Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gas - of the hot air variety

Well, gas prices hit another record high today - what's that? Something like seventeen straight days in a row now.

It's $3.75 per/gal here in Palmer, Alaska, well above the national average, but below the $4.00 per gallon in certain parts of California. And in a minute I'm going to run into town and fill up my tank and my gas cans before it goes any higher and the value of my money drops any lower.

If anybody was hoping for a solution or relief from the White House - well, you can kiss that idea good bye. I watched the President this morning - and what exactly the point of his address from the Rose Garden was I'm not sure, other than to tell us to take high energy costs and go fuck jolly well off. He made it clear that he's not going to do a damned thing until Congress lets his buddies in the Oil Industry drill in ANWR. I noticed he didn't bother to mention that even if Exxon got the green light today, it would be a minimum of five to ten years before those wells started putting significant petroleum into the pipeline, and probably more like fifteen. He also didn't mention who would pay for the feeder pipelines from the wells to the main Alyeska Pipeline at Prudhoe Bay, a couple of hundred miles, that can only be built during the two months of Arctic Summer and will take years to complete. How exactly that would lower gas prices at the pump in the near future he also did not bother to mention. He's also not interested in cutting summer gas taxes or halting the filling of the strategic reserve - despite the fact that we don't have the refinery capacity to process the oil held in the reserve and maintain enough output for civilian use.

Now, he did mention building new refineries on abandoned military bases. An interesting idea there, but he didn't mention how those refineries will reduce energy costs or who's going to pony up the billions necessary to construct them. And based on my own experience with reutilization of military installations, I figure the licensing and leasing of federal property, especially for HAZMAT operations such as a refinery, ought to take, oh, about five to seven years, minimum before construction even begins. Figure at least another five years for construction and well, it's not really George's problem is it?

The Decider did call on Congress to cut subsidies to 'multimillionaire' farmers - yet, strangely he made no mention of cutting subsidies to the oil industry, despite record profits over the last couple of years and especially in the first quarter of this year.

So, another day goes by. Congress blames the President, and the President pouts and whines and points his little finger at Congress. Both talk about leadership and neither have any idea of what the word means. If they were my children, I'd bang their heads together. I see revolution coming, I do. And not the good kind either.

What are the gas prices where you're at? And what's the general mood?


  1. Gas in the "Breadbasket of America" is around $3.47. We have been feeling pretty good around here since grain prices have been so good for the first time in decades, but there's a pervasive feeling that the other shoe is just about to fall. Fuel and fertilizer are so expensive, not to mention seed, that grain prices are going to have to stay this high to just break even this year - and we all know they can't stay so high without having a major affect on food prices everywhere. Having married into the farming life I think I can say without so much prejudice that farmers are the first to take it on the chin when there is even the slightest fluctuation in the economy.

    Problem is, what is the answer? I don't believe it is ANWR or any other solution Bush or Congress are arguing over. We've crushed any true entrepreneurial spirit with fear of the unknown and ridiculous lawsuits. Yet, as far as I'm concerned, its going to be the seemingly far-fetched, air-headed, mad-scientist type who must step in and save the day. Surely he's out there somewhere . . .


  2. I think gas prices were around $2.65 in WV and Md, and Michael said they were the same in OH.

    That would be WV MD along I68 and I70 and 270, and OH along I79, I70, and then I77.

    It's not the gas prices that bug me as much as the inability to admit that refusing to increase CAFE standards is part of what got us here in the first place.

    Even my staunch Republican grandmother objects to a lot of what Bush is doing right now--and she hasn't driven in years!

  3. I don't own a car (don't need one when I'm not on a movie and they give me a rental when they hire me).

    A web search shows prices ranging from $3.69 to $3.95 at various places in Brooklyn.

  4. $3.75 here too (well, $3.74 & 9/10, stupid nine tenths crap). I keep trying to be optimistic and assume it will further spark the development of alternate (read: NOT ethanol) fuels.

    And although I did just have to buy a new minivan -- freakish hybrids, air powered, or otherwise non-standard vehicles are in my family's future.

    And mood? Well, around these parts, the general economy is so bad that the big news is families moving out of state in droves to find jobs. So, it's pretty much just a suckfest all around.

  5. Heh, it would be nice if it was as low as $2.65...

    I haven't looked, but I'll need to fill the tank tonight. I think it was somewhere in the $3.75 range last time I drove past a station.

    I'm at the point where I'm seriously pondering bicycling to work. Despite the fact that I have no physical fitness to speak of and it's 10 miles, much of it on roads with speed limit 55. There must be some way to NOT be so completely dependent on gas for transportation.

  6. If you factor in the gallon to liter ratio, ours works out to $4.85 a gallon.
    Keith (my husband) has started riding his bicycle to work. He works in the next city over...it takes him a good hour to hour and a half to ride...but it is cheaper than driving. We will see how often he does it. I think comfort may win over cost.

  7. I'd love to be able to get rid of all but one car, and keep the MINI. Unfortunately it's not practical for a family of four - and our public transit in this area sucks.

    Our buses run once an hour between 8:30 and 4:30 - with an exception, they continue until 8:30 from the ferry terminal. I guess I should be thankful that we even have transit - the eldest son uses it to get to college. (4 transfers, 90 min)

  8. $3.659 in Rockville Md (just off 270) this bright and sunny morning.

    About a year ago I took a new job at least in part because my commute dropped from 60 minutes to 12 minutes. The consistently increasing gas prices only make me happier about the job switch (not to mention that I actually like it...). My husband is thinking about either increasing his hourly rate or adding a travel fee for the longer distance jobs). He has always liked big boat-like cars and had planned to get a Taurus X this year. That won't happen, unless Ford magically comes out with a hybrid version.

    Goodness knows what the solution will be (besides nuclear war, famine, or some other equally unpalatable situation).

    Natalie--feeling a bit freaked about the whole thing

  9. Natalie--feeling a bit freaked about the whole thing

    You ain't the only one, Doc.

  10. Natalie--feeling a bit freaked about the whole thing

    You ain't the only one, Doc.

    No kidding. "I've got a bad feeling about this..."

    I bought gas for my (motor)bike this morning -- $3.429. Actually, my bike is a good alternative for me. It regularly gets 75 mpg and in such a sunny climate as CO, it's rare that I'm inconvenienced by the weather.

  11. I gave up motorcycles long ago, Anne (4 accidents in less than a year, none my fault, stupid cars, oh and I hit a deer. Stupid deer. That one nearly killed me), but lately I've been thinking about getting one to run around on. Problem is, I'd like a HD Heritage Soft-Tail Classic, and I don't think my wife is going to let me spend that kind of money.

  12. Oh, and gas was $3.80 here, as of an hour ago. Up 10 cents in less than a day.

    I'm going to start shooting me some Exxon, BP, and ConocoPhillips executives, I am. I hear that if you render the fat bastards down, you can make high grade biodiesel out of the drippings...

  13. One of the maintenance guys who uses our lab regularly rides his bike every time he gets a chance, including in the snow.

    He came in one morning and told us he hit a deer, and not only did he walk away, but he was able drive his bike away.

    He knows he was really really lucky.

    I still want a motorcycle. Michael doesn't not want me to have one. And I can't say I necessarily disagree with him, because I love to go fast.

    Speed, clumsiness, and bad luck are not a good combination.

  14. Clumsy + Bike = Bad, Michelle, Just saying. I think I'm with Michael on this one. :)

  15. Clumsy + Bike = Bad

    Hate to say this, but they have a point, Michelle. (I like having you around too much!)

    I have heard many cautionary tales, so I am actually a much more careful motorcyclist than I am driving. I won't go into it all here, but suffice to say, although I do like going fast, I know my abilities have limits. (I'm really looking forward to improving!) I think it helps learning at an older, more sensible age, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that I am only a risk-taker when I have thought things through beforehand (sometimes too much).

  16. Michelle: Speed, clumsiness, and bad luck are not a good combination.

    Jim agrees: Clumsy + Bike = Bad, Michelle, Just saying. I think I'm with Michael on this one. :)

    Your friendly neighborhood braindoc also agrees, having seen some of the situations in which death might have been the preferable outcome. We like you in one piece, please. :-)


  17. Man, no one wants me to have any fun!

    (crouches down onto tricycle and pedals away as fast as she can)

  18. Should I tell her there are three wheeled motorcycles?

  19. Should I tell her there are three wheeled motorcycles?

    I've seen 'em--there are actually a couple around this area. Some of 'em look a little too much like ATVs for my tastes.


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