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Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

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  • Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

    What actions would you like to see the government take to control or suppress gas prices? I don't want to see anything done. Just let it alone.

    This is a very hot topic. You can barely turn on the 24 hour news networks without hearing something about this. Everyone has an opinion. A new Manhattan Project for fuel, ethanol, methanol, driving slower, driving less, mass transit, new gas taxes, rescinding old gas taxes, new drilling, new refineries, new nuclear plants, price controls. . .and all of it makes me want to vomit. Here are my opinions:

    Manhattan Project for Fuel: A great way to waste another $20 Billion dollars. If you really have $20B weaing a hole in, increase combat pay and death benefits for the soldiers.

    Ethanol: Another great way to waste money. If it costed less than petroleoum fuel and were available to consumers, we'd already be using it. If, one day, it does in fact cost less and is widely available, I intend to start using it. Until that day, I'll use gasoline. Or whatever is cheaper and easier.

    Methanol: See ethanol.

    Driving slower/less/hybrid cars: If it makes economic sense to you to drive slower or less, be my guest. But don't force everyone to drive slow just because you like to. Some people like 4 cylinder Prii (plural of Prius?). Others like V12 Ferrari (I think that's actually the correct plural in Italian! Huh.). Whatever floats your boat.

    Mass Transit: If gas climbs to rediculous levels, or if gas' non-petroleum equivilant costs that much, Southern California's freeways and wide boulevards will provide a great solid foundation for a rail system. Until then I'll drive my own car, thank you. In fact, even if it is $20/gallon, some people may prefer to drive. Hell, some people take helicopters to work. I'll betcha that ain't cheap. Feel free to do whatever mass transit improvements you like, but don't throw money down the toilet.

    New drilling: Go for it. I doubt it'll dent prices much. And stay out of protected wildlife sanctuaries as much as reasonably possible.

    New refineries: See new drilling.

    New nuclear plants: Go for it.

    Price controls: It worked for Soviet Russia.

    Look, fuel is a commodity just like copper. Its price fluctuates. Recent years have seen an increase in demand without a matching increase in supply. The price rises. If something else becomes available, someone somewhere will try to capitalize (read: profit) off of it. If you want that person to be you, then go for it. In the meantime, just let the market do its thing. Don't mettle.



    Edit: I realize many people may have strong feelings on this subject, and it's not my intention to offend. I simply feel that many - if not all - ideas that have been proposed on the subject (both in the forums and in the "real" wold) are misguided.
    Last edited by Nikolas; 05-10-2006, 02:50 PM.
    A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

    "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

  • #2
    Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

    Some people would like the government to do less, not more: http://www.taxpayer.net/energy/

    Subsidies make it harder for the "someone somewhere" to capitalize on the possibilities when "something else becomes available". It also makes it less likely that supply will increase.

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    • #3
      Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

      There was a great column in the Detroit News today, which I agree with.

      http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll...605100311/1008

      He sums it up best at the end:

      Originally posted by The Detroit News
      And, of course, few who hoped to keep their jobs dared speak of the only viable solution, absent higher production -- letting prices rise to the level where consumers substantially curb demand.

      We've been here before, and we'll be here again -- over and over -- until the pandering stops and the problem solving begins.
      "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
      He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

      - Attributed to General George Patton, Jr.

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      • #4
        Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

        What about hydrogen cars or whatever they are called?

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        • #5
          Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

          There are several obstacles that we must overcome before hydrogen fuel cells become practical.

          First, we need a better way to make the hydrogen. Most hydrogen being produced today is made from natural gas which sorta defeats the purpose. To reap the benefits of using hydrogen, we must develop a carbon neutral development route.

          Also, currently we have two different methods for storing hydrogen in an automobile; liquid and compressed gas. Both could be hazardous in an accident and neither provides the capacity that a usable car would need. This one appears to be the stumbling block most of the experts are concerned about.

          Fuel cell efficiency is also still not up to par. The last I heard it still fuel cells were averaging ~$200 per kilowatt.

          I really like the idea of electric cars. From my understanding, transmissions would no longer be necessary as electric motors have a flat power band and are capable af extremely high RPMs.

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          • #6
            Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

            There are some really exotic fuel cell designs out there, including a lot of storage designs involving ceramic plates and other solids. Most are still impractical for anything other than advanced research and NASA projects.

            There are a lot of ways we could increase fuel efficiency using existing technology if we had the economic and political will to do so.
            In game handle: Steel Scion
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            • #7
              Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

              [Sidetrack]Speaking of 4-cylinders, I had the pleasure of driving a Chevvy Malibu early this week (I got the short straw on the loaner cars while mine was getting an oil change and tuneup). The mighty hills of Houston challenged its cruise control, causing high-revving downshifts on the freeway during slight rises.

              Also, I realized that my car purchasing ways have been entirely wrong. I'd have to go at least 120mph on the Allen Parkway in my car to approach the adrenaline rush and fear of driving 40mph in that sweet Malibu ride. I was on the edge baby!

              No fear!!!

              [/sidetrack]

              Yeah I like markets and don't like the gubment telling me how to do stuff and things. Free market at work: I tanked up last night and noticed a little sign on the pump that said up to 10% of the gas was ethanol. Whatever, as long as they deliver that 93 octane. If it funks up my ride I'll beat the money out of them.

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              • #8
                Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

                Originally posted by leejo
                Whatever, as long as they deliver that 93 octane. If it funks up my ride I'll beat the money out of them.
                I bet your compression ratio isn't that high and your car would be fine with regular unleaded. Have you tried it? If regular doesn't make your engine "knock", then you're wasting money by using premium.

                Oh, and to stay on topic, I wouldn't mind seeing Uncle Sugar protect some alternative fuel development. Not by subsidizing it monetarily, but by somehow keeping Detroit and "Big Oil" from buying up the tech and sticking it on a shelf somewhere.
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                • #9
                  Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

                  No matter what solution there might be it will take years to implement so what's the point. We all think we have the right answers but in all honesty the only solution is the one of who makes the most money and we know who that is. The oil companies will do whatever it takes to make sure they can continue to monopolize the market. Oil companies are no different than mobsters, why do you think they call oil suppliers "cartels"?

                  There is no solution and anything being discussed is just lip service to make the public think there are solutions on the horizon. Besides look for the Democrats to try and keep oil prices as high as possible to help them in the upcoming elections. Then they will be able to take credit for lowering gas prices. None of my opinions have any kind of fact to support them but they are just opinions from a defeated American who will always struggle to be financially secure.
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                  • #10
                    Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

                    Originally posted by Buck Fush
                    Also, currently we have two different methods for storing hydrogen in an automobile; liquid and compressed gas. Both could be hazardous in an accident and neither provides the capacity that a usable car would need. This one appears to be the stumbling block most of the experts are concerned about.
                    Interesting site for storage of hydrogen:

                    http://www.fuelcellstore.com/informa...n_storage.html
                    --
                    VI VI VI - the number of the beast

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                    • #11
                      Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

                      Originally posted by CingularDuality
                      I bet your compression ratio isn't that high and your car would be fine with regular unleaded. Have you tried it? If regular doesn't make your engine "knock", then you're wasting money by using premium.

                      Oh, and to stay on topic, I wouldn't mind seeing Uncle Sugar protect some alternative fuel development. Not by subsidizing it monetarily, but by somehow keeping Detroit and "Big Oil" from buying up the tech and sticking it on a shelf somewhere.
                      You may be right but I'm pretty sure I void my warranty if I don't use premium fuel. I'm certain the manual says to use premium, but I'll check on the other part.

                      End the tax break for SUVs is how I'd approach it. I never did understand that.

                      Edit: ah looks like you're right. Duh.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

                        Originally posted by CingularDuality
                        I bet your compression ratio isn't that high and your car would be fine with regular unleaded. Have you tried it? If regular doesn't make your engine "knock", then you're wasting money by using premium.

                        Oh, and to stay on topic, I wouldn't mind seeing Uncle Sugar protect some alternative fuel development. Not by subsidizing it monetarily, but by somehow keeping Detroit and "Big Oil" from buying up the tech and sticking it on a shelf somewhere.
                        If your manual states 93, you should put in the good stuff. My car has a compression ratio of 11:1 and redlines at 8k rpm. I'm sure I could technically drive it on 87 in a pinch but long term it would destroy my motor.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Why doesn't the government DO SOMETHING?

                          Yeah I'm thinking the same way. Zippy engine you got there! Mine is, apparently, 10.2.

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