There was a story this morning on The Marketplace Morning Report which indicated that, because Americans drove a lot less this Memorial Day, the price of gas actually went down. Not by a lot. A few pennies, but down none the less. Apparently, we drove enough less that it seriously affected the supply of gasoline. So much so that we’re going to be paying a little less for gas for a while. Maybe we’ve managed to forestall that $4.00 per gallon for a few days. Of course, in many places it’s already gotten there.
See, that didn’t hurt so much, did it?
I know we drove very little this holiday weekend. The furthest we went was to Barbara Jeans down on Roscoe Boulevard. We might have normally taken a road trip down to South Florida somewhere, or maybe over to High Springs. But not this year. We tucked in and stayed home.
I didn’t even get the boat off the rack. But then, there are three weekends a year I just don’t run the boat. Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Amateur weekends, I call them, and have for years. Everyone who only runs their boat three weekends a year chooses those three, and the rental boat people do a huge business. People who have very little knowledge or seamanship skills are crowding the waterways, and it’s just not worth it to go out and fight the crowd. I’d much rather take any other weekend to go boating. So we didn’t drive, we didn’t cremate dead dinosaurs in the boat … I mowed Friday afternoon. Pretty much a low-gas-consumption, low-carbon weekend.
Which brings me to another story from MPMR this morning … a commentary by former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration. He was advocating a “Cap and Trade” scheme that allows companies to buy carbon offset credits at auction, meaning the companies that pollute the most pay the most. He rightly postulates that the companies would likely pass those costs on to consumers. But he also mentions something about dividend checks for families I guess from the Government that would auction the carbon credits. The theory being that the dividends would offset the higher prices charged by companies to pay for the carbon credits.
Seems to me, that’s a lot of steps for people to get back money they had in the first place. And I’m very skeptical about any Government of any stripe actually giving the money back.
But then, I’m skeptical about a lot of things.
Still, energy should be one of the top issues this fall. Energy pretty much IS the economy. As diesel prices continue to rise, anything transported by truck is going to be more expensive. Trucks will likely become more rare. A benefit may be that they may slow down. It’ll take things longer to be delivered, but if they can save fuel, it may be worth it. Commuters who are spending more and more on gasoline and food are facing the prospect of small or no cost of living raises because of the soft economy. I know that’s the case for me. Rising costs and a flat paycheck are never a comforting scenario. But it’s good to have a job, and doubly good that Andie’s working full time as well.
Energy is the war as well. Like it or not, while the war may not be ABOUT oil, a topic of some debate, it’s being fought in the region that pretty much controls the oil prices. And there may be no bigger user of oil than the United States Military.
So, we should drive less. We should slow down some, I may have to use my boat less. With the price of gas, that was pretty much a given anyway.
There is some body of thought that oil prices, like the real estate market, is a bubble. That it’ll eventually pop, and we’ll see some moderation of the price of crude and gasoline. We’ll see. But I’m pretty sure that until we have an alternative source of energy for SOMETHING … be it electricity, transportation, or what have you, the days of $20 oil and dollar-a-gallon gasoline are as gone as the dinosaurs they’re made of.