Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Brother, Can You Spare $80?

I put $15 of gas in my tank a couple of nights ago and it wasn't even anywhere near a quarter of a tank. Here we are, on the edge of summer - when gas prices usually go up anyway - and we're paying almost $4.00 per gallon of gas. It's costing me $80 to fill up my truck. And I know people with larger vehicles who are paying a lot more every week.

And yet, where's the outrage?

By watching the news or reading the news sites on the internet, you'd never know that gas prices are about to set an all-time record. And it makes me sick. There's not a single issue that affects every American like gas prices. It affects the cost of food and goods. It affects the service industry. It affects almost literally everything.

And what is our government doing about it? Are they building more refining capacity? No. Are they authorizing more drilling on U.S. soil (and waters)? No - just the opposite, actually. They're doing nothing.

When gas prices rose to record levels in 2005 following hurricanes Katrina and Rita our problem was apparent. We simply don't drill enough of our own oil and we don't have the refining capacity to meet demand. Back then the government should have allowed more drilling and should have worked with the oil companies to find a way to increase refining capacity and build new refineries. Those refineries would be just about ready to go online right about now and relieve some of the stress on our economy.

Our economy is trying to recover from a bad and lengthy recession, and it needs all the help it can get. Families - especially those out of work - can't afford to be paying $60 - $100 to fill up the gas tank on just one vehicle. That takes away income that we should be spending in other areas of the economy.

So why isn't the Congress and the Obama administration doing something about the price of gas?

I think it's because it's because they've got us right where they want us.

chart from

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