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Energy Policy and the Election

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Steve Chapman writes in Reason about the different candidates and their “stupid,” “pathetic” plans for their country’s energy policy. In a nutshell, his thoughts on

Hill and Barry:

[Their ideas] rest on the unshakable belief that Big Oil is guilty of chronic profiteering at public expense. In fact, from 1987 through 2006, oil and gas companies did worse than other industrial companies on return on investment in all but four years.

When the price of gasoline is high, drivers notice. But when it’s low, as it has been for most of the period since 1982, everyone takes it for granted.


He wants to stop collecting federal gas taxes for three months, which he says “will be an immediate economic stimulus—taking a few dollars off the price of a tank of gas.” It sounds like a simple, sure remedy, and it is simple and sure. It’s just not a remedy.

As energy analyst Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute points out, prices are now at the level required to balance supply and demand. Cut prices by the amount of the gas tax, and consumption will rise, pushing prices back up. So drivers would get no holiday, and the economy would get no stimulus.

Not to mention the roads, which would be falling apart quicker because of decreased funding and increased traffic. As Chapman said, it appears we’re busy looking for the chaff, not the grain.

I’m hoping they make an actual effort to bring up nuclear power, at least in the interest of further discussion in the public arena.


Written by walonline

April 18, 2008 at 8:44 am

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