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Gas Should Be More Expensive

In Issue:

If we want to reduce fossil fuel consumption, I say, we should raise the price of gasoline to $7 a gallon.

Reason: Today this country burns through 21 million barrels of oil per day, 60 percent of which is imported. Only with some shared economic pain will we ever change our habits.

High gas prices will force us to think before we drive. It will encourage mass transit use, car pooling, and the sale of more fuel-efficient cars.

The auto industry will not suffer because it has learned that it can charge more for cars that are cheaper to build if those cars have a few luxury touches.

Individuals will spend more dollars on gasoline, even factoring in the reduced usage, but American motorists are notoriously inefficient and have traditionally done an awful job of planning their errand runs.

Average families will feel the pain, but, in my view, a move to less-expensive beer and other consumer goods should go a long way toward softening this inconvenience.

Drivers who own gas-guzzling pickup trucks will be motivated to carpool or take mass transit where it’s available.

Because mass transit is not as widely available as it should be, much of the gas price increase would be allocated to improving our railroads and creating more bus lanes.

As for diesel fuel, I would leave it at its current price of $4 a gallon. Yes, that will encourage the sale of diesel vehicles, but despite the hue and cry of environmentalists about all things diesel, those cars today are just as fuel efficient as the gas-burning kind.

Large diesel trucks, of course, must remain because they deliver the majority of the goods we consume.

My proposition is simple enough. Higher fuel prices mean less fuel consumed, and that means cleaner air and reduced dependence on imported fossil fuels.

A tough proposal? Sure. But Americans are a tough people capable of making hard decisions when it comes to spending.

The opinions expressed in “The Contrarian View” do not represent those of The Saturday Evening Post.

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  • anne

    good grief, has this comment section been taken over by stiff necked tea baggers who can’t see the forest through the trees?

    okay, let’s have low gas prices so you can drive your monster guzzlers and spew pollution into the air. in the meantime asthma cases for children will go up and cancer deaths will rise, obviously cheap gas is far more important than preserving the only planet we can survive on.

    and cato, while i agree in general with your point history does show that people will only take the easy way of things no matter what the consequence and… in addition a lot of major industries had gov’t help to get them to prosper like OIL AND GAS SUBSIDIES. so if you want gov’t out of business then stop the subsidies, they don’t need them now.

  • Cato

    The liberal looks that the world and itches to wave a magic wand and force people to bend their will to his. It’s for their own good, of course. It will make the world a better place, you see. Such a magic wand exists in the form of all-powerful government. When people don’t cooperate voluntarily, then force must be applied via the law. Liberals forget that the law is a gun pointed at the head of the citizen. Liberals deplore guns in the hands of private individuals, but have no qualms about using government-owned guns (in the form of the police) on the citizenry for everything from tax collection to banning plastic bags. When one policy effort fails as people find a way around it, the liberal doesn’t give up. His response is to exert more control, never to lessen it. And so control over the society steadily increases under liberalism (understood here as left-wing progressivism), as every effort by individuals to follow their self-interest must gradually be squelched where it contradicts the liberal’s view of what’s best for them.

    The conservative looks at the world as it is and tries to work with human nature, not alter it. Watch old movies, read old books, you will see that human nature is immutable. The conservative understands that people will always try to act in what they perceive to be their self-interest. It takes force to prevent them from doing so. And even if you apply force in one area, they will find another way around it. Sure, some things must be regulated, and there must be the rule of law and enforcement of contracts, for example, in order to maintain the peace and keep people from harming or cheating each other. But a conservative doesn’t seek to go beyond these basics of government control. People are trusted to do what’s right, and no one is so wise as to tell others what they can buy or what they should pay for simple goods. The force and might of the governmental monopoly of force must be used as sparingly as possible, for it is a blunt and terrible weapon.

    A child may ask, “Wouldn’t it be nice if people did x or had to do y?” An adult understands that there is a big gap between wishing and forcing.

    So please, spare us your social engineering schemes. Trust the wisdom of crowds. And trust that when green energy is ready for widespread use, it will take off like a wildfire — the same as when gasoline-powered technology took off in the early 20th century. The government didn’t have to force people to stop riding horse and start using cars. The same will happen when green technology is ready. Be patient, spare us your guns, don’t distort the market signals that will tell us what works best and when is the best time. Forcing the issue will only delay its effective implementation, and cause a great deal of suffering (through the artificial increase in costs) in the meantime. Trust the people.

  • tpaine

    This article had to be written by a high school student. Little scimpy on the facts but bursting with enviromental (extremist) talking points. The writer should change their surname to ”luddite”.

  • Rick H.

    Now the liberals have infested the Saturday Evening Post?

    What next? a Rockellian cover of a gay “marriage”?

  • Go ahead, raise gas prices before the election, you stupid watermelons! (Green on the outside, red on the inside).

    Can’t wait till late October to keep replaying that tape of Obama saying his energy policies would triple America’s heating, electric and travel costs.

    Plus, you’ll drive the cost of food through the roof (ITS NOT ALL DELIVERED BY DiESEL, YOU MORON).

    And many of those “people driving pickups” that you turn your little snot nose up at and that you want to carpool, they USE THEIR TRUCKS FOR WORK, you stupid jackass.

    Keep it up, with your help, maybe Obama can lose ALL 57 STATES.

  • bobh

    Don’t assume that everyone lives in an urban area with mass transit or the carpool option. People living in rural areas are struggling enough as it is.

  • Richard

    The author is a turd.

  • anymouse

    Well, this is either one of the elite rich libs who still has enough income to demand she be taxed more or an OWSer.
    For those of us that actually have trouble affording the gas to get to work and still put food on the table when its at $3.50, obviously this is idiotic. Its retarded stupidity like this that proves liberals are entirely out of touch with the very people they [i]claim[/i] to champion.

  • Robbins Mitchell

    Was Janus Ludak born stupid or does he take lessons?…the only reason we import such a large percentage of our petroleum is not due to shortage of proven recoverable domestic reserves….it is because the Obama administration’s energy policies make it more difficult and costly to recover them…like prohibiting drilling in shallow water offshore which necessitates more costly deep water driling…and by such things as killing the Keystone XL pipeline…and because it can take up to 10 yrs to get full government approval to build a new refinery…if Janus Ludak really wants to pay $7/gal for gasoline,he should move to Europe and live happily ever after

  • Kyle Prunty

    Pardon me, that would be vast resources, not vast recourses.

  • Kyle Prunty

    I could not disagree with this article more. It does not take an economist to understand that the rising cost of fuel increases transportation costs and rising transportation costs increase the price of goods and services. Additionally, businesses cannot simply pass on the entirety of the additional expense to consumers. That would make their products cost prohibitive and uncompetitive. Businesses must institute cost-cutting measures to compensate for the portion of the additional expense that consumers cannot absorb. This means cutting employee pay, benefits, and even jobs. Now you have consumers paying more for their own fuel, and more for the other goods and services they require, on smaller budgets. Consumers can no longer keep up with their bills. Bankruptcies and foreclosures follow. More lower income families and less consumer spending also results in decreased revenue to the government. Decreased revenue to the government causes the same people who desire higher fuel prices to demand higher taxes for the rich. Since the rich are the job creators in this country, increasing their tax burden will only result in even higher unemployment.
    Currently, green energy alternatives are expensive, inefficient, and impractical. The free market, not some taxpayer-funded boondoggle, may eventually change that. However, for now, fossil fuels remain the engine of our economy. The only true solution to this manufactured crisis is to take matters into our own hands. We must drill for, and mine, the vast recourses we have under our own feet

  • ben77

    I have to disagree with this article because raising the price of Fuel puts a further strain on the Middle class we are already paying more for groceries, and general merchandise due to fuel cost going up example i used to pay .58 for a can of corn now it’s .86 cents i used to pay 2.99 for a LB of Beef its now over 4.00 a LB the price of price of a pair of blue jeans used to be 32.99 now they are over 40.00 a pair. now dont get me wrong i understand cost of living goes up over time but financial experts have said that fuel cost raises shipping costsand shipping cost will always raise consumer cost Driving up cost of fuel creates a ripple effect we cannot afford.