Gee, Thanks…

GOP Senators are proposing sending out $100 checks to Americans in order to ease the pain of high gas prices. They’re also demanding the tax records of the big oil companies to see if their unprecedented profits were gained through tax avoidance. And they want to rescind the recently awarded $2 billion in tax breaks that the oil companies say they don’t need anyway.

Could we maybe, possibly hear some proposals to significantly reduce our dependence on oil? Sure, we could open up some more areas of the US for drilling, destroying the surrounding environment in the process. But how much oil would we realistically obtain? And would it even be cost-effective? Oil is not a renewable resource, and there are experts who think we’ve already passed the peak of world production. If that’s true, it will steadily become more expensive to extract a decreasing amount of oil.

I don’t know if the answer is ethanol or hydrogen or biodiesel or hydroelectric power or wind — or some combination of all of them. I’m not crazy about the idea of nuclear plants dotting the landscape because the consequences of human error could be so huge.

Yes, it would be nice to get some short-term relief from high gas prices. Most of us aren’t in a position to drastically reduce our driving. People still have to go to work and haul kids to school and other activities and go to the grocery store and the doctor. Unless you live in an area with really good public transportation, there’s no real alternative to cranking up the car. A $100 check will ease the pain for a week or two, but then what? And where does the money for that $100 check, multiplied by millions of drivers, come from?

We already have a massive deficit that my children and yours will have to pay. I’d prefer not to add to it, but if we do, can’t the additional spending go toward real energy reform rather than meaningless political pandering?

I’m just asking.

5 Responses to “Gee, Thanks…”

  1. Wheeler says:

    “Unless you live in an area with really good public transportation, there‚Äôs no real alternative to cranking up the car.”

    thats why i hope gas gets even more expensive. eventually we we will start demanding public transit. then we will get it. then we will all be much more relaxed, healthy, and productive.

  2. Kathy says:

    Wheeler, I agree. The only way we’ll get public transit in Birmingham is at the point of a nozzle. I’m still concerned about people who depend on their cars for work and can’t afford the extra cost of gas now, much less later when it tops $3, $4, and $5 a gallon. I don’t know how quickly Birmingham, for example, could implement increased bus service, even if our politicians could get their collective act together.

  3. Deborah says:

    I live for the day that there is some kind of well-developed public transportation in Birmingham! Even better would be a good way to get between B’ham and Montgomery, since I commute between the two cities. Higher gas might get us there quickly…but the Senate’s idea of $100 gas checks is just crazy. First of all, I drive a Camry – which gets as good, if not better mileage than other cars on the road – and $100 would only give me about 2 tanks of gas. That’s about a week’s worth of relief. Second of all, the proposal is tied to a proposal to begin drilling in Alaska – which would take us even further into gas-dependency.
    Are we really not technologically advanced enough to get us out from under the thumbs of the big oil companies?

  4. Lip service, that’s all it is — “here, have some crumbs, and shut the hell up!”

    Again, where would the money even come from? So, as long as they’re doing PR stunts, why not say $1000? $5000 tax credit? Still ain’t gonna happen.

    And read closely again to see exactly what Bush did vs. what he said: the oil companies will get the same money as before, only stretched over 5 years, not 2. Yeah! teach ‘em a lesson!

    Mass transit, alt-fuel powered in some way, seems to be part of the answer. It’ll take 20 years of hard work, even if we start today. So let’s get to work.

  5. Don says:

    On the Alabama level of trying to confront this problem, guess which candidate for governor has the following in their platform:

    If I told you that there was a way we could Decrease Our Dependency on Foreign Oil, Boost the Agriculture Industry in Alabama, preserve our pristine hunting and fishing areas, which bring 2 BILLION tourism dollars into Alabama every year and Keep More Alabama Money in Alabama instead of sending it to the federal government would you believe me?

    Bio-diesel. It’s fuel from the fields. And we can do it here.

    Farmers in South Alabama are already doing that very thing by producing bio-diesel from their soybean crops and using a ten percent solution to run their combines. This same soy bio-diesel can be used in automobiles at a ten percent per tank of gas without any engine modifications.

    It could end the outrageousness of paying up to three dollars a gallon for gasoline and enable you to keep more of what you earn.

    Bio-diesel could revitalize the impoverished Black Belt of Alabama and put hundreds if not thousands of people to work.

    As Governor of Alabama I will encourage research, growth and development in this area. It is another step along the road to keeping Alabama proud, independent, self-sufficient and free.

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