Brad Fitzpatrick:

I'm enjoying this rise. The sooner it gets to $5 or $10, the sooner people might care?

Agreed. A doubling or tripling of the relative price of gas is inevitable, and is probably the best long-term thing that could happen to the country, fully realizing that in the short term it's going to be painful.

I can appreciate the point of view, but theres a lot of not-very-wealthy people in northern states that rely on heating oil to stay alive during the winter. We take gasoline and driving to be a luxury because there are alternatives, but for a lot of people with not much money, it is integral to survival.

Posted by rektide on 2008-03-12

rektide,

Sorry, there are alternatives for both transportation and home heating. Growing up with meager means in New England we heated our house for the most part with wood and supplemented it with home heating oil because it was so expensive (in the 70s). Later, when they became available, we used kerosene space heaters for the main living areas and turned off heat for the rest of the house. And it's not like "the market" is going to keep the price of fuel low because it knows poor people are going to get cold. We usually solve those externalities with government programs like LIHEAP.

Posted by Joe on 2008-03-12

How exactly would a tripling of gas prices be beneficial? The inevitable recession - no - depression would make it pretty difficult to launch expensive programs that it will take to convert an entire country to some greener form of fuel. We didn't create this disaster in a day and we won't fix it in a year. What we need is a strong economy so we can invest serious capital in solving the huge logistical problems that face us. I'll grant you that it seems like a catch-22, but I'd argue that what we need is strong, visionary leadership not an economic collapse.

Posted by Christian Romney on 2008-03-13

Christian,

What we need is a strong economy so we can invest serious capital in solving the huge logistical problems that face us.

And how has that worked out for you? Remember, it's been 30 years since the last time we had real concerns about the fuel supply. I think sometime in that 30 year span we had a strong economy.

Oh, and a little historical grounding, it was large government spending that pulled the country out of the last depression.

Posted by Joe on 2008-03-13