Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A High-Five!

Goes to the Appleton Post Crescent Editorial Board.

A woman who only identified herself as “Sherri” left this appeal on the “It’s Your Call” answering machine: “I have a question for those who take care of gas prices. Doesn’t anybody realize that this is actually going to affect the price of other things, like food? Can something actually be done here?”

Sherri, you address your questions to “those who take care of gas prices.” There is no bureau, or organization that “takes care” of gas prices.

Gas prices go up and down for many reasons. When oil producers, like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, decide to pump more, prices usually go down. But not always. Sometimes the price goes up, or stays up, because people who buy oil futures — contracts for oil delivered in the future — guess it will. The rules of supply and demand have made higher prices a good bet. Production varies, but supplies are finite.

Meanwhile, demand is growing. Americans are big oil consumers — the world’s biggest, in fact. We use too much to supply it ouselves, so about 60 percent of the oil we use comes from foreign sources. Now, India and China have become rivals for the supply. China may use as much oil as the U.S. by 2020.

Too often people whine and complain when the price of gas rises. I am quite surprised we have not heard more of it during this current rise in the price of gasoline.

The Appleton Post Crescent is spot on! People remember access to gasoline is not a right, we need to give something in exchange for it. We are also not the only consumers of gasoline in the world, and we have to compete with those other nations of people for it. The Post Crescent does go on to note how we have not implemented the usual leftist solutions to this problem but at least they are headed in the right direction.

I wonder if they will be surprised when stories about slumping SUV sales come out.