Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Gas Prices

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Leave it to Mark Morford, our favorite yoga-teaching columnists from the San Francisco Gate to lament the dramatic drop in gas prices.

In his latest column, clearly written in between bikram sessions, the tree admiring writer cried, “There is nothing good about cheap gas in America.”

Morford went on to gasp, “Cheap gas means not only are people driving more, it means fickle, short-term memory Americans are buying gas-guzzling SUVs and large trucks all over again.”

In a previous column, Morford blamed the rise in gun sales on “scared white guys.”

Applying a bit of unscientific economic theory to Morford’s observations, the rise in sales of SUV’s could be directly related to the rise in gun sales.

After all, hauling a few assault rifles, a thousand rounds of 5.56 ammo, a cooler of beer and your favorite dog does get cramped in a ’93 Ford Festiva.

A little closer to reality is the fact that auto-makers, understanding the space needs of Americans along with the desire for fuel economy are now producing their most fuel-efficient people movers in their history.

The top five most fuel-efficient SUV’s for 2015 now hit over 30 miles per gallon. That’s a significant improvement over the days of 16 mpg’s in the old Ford Explorer.

Unfortunately, Morford is not alone in his lament of affordable fuel.

Yahoo auto blogger, Neal Pollack, echoed the sentiment, “Sound the bells, because Americans are going to start purchasing guzzlers.”

The solution to a surge in “gas guzzlers,” at least in the eyes of Morford, is to feed the government more money with yet another tax hike.

The California columnist recommended, “But here’s even more awesomely helpful and radical idea: a five dollar per gallon tax increase – hell make it $6.”

Americans already pay 18.4 cents per gallon to the federal government and as much as 50.6 cents in state taxes and fees. That’s a tax of up to $.70 per gallon.

The federal government alone will collect $24.75 billion in gas taxes this year.

That’s enough to shoot for the ultimate fuel-saving plan by distributing a nice new bicycle to every household in America . . . but that too would be a waste.

Americans don’t want teeny cars, or bicycles. They want comfort, safety and enough room to haul as much as they want, when they want.

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Photo Credit: iStockPhoto:Kaszojad

Despite the Obama Administration’s war on coal, the draconian regulation of so-called “greenhouse gases” and a freeze on offshore drilling, the U.S. energy sector has seen a dramatic rise in oil output on private land from “fracking”.

Fracking is a method of oil extraction that involves injecting fluids under high pressure into cracks in oil formations allowing once unrecoverable oil and gas deposits to flow at sharply reduced costs.

As a result, the international market for a barrel of oil is down from a high of $100 or more to $60 leading prices at the pump to drop dramatically to less than $3 a gallon in many areas of the country saving consumers more than $300 million a day in gas prices.

That’s not the only benefit that comes from American fracking.

America’s adversaries – particularly Russia and Iran – rely heavily on oil and gas revenues to fund their domestic budgets and their foreign adventures in places like the Ukraine, the Middle East and other hot spots overseas.

With world oil prices flat or falling, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Iranian’s mullahs will need to take a step back and reassess the cost benefit analysis of continued interference beyond their national borders – financial strains that experts predict will only intensify as North American oil production continues to rise in the year ahead.

Predictably, the Obama Administration and congressional democrats see these developments as a problem.

Earlier this month, in a last ditch effort to survive her run-off election against Congressman Bill Cassidy, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu tried but failed to pass the long stalled Keystone XL pipeline through the Senate despite veto threat from Obama Administration officials. The vote to proceed on the pipeline bill was defeated 59 – 41 votes including 39 Democrats voting against. She lost the run-off election by a nearly identical margin of 56% to 44% of the vote.

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