Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One Holiday I'm Glad We're Not Celebrating

The Green Miles recently made headlines (OK, so it was page 48 of the Post Express) for suggesting that public opposition to the Clinton/McCain plan to temporarily eliminate the federal gas tax showed that maybe, just maybe, we'd reached a turning point on energy policy:
Americans are finally saying they don't want short-term cheap gas -- they want solutions that would take long-term pressure off energy prices, like more fuel efficient cars and American-made renewable energy.

But if there's anyone who can keep a good pander alive in the face of increasing public awareness, it's your ratings-seeking media. Last week on WTOP radio, an anchor teased an upcoming gas prices story by saying, "Still ahead, waiting for that bubble to burst so we can fill our gas tanks in a pain-free manner." If anyone out there thinks we'll wake up one day to magically find gas back to $1.09 a gallon, I strongly discourage you from holding your breath.

The great irony is that previous attempts to change our national energy policy (like 2005's Climate Stewardship Act) were rejected because opponents said they might -- get ready for it -- drive up gas prices. So now we have the worst of both worlds -- high gas prices and we're still as addicted to oil as ever. As Joseph Romm writes at Grist, analysts are now revising their previous caps on just how high prices might go:

While $12-15 a gallon gas is probably a long way away -- and still preventable -- it looks increasingly like we dawdled too long on alternatives to avoid $6-7.

What's the reason for the delay in alternatives? I think we all know why.

Cross-posted from Raising Kaine

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