Gas Price Impact Map: Rural US Getting Slammed By $4 Gas

Suburban commuters may not enjoy paying an average of $4 a gallon for gas, but the rural US, where income levels are low and dependence on large vehicles is high, is getting hit the hardest says the New York Times.

The paper put together a gas impact heat map that shows the percentage of income that’s being spent on gasoline. Some regions with “higher” gas prices still only spend 2% of their median income on gas, while the percentage is as high as 16% in Wilcox County, Alabama.

The local price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was roughly $3.85 last week, slightly below the national average, but the median family income in Holmes County is about $18,500.

Nationwide, regular unleaded gasoline reached an average of $4.005 on Sunday, according to the American Automobile Association. That is the highest price ever and about a dollar higher than at the start of the year.

While looking to cut workers at his fish processing plant in nearby Isola, Miss., Dick Stevens, president of Consolidated Catfish Producers, said that 10 workers walked into his office last week and volunteered to take a buyout rather than continue commuting from Charleston, Miss., 65 miles away. “The gas ate them alive,” he said.

Interactive Gas Impact Heat Map [NYT]
Rural U.S. Takes Worst Hit as Gas Tops $4 Average [NYT]

(Photo: on2wheelz )

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  1. GREAT metric. Absolute prices don’t often matter that much in the big picture. It’s all relative to your income.

    Funny how SF and Chicago areas always make the news for the highest prices, too.

  2. Wormfather says:

    I care, I really do. Its just that my heart is to busy going out to the suburban mom who’s got to lug her one 3 year old kid around in a H2 Hummer because, ya know, it’s safer.

    /sarcasm

    Off-note, I live in SE CT and yesterday in Greenwich, I saw a lady in a H2 with a bumper sticker that said STOP GLOBAL WARMING. If I had a gun, I would have shot her as to oblige.

  3. Tell these poor folks they can thank the policies of the President they overwhelmingly supported for their suffering.

    Hopefully, in November they don’t have enough gas to drive to the polls.

  4. @Wormfather: Trust me, there aren’t that many of those people in Wilcox County, Alabama.

  5. johnva says:

    @The Rude Bellman: Yep. I just don’t understand people who enthusiastically vote for Republican policies and then complain about the results of Republican policies.

  6. zigziggityzoo says:

    it’s been $4.25 for gas here in Ann Arbor, MI for a good while now. Paying over $5/gal for diesel in some spots, too.

  7. xanax25mg says:

    @The Rude Bellman: @The Rude Bellman: I agree, while this may fall under the “blame the victim” category– these are the same folks that overwhelmingly voted in 2 administrations that wholly supported the interests of the oil industry. And what sickens me is despite the suffering they are experiencing they will still vote for McCain because they don’t trust a black man with a terrorist-sounding name and wont wear a stupid pin because that’s the only sign that someone is a patriot.

  8. xthexlanternx says:

    I live in rural Ohio and I spend upwards of 20% of my income on gas. Problem is, I make so much money that I can’t afford to take the pay cut of getting a job closer to home. Factor in the idea that my student loan payments are based on a percentage of my income, and I’ve been hurting pretty bad. I even bought a used car that doubled my gas mileage a few months ago and it’s still 20%…. If I was still driving the SUV my parents gave me when I left home, it would be more like 35-40% of my income.

  9. I think this is an excellent way of relating gas prices to a scale of affordability.

  10. Elvisisdead says:

    Toolmonger had a quip about it. [toolmonger.com]

    The price of gas is totally hosing the tradesmen. The only thing that they can do is either suck it up or raise their prices. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. all have to drive trucks or vans to haul their stuff around in. Now do they need the biggest 3500 4WD they can afford? No, but even the most economical trucks still get crappy gas mileage, and if they want to work, they need to be able to drive to wherever the job site is.

  11. Wormfather says:

    @The Rude Bellman: Why does everyone always think that these things are directly tied to the president, as if he’s got a magic wand that can turn things upside down.

    Again, this is without a doubt, directly tied to the housing bubble. The bubble burst and Bernanke cut rates so fast head spun, this in turn reduced the value of the US Dollar, unfortunatly, oil is bought and traded in dollars, the value of oil didnt budge, so it cost more dollars. I know it sucks saying this, but when OPEC said that the current prices had nothing to do with supply and demand and they wouldnt be boosting production. Theye wer right.

    Also, the president did try to do things to stop this from happening.

    Drill in Alaska: Oh no-berries, the furry little animals will be sad.

    Build more oil refineries: Like oh my god, but they like stink and are bad for the environment, like as if.

    Invest more into nuclear energy: Shit on a stick, not in my back yard.

    And now here we are, completly dependant on a recourse we can no longer afford.

    It’s kind of like the personal retirment accounts that the W admin tried to roll out. In 40 years, people are going to be like why didnt ythey fix this social security problem decades ago and no one will remember how congress united to shoot this down (pst, there’s a crap load of taxes in SS). But I digress. Bernanke and Greenspan are ore to blame than the president.

  12. Much of the rural South–especially black majority areas–votes straight Dem, believe it or not (for example, South Alabama). Don’t make blanket political statements about the entire area–sure, most of the population-dense areas are solid Republican strongholds.

    If we based political beliefs on maps of counties, we’d think the country was 90% Republican. The head count is the basis, not the land area.

  13. spoco says:

    Holmes County, Mississippi and Wilcox County, Alabama were probably both overwhelmingly Kerry supporters in ’04.

    A look at the map says yes. [www.usatoday.com]

    I though this Democrat controlled congress that was put in power in 2006 was supposed to “ease the pain of $2.00 per gallon gas.” Almost 2 years later we are staring at $5/gallon by the end of the year.

    Remember your high school civics class? It really doesn’t matter who the president is. The legislative and judicial branches of government is where the action is. If the Democrats wanted to lower gas prices, they have had 18 months to do it in congress.

  14. Wormfather says:

    @The Rude Bellman: oh and sweet stereotypeing. Subtle but oh so BAM!

  15. zigziggityzoo says:

    @Elvisisdead: tell me about it. And to top it off, the most economical ones are usually diesel powered. Diesel is $4.85-5.00 right now.

  16. zigziggityzoo says:

    I wish we’d just switch to nuclear power all around. Electric vehicles and a nuclear/wind/solar grid. All is well.

  17. Elvisisdead says:

    @xanax25mg: @johnva: You guys are putting a whole lot of prediction and generalizing out there. The reason that most people vote the way that they do is because of prioritization. Very few people agree with one party 100%. It’s whether or not the thing you disagree with most is enough to get you to switch sides. My wife and I have the same beliefs, but different priorities. The prioritization is what makes us vote for different parties.

    It’s an ignorant position on either side to believe in or act upon a stereotype. Especially when the belief in a stereotype manifests itself as false pity for the stereotyped and righteousness for the stereotyper. People decide for themselves and will suffer the benefits and consequences of their actions – simple as that.

  18. dragonfire81 says:

    @Wormfather: Gas prices were at reasonable levels, George W. Bush decides to Invade Iraq, completely unsettling the mideast and as a result oil prices have increased SIXFOLD since the start of the War.

    Don’t try and tell me Bush’s hands are clean when it comes to this.

    I doubt things will change with McCain much when he’s elected…and that kind of worries me.

  19. xanax25mg says:

    @Wormfather:You’re right, the political instability in the mideast caused by the illegitimate war we started has ZERO to do with oil prices. The complete failure of the administration to support anything resembling mass public transit also has ZERO to do with oil prices. Tax policies supported by the administration that encourages companies to outsource to India which has expanded their middle class thus increasing demand for oil also has ZERO to do with oil prices. You’re absolutely right that the 6 years Republicans controlled all branches of the government had no effect on oil while the 18 months Democrats had a small majority in the House and tie in the Senate are responsible for all the evil in the world

  20. Bladefist says:

    @The Rude Bellman: @johnva:

    In every single blog post about oil on this site, someone in the comments explains truly why the price of oil is so high. And I know you have read them. I know it in my heart. Yet, each and everyday, you bring the same nonsense back to the comments. You’re informed. The answers are in front of you, why do you hate the truth? Why cant you understand the value of the dollar, being worth less, means foreign commodities raise in price? God. Seriously? Are you that thick headed? In addition to the dollar, you have a market, therefore speculators, who directly decide the price of oil. Then you have a ton of oil, in Alaska, that one party, I won’t say who, won’t let us drill. Bush, our loving president, would like to get off foreign oil. You won’t let him. But you will blame him regardless. This is NOT a Presidential issue. This is a Market issue, and a Congress issue. Can you PLEASE, PLEASEEEEEEE not be so, friggin, retarded. PLEASE. I can’t stand the ignorance. It’s making me boil.

  21. Bladefist says:

    @dragonfire81: Yes, Another dumbass. The top 2 countries we buy oil from are Canada and Mexico. Are we at war with them? Idiot. Research.

  22. mac-phisto says:

    @Wormfather: you guys over $5 down in stamford yet? it’s up around $4.50 here in litchfield.

    i’m considering buying one of these – http://www.aptera.com – unfortunately, only available in ca for now.
    ===
    i can’t agree with most of what you say – my leanings are a little different with…well, just about everything you say. people like to point to supply & demand as the reason for high prices, but it’s largely due to commodity trading. check out this interesting story on how refineries are screwed –> [www.nytimes.com]

    & while building more refineries or drilling for more oil may reduce the impact of speculators, it’s not likely to help for the next 4-5 years.

  23. spoco says:

    You think its bad now, wait until corporate and personal income taxes go up under Obama. They’ll need all of those handouts because unemployment will be 15%.

  24. Parting says:

    Gas gas been over 4$ a gallon in Canada’s cities for quite a while. People adapted. Yes, it sucks. However, it’s not the end of the world.

    People here were buying Yaris/Aveo brands for a while too. Economical cars matter for an ordinary person.

  25. Bladefist says:

    I’m 99.9% sure Obama cant do a damn thing about oil prices, just like Bush cant. But if he could, it wouldn’t matter. With taxes through the roof, we’ll still be in the same place we are now.

  26. Bladefist says:

    @spoco: Thank you. You beat me. But yes. Right on.

  27. spoco says:

    I was taught in high school that the price of oil is tied to the strength of the dollar, and that when the dollar is weak, the price of oil spikes.

    Let’s see – the worst credit crisis this country has ever seen (simply because Americans want more than they can afford) has caused the dollar to drop to a ridiculous level. As the dollar strengthens, the price of oil will drop.

  28. LiC says:

    I just had to drive out to…well Kansas is such a great state I guess every other rural town west of Topeka is in the middle of nowwhere…well it was a 3 hour drive through Kansas, and we saw gas prices from $4.06 to $3.66.

    $3.66 in Greensburg, Kansas.

  29. Bladefist says:

    @spoco: You are 100% correct. You can directly blame the price of Oil with the mortgage problem, with people, being at fault. People and their banks caused all of this. To me this is really simple.

  30. christoj879 says:

    Ha. And I thought paying $4.67/gal for diesel last night was a steal.

    How about these hillwilliams make use of all that farmland and make their *own* ethanol (as terrible of a fuel choice as it is)? :) Just tell them they’re making ‘shine, but put it in the car when they’re done.

  31. xanax25mg says:

    Some of the Bush-lovers here point to the pinko liberal democrats being at fault for not capitulating to Bush’s plans to free us from foreign dependence on oil by allowing drilling in Anwar or building more refineries or even worse the billions we give away on the ethanol boondoggle. Nowhere does Bush or his blind followers propose a national rail system like in Europe or Japan or increased local funding for light rail systems. All of your answers to decrease oil dependence is to increase more oil production here. How about decreasing oil use by increaseing alternative transportation? How about supporting walkable communities?

  32. Bladefist says:

    @xanax25mg: Fantastic idea. During the oil crisis, credit crisis, and a time of war, lets start a light rail! You forget how small Japan and Europe countries are, compared to us?

    Light Rail is 50 million dollars a mile. I spend that on lunch.

  33. spoco says:

    @Bladefist:

    Just like the book says – if democrats had any brains, they’d be republicans.

    If the Republicans did have a magic gas price wand, gas would be 50 cents a gallon right now and the whole world would know about the magic gas price wand leading up to the election.

  34. Poisonthescene says:

    @dragonfire81: I don’t know about where you’re at, but here in Washington 100% of are oil is drilled out of Montana. Also, Canada is the second largest oil-exporting country in the world. Oil companies are keeping prices high because people buy that the “war” is jacking up prices.

  35. @The Rude Bellman: THIS. No sympathy for those who caused this situation through their stupidity. Every time I hear about rising gas prices, I want to go outside and hug my subcompact car and thank God for giving me the good sense not to go out and buy one a big fat SUV for no better reason than that I could make the monthly payments.

    @spoco: Actually, you and your HS civics class have it wrong. The executive branch holds all the cards. We cannot expect Congress to do a damn thing because they have no enforcement capabilities that are not controlled by the executive branch. You can go to AG Mukasey all you want and say “arrest this so-and-so and that so-and-so,” and he’ll just look at you like you farted or something. So Bush does as he damn well pleases, the Congress complains about it, holds hearings, issues subpoenas (which are ignored because of “executive privilege”), and everything else that is within their capabilities, but to no avail.

    My suggestion is to make sure the President’s party doesn’t control the White House next year, so we might have an Attorney General who takes his job seriously for a change. These people might think they can blow off Congress, but wait until the FBI pays them a visit.

  36. AD8BC says:

    I have a 27 gallon tank to fill. It hurts, a little, then I get over it. When I got my raise at the beginning of the year, I calculated that it would cover my entire fuel costs for the year.

    For about half of the year I travel, on my employer. Filling up rental cars is fun when you are going to get reimbursed for it!

  37. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    $4.80 where I live.

  38. Poisonthescene says:

    @Poisonthescene: “are oil?” wtf is wrong with me?

  39. spoco says:

    @Bladefist:

    and don’t forget that with the “I want it now” mentality of Americans, they would just rush to ride a rail system across the country.

    Call me old fashioned, but I think the way to do it is by modifying what we already have. If a bunch of college kids from Mississippi can do it, surely the fine engineers at our great auto companies can come up with a solution that will actually work.

    [www.clarionledger.com]

  40. xanax25mg says:

    @Bladefist: You mean the illegitimate war started by your president? Despite that, the credit crisis and subprime meltdown we still managed to pass a several hundred billion dollar transportation bill. Some of that highway money and 250 million dollar Republican Bridge to Nowhere money can be instead used to fund light rail projects. Oh, and maybe the 3 trillion dollars we spent in Iraq could also fund some of that $50 million dollars a mile. Nah, we’re much better off building the bridges we blew up in Baghdad and creating electrical grids we blew up in Baghdad and contracting out to paramilitary organizations to protect refineries in Baghdad, oh yeah, the same refineries your president said would pay for the war and reconstruction that wasn’t going to cost us a dime…..

  41. It is bad down here. Farmers are getting screwed (And we’re having a rotten weather year to boot — I’d start hoarding corn and soy sauce, peeps: they should be 80% planted; nobody’s more than 40%, and some people had to start over becuase the rains turned the ground into cement. And this is on top of the fact that becuase of how agricultural contracts work, half the farmers won’t be able to afford seed next year because of already rocketing corn prices. We really didn’t need a bad weather year.). People with longer commutes are getting screwed, and that’s not unusual in more rural areas where one partner might work on the farm while the other drives into the city to work, or they might work in two different cities.

    And many of our jobs are in industry, so those companies are getting squeezed too, especially by ridiculously high shipping costs. Our two bright spots are Caterpillar, because the weak dollars is letting it go gangbusters in overseas markets, and that our housing market didn’t overheat so can’t collapse. (Oh, and thank God we’re on a river — most of our steel shipping is done by barge, which is much, much cheaper than truck right now.) Otherwise I think we’d all be begging on the street by now.

  42. myasir says:

    @Bladefist:

    Oil is a publicly traded commodity. It doesn’t matter where it’s produced, it’s sold for the same price everywhere. That’s why there’s no separate price for Canadian oil or Mexican oil or Venezuelan oil. When one oil producer sneezes, it impacts the cost of oil as a whole. So even though we get our oil from our own hemisphere, what happens in the other hemisphere will still impact the prices. Before calling someone else an idiot, do your own research.

  43. Bladefist says:

    @myasir: You’re statement is both obvious, and does not invalidate my argument.

  44. Raziya says:

    Sucks here in Vermont – we had to move closer to our job, because paying lots of money for gas was retarded and there are really no places to work other than Lebanon, which is a big border town right in NH that’s nearby.

  45. Pro-Pain says:

    @Steaming Pile: Amen brother.

  46. battra92 says:

    @Bladefist: I’d support a privately owned light rail. ;) Hell, America and the UK built the best railways in the world without the government.

    @Wormfather: Excellent, excellent post. Funny thing is, here in MA people are calling for more nuclear on deaf ears. We had Yankee Atomic all those years ago and no one has any bad memories about it.

    We need a stronger dollar but that will take a lot of market correction but in my view it will happen if Bernake doesn’t screw things up and cut interest again.

    @spoco: Call me old fashioned, but I think the way to do it is by modifying what we already have. If a bunch of college kids from Mississippi can do it, surely the fine engineers at our great auto companies can come up with a solution that will actually work.

    Damn right! We’re Americans and we attract the best and the brightest of the world so there’s no reason we can’t fix this with technology and thought. I also don’t doubt that such a vehicle would sell and make a profit (depending on how much it costs to build.) Plus even greenies could run the damn thing off biofuel so everyone wins!

  47. AD8BC says:

    I love how people recommend that you move closer to your job. If I moved closer to my job, my housing costs and property taxes would go up and negate any possible savings on gas prices.

    My poor wife, she drives about 800 miles a week for her job — but she can’t move closer to her job because her job is all over the DFW Metroplex — she does home health care, God bless her. and God bless her employer for reimbursing her mileage.

    (That’s why I drive the F-150 and she drives the Focus)

  48. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: You don’t think Republican policies had anything to do with the declining value of the dollar? I do. I also think the housing bubble had a lot to do with Republican policies, as well (specifically, lack of effective regulation and spotty enforcement of existing regulations in financial markets and the credit rating and mortgage industries).

    It has been Republican policy since at least Reagan to encourage high gasoline usage rather than discourage. They attacked Jimmy Carter for even suggesting we should cut back on the size of our cars and conserve energy in other ways. High demand = high prices, especially when you’re also competing with a rising China and India for supplies. And drilling ANWR is not the answer – it’s not going to address the underlying problem of excessive gasoline usage. At best, it might marginally reduce gas prices in 10 years or so, for a couple of decades. In other words, it kicks the can down the road and in the meantime allows us to become even more dependent on oil. And it destroys a natural treasure that is more important than people saving 20 cents a gallon or whatever while fueling their H2s.

  49. johnva says:

    Oh, and for the record I’m not for policies that simply reduce gas prices in the short term. I’m for policies that keep the price permanently high, so that we will move away from using so much of it. Reducing gas prices will just undercut the diversification away from gas guzzlers and such that we’re currently seeing. So tax policy should be used to keep the gas price high.

  50. crabbyman6 says:

    @myasir: Beat me to it. Apparently in Bladefist land there is no such thing as a global market when it suits a point he’d like to make. I’m not going to say that the weak dollar isn’t at all responsible for high oil prices, but it surely isn’t the sole reason. We’re in the Middle East wreaking havoc on one of our top oil sources and in the region in general and you don’t expect oil prices to go up at all from that? As for being self sufficient we don’t have the resources to do it completely.

    @Wormfather: At least one study has shown that even if we tapped ANWR we’d still need to import 2/3s of our oil [www.msnbc.msn.com] Build more refineries? You do realize that oil refineries don’t actually PRODUCE oil, they just refine it. I’m all for nuclear, though most non-nuc power plants burn coal so this would be more for the non-existant to Republicans global warming.

    How about we stop wasting billions of dollars on a “war” and start researching alternate fuels to wean us off oil? Even a fraction of that money put to research might do some good. Automakers have no incentive to do it themselves since people will buy cars no matter the price of gas, they’ll just buy different models and I’d be astonished if car makers didn’t have some kind of ties to oil companies since the two depend on each other so much.

  51. dj-anakin says:

    I just don’t look at the total.

  52. Bladefist says:

    @battra92: Sure! Privatizing it would be fantastic. They trying to do light rail here in KC. Which is so retarded. KC is such a huge, spread out city. And at 50million dollars a mile. The project is in the billions. It doesn’t even go to our airport, and a very small percent of the population even will ride it. It’s another social program. Privatizing it here in KC, wouldnt work. Too small. Across the nation? Hell ya. Especially with the airline industry how it is? Sure.

  53. Bladefist says:

    @battra92: Wait, don’t we have Amtrak?

  54. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: I guess you could regulate idiots from buying a house they cant afford. But do you really want your government telling you what house you can and cant afford? I bought a house this year, way over the advised percent of my income. I knew that. I’m sacrificing, and I got the house. If the Government would have told me, no, thats out of my means, would that be a free America?

  55. jdmba says:

    Percentages are definitely a better way to go – I live in California and have never seen prices nearly as low as the news always claims ‘the average gallon of gas’ costs.

    Although I hate what the prices are doing to air, food and merchandise prices, I am somewhat intrigued by the possibility of less traffic around L.A. I heard a statistic that if gas hits $4.50 people will start taking the bus. I am very interested in seeing if that does actually happen.

  56. AD8BC says:

    @johnva: Wow. Solving problems with taxation. What a (poor) idea. We give them enough money.

  57. battra92 says:

    @johnva: ANWR is not a national treasure.

    I don’t subscribe to the Jimmy Carter/Barry Obama policy of put on a sweater and bike to work. It’s not practical when you live in Massachusetts when you get 10 inches of snow in winter and have to run the AC in the summer when it reaches the mid 90s. I also work over a half hour away so biking, busses etc. are not an option.

    Also, you forget that part of the reason Reagan worked with the Saudis etc. to increase oil production and have prices super low was to cripple the USSR who only had oil and natural gas as forms of incomes (as the Chinese had ripped off the AK47) which effectively bankrupted the Soviets and forced them to build a huge gas pipeline for Western Europe to have some income.

    We can debate long term, which I’m willing to say in the long run we should look for a practical alternative but for now, I think we should get as much oil as possible for the transitional period.

  58. Farquar says:

    yeah, you people all suck. All of you. Even the ones I agree with.

    Here’s the substance of the argument:

    Dem: My dick is bigger.
    Rep: My dick is bigger, and I can piss farther.
    Dem: Nuh-uh.
    Rep: Uh-huh.
    Rinse, repeat

    Anyway, back on topic.. I went down and visited some family in rural Tennessee recently and I don’t really understand how the area functions. Everyone lives 20 miles from everything. My family lives 14 miles from the nearest store of any kind and 24 from the nearest grocery store. Everyone drives a truck because they all farm. Thats 4 gallons of gas just to buy milk. It is amazing to me that the area isn’t more economically depressed than it is.

  59. myasir says:

    @Bladefist:

    How so? You say that we get most of our oil from Canada and Mexico. Fine, great, god bless them. Doesn’t matter since oil, all of it no matter where it’s from, is priced together. If Iran decides they aren’t going to pump any more oil, that doesn’t make us immune from the inevitable increase in oil prices since our oil is coming from more local sources. While the people who say that we must get off our dependence on Mideast oil are stupid since we’ve basically done that, it’s boneheaded to think that just because we are at war with one producer of oil but not our largest providers, it doesn’t impact global oil prices.

  60. battra92 says:

    @Bladefist: Wait, don’t we have Amtrak?

    The US railways were great back in the day. America was built on the backs of railway men. Heck, my town was more or less what it was because of the railways.

    Of course, as Ronald Reagan once said, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

    Amtrak is a perfect example or breaking a free market success and preventing them from competing.

  61. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: That’s not the issue I was talking about (though I do feel that perhaps regulations should require larger down payments, etc). I’m talking about regulations against (for example) mortgage brokers outright lying on forms to make loans that should not have been underwritten go through. And companies were fraudulently (in my opinion) giving high credit ratings to securities based partly on subprime mortgages. That sort of thing should have been investigated and stopped by the government. If it had been, the supply of investor money to the subprime market would not have been so unquenchable.

    As for the weak dollar, that is directly tied to government policies. Like for example the massive deficit spending that is being used to fund our pointless war in Iraq and our vastly overfunded military. This is all connected, and the conclusion should be that bad government makes a difference. If you’re going to wage a war, be upfront about the costs (the Bush Administration intentionally lied about how much money the war would cost). And demand that the people pay for it via taxes. You’re paying for it now, through inflation.

  62. Bladefist says:

    @myasir: You are right. The conflicts in the East can cause gas to go up. But, there have been conflicts in the East for how long? And gas went up and down a small amount. We’re going up over 4 dollars now. So while our Iraq war definitely does not help, to blame it on that, and blame it on bush, is irresponsible. Lets look at why gas is up, WAY up. What caused $4?

    In order, biggest to small:

    1) Speculators
    2) Value of dollar
    3) Accidents, maint., etc on refineries



    23) East conflicts.

    Okay maybe that is over-dramatized, but you get my drift. We have had conflict there forever, and had .70 a gallon gas.

  63. xanax25mg says:

    @Bladefist:

    The cost of the light rail is 37 million a mile not 50 million a mile
    [www.lightrailnow.org]

    Also $635 million of that will be funded by a 20 year 3/8th percent portion of a state sales tax the rest coming from federal transportation funding, which is essentially returning tax dollars back to the state.

  64. I’ve heard the market issue CRAP forever as an excuse to hold blameless this Administration for it’s disastrous policies.

    1. Had GWB not had a hard-on for Saddam Hussein we would have not invaded Iraq. The invasion was never based on facts but pre-conceived ideals. While we were getting no oil from Iraq the MARKET was. When those countries that were getting oil from Iraq lost that constant flow of oil they had to find more, limited sources, sources we were using.

    2. The Bush economic policies are directly related to the weak dollar. With our debt (created by unneeded tax cuts and increased spending) the value of our currency and bonds will continue to decline.

    3. Why do we still not know who attended the secret energy meetings at the White House that precipitated the biggest run up in energy prices in all sectors in US history?

    4. How has Bush done in raising CAFE standards? Oh, that’s a market issue, right?

    5. Remember the electricity crisis when we had this big shortage of electricity? You know, the market forces that were being gamed by Enron? Same thing here. The “market” is being gamed because oil is not in short supply right now. Have you seen any gas station out of fuel lately? Have you seen ’70s style lines at the gas pump?

    Speculators are making money as the American people suffer.

    Anyone who thinks the policies of the White House have no bearing on every day issues that affect people needs a reality check.

  65. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: The value of the dollar is down due to Ben Burnake in the Federal Reserve, acting like a liberal, and trying to bail these idiots out. Anything the government is doing (via democrat or republican) to bail people out is wrong. They are crashing the prime rate to bail them out, while the rest of us suffer. It’s wrong.

  66. xanax25mg says:

    @battra92: Why is a bus not a practical option? Why is a 30-60 minute bus/train/light rail commute such a hassle? Our dependence on oil will never abate as long as americans have this notion that their life should be as convenient as possible. In WW2 our parents and grandparents rationed wheat and oil and rubber; drove with wood wheels (!) in order to sacrifice for the war effort. Today no one makes a sacrifice for anything. We have an oil crisis but we won’t sacrfice an extra half hour on a bus, instead we prefer building more pollution-ravaged refineries and drill in pristine wilderness areas.

  67. Bladefist says:

    @xanax25mg: Interesting. The Mayor of KC did an interview on the radio and said it was 50. Dunno what to believe. Anywho, if you live in KC, you’ll see by the map its worthless and at best, it’ll be good for bar hoping. Ah cool. I just found a use for it.

  68. SharkD says:

    @Wormfather:

    You’re flat-out misinformed, but thanks for the GOP talking points.

    The price of crude is what is driving the high price of gas. Crude has steadily increased due to market speculation of long-term instability in the primary crude-producing regions of the world (Mid-East, Venezuela, West Africa) and lack of oversight into electronic commodities exchanges has allowed speculators to make ever-increasing killings on oil futures, while simultaneously inflating the market. As a result, energy index funds are very popular, which has driven the price even higher.

    The cost of refining is very small — about 15 cents on the gallon (in fact, refiners have cut their profits by ~50 cents in the last year). Taxes account for another 30-55 cents and retail accounts for another 8-12 cents per gallon.

    Also, the president did try to do things to stop this from happening.

    Drill in Alaska: Oh no-berries, the furry little animals will be sad.

    At most, drilling in ANWR, will produce an additional 2-3 million barrels per day (mbpd), a drop in the proverbial bucket, when the global production is 80-90mbpd. Besides, that’s a best-case scenario, if the oil deposit is as big as estimated and production is not rate limited (which it would be). Regardless, the estimated impact of ANWR oil on global prices has been estimated at less than 3%, by the oil industry.

    Build more oil refineries: Like oh my god, but they like stink and are bad for the environment, like as if.

    U.S. daily refinery production has not exceeded 90% of capacity since 2003. The fact of the matter is that a number of refineries have been shuttered in order to cut costs, not due to environmental activism. If the U.S. would adopt a 50 state gas/diesel standard, it would do a lot to free up production capacity (which isn’t where the problem is, anyway).

    Invest more into nuclear energy: Shit on a stick, not in my back yard.

    There has been a spike in nuclear permits issued. The problem is that, for the most part, they are to replace existing plants and they take approximately 10-20 years to build. Plus, there’s that whole issue of spent fuel storage (for example, in Wake County, about 20 miles from my home, Progress Energy is storing spent fuel from three plants on-site at their Shearon Harris plant, in outdoor sheds — they’ve run out of storage pools, and have nowhere else to put it — and now, they’ve been granted the permit to build and operate a second, larger reactor on-site).

  69. Farquar says:

    @xanax25mg:

    Are you saying its good or bad that a whopping 17 miles of the light rale will be funded by a 20 year sales tax. That isn’t clear from your post.

  70. xanax25mg says:

    @Bladefist: Using your logic then we shouldn’t have bailed out Chrysler in the early 80’s when it was on the brink of bankruptcy? Survival of the fittest? And we shouldn’t have bailed out airlines after 9/11 (well that one I might give you)? And we shouldn’t have bailed out the Savings and Loans in the late 80’s? I forget, who again was responsible for the S&L…..oh that’s right, a BUSH!

  71. johnva says:

    @battra92:

    I disagree about ANWR. I think we should hold onto as much land that hasn’t been previously developed as we possibly can. It’s only not a treasure if you don’t believe that land that isn’t being utilized by humans has intrinsic worth.

    As for “transitional periods”, I don’t believe that Republican politicians actually believe in that. They don’t have the political will to actually get us off of oil. I might agree with you that we should increase supplies as much as possible if I actually thought the goal was to buy us some time to move away from it. But, instead, I think the goal of Republicans who propose that is simply to maintain the wasteful status quo so that existing corporate profits can be preserved. If Republicans were serious about reducing our dependency on oil, they would support things like: higher fuel efficiency standards, alternative energy research (in actions, not just words), public transportation, moving away from the suburb model of development, energy conservation, etc. But they don’t, so I can only conclude that they are lying to us, once again.

  72. xanax25mg says:

    @Farquar: This was voted on by Kansans in 2006; so they obviously felt 3/8th % of a sales tax for a light rail was a good investment. I think people are hung up on the 17 mile think. That 17 miles runs through the most densely populated ares of KC. Sure it won’t do much good for a farmer on the other side of the state; but the 53 mile Chicago el system doesn’t do much for someone in Carbondale but no one would argue it shouldn’t exist seeing how it serves 1 million people a day. Portland has a 43 mile light rail system, with a bulk of it being in “fareless square” where the ride is free, and it is used by 600,000 passengers a day and is considered a model of public transportation.

  73. Bladefist says:

    @xanax25mg: 3/8 by itself isn’t bad. But the liberals are so progressive here. Like in the last year, we have raised our sales tax several times. When will it end? And it doesn’t EVEN GO TO THE AIR PORT. How lame is that? This is going to be used by a very small percent of the city. We have metro buses everywhere, and the government is having to pitch in, no one is riding them. KC doesn’t need it. It’s like making gold stairs for a person in a wheel chair. You can brag about it, but you cant use it. Pretty sweet metaphor, I know.

  74. xanax25mg says:

    @Farquar: and that is 27 miles, not 17 miles. Also the projected ridership is 15,000 a day so that $37 million dollar mile supports transportation of 5.5 million riders a year

  75. fizzyg says:

    @Steaming Pile: To assume that everyone in these rural areas voted Republican is a show of ignorance…go check the maps that break it down by county. Even if you had about 60% vote a certain way, that still leaves another 40% who voted something else, and are still having these problems. They aren’t all driving SUVs either.

  76. Bladefist says:

    @xanax25mg: 15,000 riders? lol. how many are taxed? I don’t know what side you are on. You think a billion dollar project for 15,000 people is a good idea?

  77. Pro-Pain says:

    @Bladefist: Do you seriously believe what you type? If so, WoW, just plain WoW…
    Conservativism is a mental disorder.

  78. Bladefist says:

    @xanax25mg: I wonder if it would be cheaper if we just bought everyone a geo metro and paid their gas. I bet it would.

  79. Bladefist says:

    @Pro-Pain: No. I’m running a 1-year long april fools. I’ll come out at the end of the summer and disclose I’m a closet liberal. GOTCHA

  80. xanax25mg says:

    @Bladefist: are you dense? I even did the math for you that translates to 5.5 million riders a year, not 15,000 over the lifetime of the system. That translate to 15,000 fewer people on the road creating congestion, using gasoline, etc. Not to mention as Portland can attest to, light rail draws development near stations creating more jobs, more tax base, etc.

  81. Pro-Pain says:

    @Bladefist: I was only kidding you. I used to have more Republican values/opinions overall, until I realized it was getting us nowhere. Now I want to see what the other side can accomplish. If it backfires by all means come back and flame me.

  82. Bladefist says:

    @xanax25mg: No I read it fine. I made the assumption of 15,000 people a day, relatively, the same 15,000 a day. IE, 15,000 people get to ride something, that 500,000 people pay for. These people are probably already riding our bus system, and I would guess, they get from A to B. So whats the prob?

  83. Bladefist says:

    @Pro-Pain: Thats the great thing about the internet. What you say, will be here forever. And IF Obama wins, and when he screws EVERYTHING up, and IF we still have the internet, I will be busy man. I’ll be going over years of comments. :)

  84. Bladefist says:

    @Pro-Pain: Oh and if McCain wins and screws everything up, unfortunately you cant throw it in my face. Because he is a complete idiot.

  85. Pro-Pain says:

    @Bladefist: Trust me, I don’t care for Obama, but McCain is too old and if he gets elected it’ll just be four more years of the same old shit (which is failing miserabley). Besides, how many favors do you think McCain owes by now? Hint – MANY and LOTS. Nothing will get done, again. Where are all the great leaders @? God help us all…

  86. Regardless of the true causes of the current fuel price inflation, the real issue being debated by Bladefist and his opponents is whether the President or the government in general has or should have a major role in its resolution. I’m going to assume that Bladefist believes (as I do) that the government should keep its hands out of the fuel price regulation, and let market forces work. I’ll also assume that those arguing against him favor the more statist model we see in Western Europe. Neither approach is “right”, but the former is far more congruent with the mainstream American attitude (see: election history). To try and convince the average American that the government can and must solve his problems is to misread his motivations and ambitions.

  87. Bladefist says:

    @Pro-Pain: I agree. I just want 2 things, and I’ll shut up.

    1) Keep taxes the same, or lower.
    2) Put judges in the Supreme Court that represent the constitution as it is, not as they think it should be.
    3) Don’t regulate me. Don’t tell me what I can drive, what I can drink, what I can smoke, or what I can say.

    You give me those 2, I can wait 4 more years for a chance at a real leader. You want health care? Fine, do it, don’t raise my taxes. I don’t want it. You want to invade iran? Do it, dont raise my taxes. You want to pull out of Iraq? Great. You can do any agena you want, dont break my 3 requests. PLEASE

  88. Bladefist says:

    3 things. my bad.

  89. Wormfather says:

    @sharkd: & @crabbyman6: The war in Iraq was priced into oil 5 years ago, news about iraq no long moves the oil futures on wild swings. Nice try though. The Mid east always has and always will be unstable, it’s just the way it is. IMO.

    Tapping Alaska, building more refineries, nuclear power, it’s all peices of the puzzle. Oh I also should mention that every state has a different formula for the gas that can be sold in their respective states. That means that production needs to be stopped, things adjusted and started up again. That costs tons of money. I belive that the federal government needs to step in and mandate a single standard for the nation. That would knock prices down at least 5%.

    To all who want to call me a republican talking head, not true, I’m very independant with my thinking and my votes. I’m not saying that the current administration is blameless, I am saying that the Federal Reserve is without a doubt the most culpable party in this whole fiasco. If you watch all the markets you would see that everytime the fed cut rates, stocks would go up, followed by a spike in oil, followed by a decline in stocks.

    Our economy has been through similar trends and OPEC has actually matched production to help keep prices down for the good US of A because we meant so much money to them. Now the situation is different, China and India are willing to pay.

    Oh and the public transportation point, that only works in major cities and the surronding suburbs. It is in no way economicly feasable to have pub trans in rural areas. We need cheaper energy and peopole on BOTH sides of the eisle keep blocking mesures to ensure that America’s energy needs are met.

    I want done with the war in Iraq as much as the next person (at varrying costs), however I’m not going to blame the war in Iraq for everything from oil prices to my sore back.

  90. Bladefist says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: Yes. And to add, a lot of people don’t understand what the President has powers to do. You have gun issues coming up in elections, when the president cant touch guns. I don’t think there is much Bush can do with oil, especially with congress being democrat. Some people think our president has dictator powers.

  91. Pro-Pain says:

    @Bladefist: Well damn, I totally agree with you. Life is funny like that ain’t it? ;)

  92. Wormfather says:

    You know what everyone? Today is iPhone 2.0 day, I can argue politics any day. But today is a holy day in the stevejobsianity. Today is the day that after 11 months and 11 days Jesusphone rose and it was good.

    I’m off to go be reckless with my wallet.

    ps. anyone want to buy a used 1.0 iPhone?

  93. Wormfather says:

    @Pro-Pain: & @Bladefist:

    Ditto, I aggree. Koombya…

  94. xanax25mg says:

    @Bladefist: when the Republican controlled congress passed the war resolution in 2005 that essentially gave bush a blank check to act like a dictator and not only illegally invade a soveriegn nation but also Iran if he feels like it. That DOES affect oil. Having meetings with the heads of the energy sector that are secret and refuse to disclose the contents of that meeting are acting like a dictator and that DOES affect oil

  95. @battra92: “have to run the AC in the summer when it reaches the mid 90s”

    Yes, all those colonial settlers in MA just keeled over dead without AC. Because you “have to” run it.

  96. mac-phisto says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: i don’t think the government should be regulating prices, but i also don’t think drilling in the arctic wasteland is the answer.

    so what is the answer & what can the government do about oil prices? two words: foreign policy.

    for being the leader of the free world, we have a weak-ass state department. our foreign policy is largely tied to progressing corporate initiatives & while we operate under the guise of “promoting democracy”, we do a piss poor job at it.

    so here’s my policy paper: strengthen ties with south america – esp. BRAZIL.
    1) as of last year they produce more oil than they consume (all brazilian vehicles are flex 100 & have been for more than a decade)
    2) we are their largest trading partner
    3) they are currently tapping a large oil field (tupi) which is expected to yield ~8 billion barrels & they just discovered another field (espirito santo) estimated at 33 billion barrels

    but we must act quickly. china is courting most of latin america using our tried & true technique – “throw the money at the wall & see what sticks”. we need a new approach that doesn’t just equal $$$. what these nations need most is consumers for their goods, jobs for their workers, & opportunities for their children. we can provide all of that for them (& benefit from it in the long run also).

  97. TangDrinker says:

    @Bladefist: You’d be surprised at how successful light rail can be. Charlotte just opened theirs (one line so far) in November, and ridership exceeded projections several fold. Even the harshest critics have conceded that this project was a success.

    Ours doesn’t go to the airport, either. That seemed to be the biggest critique, but people are still packing the trains every morning/evening.

  98. emis says:

    @xanax25mg:

    Right now I live 20 miles from work. My work is 3 miles from a train station and my house is about 6 blocks from a subway station that could take me to the train.

    If I solved the 3-miles from the train station to work (either a shuttle, rideshare, etc), it would take me about the same amount of time to commute via the train as it would via my car. I’ve run the math, and assuming I took the train 4x/wk I’d just about break even on the gas cost (@ $4.25/gal) vs train pass (yes, I know there are other vehicle costs, but I can’t get rid of the car, and for simplicities sake I won’t try to factor wear & tear).

    When I tell people about how I want to take the train they all react as though I’m out of my mind.

    Most of these people are fairly liberal, at most middle of the road, yet all of them are unwilling to give up their cars unless the train is cheaper, faster and takes them almost exactly from point A to B.

    Around here in Boston we have train called the B line that seems to stop every 2-3 blocks… that solves the exactly-from-A-to-B problem, but then people complain about how long it takes to traverse from one end to the other!

    You just can’t win.

  99. @Bladefist: I’d go one further and say that some people _want_ our president to have dictatorial powers, so long as said president shares their worldview. That way, all the pesky problems caused by individual-responsibility, libertarian-minded simpletons like you and me could be solved by Our Benevolent Dictator. I’m reminded of the adage (from Ike?) that the government with the power to provide all the things you want is the government with the power to take it all away.

  100. Bladefist says:

    @Pro-Pain: Yes. Well perhaps you are a conservative, just not a republican. And with the GOP how they are today, I’m starting to wonder. I didn’t vote for Bush, and I’m not voting for McCain. That makes 12 years of me not voting GOP. But I believe in the traditional GOP values.

    At heart – I am a conservative. Which my 3 requests, are conservative ideals. Via shifting money between various programs, I think we can do a lot of the things people want. We don’t need government to expand. Perhaps re-organize.

  101. Wormfather says:

    @Bladefist: I voted for bush, but I’m not voting for McCain, I have the same worries.

  102. MrDo says:

    Ignorance is bliss:

    ANWR Exploration House Republicans: 91% Supported House Democrats: 86% Opposed

    Coal-to-Liquid
    House Republicans: 97% Supported
    House Democrats: 78% Opposed

    Oil Shale Exploration
    House Republicans: 90% Supported
    House Democrats: 86% Opposed

    Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration
    House Republicans: 81% Supported
    House Democrats: 83% Opposed

    Refinery Increased Capacity
    House Republicans: 97% Supported
    House Democrats: 96% Opposed

    SUMMARY

    91% of House Republicans have historically voted to increase the production of American-made oil and gas.

    86% of House Democrats have historically voted against increasing the production of American-made oil and gas.

    The reason this is significant is that increase production allows for greater supply to meet demand (simple econ ya know). Further more, the last refinery built in the US was in 1976, do you really think demand has not increased since that time? Currently we are suffering from a lack of production, a weak dollar, and rampant speculation. The war in Iraq has little impact on oil production, actually Iraq is producing more oil now than under Saddam.

    So while I am no fan of Bush, blaming him for high oil prices is pretty stupid. Yes the oil companies are making “record profits” but that is not net profits, its still costing them more to make the oil, their profit margins are still 11% on average, far below the 21% average for most banks.

    The left in this nation loves to crow on about “renewable energy” yet have blocked most actual attempts to implement it. Nuclear, and Wind power are just two that come to mind.

  103. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @Wormfather: I saw this huuuuuge pimped out yellow Hummer in the parking lot at Costco the other day. Curiosity got the best of me, so I waited to see who’d lay claim to that thing. My jaw hit the floor when a capri-pant wearing granny rolled her basket of THREE tiny items to the driver’s side door, tossed them in, and sped off.

    So much for stereotypes.

  104. Trai_Dep says:

    Considering that the map overlay corresponds to a Red State vs Blue State overlay, I’d call this Poetic Justice.
    You see? Voting DOES matter!

  105. jvandub says:

    I’m pretty sure how much money we spend on “defence” has a lot to do with how much gas costs right now. The argument that the president doesn’t have anything to do with the gas price increase is redic.

  106. battra92 says:

    @xanax25mg: Why is a bus not a practical option? Why is a 30-60 minute bus/train/light rail commute such a hassle?

    Because, quite frankly, I don’t live in San Francisco or NYC or Boston or anywhere. I’m in one of those rural areas the article talks about. I made the decision to go to work a half hour away as it was twice what the local economy was paying for a tech job. I also much prefer to live in the small town as crime is much less and taxes are lower.

    There quite frankly are not buses for my commute. Nor are their trains. 100 years ago there were and the rails are there but they are some pretty busy freight lines. Plus for the small population it just doesn’t make economic or profitable sense in the US or anywhere. The Japanese rails which are the most efficient in the world still lose money every year.

    Plus if I wanted a bus, I’d have to drive downtown to get one (meaning a 5 mile commute) then find a place to park my car and then pay the parking ticket as the meter would easily run out in the 8+ hours I’m at work. I’d save nothing and lose convenience.

    I do plan on carpooling with a fellow coworker a few times a week but that’s more good will and the fact that he’s a nice guy to talk to and he has offered to throw a buck or two for the ride (which I can put towards gas.)

    Americans are not Europeans. We are cowboys who love the open range and individualism. I don’t want to have a man in white gloves shove me into a train every day.

  107. Sunshine69 says:

    funny how this could almost as easily be a map of red and blue states for the last presidential election.

  108. battra92 says:

    @Wormfather: I’m torn. Do I vote for Nelson Rockafeller or essentially give my vote to the worst presidential choice in decades.

    I want a Reagan/Goldwater type.

  109. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: I agree that we probably don’t need government to grow if we just shift money between programs. But you’re not going to agree with me on where I think money should be shifted out of, because I think we mainly need to cut the military and the DoD. We spend way more on “defense” than any other country on Earth. We don’t need to do this to defend our country, which in my opinion should be the only mission of our military. I feel we would lose very little actual defensive capability if we cut DoD by a few hundred billion per year.

  110. Bladefist says:

    @MrDo: Thank you for your comment. Good stuff.

  111. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: How do you feel about Obamas ideas on our nuclear weapons? Do you actually want to worry for your life when we have a conflict? As opposed to now, where we are worry free?

  112. AD8BC says:

    I live in the DFW area, and our house is about 1/2 mile from a station where I can catch the TRE train to downtown Dallas or downtown Fort Worth.

    And the airport.

    And I love to take advantage of this when I need to catch a flight, or when the wife and I want to go into either town.

    But it gets me nowhere near my office on the north end of DFW airport. The train stops at the south end.

    I could almost technically take the train to the airport, catch the shuttle from the airport station to south parking, catch another shuttle to north parking (with six stops at two terminals), then catch a city bus, then walk another 1/2 mile. But then I would be hostage to the train schedule, whether the shuttles would be running on time, and then the bus schedule… I would have to leave for work in the morning one hour earlier.

    Or, I could drive to work, spend the 6 bucks on gas, and be done with it. The monthly bus/train pass would actually cost me more and I would get about 20 hours less sleep per month.

  113. AD8BC says:

    @battra92: I would love to carpool, but I don’t work at a “9 to 5″ type job — sometimes we work more hours and it’s hard to find people on the same schedule as you are.

  114. Parting says:

    @Bladefist: Worry free *cough* So why does USA have so many nuclear weapons that it could blow Solar system, then? When do you guys will bombard Uranus, I wanna watch.

    And it doesn’t prevent any partisan wars : terrorist or not.

    Even if USA disposes half of its nuclear stock, there are still enough to blow our planet.

  115. fizzyg says:

    @Trai_Dep: A lot of those areas look blue and purple, actually

  116. MrDo says:

    As of 2007 the United States spends 4.0% of its GDP on its military, placing it 28th in the World.

    This is historically low for the United States since it peaked in 1944 at 37.8% of GDP (it reached the lowest point of 3.0% in 1999-2001). Even during the peak of the Vietnam War the percentage reached a high of 9.4% in 1968. Keep in mind also, that a large percentage of US military spending is on research, much of that research leads to improvements in other areas, not to mention the number of people it employs.

    You want to seriously impact the US economy, drop a couple hundred billion from the military budget. To put it in perspective, Medicare and Social Security make up roughly half of the US budget.

    Then again, government spending has little if nothing to do with the price of oil. So lets let that strawman burn for now.

  117. Parting says:

    @Imaginary_Friend: Maybe Hummer belongs to her husband. Overall, she doesn’t need to woory about global worming, she’d be dead anyway in a dozen of years.

  118. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: We don’t need nearly the number of nuclear weapons that we have. I hope we never use them.

    My point is that we wouldn’t have so many conflicts with people if we didn’t have such a powerful military. A powerful military is tempting for politicians to use for goals that are not related to our defense. Where are all the people rushing to invade Australia, or Europe, or Japan? All of those places spend a lot less than us on their military, and they are perfectly fine. Yes, they are benefiting from the United States military spending too. But why should we pay for the defense of other countries instead of their own taxpayers? We don’t need the military we have if we cut back their mission to not include being stationed in numerous countries around the world at all times.

  119. Bladefist says:

    @MrDo: I love how zero liberals are responding you. They don’t these facts you keep giving.

  120. Parting says:

    @MrDo: The issue isn’t as much as budget, it’s more how it is spent. If military would dispose of old armaments/weapons/outdated nuclear facilities, it could use a smaller budget, and even offer some kickbacks to its soldiers.

  121. johnva says:

    @MrDo: I don’t care what our military spending is by “percentage of GDP”. I think it should be cut back because objectively we don’t need to be doing the things we are doing with our military. It would be more efficient to just spend the money on direct research instead of filtering it through the military.

    Also, Medicare and Social Security are not part of the regular budget. They are funded by separate dedicated taxes. Military and defense spending, and associated costs, are by far the largest part of the discretionary budget (which is really the only part that we can easily change politically). You should also factor in associated spending like veterans’ benefits and interest on debt acquired to pay for wars.

  122. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: We have something like 800 military bases in foreign countries. You think that’s cheap? WHY exactly do we need to have that? No other country does anything like that.

  123. Bladefist says:

    @Victo: I think percentages give better information then dollars. With inflation over the years, the really only way to debate is by comparing percentages, with ourselves, and comparable countries.

  124. Tmoney02 says:

    @xanax25mg:

    I believe Tocqueville put it best. “In a Democracy, the people get the government they deserve.”

  125. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: All that percentages tell you is whether we can afford it (we can, for the time being, but only because our economy is so huge). They don’t tell us anything about what we actually need to spend to defend our country.

  126. MrDo says:

    Victo:

    if you look at the breakdowns in military spending, the largest percentage is for personnel (110Billion). Could our military budget be smaller? Yes, but should it be is up for debate. If you really want to get into my personal feelings on the matter, there is nothing in the Constitution about Healthcare or Social Security, but defense is clearly pointed to and expanded upon as being a primary duty of the government.

    Of course this is a conversation for another time.

    What we spend on maintenance of our nuclear arsenal is small potatoes compared to other parts of the military budget. Our soldiers are some of the best paid for/cared for in the world. Having spent 6 years in the service myself, I could say that yeah, we could always use a little more pay, but it is the nature of the professional soldier to bitch and moan.

    The US maintains only 12 of 18 nuclear major testing/production facilities. Out of those 12, 5 are slated for decommissioning with the others either decommed or in a state of inactivity/decommission.

    Still much of this information is irrelevant to the discussion of fuel production in the US, which has not seen a significant increase in 32 years. That, combined with no national standard for fuel mixture, a weak dollar, and a high oil price is why gas costs what it does. Our demand cannot be met by the current ability to supply. When oil was $50 a barrel, gas was cheap, but the runup in oil prices fueled in large part by speculation within the markets has contributed to the current situation.

    One point that is lost in much of this discussion is the reason why a Democrat controlled Congress will refuse to do anything about current prices except point the finger at the other side, taxes! The government is reaping tons of revenue from gasoline taxes when the price is high. And for a party that thrives on increasing government revenue, high gas prices are to their advantage. You won’t see this discussed in the press, but the major benefactor of high gas prices is the Government, who makes far more than the oil companies combined, without having lifted so much a finger to contribute to the burden of providing fuel.

  127. Xay says:

    @battra92: Plenty of people down South have survived without AC for years. Many homes in Minnesota still don’t have AC and the summers get very hot there. I live in Florida where it has been 95+ for the last couple of weeks and my AC rarely dips below 75.

    Try opening your windows and put in some ceiling fans.

  128. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: Well you’d have to debate each one. The one in S. Korea is protecting them from an invasion from N. Korea. Despite some of south koreans objections to us being there, we are really protecting them. Only 759 more to debate. This was Ron Pauls big thing. He was kinda right on the issue.

  129. battra92 says:

    @AD8BC: Yeah, I feel for ya because it is a good way to save a little cash.

  130. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @Bladefist: Just because we all don’t have the wit, patience, and flair of Trai_Dep to put you blowhards in your place, don’t think we don’t care. We’d just rather not waste the few minutes of our free time arguing with brick walls.

  131. battra92 says:

    @johnva: I think you might want to read some history books and read how we won the Cold War.

    @Tmoney02: That’s why I live in a Representative Republic.

    By the way, crunching the numbers I spend somewhere between 3-4% of my gross income on fuel. I also spend something like 30% on taxes so fuel is a drop in the bucket (no pun intended.)

  132. johnva says:

    @MrDo: So it boils down to that you support spending unlimited amounts on the military, but oppose Social Security and similar programs (though on “constitutional” grounds). I oppose our vast military spending because I think it’s wasteful and doesn’t accomplish anything we need to do in order to protect ourselves.

    Your gas tax discussion makes no sense, BTW. The federal gas tax is a FLAT fee per gallon, not a percentage of the price of gas. So the government is NOT making more gas tax revenue because prices are high. In fact, they are going to be making less, because the high prices are finally starting to cut into demand.

    @Bladefist: Yes, Ron Paul was right about all these overseas bases. But that is only part of the picture. The big thing is, I don’t believe it’s truly our problem whether S. Korea gets invaded by N. Korea. Why should we, the American taxpayers, pay for their defense? This is a piss-poor way to run an empire. If you’re going to have a worldwide empire, at least demand tribute from all the nations you are paying to protect. If you’re not going to, dismantle the worldwide empire.

  133. crabbyman6 says:

    @MrDo: You’re trying to say that supply is low? The OPEC nations have stated that supply is fine(which of course they would), and from what I’ve seen it IS fine. I don’t see anyone running out of gas due to lack of supply. You advocate putting more oil on the market, why did Bush want to keep adding to the strategic reserve rather than let that into the market? Why did Congress have to vote in unvetoable(is that a word?) proportions to let some of that go into the main stream? I will agree that speculation and the weakening dollar are a part of this problem, but I won’t agree that cutting into the military budget. You say that the government is raking it on taxes on this high priced oil, which I can go along with, but don’t you think that since they’re already operating on a deficit the party that started a war might also like this to lower the margins on said deficit? Maybe some of this gas tax money or military money could be spent on alternate fuels research. The only way to truly lower the impact of gas prices, regardless of governmental policies, is to lessen our dependence on gas, which the current administration has certainly not made a priority.

  134. johnva says:

    @battra92: The Cold War was all about worldwide empire and influence. I don’t care about us having that in the first place. I’d prefer we just worry about ourselves instead of locking ourselves in a 50-year struggle for global domination.

  135. AD8BC says:

    @Imaginary_Friend: Hey, there are brick walls on both sides.

  136. Bladefist says:

    @Imaginary_Friend: you got me good with that. MOM! I just got p0wn3d by Imaginary_Friend

  137. Trai_Dep says:

    @fizzyg: Wow, what a neat graphic. I haven’t seen a county-by-country vote map before. Thanks!
    While it’s sort of harsh, tho, if a state voted Red, it’s harder for me to feel sympathetic. It’s getting better since there’s a lot more Purple out there (Dean did a really good job by implementing a 50-state strategy, over the screaming/kicking/pouting of the Dem establishment, Clinton-era Beltway types). So I’m feeling a lot more sympathetic.
    Hopefully more people will vote their interests, on real issues this time around. Won’t get distracted by false issues. It might make all the difference this go-around.
    Thanks for the map though, and making me put my foot in my mouth about All Red States Getting What They Deserve. Which was rash. :)

    @Imaginary_Friend: *blush*

  138. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: I don’t think we defend S. Korea because we are all nice loving people.

    We defend S. Korea for 2 Major reasons.

    1) If North Korea took over them, then N. Korea (our problem) would become twice as large (double our problem). KimJongIl is over there, with a bricked in country, teaching his people Americans are the evil ones.

    2) Get this- So we are over there, and they would prefer us not be, but, to make them pay for us to be over there, they HAVE to import a ton of shit from America. Namely, rice. So we make a ton of money off them in food. Rice, Beef, etc. So we force them to trade with us, in return, they get an army base they dont want.

    REGARDLESS, I think being in South Korea is better for everyone. My Korean GF, from Korea, agrees. She said despite their hate for Americans, not as country, but as individuals, she recognizes that if we left, N. Korea would invade tomorrow. Their hate for America is justified. Our soldiers there create a lot of problems, and aren’t subject to any laws. Lots of rape and murders and such.

  139. AT203 says:

    That’s what you get for living someplace stupid.

  140. @Victo: Of all the incoherent, idiotic, infantile comments I’ve heard on the Internet, perhaps this takes the cake. Completely devoid of logic, insight, or any attempt to formulate a working paragraph (though I’ll attribute that to non-native English, as I’m assuming this is a comment from someone outside the US), this is a monument to ignorance and the empowerment of the unwashed by the Web. You, sir, are a champ.

  141. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: I’m not saying that there isn’t merit to our being any number of places in the world. I just don’t like the idea that we should be paying for the defense of so many other wealthy countries. They can afford to pay for their own defense. Alliances are one thing, and something that I happen to think is a good thing. But defacto permanent presence is something different, and it breeds dependence in my opinion.

  142. Trai_Dep says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: Out of curiosity, do you do anything here besides frightfully overwrought ad hominem attacks?
    Please stop – your prose is frightening the children. The children!

    And for the sake of humanity, consider: [www.amazon.com] ? Please?

  143. MsClear says:

    Gee golly, it’s a good thing that Reagan took those super gay solar panels off the White House and we all took umbrage at the unreasonable request to wear a sweater. Oh and that SUVs were so cool and tough…….

    Good thing we haven’t spent the past two decades getting ready for the days when oil wouldn’t be plentiful and cheap.

    We reap what we sow.

  144. MrDo says:

    Supply of gasoline is low compared to demand. Our ability to produce gasoline is hampred by the lack of production capacity in the US. Like I said, the last refinery was built in 1976. Do you honestly believe that infrastructure created 32 years ago is sufficient to meet todays demand?

    I advocate having the government get out of the way. The SPR is 757 million gallons, last I checked it was full but the Bush admin suggested that its capacity be increased to 1 billion barrels. Then again, this is crude oil, not gasoline, and the SPR hasn’t been touched since Katrina. So its being part of this discussion is meaningless.

    I was incorrect in my tax issue, primarily because local taxes are based on sales amounts not federal. The point remains though that government in general benefits from high gas prices primarily because they are taxing sales of oil as a commodity, as well as the price of fuel at the pump.

    Fun Fact: Our government has operated under a deficit for all but 4 years of its existence. I don’t see it as even relevant to this discussion.

    Billions are spent on alternative energy research, but is any of the fruit of that research allowed to be used? No new nuclear, no clean coal, no wind farms (wouldn’t want to upset Teddy Kennedy’s view now would we). Biofuels are a boondoggle for the farming community, electric vehicles are not mature enough (some day), perhaps the new work in plasma injection will be the key but it remains to be seen. The time to market for alternative fuel vehicles is long, that doesnt mean we dont do it, but it does mean we need to be realistic in our demands. Much of the pain we are feeling today could have been fixed a decade ago if people actually looked at our national needs through non-partisian prism. Alas, we are a short siteded society focused usually on 4 year cycles. Thus we will be punished for such short views.

  145. Bladefist says:

    @Trai_Dep: Do you do anything here except making “witty” arrogant attacks to prove points to idiots who get confused with your distractions?

  146. @johnva: “@MrDo: So it boils down to that you support spending unlimited amounts on the military, but oppose Social Security and similar programs (though on “constitutional” grounds). I oppose our vast military spending because I think it’s wasteful and doesn’t accomplish anything we need to do in order to protect ourselves.”

    No, what I think MrDo is saying is that defense is a valid federal government responsibility, since it doesn’t make all that much sense for my neighborhood to buy its own tanks and fighter jets, but that Social Security and “similar programs” are providing a federal solution for something for which individuals should be solely responsible. Why is the idea of allowing able-bodied adults to own responsibility for their savings and retirement, without collectivist wealth redistribution, so foreign to some in this country?

    Our vast military spending has not only historically defeated Nazism and Communism as their adherents sought to conquer the globe, it enabled the type of butter-over-guns governments the Left envies. The glorious experiments in socialism that Western Europe has undertaken were feasible only because the US was providing a very expensive security bulwark against the Soviet Union. Without the need to provide for their own security to any capable degree, these societies were able to expend huge sums on social programs. Alas, we in the US don’t have such a benefactor to lean on.

  147. MrDo says:

    A good article to read about why oil is heading to the price where it is: Mr Crude A lack of spare capacity, processing capacity, which could have been avoided years ago are a prime reason for high prices.

  148. johnva says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: Social Security is just as valid a federal expenditure as the military. My neighborhood can’t set up a working social insurance program, either. The reason your solution of making everyone solely responsible for their own retirement is “foreign” to some in this country is because it doesn’t work. You say “able-bodied adults”. Well, the elderly and disabled (the people who receive Social Security) are not “able-bodied”. So I guess you support it?

    As for your last paragraph about defense spending, I agree (though I don’t think communism was as big a threat as you do – the Soviets were spending so much on defense BECAUSE we were). My point is WHY are we paying to protect other rich nations?? Why can’t we cut our defense spending and leave them to fend for themselves? If we can afford it, they can.

  149. MsClear says:

    WRT the refinery debate, my understanding is that everyone says NIMBY. I don’t find this an admirable sentiment usually, but I can understand why people wouldn’t want to live near a belching, poisonous factory. Basically, I don’t find the argument that we should keep up with our hydrocarbon addiction rather than develop clean alternative sources of power convincing.

    Nuclear is interesting, but what to do with that radioactive stuff, which will be dangerous for about 500,000 years? Shoving it into Yucca?

  150. @Trai_Dep: Yeah, apart from condemning the clueless for wasting bytes, I also go after folks on the issues. To wit: your contention that the overlap between the fuel expenditure map and the red/blue voting map is some sort of poetic justice for those who voted red. If my vote were cast upon what I thought a gallon of gas would cost a few years from now, I would seriously rethink my priorities. You hope that people will “vote their interests, on real issues this time around”. What makes you think that this wasn’t the case in 2004? Perhaps the interests and real issues upon which a majority voted were more related to the vigorous pursuit of the current war against Islamist zealots who have sworn to harm us (very much the job of our government) than to the fluctuations of fuel prices (very much the job of the market). Though the choice isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive, I would rather pay at the pump than pay the other prices I expected from a Kerry presidency. Just because you can’t agree with your opposition doesn’t mean that they are not acting and voting with their interests fully in mind.

    As for the ad hominem: when I see someone so obviously missing a grasp of reality spew some nonsense without even attempting to support it with a cogent argument, I will sometimes call out the most egregious offenders. Case in point, your very own contribution to another comment thread: “I guess Republicans simply like knocked up schoolchildren, torture, unhealthy societies and economies.”. How is that claptrap defensible and not worthy of a slap-down?

  151. Bladefist says:

    @Trai_Dep: Dang y0, you just got t0r3 up. lol

  152. @johnva: How would you explain the ability for societies to take care of themselves before Social Security? In the centuries before this program, people were forced to make responsible financial decisions to save for living costs after they were no longer able to work, which would include individual savings, pension plans, and the possible reliance on their own children or community groups (churches, charities, etc.). With the modern stock market and other vehicles for investment, even more options are available. Of course I think we should encourage our society to care for its eldest members, I just think that Social Security is a terrible way to do it, and that it inserted a government responsibility where a personal one once worked. At the time it was conceived, it may have been warranted due to extreme and unprecedented economic crises, but it should have been sunsetted so that we could return to the former natural social system. All attempts to do so have been resisted with a vehemence that I wish our politicians could muster against our real enemies.

    Vis the Cold War, I think you’ve got your causation mixed up. Soviets become aggressive menace -> US raises economic price of sustaining this menace -> Soviets match spending, massively straining their inferior economy -> Soviet Union collapses -> Cold War ends. As for your question: WHY are we spending to defend rich nations? Your guess is as good as mine. They should be shouldering these costs. Maybe they don’t want to divert the money from social programs, for fear that the populations will kick all the pols out of office? I really don’t know. That said, I wouldn’t support the defense spending cut your propose, just a reallocation of current expenditures.

  153. mgomega says:

    GAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! I’M RIGHT; YOU’RE ALL WRONG!!!!!

    There, now I feel like a part of this conversation.

  154. Trai_Dep says:

    Ah. The Western Europe having better quality of life, living standards, health, education and teen pregnancy stats than the US. And the fact that the currency markets – hardly sentimental, irrational beasts – have decisively voted that Western Europe has a much better prognosis than what resulted after total Republican control of the Federal government for nearly two Presidential terms.
    Okay, the GOP ran things. They mollified the press, shouted “TERRORIST” at any Dems that raised issues of Checks & Balances, oversight or metrics. They won. They got their way. Ta da!

    So why is it that our stats are worse than Western Europe’s? The EU has shown it’s possible to successfully balance the various inputs in a fiscally responsible fashion – if there’s the will.

    Why are their metrics of the important things so high, their fiscal policies so resoundingly approved of by the global capital markets, while the unfettered GOP’s vision and implementation such a relative failure?

    More colorfully, in the era of the Permanent Republican Majority, why weren’t knocked-up schoolchildren, torture, unhealthy societies and crippled economies addressed?

    Too busy saving Terry Schiavo? Too many Congressional pages to boink? Too many no-bid contracts to write? Too many Oil Industry checks to cash?

    Is it that they (you) don’t care, or they (you) are incompetent?

  155. mgomega says:

    @ Bladefist & AtomicPlayboy:

    Stay positive; don’t get dragged down into the name-calling and trash-talking. Hammer the facts and some folks will eventually come around.

  156. radiochief says:

    @MsClear: You gotta give in somewhere. Cold fusion is not knocking on our door.

    Our problem is we have a pretty big pill of bad, bad medicine to swallow. And everybody is not sure of what the actual cure will be. People, pundits, and interest groups are all prescribing different treatments that may or may not treat the actual illness.

    The fact is we use to much oil. Much of this has come by happenstance and a “take it as we go” mentality.

    Fact: We are the world’s largest economy, our country composes one of the largest land masses in the world. We are one of the most populous countries in the world.
    Fact: We are the world’s only hyperpower with all the responsibilities implied, assumed, inferred or whatever.
    Fact: We are the largest polluter in the world.

    So, global warming and climate change are uniquely ‘our own problems’ that we have to solve. Do you think that any other individual first world country has such an impact on the planet as whole…? If the UK, Germany, France and Japan all went to zero emissions would that stop it? Would it lower oil prices? Would they have the gravitas to convince India and China to think about environmental issues?

    Only if we start addressing issues now, will it work for the benefit of us and the planet.

    Here in MA, it is a friggin’ microcosm of all the problems…

    1) Alternative energy– Ted Kennedy of Hyannis and His Friends on The Islands have pretty much put the kibosh on The Cape Winds Project that would supply up to 75% of the electricity needs of the Cape and the Islands. Why? Oh, because on a very clear day, on the horizon (from Hyannis)you would see white towers about an inch and a quarter high. Oh, and at night, you’d see aviation marker lights bespoiling your privileged view. You’d think these ‘liberal’ movers and shakers would take the hit. But it’s NIMBY all the way.

    2) Rail– If you looked at any MBTA map until 2006 you would see a very curious ommission. The South Shore suburbs of Boston have no commuter rail. You would think that some of the richest, liberal towns full of CEOs and the like would want a commuter rail line…?! Oh Noes. Not that. It’s so bad that the town of Hingham demanded and underground tunnel so their ‘historic’ downtown would be safer and in tune with it’s history. Yeh, like that TCBY around the corner from the CVS and Benjamin Moore store have been here since colonial times? The cost: $90 million. The haughty in Hingham had the nerve to call it, “The Little Dig”. Barf. That 90 million, I believe is fully 1/4 or 1/5 of the TOTAL BUDGET for the line.

    I think all options should be on the table. And not the ones, that necessarily enable our continued dependencies.

  157. mgomega says:

    @Trai_Dep:

    You, sir, are a Socialist. That probably doesn’t hurt your feelings. Sad.

  158. Bladefist says:

    @mgomega: Yea thanks for the reminder. I got a little frustrated on this debate.

  159. @mgomega: Yeah, trying to do so. It helps when the responses are so breathlessly nonsensical that they seem like self-parody. It’s like judo sometimes.

  160. Trai_Dep says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: It’s telling that you chose to critique a point that I already ceded was rash.
    Which brings another point. We say things, supported by facts, listen to others’ supported opinions, evaluate and either counter with other reliable fact-based opinions or accept the other’s point. Graciously, we hope. :) That’s the fun of it for us: exchanging ideas and learning. Not throwing shop-worn slogans at each other.
    I viewed things thru a Red vs Blue State prism regarding gas costs relative to income. Then fizzyg graciously pointed out a better way of looking at things. I slapped my forehead, realized his facts beat mine, his point beat mine, ceded the point to him and we’re both better men because of it.

    This was a good morning because I learned something today.

    You guys don’t get that. More’s the pity. You should try, though. You’ll have a happier, more fulfilling life. (shrug)

    @mgomega: Cute. Case in point proven in under 2 comments. Excellent!
    So, you don’t think the metrics are important? Or you simply think slogans trump finding optimal solutions to building a better America?

  161. Razorgirl says:

    I’m not sure at this point if the bad taste in my mouth at the moment is because of all of the disinformation and republican/democrat posturing in this discussion, or if it is from trying to siphon the gas out of my lawnmower this morning so I could get to work today.

    Either way, it still costs me less per month (even with current gas prices) to drive to work with my husband than for both of us to purchase monthly passes for mass transit.

  162. barty says:

    @xanax25mg: Hmm…it may have something to do with the guy being a borderline Marxist as well. Sorry, I pay enough taxes as it is to support an already bloated federal government. I don’t want more of both, which is all that man promises for anyone who really works for a living.

  163. MrDo says:

    Mass transit in the United States, independant of the major cities whose transit systems were being implemented at the turn of the 20th century are unworkable in the US. Look at any relativley new mass transit attempt, specifically above/below ground trains, attempted in the US within the last 30 years. They are dismal failures that cost far above what they were promised, don’t deliver on any of the ridership statistics initially cited, and have done nothing but line the pockets of politicians and developers.

    I bet most people living in LA don’t even realize that it has a subway. Probably because it doesn’t even begin to serve the populations transportation needs. For a city with a major budgetary disaster looming, blowing 80 million on turnstiles for the redline doesn’t se… Then again, they don’t call it la la land for nothing.

    America is not Europe. We are not condensed into city-states with staggering population densities that support the kind of mass transit that is utilized there.

  164. stevegoz says:

    @Wormfather: Oh I also should mention that every state has a different formula for the gas that can be sold in their respective states. That means that production needs to be stopped, things adjusted and started up again. That costs tons of money. I belive that the federal government needs to step in and mandate a single standard for the nation. That would knock prices down at least 5%.

    Say wha? Gas blending is done in tanks, not as part of the refining process itself. And these tanks don’t exist just for that purpose — a whole range of different fuels and chemicals are produced through the refining process, not just gasoline. And it’s the rare refinery that sells to more than a handful of states — that’s why they’re located all throughout our country.

  165. Bladefist says:

    @stevegoz: I’m not an expert on this, but what wormfather said is what I’ve always heard as well.

  166. @Trai_Dep: You continue to miss (or perhaps disregard) my overarching point: _Think_ before you post. If something is “rash”, it should hit your own internal bullshit filter before you expend the effort to write it in a forum. But it’s obvious that your schadenfreude for the plight of the red-stater couldn’t be contained.
    Are you ready to cede _my_ point that your statement “I guess Republicans simply like knocked up schoolchildren, torture, unhealthy societies and economies” is completely idiotic, or are you so wed to that Leftist narrative that you can’t see why others may regard you as a little unbalanced for making such a proclamation? Snark is not a substitute for reasoned persuasion, at least it’s not outside the far Left echo chamber in which you seem to dwell. Perhaps that could be another lesson for the day to aid in your pursuit of fulfillment?

  167. SharkD says:

    @Wormfather:

    The war in Iraq was priced into oil 5 years ago, news about iraq no long moves the oil futures on wild swings. Nice try though.

    Actually, five years ago, the price of oil was expected to drop following the conclusion of OIF and the rebuilding/restarting of a number of wells and production facilities closed since the late 1990s.

    Furthermore, what I was talking about is the increasing concern that the U.S. will launch a preemptive campaign against Iran and/or the possibility of an exchange between Iran and Israel, which could cut off Kuwait and all shipments through the Straits of Hormuz, a la the tanker war. That, and production cuts by Venezuela.

    Oh I also should mention that every state has a different formula for the gas that can be sold in their respective states.

    Yeah, I mentioned 50 state gas/diesel in my original post. The state-by-state, seasonal blends are nutty.

    OPEC has actually matched production to help keep prices down for the good US of A because we meant so much money to them. Now the situation is different, China and India are willing to pay.

    Wrong, OPEC has had a vital interest in our economy due to the fact that crude is priced, by law, in US dollars, no matter which market its sold in. If the dollar drops (which it has, to say the least), they take a major hit. China is able to keep demand high by subsidizing the cost of gasoline, which is funded at a rate of about 40% by Beijing. Where’d they get the money to fund the subsidies, you ask? Why, they buy our debt and reap the benefits of our massive interest payments.

  168. JETJR says:

    As a person who lives in the midwest but didnt vote for Bush either time I have just accepted the fact that I will pay for gas whatever they ask. Have to own a pickup because of the feet of snow we get each year. Only live 3 miles from work, but yeah I drive home for lunch everyday because time with my family means more to me than saving a few dollars.

    Bottom line, if you are that upset, do something about it, or shut up and live with it.

  169. Trai_Dep says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: Facts trump facts.
    Show me reliable stats indicating EU has worse metrics on a broad range things that matter and that GOP policies were responsible, or you’ve lost the argument. Dead man walking, as it were.
    That’s how grown-ups discuss things. Try it sometime.

    And for the love of gods: learn The Elements of Style. Please?

  170. drjayphd says:

    @Bladefist: @Bladefist: @mgomega: @AtomicPlayboy: Aww, I thought Fleshbot hosted the Monday circle-jerk. Did I not get that memo?

  171. Bladefist says:

    @Trai_Dep: You do this every single time. You make statements, then when someone debates you, you tell them to go find facts. How about you do the leg work for once? Lets see your western europe cheat sheet that you use for the basis for all your arguments.

    Saying “go find me 20 links to prove me wrong” doesn’t make you right. Maybe in your world. No body wants to read your book man. Based on the title alone, I would say you need to read it again.

  172. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I only skimmed the comments but it looks like most of the arguing is over whether or not the high gas prices are the fault of President Bush, Republicans, or the federal government as a whole.

    Frankly, I’m just upset that everything down here has to be spaced so far apart without decent transportation alternatives (if they exist at all). Maybe we wouldn’t have to spend so much our income on gas if everything wasn’t 20+ miles away or there was a bus or a train that could get you there.

    The city I live in now does have bus service, thank goodness, but not even taxis will go to the neighborhood I grew up in anymore (because too many people just wanted to get to the grocery store and they weren’t making enough money). Back home if you’re not driving, you’re not getting there.

  173. @Trai_Dep: So it’s a “fact” that “Republicans simply like knocked up schoolchildren, torture, unhealthy societies and economies”? And this is also an example of how grown-ups discuss things? Perhaps this is the approach outlined in this “Elements of Style” you keep pushing? Does this guide help you produce such rhetorical genius as: “Okay, the GOP ran things. They mollified the press, shouted “TERRORIST” at any Dems that raised issues of Checks & Balances, oversight or metrics. They won. They got their way. Ta da!”? I’ll have to give all of this a try, as my attempts to advance a thoughtful argument through articulate language seem to be losing you.

    I haven’t lost an argument because you haven’t even started one. You’ve simply loaded a shotgun with Leftist talking points and shot it into the crowd. If you really want to argue about the relative state of the US vs. EU, and Republican culpability for the degradation you posit, you’ll need to do better than proclaim that the social metrics you cite are a.) relevant to the discussion at hand, and b.) indicative that the EU is somehow superior to the US in a significant way. I don’t see how a relatively higher rate of teenage pregnancy, the lack of universal health coverage, or the lower scores on standardized tests have prevented the US from being the greatest, if imperfect, engine of industrial, scientific, and peaceful progress the world has ever seen. Nor do I see the connection to gas prices.

    If you need specific facts (home ownership rates, life expectancy, ease of new business start-up, etc.) to support the assessment of the US I’ve given, I suppose you’ll also be needing facts to support the contention that the world is round or that the sky is blue. Under those rules, I’ll be happy to “lose” the argument, thanks.

  174. @drjayphd: Sorry, did you show up expecting the fecalphiliac symposium? I think they moved that.

  175. dragonfire81 says:

    To defend my earlier statement, I was naming the Iraq War as a large cause of price increases in oil.

    While it is true the war itself may not be DIRECTLY responsible for the high prices, it did provide a convenient scapegoat for the oil industry to blame high prices on, prices that would never have gotten so high if there was not an easy excuse available to explain why.

  176. MrDo says:

    @dragonfire81

    Have the oil companies blamed Iraq for the high price? If they have, I’ve never heard about it. I as have others, continue to expound upon the real reasons for high prices of fuel/oil. Higher demand from other nations such as China which has seen oil demand skyrocket over the last 8 years. China which is the second largest consumer of oil at around 7mm barrels per day, whose economy continues to grow by 10% a year, and which has a population 4 times that of the US will be the major source of oil demand for the forseeable future. Their impact on worldwide consumption is probably the biggest single factor influencing oil prices today, other than the weakening of the US dollar for which oil is traded.

    Over the last two years, China and India accounted for about 70 percent of the increase in energy demand, thus one could deduct that the price has corresponded with that increase, thus we have a doubling of price for crude over the last year. These are IAE estimates, which are proving to be drastcially low in the face of recent events.

  177. mac-phisto says:

    @MrDo: actually, the ctfc has talked about investigating manipulation in futures trading – specifically in regards to oil futures. now this could all be political hogwash, or it could prove manipulation.

    here’s a link to the story –> [money.cnn.com]

    or if you prefer –> [www.bloomberg.com]

    & here –> [www.foxnews.com]

  178. mac-phisto says:

    @MrDo: & another possible cause could be the vertical integration of the marketplace. when are we going to require oil companies to divest their holdings like we did with the movie industry & the paramount decrees?

  179. I’m commenting from the sidelines today, although I was amused by the timeliness of The Good American and Monsieur Obama [NYT] (warning, not safe for Republicans).

    @Trai_Dep: I’ve read the Elements of Style. It’s a load of crap, outdated, and stuffy. The similarly titled Elements of Typographic Style, however, is a beautiful book.

    @AtomicPlayboy: I haven’t lost an argument because you haven’t even started one. You’ve simply loaded a shotgun with Leftist talking points and shot it into the crowd.

    I gotta give you some respect for that line.

  180. LosersHaveCreditCardDebt says:

    Those that drive their Hummer 2 blocks to Starbucks for a $5.00 sugar laden , coffee shake are rather hard to feel sorry for.

  181. Bladefist says:

    @Michael Belisle: Starting to like you more and more.

    I read your first link, you’re right, not republican safe. I almost puked.

  182. drjayphd says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: Fun fact: Bladefist, MrDo, etc. can debate without resorting to ad hominems. Try to be more like them. :)

    All else fails, we can just collectively roll our eyes at @LosersHaveCreditCardDebt‘s oh-so-topical drive-by…

  183. azntg says:

    It’s really a shame that higher oil prices are now starting to trickle down to the rural areas and to an extent, for the people that help feed and run a good part of the economy of this country.

    If anything, the cost for the consumer is only going to get higher until we get used to it or there’s some nice solution to all this (deus ex machina LOL). Ah well, nothing’s ever perfect forever.

  184. @drjayphd: Thanks for the tip, but I think I’ll continue to smack someone down now and again when I see him smear intellectual excrement all over his crib.

  185. battra92 says:

    @johnva: See, you fall into the false hope that Beast will be wished away. People have been fighting the devil for thousands of years and he rears his ugly head time and again through history.

    You can wish it away or you can be the grownup and be prepared and take action if necessary. You can talk to rattlesnakes and wolves all you want but they will never turn to doves and lambs.

    Carthago delenda est.

  186. fever says:

    @xanax25mg:
    The differences between Republican policies and DFL policies is that the increase in gas prices under a DFL administration would come from higher taxes on the gas to provide for “social programs”. It’s all about where you want to get hit, and I for one would rather get it in a fashion I can control, rather than one that will need to be “re-evaluated” if America does change it’s fuel-consumption habits.

  187. Trai_Dep says:

    @Bladefist: Here’s the thing. When one cites a commonly known fact (EU vs US metrics pointing the way I’ve said, or Big Oil contributing to the GOP more than Dems as we had to pound into your brain a few days ago), that person doesn’t have to cite sources.
    If your media diet is so poor that you’re not aware what the consensus is, it’s not the responsibility of those with broader, meatier diets to school you. It’s the person making counter-intuitive claims that needs to cite. US teen pregnancy rates being lower than many European ones, or Oil Companies contributing to both parties equally, as you claimed previously, isn’t the consensus view. The onus is on you. Sorry but it’s not my job.
    But – c’mon, admit it – facts won’t change your mind. Still think Big Oil favors Dems & Repubs equally, right? In spite of us proving otherwise?
    Ball’s still in your court, kids. Middle school debate stunts aside, you’re both dodging. Address the points raised or slink off.

    @Michael Belisle: I’d agree. I haven’t read Strunk since 9th grade? The difference is Atomic still thinks that baroque is “smarter”. For him, it’s a step up.

  188. julieannie says:

    It’s hard here in the Midwest. I live in a rural farming community and there is no public transportation even in the suburbs of St. Louis because of the fear of “city people” coming into their communities. Here, most people are employed in house-maintenance trades or farm the land. Both require a lot of fuel. My husband’s company is 20 miles from home (and chosen for a reason) but they contracted him out for an additional 15 miles a trip. We have older cars with good mileage and did some maintenance to cut our monthly gas down $50/month but it adds up here. Not to mention the flooding here is killing the crop potential for soybeans, sod and corn.

  189. no.no.notorious says:

    it’s not the president, it’s congress who has passed so many regulations/taxes on oil companies. there are only so few places we can drill before we need more oil.