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Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

How much of high gas prices are because of bush/chenney?

80% of the increases
7
35%
50% of the increasese
4
20%
25% of the increases
5
25%
0% of the increases
4
20%
 
Total votes : 20

Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Postby Suoiragerg » Mon Aug 07, 2006 1:59 pm

The other day at the last gas station that was still at $3.05, the guy in front of me was talking about how higher gas prices were the fault of Bush and Chenney.

I realize the war in Iraq and poor response to the hurricanes are part of the culprit; but I don't know that we could deduce that this was part of plan to increase profits in the oil business. On the other hand I'm pretty willing to blaim Bushco for doing what they could to maximize profits for a "few" friends. I just don't have the answers or even a good conspiracy theory.

My questions are:

What has the Bush folks done to purposely raise gas prices and profits for oil companies?

What could they have purposely done to save the consumer money?

Any answers out there?
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Re: Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Postby dave esmond » Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:36 pm

Suoiragerg wrote:
What could they have purposely done to save the consumer money?



After Katrina they could have said to the oil companies. "Look, we're in a period of national crisis. For the next 6 months we're gonna ask you to sell gas for cost plus 5%. We're not asking you to lose money, but we're asking you not to make record profits. We'll give you 25% of your taxes this year too."

How's that for a start?
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Postby Ben Manski » Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:43 pm

I'd say the increases are the oil corporations' faults . . . along with all the politicians who do their bidding . . .
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Postby Billy Shears » Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:51 pm

I've read several articles that say there's no way we could have avoided this without drastic lifestyle changes most of us are unwilling to make, but it's somewhere between five to fifteen years early because of what we've done to the oil sources and the marketplace.
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Postby AJ Love » Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:52 pm

They knew that the War in Iraq would increase the value of stock in Gas and Oil Corporations as well as defense contractors. The increase in Gas pricing just goes hand in hand with that...

"Freedom!"... "Smoke 'em outta their holes"...
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Re: Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Postby pulsewidth modulation » Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:16 pm

Suoiragerg wrote:What has the Bush folks done to purposely raise gas prices and profits for oil companies?

What could they have purposely done to save the consumer money?


It's not the government�s job to "protect" or "save" consumers. Its consumers job to demand better products from companies as well as stop calls for corporate welfare used to protect favored industries. Keep in mind companies compete for your share of a market, the government doesn�t have to, it just takes what it wants. Your dollar counts a lot more than your vote, spend it wisely and stop listening to socialists cry wolf. You'll get better long term results from wise expenditures than increasing a politician�s ability to spend and regulate any day of the week. Ever wonder what effect an over supply of roads has had on fuel prices? Keep in mind the building and maintaining of roads is one of this country's biggest public expenditures. If the supply of roads is artificially increased and traffic increases with the supply in relation to a plateauing supply of fuel, what else would increase to offset demand for the fuel?

Every time someone in the government puts out a press release about instability in the Middle East, increases terror alerts, or basically manipulates information about anything that could disrupt oil supplies anywhere on the planet; watch the futures markets and you'll see what happens... The markets react. To be fair, Houston loves the Bush administration a lot of MoFo�s are getting rich in that town.
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Postby Ned Flanders » Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:39 pm

Yes, everything is Bush's fault. Kindly disregard that fact that enviro-nuts have blocked the exploration for and extraction of domestic crude, have blocked the construction of new refineries, have required hundreds of regional fuel blends and have blocked the construction of new nuclear power plants.

If the gov't was really concerned about the cost of gas in the sort term they would reduce the federal fuel tax. Good luck on that one.
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Postby pulsewidth modulation » Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:43 pm

Billy Shears wrote:I've read several articles that say there's no way we could have avoided this without drastic lifestyle changes most of us are unwilling to make


A lot of this "It's the energy companies fault" is totally media driven. I bet if the media blamed consumption, which it never would because it drives our society, people would start to shut up and look in the mirror. I have a few questions from those who demand price fixing:

If fuel prices are to high; Why are Americas buying bigger houses, moving further away from their jobs, buying bigger vehicles and bigger televisions, demanding more factory style food, and consuming more media than ever before while financing their actions via borrowing?

It's time to let people who don't get it fall flat on their faces so they can tell the tale to their friends instead of deflecting all blame onto the oil companies. Until people understand they can�t have everything they want and expect someone to protect them from falling if something goes wrong, including unforeseen events like a hurricane, they are being shielded from reality. Why in hell should NO be rebuilt using public funds and price fixed fuel when everyone knows damn well another disaster like it could happen again? People who want to take a risk living in a dangerous area should face the possibilities of their choices. Why should society cushion others OBVIOUSLY high risk lifestyles? If your answer involves compassion, your more selfish than me. Should mercenaries receive public health benefits? Think about it...

Oh yea, environmentalists? How much have they been involved in blocking the expansion of nuclear power, coal mining, and domestic exploration of oil???
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Re: Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Postby boone » Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:36 pm

[quote="Suoiragerg"]What could they have purposely done to save the consumer money?quote]

1) Return to a national speed limit of 55 mph.

2) Significantly raise CAFE standards on new vehicles, impose a high federal tax on new gas guzzler vehicles, and place SUVs in passenger auto category.

3) A significant straight federal tax reduction for hybrid vehicles and alternative energy applications.

4) Never have allowed the tax reduction for the energy companies, which shifted the tax burden upon citizens/consumers.

5) Used the billions of dollars being spent in Iraq on developing alternative to oil fuels that can be produced in the USA.
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Postby Marvell » Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:29 pm

pulsewidth modulation wrote:Oh yea, environmentalists? How much have they been involved in blocking the expansion of nuclear power, coal mining, and domestic exploration of oil???


I guess you could look at it that way.

Or, you could say how much have they been involved in perserving what scant but precious viability is left in our biosphere.
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Re: Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Postby ShaneDog » Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:11 pm

dave esmond wrote:
Suoiragerg wrote:
What could they have purposely done to save the consumer money?



After Katrina they could have said to the oil companies. "Look, we're in a period of national crisis. For the next 6 months we're gonna ask you to sell gas for cost plus 5%. We're not asking you to lose money, but we're asking you not to make record profits. We'll give you 25% of your taxes this year too."

How's that for a start?
QFT
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Re: Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Postby snoqueen » Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:28 pm

boone wrote:
Suoiragerg wrote:What could they have purposely done to save the consumer money?


1) ...
2) ...
3) ...
4) ...
5) ...


6) Better support for rail freight shipping

7) Support for local and regional public transit in many forms

8) Use the money we're spending on the space program for alternative energy research and development

9) Encourage a new national dialogue on nuclear energy, with no bias as to the direction that dialogue will take

10) Encourage honest national dialogue and public education about global warming and peak oil production
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Postby kurt_w » Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:26 am

Ned Flanders wrote:Yes, everything is Bush's fault.


No, only some things, as we will see below.

Kindly disregard that fact that [environmentalists] have blocked the exploration for and extraction of domestic crude,


"Reduced slightly", not "blocked". And that has nothing whatsoever to do with the price of gas.

US oil production has been declining for thirty-six years, not because of environmentalists, but because there just isn't enough oil here.

In order to produce oil, you first need to discover it. As it turns out, in any given region (e.g., the US) oil discovery follows a roughly bell-shaped curve. There will be a few discoveries at first, then more and larger fields will be found. As time goes by, only increasingly small fields are left undiscovered, and the curve tapers off.

Oil discovery in the lower 48 states peaked in the 1930s. You could throw open every national park, every wilderness area, and every piece of privately owned land in the US to exploration, and it still wouldn't change this picture much.

Image

Oil production follows a similar bell-shaped curve, which lags the discovery curve by several decades. The easiest and cheapest oil is extracted first; what's left for later is more expensive and more difficult to extract.

US oil production peaked ca. 1970, and its decline since then is an inevitable result of the fact that most US oil has already been extracted and what's left is increasingly hard to get.

Image

The only effective responses are to reduce our demand for oil, to find oil elsewhere, or to develop "unconventional" oil supplies.

In the 1970s we moved into Alaska, and in the 1980s we moved offshore. The total technically extractable quantity of oil in Alaska's ANWR region is roughly 7.7 billion barrels. That's enough to provide slightly more than one year of US oil consumption. All other untouched oil fields are smaller.

There are several "unconventional" oil sources that the US has access to. One is oil shale in the western US; the other is Albertan oil sands, which our Canadian neighbors have to share with us thanks to the wonders of NAFTA. Oil shale is basically too expensive to produce currently, meaning that Canadian oil sands will be (are being) exploited first. But the costs (monetary and environmental) and the difficulty of production means that oil sand is a long-term proposition, not something that is going to provide a significant part of US oil supply in the next five years.

Back to Ned:

[environmentalists] have blocked the construction of new refineries


A red herring. Given that oil supply is going to be dropping over the next couple of decades, building more refineries doesn't make economic sense, and few companies are seriously interested in it.

have required hundreds of regional fuel blends


Another misleading statement. Some of the demand for "boutique" fuels is in response to legitimate concerns about air quality and human health. Ignoring those concerns artificially pushes the actual costs of gasoline off of the transportation industry and onto the health-care industry. From a purely economic perspective, that's inefficient and undesirable.

Secondly, pressure for boutique fuels doesn't come just from environmentalists. Agribusiness is one of the biggest drivers of mandates for specific fuel blends (read: ethanol). For example, see this press release from Ned's own Republican senator, Norm Coleman:
    COLEMAN VOWS TO PROTECT MINNESOTA ETHANOL AND BIODISEL FUEL BLENDS

    April 28th, 2006 - St. Paul, MN - Concerned that steps to eliminate certain boutique fuel blends in an effort to rein in gas prices may unintentionally threaten Minnesota�s nation-leading 10 and soon-to-be 20 percent ethanol requirement for gasoline and its 2 percent biodiesel requirement for diesel fuel, Senator Norm Coleman today announced he will work to ensure renewable fuel blend requirements are not classified as boutique fuels as the U.S. Senate considers legislation to restrict the number of boutique fuel blends. [...]
That's not some lefty environmental group; that's Minnesota's junior senator pandering to his state's agribusiness industry.

Thirdly, the impact of fuel-blend requirements is lessened by the fact that the Federal government has the power to waive those requirements when they appear to be causing supply problems. The Bush administration waived these requirements thirty times in 2005.

and have blocked the construction of new nuclear power plants.


Yet another only marginally relevant issue. How many cars run on nuclear power?

Nuclear power would replace other forms of electrical generation, primarily natural gas and coal. Less than 5% of the US electrical supply is produced from oil. We could build a hundred new nuclear plants in the US tomorrow and have zero impact on the price of gas. Sorry, Ned.

If the gov't was really concerned about the cost of gas in the sort term they would reduce the federal fuel tax. Good luck on that one.


That would be just about the dumbest thing we could do. It would lead to a big increase in oil company profits; a big increase in the federal and state budget deficits; a small temporary decrease in the price of gas; and a corresponding increase in the demand for gas.

We need to be reducing US demand for oil, not increasing it. All Ned's suggestion would do would be to hasten the day when prices rise even higher.

A year or so ago I pointed out that the number of miles driven on Wisconsin's roads each year is enough to drive from the Earth to Pluto and back 9-10 times. Most of those miles are driven in vehicles that get no better mileage than was available 20 years ago. Our children will curse our names for wasting this oil.
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Re: Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Postby kurt_w » Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:51 am

Getting back to the original question of this thread:

Suoiragerg wrote:The other day at the last gas station that was still at $3.05, the guy in front of me was talking about how higher gas prices were the fault of Bush and [Cheney]. [...]

What could they have purposely done to save the consumer money?


If all you care about is reducing the cost of gas for the consumer, here's what you'd have wanted Bush to do over the past 5 years. I'm not saying these would have been good things to do -- in fact, most of them would be seriously stupid -- just that they would have resulted in cheaper gas:

(1) Instead of invading Iraq, let Hussein stay in power. Get rid of all sanctions on Iraq and let the country sell off its oil to the highest bidder. With no insurgency blowing up pipelines, and western & Chinese oil companies pouring investment into Iraq, the country would be exporting much more than it is today.

(2) Do a 180-degree reversal of US Mideast policy, from pro-Israel to pro-Arab. Also drop the 26-year-old US embargoes on Iran. Focus US foreign policy on stabilizing and befriending oil-rich countries like Iran and Sudan, regardless of their human rights issues or their past history of anti-Americanism. By reducing the perceived likelihood of war in the Mideast, you'd do away with the "fear premium" that is artificially inflating prices on the world oil market.

(3) Stop making additions to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and in fact start opening it up whenever gas prices rise near $2/gallon. Kerry advocated opening the SPR in 2004; Bush (to his credit) refused. Following Katrina, Bush did permit withdrawals from the SPR, and that may be repeated as a result of the recent BP pipeline closures. In any case, taking oil out of the SPR at certain points over the past 5 years would have temporarily reduced gas prices slightly, in exchance for a loss of long-term security.

(4) Cut federal (and state, though that's outside Bush's bailiwick) on gasoline. The major impacts would be to balloon the federal and state budget deficits, and to create windfall profits for oil companies, but it would probably lead to a slight short-term reduction in gas prices.

(5) Reduce demand for gas (and oil). Boone and snoqueen list a number of suggestions for how to do this. Unlike items 1-4, most of these would actually be useful over the long term, rather that just the short term.

Paradoxically, I would add raising taxes on gasoline (or much better yet, on crude oil imports), starting the day Bush took office in 2001. Sure, there's no way that it would have happened. But it would have essentially traded slightly higher gas prices in the past few years, for slightly lower prices in 2005 and onwards. We need to start reducing US oil consumption; we should have started doing so years ago; and the longer we delay, the more painful the transition is going to be (and the more our kids are going to suffer for our profligacy).
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Postby Mister_A_In_Madison » Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:13 am

pulsewidth modulation wrote:Oh yea, environmentalists? How much have they been involved in blocking the ... domestic exploration of oil???


Oh, yes. There is a good long-term supply of energy.

Seeing how BP has been doing with their infrastructure reinvestment, I shudder to think about what their research arm has has done with their share of the record profits.
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