Gas prices: We’re number one!

by

Apparently Sarah Palin is worried that gas prices will reach $4/gallon. Doesn’t she have anything else to worry about?

About these ads

Tags: , , ,

53 Responses to “Gas prices: We’re number one!”

  1. Sou Says:

    The following paper is old, and is written about petrol prices in Australia. AFAIK it is still applicable to petrol pricing in principle (although current prices are higher than in the paper):
    http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/cib/2003-04/04cib10.htm

    The paper includes a chart comparing the situation in different countries in 2003:
    http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/cib/2003-04/04cib10-7.gif

    In the USA apparently there is very little tax on petrol, which to a large degree explains why it is so cheap there.

    In Australia, the pump price at the moment is around US$5.50 to US$6 a US gallon – varying from day to day and by location.

  2. Neven Says:

    Bart, you don’t get it. Americans are God’s Privileged People.

  3. adelady Says:

    sou, the petrol price thing often gives me a jolt when I’m comfortably conversing across the Pacific with USAnians. Conversation goes along normally, then $4 or $5 a gallon for gas comes up. Huh? I’m usually paying at least that – every week.

  4. J Bowers Says:

    Hmmm, a jump from Canada’s $5.89 to USA’s $3.55, the only consecutive difference of more than $1.00. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. I wonder what the net reality is.

    1998
    * “Real Price Of Gasoline” Report Reveals Actual Cost of Gas to Consumers Is as High as $15.14 per Gallon
    * That full report as a PDF

    2008
    * Real Cost of a Gallon of Gas: $11.35 plus

  5. Eli Rabett Says:

    Yes, well a lot of that difference is soaked up in larger, less efficient cars in the US and the general availability of better public transport in Europe/Japan

  6. Sou Says:

    Would people buy more fuel efficient cars if the price of petrol rose in the USA? Would there be a push to improve public transport?

  7. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    Exactly how does another country paying more for a product (primarily due to far higher tax rates on it) mean Sarah Palin shouldn’t worry about gas prices in the United States?

    This criticism of her is ridiculous.

  8. sailrick Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger

    You, me and everyone else pays for the externalized costs, one way or another. The trouble with Sarah is that she would never admit that.
    The costs to society from fossil fuels is huge, hundreds of $billions per year, in the U.S. alone. – harm to the environment, health costs, trade deficit, trade with unfriendly countries, military costs of protecting oil trade, damage to infrastructure from acid rain, smog, global warming, mercury and arsenic poisoning from coal, ocean acidification.

    How much per gallon is a liveable planet worth?

  9. sailrick Says:

    I forgot two wars over oil in the Mid-East, with thousands of lives lost and America’s image in the world damaged.
    Or were you under the illusion that we went into just about the only Muslim country in the mid-east, where Al Queda was not operating, to find Osama Bin Ladin?

  10. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    sailrick, I’m not going to disagree with you right now. The things you said deserve a response, but it would hardly be topical. Even if one accepts everything you said, it in no way suggests Sarah Palin should be unconcerned about gasoline prices in the United States reaching four dollars per gallon.

    As a person living in the United States, I worry about gasoline prices reaching that point. I hope and expect the people responsible for running the country to worry about it too. The fact other countries pay more for gasoline in no way diminishes my concern about the impact this increase in prices will have.

  11. jakerman Says:

    FWIF the price in Australia is about $5.30/Gal (1.40/litre, at least last time I looked, which is not very often- one of the benefits of public transport).

    US’s QE (quantitative easing) will likely drive up petrol prices further given its the petro-dollar. As the USD is falling relative to currency like AUD we may be slightly sheltered from these rises.

    Next we need a cartel of coal exporters (including Aus) to put a big rent resource/carbon tax on coal exports. And Canada to do the same with tar sands. There by our export revenue will be maintained for lower export quantity = less Ponzi scheme growth, less global consumption and less energy shock overtime.

  12. Bart Says:

    Brandon,

    If you’re used to paying $2.50 for a loaf of bread and then someone comes along an complains about the price of bread reaching $1, wouldn’t you think “puhleeze…”? Of course the one doing the complaining, who is used to paying $0.90, has a right to complain. Who hasn’t? Others have a right to say puhleeze and put it in perspective. That’s really all there’s to it.

    Don’t you have something else to get worked up about ;-) ?

  13. Bart Says:

    Sou,

    During the previous price increase in oil a few years back, media reported that sales of SUV’s in the US were plummeting. I didn’t look into it more than reading the news reports though.

  14. J Bowers Says:

    Brandon, how much does each Alaskan get in the form of a cheque each year from the oil companies, but via the state’s windfall tax? Who do you think reimburses the oil company shareholders at the end of the line? Who helped introduce that piece of legislation which increased windfall taxes when she was governor of Alaska?

    $6 billion to the state through windfall tax. Alaska took 75% of the price on a barrel of oil in tax. How does that sit with Tea Party free market values? I guess all those Republicans and defenders of free market principles (nothing for nothing) return all those cheques and tell the Gummint to hand that money right back to who it belonged? Oh, no, I guess they don’t. $1,200 on top of the $2,000 in the oil wealth savings account, times almost 700,000 residents. Do the maths.

    Sarah Palin – Tax the corporations and redistribute that wealth, but touch healthcare and you’re a socialist. Obama proposes the same or similar oil windfall-profit tax reimbursement for the entire nation, at the same time, and guess what – he’s a socialist!! McCain, Palin’s running mate, jumps on it like Obama’s trying to infect the nation with leprosy.

    Alaska 2006, the year Palin became governor; no state income, property or sales tax, a budget surplus, but getting $1.75 back from government for every tax dollar. Go figure.

  15. Eli Rabett Says:

    Well, other than all politics being local, one of the hidden advantages of high taxes on things with huge external costs is as a buffer against sudden price increases as the percentage increase in total cost is lower. Sad experience shows that if the tax fell to absorb part of the increase the producers/importers would game the system.

    The obvious advantages are better fuel efficiency (that went up in the 1970s in the US in response to price rises due to the oil embargo and shortages. It is also the period when people started to buy more fuel efficient imports) and better public transport because of increased demand.

  16. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    Bart, I’m not worked up about anything. I just don’t get the criticism here. You can say you’re just putting things in perspective, but really, you’re criticizing Sarah Palin for doing exactly what she should do. You effectively said she shouldn’t worry about something which her job demands she worry about.

    I have no problem with putting things in perspective. If a politician talks about poverty in his country, you are welcome to point out all those countries which have even more poverty. Just don’t say he’s wrong to worry about the poverty in his country. That someone’s problem is worse than yours doesn’t mean you should just not worry about your problem.

    And J Bowers, exactly what does that have to do with the topic at hand? Nothing you said addresses whether or not Sarah Palin should worry about gas prices so it seems the only reason you made that comment is so you could criticize what you dislike.

  17. J Bowers Says:

    Petrol/oil prices (tick). Taxation (tick). Sarah Palin (tick).

  18. jakerman Says:

    Brandon writes:

    “you’re criticizing Sarah Palin for doing exactly what she should do.”

    You think she should be worrying about $4/Gal petro? I think she should be worried about $8/Gal petrol within 10 years.

    Hence she need to change her priorities and her critique, but I’m not holding my breath for her to join the real world.

  19. Paul Middents Says:

    What exactly is Sarah Palin’s job? She’s a Faux News shill paid to run against Obama. She should consider why we haven’t been taxing gasoline at a rate that might finance repairs/improvements to our rapidly disintegrating infrastructure. This might have encouraged us to develop more efficient cars a long time ago.

  20. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    jakerman, worrying about prices reaching one value doesn’t preclude worrying about prices reaching another point. If $8/Gal within 10 years is a likely scenario (an issue I don’t care to discuss), Palin should worry about that in addition to worrying about prices reaching $4/Gal.

    And for what it’s worth Paul Middents, there is no particular reason to think high taxes on gasoline would lead to improved infrastructure in the United States, and it is quite likely Palin has considered why taxes on gasoline aren’t higher. Most people who have done any work with politics have.

  21. Paul Middents Says:

    Since gas taxes go the road funds in my state, why shouldn’t higher gas taxes over an extended period result in improved infrastructure? I believe that the federal tax (18 or so cents per gallon) is also dedicated to transportation related uses. Yes we know why the taxes aren’t higher–gutless and/or opportunistic politicians playing to the cheap seats where you sit.

  22. jakerman Says:

    “jakerman, worrying about prices reaching one value doesn’t preclude worrying about prices reaching another point. If $8/Gal within 10 years is a likely scenario (an issue I don’t care to discuss), Palin should worry about that in addition to worrying about prices reaching $4/Gal.”

    It makes a difference to the polices which you’d advocate. $4 petrol is a lost cause, she’d better start planning for a state with much higher fuel costs. Drill baby drill won’t do it. She better switch to efficiency, baby efficiency@. Or Trains baby trains! Or batteries baby, batteries!

  23. Hans Verbeek Says:

    And still gas is so cheap in the Netherlands that most people prefer their car over cycling or walking.
    Prices will rise even more. Light, sweet crude is becoming scarce.
    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world_business/view/1119065/1/.html

  24. Roddy Campbell Says:

    I don’t understand this post either.

    When I go to the USA I find a range of things that are cheaper, petrol/gas is one of them but clothing and fresh food are two others. I’m pretty sure clothing and fresh food are generally cheaper in the USA than most places in Europe, if not to the extent that gas/petrol is.

    If Sarah Palin worried about clothing or food getting more expensive I doubt she’d be criticised by climate bloggers.

    So that leads me to think, hmmmm, it’s because it’s gas/petrol that this post has been written, he wouldn’t write it about anything else in the shopping basket, and the post is actually, really, criticising Palin’s policy of wanting cheap gas.

    In which case, say so – say that taxes should rise nearer to world levels in order to try and bring down consumption and raise gvt revenue and help save the planet.

  25. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    Paul Middents, when taxes are increased in the United States, the revenue they generate tends not to be spent efficiently. Unless there is an explicit portion of the law stating what the money would be used for, there is no way to know where that money would wind up. Perhaps all the money raised would go to infrastructure improvements. Perhaps half of it would. Perhaps none of it would. Simply implementing taxes does nothing to guarantee the revenue from those taxes goes where you want it to go.

    There is also the issue of unintended consequences. The most obvious example is if you raise the price on something too high, the consumption of it will drop so much you wind up getting less money. Other examples are less obvious, but pervasive. Higher gas prices would affect all aspects of the economy, and it could severely harm a large amount of people. These sort of problems could cause the infrastructure to get worse in the long run.

    Roddy Campbell, I suspect your instinctive reaction has some validity to it. Another thing you might consider is what if Barack Obama said he was worried about gas prices reach $4/gal in the United States? Is it likely he’d be criticized, or would the same people criticizing Sarah Palin accept he had legitimate concerns about how the increase in price would affect the economy and people within his country?

    Incidentally, the United States couldn’t afford to have gas prices like most European countries. The geographical layout of the United States necessitates larger gasoline consumption.

  26. J Bowers Says:

    Brandon Shollenberger — “Paul Middents, when taxes are increased in the United States, the revenue they generate tends not to be spent efficiently.”

    Name a country which uses their taxes efficiently. Define tax efficiency.

    “Unless there is an explicit portion of the law stating what the money would be used for, there is no way to know where that money would wind up.”

    Straw man. You elect your legislators who give you all the clues that you need in their manifesto. If you’re unhappy with that they do once in office you vote for someone else next time. That’s the nature of a republican democracy. If you don’t like that you could always change to another democratic system.

  27. jakerman Says:

    “Higher gas prices would affect all aspects of the economy, and it could severely harm a large amount of people. These sort of problems could cause the infrastructure to get worse in the long run.”

    Yep, and the solution is changing the infrastructure one supports. Stop resourcing Ponzi shemes such as larger highways, and carparks that depend on and economy using more fuel. And switch those remaining resorces to infrastructure that make sense in a world of deminishing oil, and hence rising fuel prices.

  28. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    J Bowers, absolutely nothing you said has any bearing on my comments. You are attempting to force me to argue positions I have never expressed, and you accuse me of using a straw man while doing so. You’re being silly.

    jakerman, I am having trouble seeing how your response has any bearing on the subject at hand. The same is true of how you could possibly justify your use of the phrase “Ponzi shemes,” though I’m not sure that one really matters.

  29. jakerman Says:

    “jakerman, I am having trouble seeing how your response has any bearing on the subject at hand.”

    That is an unfortunate pattern with your responses Brandon. Perhaps you’v got some idea in your head with is at cross purposes to that on the thread.

    “how you could possibly justify your use of the phrase “Ponzi shemes,””

    Brandon, Ponzi schemes are pyramid bubble schemes, that are used to con people into beleiving they to make economic sense in the short term, but are in fact unsustainable. They draw suckers in, just to leave them high and dry. This what is happening with infrastructure projects (and economic bubbles) that depend on continued growth based on access to cheap oil.

  30. Paul Kelly Says:

    Jakerman, The term Ponzi scheme has a specific meaning. The situations you describe, terrible as they may be, are not Ponzi schemes.

  31. jakerman Says:

    Paul, A Ponzi scheme is commonly understood as “system is destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments to investors”.

    Similarly the multi hundred billion dollar infrastructure invested in widening roads is claimed to make similar returns to economic growth in the future as past investment. Some claim investment to widen highways today will provide payback returns that will more than compensate for the cost of building it.

    It won’t if the price oil changes behaviour (which it will) and hence changes the economy (which it must). Expanded highways will be sunk costs, never to repay themselves. Employment and economic growth oriented to this type of past access to cheap fuel will be pruned back. Like with other Ponzi schemes some will make big bucks on the front end of the deal, but the community or investors will be lumped with the uneconomic debt in the end.

  32. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    jakerman, your response to me is completely non-responsive. I expressed difficulty in ascertaining the relevance of your comments to the subject at hand. You offered no explanation to answer my confusion, and instead you suggested the fault my lie in me. I make no claims of perfect behavior, but unless you can resolve the confusion I highlighted, anything regarding me is irrelevant. Unless you offer a more responsive response, I don’t see any point in continuing this exchange.

    In the mean time, I feel obliged to point out the definition you claim is commonly understood is not a common definition of a Ponzi scheme, even if one ignores the grammatical issues in your defining sentence. You quoted Wikipedia discussing one aspect of a Ponzi scheme as though it were a common definition of a Ponzi scheme. A singular trait does not make a definition. You proposed definition is no better than if a person defined a dog as “mammal” because a dog is a mammal. Obviously that definition, and yours, describe a trait of the object being discussed, not the object in its entirety.

    In short, nothing you have said has any validity given what you have said so far. If you offer some elucidation which clarifies the points I have raised, I’d be glad to respond. Otherwise, I think we have both said more than enough.

  33. jakerman Says:

    Brandon writes:

    Brandon: “jakerman, your response to me is completely non-responsive.”

    The response Brandon says is “completely non-responsive” would be this comment:

    Brandon: “jakerman, I am having trouble seeing how your response has any bearing on the subject at hand.”
    Jakerman reply: “That is an unfortunate pattern with your responses Brandon. Perhaps you’v got some idea in your head with is at cross purposes to that on the thread.”

    Which is responsive to this pattern by Brandon:

    Brandon: “J Bowers, absolutely nothing you said has any bearing on my comments. “

    Brandon: “Bart, I’m not worked up about anything. I just don’t get the criticism here.”

    Brandon: “J Bowers, exactly what does that have to do with the topic at hand? Nothing you said addresses whether or not Sarah Palin should worry about gas prices so it seems the only reason you made that comment is so you could criticize what you dislike.”

    Brandon: “jakerman, I am having trouble seeing how your response has any bearing on the subject at hand.”

    Let me explain the lastest point that Brandon can’t see the link to the subject at hand:

    Brandon: “Higher gas prices would affect all aspects of the economy, and it could severely harm a large amount of people. These sort of problems could cause the infrastructure to get worse in the long run.”
    Jakerman: “Yep, and the solution is changing the infrastructure one supports. Stop resourcing Ponzi schemes such as larger highways, and car parks that depend on and economy using more fuel. And switch those remaining resources to infrastructure that make sense in a world of diminishing oil, and hence rising fuel prices.”

    Which relates to people like Sarah Palin worrying about lost causes such as $4/Gal petrol, and hence prioritising zombie policies. But you show an unfortunate pattern of not recognising these links. Oh well, I guess some people won’t see things they don’t want to see.

  34. jakerman Says:

    Brandon writes:

    Brandon: “In the mean time, I feel obliged to point out the definition you claim is commonly understood is not a common definition of a Ponzi scheme”

    Brandon, I notice you fail to provide a better description of what is commonly understood as a Ponzi scheme. In place of such you offer unconvincing unsupported opinion.

    Brandon: “You quoted Wikipedia discussing one aspect of a Ponzi scheme as though it were a common definition of a Ponzi scheme. A singular trait does not make a definition.”

    I again note you offer no improvement to what I stated a “Ponzi scheme is commonly understood” as. Note in describing common understanding one is certainly not obliged to provide a definition of every aspect and potentiality of a term. I provide what I maintain is the commonly understood (or essence of) the Ponzi scheme. Which in itself is an analogy.

    Brandon: “You proposed definition is no better than if a person defined a dog as “mammal” because a dog is a mammal.”

    This is a failed analogy on your part Brandon. The equivalent K9 analogy would be to say a dog is commonly understood as a mammal that barks and considered a good pet by many due to its agreeable nature. Not a fulsome definition, but the common understanding.

  35. MikeN Says:

    [edit. BV]

    Imagine the country with the lowest murder rate, and it sees a large uptick in murder, like the society in Demolition Man. Doesn’t this country or Miss Huxley have anything else to worry about?

  36. Bart Says:

    MikeN,

    If you’re gonna insult the host, at least try to be a little classy about it. Or better yet, don’t.

  37. Bart Says:

    Gas is not the only thing that’s cheaper in the US than in Europe, granted.

    But would we expect a highly charged political statement being made out of the president becoming the $1-loaf-of-bread-president if the price of bread were to break the $1 mark in my earlier example?

    For a rather tongue in cheek comment/observation this post invoked quite some discussion.

  38. PonderTerra Says:

    You can find a more extensive summary of fuel prices by country here: http://www.gtz.de/de/dokumente/giz2011-international-fuel-prices-2010-2011-data-preview.pdf. It is based on $81/barrel November-2010 Brent-crude oil prices.

  39. Steven Sullivan Says:

    This is how Palin actually expressed her ‘concern':
    “Let’s not forget that in September 2008, candidate Obama’s Energy Secretary in-waiting said: ‘Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.’ That’s one campaign promise they’re working hard to fulfill!” she wrote. “Hitting the American people with higher gas prices like this is essentially a hidden tax and a transfer of wealth to foreign regimes who are providing us the energy we refuse to provide for ourselves.”

    So cut the nonsense about ‘what if Obama said he was worried about $4/gallon gas?”, Brandon. You aren’t fooling anyone and neither is Palin. Her ‘concern’ is simply another cudgel to be wielded in a political/ideological battle.

  40. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    Steven Sullivan, I never saw what Sarah Palin said. Our host didn’t bother to discuss it, so I didn’t see any point in delving into the matter. I limited myself to what our host has said. I have no idea how that could be viewed as trying to fool anyone.

  41. willard Says:

    Somehow related, Exxon Mobil does not pay taxes but still gets a rebate:

  42. J Bowers Says:

    Reverse socialism: Redistributing that little wealth from those who need it to the filthy rich.

  43. Eli Rabett Says:

    FWIW, in a Ponzi scheme old investors are paid by money collected from new investors minus the takeout.

  44. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    Indeed Eli Rabett. They are also fraudulent by nature.

  45. Brandon Shollenberger Says:

    grrr, it’s a sad truth of the law that it almost always is playing catch up. People will always find new ways to cause problems which lawmakers haven’t accounted for.

  46. willard Says:

    > In total, annual tax breaks that support gasoline production and use amount to $9.1 to $17.8 billion.

    Source: http://www.progress.org/2003/energy22.htm

    These look like very broad estimates. Does anyone has more accurate numbers?

  47. willard Says:

    On the Wikipedia page for the Ponzi scheme:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzi_scheme#Similar_schemes

    there are two interesting mentions. The first one is the **Greater Fool Theory**:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_fool_theory

    The second one is the expression **robbing Peter to pay Paul**:

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rob_Peter_to_pay_Paul

    To “use resources that legitimately belong to or are needed by one party in order to satisfy a legitimate need of another party, especially within the same organization or group” would be a fair paraphrase of the argument put forward by Senator Sanders in the above video.

  48. willard Says:

    Oh, and speaking of schemes:

  49. jakerman Says:

    “FWIW, in a Ponzi scheme old investors are paid by money collected from new investors minus the takeout.”

    Old investors = initial investors (in case of highways = initial government with funded with corporate benefactors, and even PPP investors)

    New investors = those picking up the bill if highways are uneconomic = government dept, and “In some PPP contractual arrangements the public authority actually guarantees the private partner a minimum level of profit for a set period of time. Depending on the jurisdictions, such undertakings can result in massive public liability in the event that a PPP fails.”

  50. Eli Rabett Says:

    While the law and regulations are always playing catch up, not playing catch up simply means that the thievery continues. The real sad truth is that every regulation is there because some wise guy tried something nasty.

  51. willard Says:

    Oh, and speaking of lawful schemes:

  52. Hans Verbeek Says:

    Oilprices are rising fast.
    West Texas Intermediate is trading for $113 per barrel
    Brent costs $126 per barrel.

    The era of cheap energy is gone.

  53. Bart Says:

    Rising fossil fuel prices will make alternatives relatively more economical. But amongst those alternatives are renewables as well as unconventional fossil fuels (of which there is probably plenty on a centennial timescale). So while the era of cheap fossil energy may ‘soon’ come to a gradual end, whether that also counts for the era of fossil fuel is another matter entirely: It’s our choice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 124 other followers

%d bloggers like this: