm sick of it. I'm an American. I vote. And, to the poster above, you can be damn certain I will get out and vote for ANY party or candidate that refects MY values. And you can count on the fact that millions of my fellow citizens feel exactly the same way! If that spell trouble for both major parties, if that throws a wrench into their election predictions, good!

Posted by: Mike Brooks | April 26, 2006 6:59 PM | Report abuse

All the complaints in the world aren't going to change this government, what do people expect, wasn't it obvious when Cheney held his "secret" energy meetings and it was none of our business! The Iraq was was going to pay for itself remember? Washington D.C. is it's own little country and to hell with the rest of us. From K street to the White house our government is owned lock stock and barrel by corporations. Bush runs out and says he will fix this and that, whatever the crisis of the momemt is. He is interested in one thing and one thing only, his name in the history books and how he is reflected. Cheney made over 8 million last year, do you actually think he gives a crap how much a gallon of gas is?? That's just bigger dividens for next years tax "refund" he will get. The american people need to wake up and smell the coffee (while you can still afford a cup), throw all of them out, let's put new people in and if by God the next group and President doesn't listen to the legal american public then throw them out too. Since only it seems the illegals are willing to march in the streets for rights they do not deserve or are entitled too, the rest of us are simply spinning our wheels. I think the American Public needs to choose a day, do not buy gas, groceries, cars, houses, go to work etc., let's see how the corporations do if we have an "day without a legal American working". But good luck getting everyone on board with that! Sue F

Posted by: Sue F | April 26, 2006 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I think that gas prices are getting rediculous but they aren't going to stop me from driving my gas guzzler Tahoe on 35's that gets 10 to the gallon! and the fuel companies are blaming the situation on car companies who arent developing smaller cars but that is because we consumers like our big cars!! I personally dont wanna drive a y hybrid Toyota

Posted by: J Smith | April 26, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

1. illegals need to go home and make their country a better place to live in.

2. congress people need to obey the laws they pass and be arrested if they don't

3. the president needs to be held responsible for lying about Iraq, whatever the rationale...arrested not impeached.

4. we need to stop unregulated outsourcing.

5. we need to reestablish pensions and benefits as a part of life in America.

6. we need to work no more than 40 hours a week, unless we want to.

7. we need to remove our marginalized people from that life style and make use of them as resources........permanently. if someone is not mentally ill, they can be a useful citizen, if they're not they're dead weight on _us_, that my friends is inefficient and blame won't make it go away.

8. some people need to be put on trial as a way of reestablishing democracy in the United States.....right now, we're posturing towards Iran as_if that was a rational choice to geo h. w. bush...

9. infrastructure needs to be rebuilt in communication, highways, commuting and telecommuting needs to be a mandated options...

11. bring back customer service from overseas and let the out of work factory people do that until we get out resources back under our control...not the internationals...

12. look at internationalism as a problem that can be solved by taking action and that it is not necessarily bad as long as the people that are in control

can be held responsible for their lack of thoughtfulness....if they can't we don't need to do business with them..

13. and so on

the point being that just raising the price of gas, taxing it and putting that towards infrastructure and alternatives, will be a big first step....

the next step would be saying that it will be much higher in 6 months _all at once_

and put a plan in place to support that change....

Iran is already saying it's going to start playing with the oil market, right? so we're vulnerable right? well maybe Europe do we need to start a war or take action to make it so that we have a choice?


in WWII rubber was replaced by plastic when it became necessary to find alternatives, and we've never looked back

in WWII silk was replaced by nylon and we've never had to look back

Posted by: some changes or a new United States agenda, taking care of it's own... | April 26, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I just LOVE all of the Republican blowhards on this blog who think that drilling in ANWR is the magic solution to our high gas prices problem.

Newsflash to all you people who watch too much Faux News - ANWR has (at most) a 6 MONTH supply of oil. It would do nothing to help gas prices. If we had drilled in ANWR in '95 like the republicans had wanted to, tht oil would be gone already and we would still be paying the same high gas prices that we are paying today.

Posted by: Ohio guy | April 26, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

are part of the problem

according to PNAC

project for a

that is signed by cheyney, rumsfield, scooter libby, wolfowitz and about 12 other influential names...

that talks about _intervention_ as a needed commodity in controlling oil prices.

Posted by: China and Pakistan | April 26, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse


because of downsizing, outsourcing, no more factories...

I agree with you, the people that don't control conditions that are being forced upon the United States people...

shouldn't be held responsible for them>>>>

the people don't control their country,

the corporations and federal government does...

the people don't vote to downsize, outsource, and sell American companies to internationals....

the leaders of the corporations do...

the leaders of the country and corporations are often the same....

and your point is, about complainers?

Posted by: when their wallets are | April 26, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I keep hearing that China and India are "part of the problem" because of the demand of their rapidly expanding economies.

None of the reporters/blog posters/columnists ever mention that there is a "next dollar" point at which it becomes uneconomical for them to purchase the oil. There is an elasticity to both price and demand. Both will stretch only so far, before beginning to retract.

Any legitimate economists out there who can shed some light on when China and India may cut back because they can no longer afford the price?

Posted by: A2Z | April 26, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

high oil prices are partly Bush's fault because Iraqi production has decreased since the invasion, and uncertainty about Iraq and Iran is also pushing up prices. He gets a F on using his bully pulpit to promote conservation. It's also possible using a little of our strategic oil reserve to punish speculators would have helped keep a lid on things. Hs failure to spend big research $ on alternative energy sources means that his effect on long term energy prices will also be negative. If anything deserves Manhattan Project (atom bomb) type research priority, it's the search for energy sources that don't feed climate change. It's become an economic issue as well, these prices being a catastrophe for people already under economic stress, as previous posts pointed out. Must have been a lot of people with cold homes this last winter.

Posted by: mike | April 26, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

You'll protest by voting libertarian? But, you know the libertarians won't win the presidency. Your vote won't matter. The decision is always between the republicans and democrats, and if you don't vote for one of them you've effectively not voted. Now, if you could vote for everyone you approved of, not just your first choice, then you could vote libertarian AND say which of republican or democrat you preferred. Who knows, that might even cause someone other than a republican or democrat to win.

"Swing a cat" seems to refer to a cat-o-nine-tails, a type of whip. Though there are doubtful-looking claims of other origins, such as bagged live cats used for archery practice.

Gas, oil, pfah, get those coal-to-diesel plants going. Solar energy will rule in about 30 years. We just have to handle the time between now and then. I blame the oil companies for not having a coal-to-diesel infrastructure already built up. And I blame Bush for underfunding basic energy research.

Posted by: Bob Jenkins | April 26, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

For the past 5 and a half years the boys from the Petroleum Club in charge in DC have designed an energy policy that depends on "force projection to insure adequate supplies" and a military strategy to support it. The assumption that there is no need to look or work toward any solution other than oil is in these guys genes. What that means is that some of the steps that could have been taken to prepare the US (or us, for that matter) for the world as its become have never been considered never mind taken. No national energy policy that recognizes that either the rest of the world would likely industrialize or that the natural resource itself will gradually be consumed means that were going to pay more, probably lots more until feasible alternative sources are on line.

What to do? Why not conservation? Why not supoort it with tax breaks for fuel efficient cars (more than just the pricey hybrids) say those that get in excess of 35 or 40 mpg? Tax breaks for more efficient use of energy in the home and workplace. The obscene tax breaks the oil boys are getting don't encourage anything except bigger payouts to executives and more stock options. If the oil companies extract oil from Federal Lands (our land to echo Woody Guthrie) why should they get it for free? A Manhatten style effort to solve the largest problem of our era is needed: A feasible replacement for fossil fuels.

America has solved a lot problems over time and can solve this one too. Unfortunately at the moment the deck is stacked in favor of those who want to benefit hugely at the expense of the rest of us. Perhaps the Republicans think they'll be able to hide forever in their gated communities away from the consequences of their selfishness and from the rest us. We'll see.

Posted by: JNL | April 26, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

it must be either the democrats or republicans right? is:

the point you don't want to hear....

and it's actually the most important one to be made.

it's also one the president should be making...

gas prices are really not the issue...

coping with them is.

it's the media that is ignoring them, the corporate mindset...that has brought us to this point in time....

and you're the hamsters on the wheel.

but you got put there.

downsizing, outsourcing, moving factories overseas, internationalization

no predictable future........

IF Jimmy Carter had been listened to some years ago,

there's a good chance we wouldn't be in Iraq and that France would be our best friend...

because we wouldn't be trying to control the world so you could get cheap gas...

the $9,000 plus in credit card debt that is part or every American household

now, with savings at the lowest level in 73 years...

is part and parcel of a federal and corporate structure that victimizes it's people....

we just passed antibankruptcy laws to protect the corporations, we just passed laws to allow not paying for overtime, for the corporations

that was your governments loving commitment to you, to ignore you.

the economy, the "occupation," the "gas crisis?" are really not



it's corporate america's and the federal governments problem...

they got us there...

unregulated outsourcing and corporations moving overseas,

CEO's downsizing, looting and selling the companies to internationals

that owe citizenry of any country that they work from


have changed the face of the United States from healthy, unafraid of the future, every child gets a better life than what their parents had to this:

a worn out, afraid, tired, but constantly working, buying what they don't need because it replaces a _need_ in them to actually have a life...

I'll tell you something,

it's not your fault.

The Iraq "war" fraud.

is not your fault...but they're deducting $30 a month from your seniors _fixed_ medicare benefits monthly to pay for it....

Exxon CEO retires with 380 efffffffing million....secret conferences with Cheyney, unsworn into congress CEO's...

You want to change your life, look at what is going on.

and do something about it....

by requiring your government and corporations to be _at least_ as responsible for the mess


are in.

Posted by: what's really going on? | April 26, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The cost of oil and other raw materials has mostly to do with supply and demand (but, to be sure, there IS price fixing going on). Now the U.S. is the world's largest consumer of oil. But, as a direct result of the utterly insane globalization train wreck, we have exported millions of jobs, our basic technology, and billions of dollars in corporate catital and have turned India and China into economic power houses that now are the number two and four largest consumers of oil. Now, India and China (and very soon: Vietnam and other Asia countries) will be comepting with the American consumer for this basic material. Couple this with the increased demand for ALL other raw materials and you have a recipe for disaster. In the near term inflation is going to take off, and might reach 20% or more, with the accompanying unemployment jump that will wreck this country. Once the American consumer realizes the true cost of WalMart and all of those jobs being outsouced, the guest visa programs, and all of the res, I would expect to see quite a few present day politcian's summarily retired by tyhe voters. Unfortunately, I think it is too late. Globalization is a train wreck and we have already run this one off the cliff. The only question is "When does the train hit bottom".

Posted by: Mike Brooks | April 26, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Max: For at least something worldwide gas prices, try this site at CNN:

Unfortunately, it's as of March 2005; and there's always the caveat that it's subject to how much effort the CNN people in each location put into finding the "representative" cost.

This site provides similar data for May 2004 -

Not much current help, but they can give you an idea of what countries' prices are relative to each other worlwide.

Posted by: A2Z | April 26, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

To Bert:

normally I find grammar and spelling check in blogging to be anal - but since you are so big on English only American - it is spelled BORDER not boarder-

By the way the Native Americans who were displaced by you and youyr family would challenge whether or not you are legal - you are about as legal as a 3 dollar bill

RMill - according to CNN the US does not import any oil from Iran - at best our support for Iran is very very indirect - now I agree CNN could be wrong.

Bobby WIghtman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 26, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The oil companies are MONOPOLY'S...
Ever hear the saying "you can't fight city hall?". Same is true here. Just get used to get raped with the price of gas. Want to do something about it? Simple...get rid of the BIG GAS-HOGG SPORT UTILITY and get something "practical". Honda Civic's get 40mpg -so do Toyota Corolla's.

Remember, most of Europe is paying $5, $6, and even $7 a gallon and has for years. We have just been lucky in the past!

Posted by: Rat B*st*rd | April 26, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Casiboriqua, Bush didn't make his money in Texas oil--he was a serial failure and lost other people's investments in the oil business. His fortune comes from his role as frontman of the Texas Rangers, where he was brought on as a partner for several hundred thousand dollars and bought out by business friends several years later for $16 million.

Posted by: Brittain33 | April 26, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"Most people don't know that 45% of our oil comes from domestic sources."

Canada is not part of the US, nor is Mexico or Venezuala.

I personally blame this on the reduced amount of oil from Iraq, which DECREASED and has STAYED DOWN ever since Bush invaded it in his incompetent hubris.

Meanwhile, I get gas from ALASKA - no ethanol/blend requirement - and our price went up 50 CENTS!!!!! I call bvll on the oil company lies (note, I own oil company shares).

Posted by: Will in Seattle | April 26, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I registered to vote this year because of the politics of the day. This gas issue is a prime example.

Oil isn't an unlimited supply. Scientists have been saying this for over 10 years. It is going to run out. Cars will no longer run the way they are currently configured. With no cars most people will not be able to continue working and will either starve, migrate, or adapt.

Our government should be doing something to encourage we change the future by doing something about it now. Delaying proposed fuel changes is going to present a very ugly head in the coming years if delayed much further.

I dont know bout you guys, but I might just buy a horse and a couple acres of grazing land. I can see home grown gardens becoming much more popular in the coming years.

Posted by: Matt, AZ | April 26, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Just curious about the profits in Europe and else where...does anyone know what Europe, Russia, South America and Asian countries are paying right now?

Posted by: Max | April 26, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Most people don't know that 45% of our oil comes from domestic sources. Some of our largest fortunes like Bush's and Cheney's were made in oil at $25 a barrel

The gas price issue is interesting to the domestic oil "producers" because it costs about $20 to get a barrel of oil out of the ground and if you jack up the price to $75 you get a reasonable profit.

You blame OPEC or Iran or Chavez for the high price. You can count your money or send it to the Republican Party for patriotic reasons. You help by presenting a ehtanol solution that it ten+ years away and sell more SUV's.

Posted by: casiboriqua | April 26, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

So far we have been able to absorb this increase on one paycheck. I haven't been forced to take a second job, or anything. However, it wouldn't take too much more to seriously impact our budget.

As it is, gas went from $20 per fill up to $36 per fill up in under 3 years. That's roughly a week and a half's (maybe two) worth of driving, if I'm careful. My gas budget has virtually doubled.

Because I have some discretionary income that isn't pre-ordained for bills, I've been able to absorb that a bit more than some but it still hurts.

We no longer use credit at the pump. It's cash only. Credit just makes the whole matter worse, because of the interest.

We cut back in other ways to 'balance our budget'. We might attend less movies, or rent fewer videos. We might buy fewer groceries or only buy clothes on sale, etc. Either way, it takes a bit out of the economy's hide because I only have so much to spend and if more is spent on gas, then less is spent somewhere else.

If worse comes to worst and gas hits $7.00 a gallon, I would unhappily give up cable TV, but it could be done. It wouldn't kill me to give up cable, as it's non-essential. If gas was $7.00 a gallon it would diminish my standard of living significantly, as my gas expense for one week would equal what I used to spend ALL MONTH. We would about 1/3 less discretionary income - money we use to buy school clothes for my daughter, etc. Maintenance on the car would be harder to afford and possibly quite necessary to do since the quality of gas is not improving.

We would, in effect, be forced to put the car ahead of everything else in the household, just to continue to make ends meet.

I don't know many who can non-chalantly absorb a hit like that, especially when juxtaposed against CEO's retiring with $400 million dollar golden parachutes.

But I'm really tired of people who have been blessed with the good fortune of extreme wealth acting in a very spoiled and looking down their noses at the rest of us. It's like they're proud of their greed. It's disgusting.

Posted by: amo | April 26, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Why is that the website labels Dana Milbank's and Howard Kurz's and your column/blogs by their titles, i.e. "Washington Sketch" and "Media Notes" and "The Fix" but Dan Froomkin's as "OPINION: Froomkin"?

Why the double standard?

Posted by: Brad Johnson | April 26, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Sandwich RepairPerson: What if it's a dead cat?

Posted by: A2Z | April 26, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

1) The Internet "Save Gas" E-mail Hoax: Unless you reduce consumption (less driving, "tune-ups and slower driving" (Sen. Frist), etc...) the overall demand is the same. Screwing Exxon-Mobil by buying elsewhere does not change the multi-supplier market one bit. The price will stay the same.

Anybody notice that there are no distribution problems, meaning no "gas lines" yet. Which says that the demand has not outstripped the supply.

What happens if gas lines do begin to occur? Remember gas lines did affect "the national mood" on how people felt about Nixon and Carter.

2) Being a little more specific on JW's cite for the power of the Government to regulate commerce. It's located in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3. Known as the "Commerce Clause." It's one of the most powerful clauses (not even a sentence) in the English language.

Posted by: A2Z | April 26, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Our fuel situation has all the appearances of the story of the grasshopper and the ant. Instead of preparing for the future (i.e. - developing alternative fuel sources before we were in crisis) - we merrily went about our way thinking we could go on that way forever. No one gets off free on this one - and unfortunately I think its going to get worse before it gets better. We have completely bankrupted our future basically because it was a lot easier and less expensive to do so. Bottom line, we don't own the means to support our own habit - so we are essentially at the mercy of those who do. Makes you squirm a little bit hunh?

Posted by: esse | April 26, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

It's not nice to swing cats.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 26, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I just don't get it. Why do the people of this country complain whenever there's some unfavorable event happening? Why do the people always blame the politicians and look to them for answers whenever their wallets start to feel lighter? We all had the opportunity and the obligation to replace the career politicians at the voting booth. If we didn't do it then, tough. If I'm remembering correctly, there was some kind of big stinch over the 2000 presidential election. Yet he was put back in office for a second term. Why in God's green earth would the citizens of this country re-elect someone who has shown that he doesn't care what they want, he's going to do things the way he choses to. Why complain now? Anything short of impeaching the him will not be enough. He is not a president for the people, but one for big business. And so are his croonies in Congress. If the people don't go to the polls and ouster these career politicians, then they don't have the right to complain about whatever their elected official does. I believe the President would tell the American people this; You had you chance to make a difference, now suck it up! Move on!

Posted by: Abfreely | April 26, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

JW: I'll agree there. But I'm not sure I want a government solution to health care either. (I live in Mass, which just launched a Health care Fiasco).

Health care is not the job of the Govt.

Posted by: Dan W | April 26, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The person who wrote that people are stupid is partly right. The presidents and congress since Carter have bungled the energy policy.

Where he goes wrong is saying that if a family can't afford an extra hundred bucks a month than they aren't managing their finances correctly.

That is the height of arrogance - do you think everyone makes a hundred thousand a year? Under this president the only people making much of a profit are the higher income wage earners. Believe it or not some people live payday to payday and it's not their fault. They have to choose whether to eat or buy drugs - fill up the tank or take the bus.

Don't lump everyone into one basket - believe it or not everyone is NOT financially equal in this world - WAKE UP!

Posted by: Moderate Tom | April 26, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Gas prices are so full of ....!! It's funny that the all new ethanol gasoline (which is ONLY 15% gas!!) keeps jumping up in price to keep in line with being about .30 less than regular gasoline. This alone tells me that there IS price gauging going on. I live in the midwest where the ethanol is produced and find it NOT so funny that a couple months ago this fuel was 1.80 a gallon and now it's $2.63 a gallon. Being that ONLY 15% is real gas WHAT is the REAL deal here?!! I work for a Chevy dealer and we offer many vehicle's that can run on this fuel which burns at a 105 octane rating (which happens to be as strong as racing fuel) and it doesn't get as good fuel economy BUT it helps support the US and NOT the mid east. It SHOULD sell for about $1 less a gallon if crude is so expensive but WHY doesn't it? If it did it would save quite a bit of money even with the worse fuel economy (keep in mind it still burns alot cleaner than gas so it is environmentally much more friendly too). Here's the harsh reality everyone, MONEY runs our government, NOT us. Until this is addressed and the lobbyists from big business are not allowed to "Bribe" our governement to make laws which benifit them, this will never change!

Posted by: A Concerned American | April 26, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

As a Liberal who does believe that Government can overreach, I think that A2 took some liberties with the "purpose" of government. The purpose of government is not specifically to "improve" society. Unless, you consider establishing order out of anarchy to be the improvement.

The purpose of our government is to: "...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."

I don't see anything about pro-activley "improving society" in that Preamble.

Improving society may be a beneficial by-product of those. But, it's not the purpose of our government.

Posted by: A2Z | April 26, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Dan W: The practical effect of setting the rate that banks have to abide by is to set interest rates. The idea that the federal government is unable to manipulate the market for the perceived benefit of the public at large is incorrect. It can, just ask Teddy Roosevelt. However, whether or not it should regulate gas prices is debatable in my opinion. Gas prices have risen, but this increase does not in fact add up to truly onerous burden at this point. But people see them every day and get angry. In my opinion, a bigger issue is the soaring costs of health care, which do create an onerous burden on many many people, and which I think are immune to market forces.

Posted by: JW | April 26, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

A2, Businesses only make money if people are willing to buy the product. Sales of SUVs are through the roof. When people stop buying SUVs, they will stop making them. Why should the government go against the will of the people.

Posted by: Dan W | April 26, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Bradley expresses bewilderment about the idiom "swing a cat," and asks whether someone could explain it. The expression originated, I believe, in the British navy, where the crew quarters below deck were always extremely crowded. Now about the cat. The reference is not to a cat, but to a "cat o' nine tails," a kind of whip used to flog errant sailors. It was colloquially referred to as a "cat," (for short, you understand). In the low, encumbered area below decks where the crew slept, you could scarcely stand uprignt or move even a few inches in any direction, much less swing a whip. Correct understanding of the idiom thus involves understanding of the physical and social context in which the idiom arose.

Posted by: Allan Taylor | April 26, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

John Adam: Nope. No recall in the US. The only way to unseat the Pres is Impeach AND conviction. President Cheney would then continue where he left off.

Posted by: Dan W | April 26, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

A lot of posts have a libertarian bent, so I'd like to offer an alternate view:

The purpose of incorporating is to generate wealth. The purpose of forming a government is to unify in order to improve society. That is why government, not industry, is the best agent for improving how our society uses energy (but obviously this particular goverment has abdicated this responsibility). Relying on industry to improve society in a deliberate way is like trying to pound nails with a screw driver. It is the wrong tool for the job.

Posted by: A2 | April 26, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the double post, back there.

If you all are serious about change, then do something about it. This is 2006. 33 U.S. Senate seats are up for election, and all the U.S. House seats are up. There is a reason why this President has not used the veto even once: the Congress has never given him a reason to veto anything! As soon as Congress gets shaken up, then maybe we will have a government interested in governing and not lining their own pockets, either while they are in office, or through the revolving door with K Street.

Posted by: It's the market, stupid | April 26, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

JW: OK, I'll concede there, but I think its better interpreted as regulating standards rather than setting prices.

And the Government doesn't set interest rates. They set the rate that banks charge each other for loans, after all, the Fed owns the money itself. The actual interest rates are set by the market. Usury laws protect from super high interest rates but there are ways around them. Wonderful things loopholes. Not.

And the high price that would need to be set would end up being a relatively high number, similar to what europeans pay in gasoline. This of course would lead to companies sending the oil to other markets without the limits. Why sell in the US for $4 per gallon when you can sell in China for $8.

Posted by: Dan W | April 26, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Hey Hummer, You are a typical example of a "Compassionate Conservative". Happy Humming to you.

Posted by: Min. Wage earner | April 26, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

JW: You beat me to the punch. The Constitution. It's a wonderful document. Everyone should read it.

Posted by: It's the market, stupid | April 26, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

JW: You beat me to the punch. The Constitution. It's a wonderful document. Everyone should read it.

Posted by: It's the market, stupid | April 26, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Does there exist the legal possibility of having a no confidence vote and re-election for this current administration just like the republicans forced in California?

I'd even vote for another republican, like McCain, because anyone is better than Bush. We need to change now, and not sink further while waiting for the next election cycle.

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES! We can become the world leader in alternative energy development and production, thus producing jobs and products we can export for once. Also produce small, very affordable and highly energy efficient cars for the people. They would sell well in urban areas. Remember the impact of the Volkswagon Beetle in the 60's. How about bringing back a Beetle type hybrid or alternative fuel car that is actualy affordable, under $20,000 for the most expensive version. American motor companies could make a fortune if they could actually be leaders and ween themselves from only producung luxury cars,muscle cars and big trucks and SUV's. Unless American automakers face reality and change, they should go out of business and be replaced by innovative thinking Homegrown companies.

Furthermore, there should be a HEFTY tax on people who from this point CHOOSE to buy and drive gas guzzling SUV's, big trucks and luxury cars(American or Foreign). There should be HUGE tax breaks for people who utilize public transportation or even regularly carpool.

Lastly, let's get moving with Nuclear energy. It's time and we have already processed enough fuel for over 200 years of electricity production.


Posted by: Jon Adam | April 26, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Dan W: Where in the Constitution does it say that the Federal Government has the right/obligation to set the price for a comsumer product?

Article 1 Section 8: Congress has the power to regulate commerce

Another example: Who sets interests rates? The federal government. Why do they do that?

Posted by: JW | April 26, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

It's too bad if you are poor and can't afford gas. I'm still going to drive my Hummer, but I feel your pain.

Posted by: george | April 26, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I agree strongly with the poster who said people are unwilling to sacrifice.

Why is it that our politicians no longer ask the people of this country to sacrifice?

remember when people believed in sacrifice and hard work:

"...not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone ..."

that type mentality no longer exists in this country, and especialy not with our politicians. without pain, without sacrifice, how are people going to handle the challenges in our future?

world oil production is in the process of peaking and policians and pundits want to play a point the finger game instead of discussing the serious crisis we face in the decades ahead.

back in 2004, i was a strong democrat and voted for kerry, donated money, went to a rally, passed out bumper stickers, etc.

now, the democrats have **completely** lost me over this energy issue. i've made a vow to a shocked friend that i'm not voting for any democrat in '06 because of the finger pointing at oil companies. both parties are completely brain dead and no longer care about the future of this country, only the next election.

if people can't handle $3 gasoline i don't know how theyre going to handle $10 gasoline. instead of screaming hysterically about profits this and gouging that, people need to understand oil is a fast-depleting non-renewable resource and we're about to reach a breaking point where there is less and less coming out of the ground every year.

Posted by: Tom | April 26, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

It would be very simple to solve most of our energy problems by rasing CAFE standards a few miles, like back to what they were during the Carter administration. It would add only a few dollars to the price of each car.

It would require only leadership and citizens who care enough about the future to do what's best for our country. Oh, well, never mind.

Posted by: Drindl | April 26, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Jack in answer to your question, the reason that Oil companies are making record profits although there "raw materials" cost is so high is because they make the raw material. All Crude oil is owned by foreign nations (Saudi Arabia, the US etc..) but it is drilled and harvested by Oil companies (SHell, Conoco, exxon etc..) They turn around and sell it to themselves at what ever the price the market determines. They then pay the country where the oil came from a certain amount (say $10) or percentage (minus operating cost of course) for each barrel of oil.
So basically they profit coming and going by higher oil prices. Now you know why they call it SWEET crude.

Posted by: Andy R | April 26, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I, as a long time Republican voter, don't blame the President for the problem per se, but I do blame the present administration for the lack of any focused energy program. Some of President Bush's recent statements tell me that he and his advisors "don't have a clue". We need to focus on alternate and revewable energy on a technically sound, prioritized basis, not the latest media poll. Hydrogen is something to develope/consider but it is not a viable alternative for decades. Coal, Shale, Solar, Wind, Biomass, etc.. are where the answer is at this point. Also we need to be developing nuclear power stations NOW.

I will not vote for either of the major parties as there, unfortunately, is not a significant difference at this point. Both are poll driven machines with only short term vision.

If we are going to waste our votes anyway lets vote for an alternative like the Libertarians. We need to get the message out to both parties.

Posted by: Wayne | April 26, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

As a "Voting" registered Republican, soon to be independent, I demand the following:
1. Boarders Closed Now.
2. Illegals removed from my "legal" country of origin.(Fine/jail those who hire)
3. Tax cuts made permanent.
4. A new political party that answers to "We The (legal) People, of this country."
5. Major research for alternative fuel/power.
6. Political Correctiness banned.
7. Real truth in Government!

Posted by: Bert (Very Angry Legal Citizen) | April 26, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"Does anyone really believe multimillionaire limousine liberals Kerry, Pelosi, Dean, and Kennedy really care about working families?"

Good point! Keep talking about how rich Teddy Kennedy is and gay marriage and Terri Schiavo, that's the ticket to showing voters that Republicans care about solving their problems. You'll get even bigger majorities in Congress!

Posted by: Brittain33 | April 26, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I got the email the other day. You know the one where you aren't supposed to buy gas on a certain day. We read it and wonder how someone can be stupid enough to send it, much less think it could have any effect.

Well this one was a little different. This one said, don't buy Exxon or Mobil. Buy from anyone else.

I'm not sure it will have any effect but, I can support the experiment.

Posted by: Dan W | April 26, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Interestingly enough, NOTHING Bush proposed in his 4 pt plan would do anything to lower gas prices in the short term.

And the investigation? What a joke! What will that accomplish? Nothing...(except an increase expenditure of taxpayer $$)

Americans voluntarily cutting back on their gas consumption would help somewhat, but ONLY short term. Long term, it would hurt oil & gas companies, stocks and dividends and a whole host of jobs. Which is why we should have been doing something all along to replace fossil fuel dependency, but which we were to lazy to do, had no immediate incentive to do or did not insist on our officials doing.

The American people DO share in a fair amount of the blame, and they should. We had it cush for a really long time, when Europe was facing drastic gas price increases. It was foolish to think we'd be protected forever.

However, record profits for oil companies do not help matters. They do not need tax breaks on ANYTHING and those should be repealed IMMEDIATELY.

This whole situation lets us know how vulnerable our economy can be, & how interdependent it is on a multitude of factors to keep running - and how we can't afford the 'stick our heads in the sand' mentality...on this issue or any other.

It's time for action, not fake investigations and empty gestures.

Posted by: amo | April 26, 2006 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Where in the Constitution does it say that the Federal Government has the right/obligation to set the price for a comsumer product? We are a free market society. Anyone remember a little thing called supply and demand? You learned about it in Highschool.

Ever notice that the price of gas goes up before the summer driving season? Wonder why that is? Once again, fixed supply, increasing demand. Economics 101.

But people say: "The government cut spending to research programs in other technologies." I've heard this complaint too many times. The national money bank is empty folks. Actually worse than empty. The government cut spending so it could pay for other programs. Like Medicare. Education.

Government intervention is not the answer. The Government caved in to Enviro groups and now uses Ethanol instead of MBTE as an additive. Guess what, my fuel economy dropped 12%. (23 mpg to 20 mpg). Thats right, I now use 12% MORE gas. But does anyone blame the enviro-groups screaming about the green house?

The switch in gas additive is part of the problem, because the refineries needed to shift their production to the new additive. Where are most of the refineries? The south? Texas coast? Ever heard of Katrina? Wilma? A couple of small storms that impacted the ability of the country to refine gasoline.

You want to do something about it, go buy a Prius or some other Hybrid. Some of you probably already have. Thank you. My next car will be a RAV4 or Civic hybrid.

Onward to Hydrogen. Fuel cells are an elegant solution that is on the way. Problem is, someone needs to provide Hydrogen. California has about 17 service stations that provide Hydrogen. DC has a few more. Thats it. My town has more gas stations than that. The national infrastructure is in place. All that needs done now is the modification of thousands more gas stations. That takes time. If you checked, you would probably find that a station can take a tax deduction on modifications to provide alternative fuels.

Lets not forget the paranoia people have about Hydrogen. Mention Hydrogen and you immediately hear Hindeberg. Do you really think the auto manufacturers are going to release a care that is that dangerous. Common sense (and the Pinto) tells us that won't be an issue.

So I ask again, How is this the government's fault?

Posted by: Dan W | April 26, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

All talk of market forces aside, I think the application of Occam's Razor (the principle in logic that the simplest explanation is usually the right one) will tell us whether gas prices are the result of gouging. Oil companies are paying double for a barrel of light sweet crude now. (Not along ago, it was $35 a barrel, now over $70.) So I could understand if revenues were up. But how can they enjoy record PROFITS when their raw material has doubled in price. It defies reason.

Politicians should also be deeply, deeply concerned about what rising gas prices will do across the continuum of the economy. There is a strong potential here for return to the days of double digit inflation as transportation costs rise for every commodity.

Posted by: Jack | April 26, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Silent Cal

What Democrats (and moderate Republicans) blocked was drilling in ANWR, which is a short term solution to a long term problem.

The "glee" in higher prices at the pump may have political overtones (not being unrealistic) but also in forcing the issues about our energy policy that have too long been ignored by the Bush administration. If political change comes so that real energy issues can be addressed, we should be happy about that aspect. Higher prices should help drive up hybrid sales, conservation efforts, alternative energy strategies and public transit. Northeast Ohio use of public transit has risen 12% in the past three years.

Aside from the costs, the security concerns are even more troubling. Essentially, US drivers are funding Iran's nuclear program (and they know it and are using it as a counterthreat to our demands on their nuclear program) . Our dependency on oil and especially foreign oil, places our country at risk and is simply not sustainable economically or environmentally.

It is time for a true, comprehensive strategy to find clean alternative technologies (fuel cells, wind and solar and safe nuclear power) which have been giving short shrift sound bites in the past and not energy lobbyists writing the legislation.

Posted by: RMill | April 26, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

So, Bush and the republicans are vowing a vigorous investigation of the oil companies? Isn't this like a panel composed of famished foxes with chicken feathers and blood on their toothy snouts, vowing to investigate missing chickens in the hen house?

Posted by: Jaxas | April 26, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The price of a barrel of oil has very little to do with the cost of gasoline. It is the market that sets the price. And what does the market respond to? The expectation of whether the supply will meet the demand at some point in the future. There have been a number of non-political factors that have influenced the expected supply recently -- the shutdown of numerous refineries due to hurricanes, the refinery explosion in London several months ago, the oil companies betting wrong on MTBE regulation, and political instability in oil producing nations (Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq, and Iran). On the demand side, we are driving more and more in bigger and bigger vehicles that get worse and worse gas mileage. Blaming politicians for everything is the crutch of the ignorant.

That said, it is fair to ask: Have the politicians done anything to plan for this? Not since Carter was in office. (Carter was not an effective President, but he did have a cogent energy policy) This failure falls on both Democrats and Republicans. But the last 5 1/2 years have been a disaster. This administration caused the disruption of supply in Iraq, and is causing the market to worry about a similar disruption in the Iranian supply. The Republicans in Congress and the Administration have allowed energy policy to be dictated by the industry lobbyists. These policies have exacerbated many of the market factors I listed above, creating a "Perfect Storm."

Posted by: It's the market, stupid | April 26, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I like the first half of your post. Bottom line the American people are stupid and are unwilling to sacrifice. Its a simple supply and demand problem and thats it. If Kerry was president we would be having the same problem and Katrina would still have been a terrible disaster

Another thing, if paying an extra 100-200 bucks for gas a month puts you in serious trouble its time to figure out a budget wait that would require sacrifice again.

Posted by: People are stupid | April 26, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I wonder why no one blames the Iraq war and Bush'S saber rattling over Iran. Knocking Iraq's 3 million barrels/day off the world market while threatening nuke war against the country producing another 4 million/day has all the hedge fund speculators giddy with profits. Why can't Dick Cheney get this paradox?

Posted by: Paul | April 26, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

First, no one has clean hands on this one, least of all the American people - remember when President Carter told us to sacrifice on this issue (1979) and Ronald Reagan and his cool aid drinking supporters told the American people - "you do not have to sacrifice - the Democrats have failed you - elect me"

The unwillingness of the American people to accept their responsibility on this issue in 1979 is the primary cause for high prices today. I am willing to bet the farm that the American people will vote again for any candidate who is willing to say "trust me you are not the problem."

This is an issue of national security - it impacts our military, key industries such as airlines and automakers (the automakers whose unions have opposed the manufacture of more fuel efficient cars) and the US economy as a whole.

Bush needs to stop the speculators in their shoes - all American produced oil will have a set maximum price per 50 gallons ($50.00) - Bush can do this over night with Congress - he will not because as always it is all smoke and mirrors. Does anyone doubt that the oil companies have Bush by his cajones

BObby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: BObby Wightman-Cervantes | April 26, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Sen Kit Bond was on the am radio in Kansas City this morning blaming the Dems for the gas problem. They won't allow the GOP to fix it--plus if we had drilled in ANWR in 1995 things would be so much better today. Of course, it is Clinton's fault because he vetoed that bill.

Typical talk from the water boy from Missouri. The GOP has both houses of Congress and the WH and the Supreme Court and this bozo says it not his fault.


Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

My favorite part of all this is how Democrats are rubbing their hands in glee over the high price of gasoline because it may help net them an electoral victory. Does anyone really believe multimillionaire limousine liberals Kerry, Pelosi, Dean, and Kennedy really care about working families? They inherited or married their money so long ago, they lost touch with those who are either struggling to get by, or those entrepreneurs who are struggling to provide jobs for the working class.

Beyond that, Democrats have repeatedly blocked legislation that would produce conditions leading to reductions in the price of gasoline (i.e. reduction in demand or increase in supply). A windfall tax might feel good (and I have no great love for the oil companies, but I don't hate them either. They're just businesses.), but it would put downward pressure on supply, and that would move prices upward.

The Democrats are the Seinfeld party - they are about nothing.

Posted by: Silent Cal | April 26, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I remember Bush said that he would fire anyone who leaked Valerie Plame's name and it turned out that he was the one who authoprized the leak. Now he is going to investigate the ones who enabled him to become president. Well, I guess the first thing he can do to show that he is serious about the problem is to release the secret energy policy meetings that Dick Cheney had with the oil industry to show us hat was discussed and implemented...Yeah, that'll happen...
Impeach Indict Incarcerate

Posted by: Dave the Wave | April 26, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Well said, April.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

The Gas price issue will be a considerable factor in the upcoming election but I was hoping to explore a slight tangent: Does anyone know where the lede phrase "swing a cat" comes from? It seems like an awfully mean (though occasionally fun) thing to do and an odd phrase.

Just curious.

Posted by: Bradley | April 26, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Lets put this is real terms, since the job market is showing a rise in min. wage jobs. If someone is working for 5.15 and hour and gas is 3 dollars a gallon they are paying a full days pay (if they have a car with a small gas tank, most min wage workers do not. They drive what they can afford which is often a car that is in need of repairs to make it more fuel eff. which they can not afford because they are already poor) to fill up the tank once a week just to get to that Min wage job. Then look at what else happens the groc. bill for that house goes up because groc. are trucked the company has to make up that additional fuel cost so Groc rise. Home heating and cooling cost go through the roof. So who are the people who suffer the most from these rising costs? The working poor in this country who are working 14 16 hour days trying to make ends meet so they arent home to answer consumer conf. pollsters, if they have a phone to do so.

Lets look at what season it is before you all start talking Consumer Conf. this is April, meaning we are in tax season most households get some kind of refund so they spend it because they have not had the money to purchase needed but not neces. items till this point.

People in this country better wake up especially our reps in Washington, or they are gonna wake up in the middle of Nov in shock because they have been fired.

Higher gas priced affect the ones in this country who can least afford to be affected way more than they do the wealthy and upper middle class.

Posted by: April | April 26, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

The GOP pretending to investigate oil companies is analogous to whore house madams pretending to crack down on prostitution.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | April 26, 2006 8:20 AM | Report abuse

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