High Gas Prices — Where’s the Downside?

Have you heard all the disastrous news? First of all, Detroit is cancelling orders for low-mileage vehicles like trucks and SUVs. People are crowding into underground and above-ground moving modules which the socialistic Europeans call public transportation.

The value of energy innovations like solar panels or wind turbines is always calculated by the money they can save or generate, and this is always based on the price of the fuel oil or gasoline they would save. All these innovations have become more valuable, so the ‘invisible hand’ of the free market will now favor them.

So higher fuel prices have reduced the production of obscene fuel-wasting vehicles, increased the use of buses and trains, and increased the economic viability of effective alternative solutions.

I’m still looking for the downside. Okay, the farmers and the salesmen get screwed. But no one worries about the salesmen and the farmers always get screwed, except, maybe, the ones who use draft horses or oxen… Would it be too terrible if we had more of them?

Let’s also consider the terrible consequences for the Indy 500, NASACAR and monster truck exhibitions. Often these public displays of wastefulness have had to be cut back or cancelled altogether. How sad does that make me?

I personally feel they should run the Indy 500 with Freddy Flintsone cars. Just try it once. That’s all I ask.

But don’t ask me about high gas prices. Ask Click and Clack of Car Talk. They — if anyone does — understand America’s love affair with the automobile, but they, like me, deplore the tax subsidies SUV owners have enjoyed and they have proposed a sizeable gas tax, several dollars per gallon.

Their argument is impeccably presented, and in my opinion, cannot be disputed. Without going into details, I will just say that at the end of the six- or seven-year period they project, the price of gasoline will have escalated to the same level it would have achieved without the tax, but during that time we, the American people, will have put aside a sizeable amount of money to throw around irresponsibly or put toward viable new solutions.

In the interests of full disclosure, I commute five miles to work and I drive a 1996/1997 Honda that paid for itself two years ago. The last two months I’ve been biking to work, but not for economic reasons.