[*BCM*] The price of gasoline has lots of inputs
lilwong at bu.edu
Wed Jun 7 10:43:27 EDT 2006
Fair enough, I agree I simplified. I still contend that the additive change
that happened recently is a major issue-it's well underreported in general
media, you can find details from such sources as Fortune, CNN/Money, etc.
I'm not trying to start a debate on energy policy, nor to cover all the
details that make up the global energy market, I simply wanted to clarify
that demonizing SUV owners doesn't do a damn thing but propagate ignorance.
From: bostoncriticalmass-bounces at bostoncriticalmass.org
[mailto:bostoncriticalmass-bounces at bostoncriticalmass.org] On Behalf Of
Thomas John Vitolo
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 10:29 AM
To: Boston Critical Mass
Subject: [*BCM*] The price of gasoline has lots of inputs
Gas prices are up, but it's not as simple as the two reasons you cite.
It's true that global demand (China and to a lesser extend, India) is up.
It's true that the MTBE additive was banned -- but the rest of that claim is
wrong. The MTBE additive was banned because it poisions ground water and
has been linked to cancer. It wasn't banned with three months lead time --
it was banned with *years* of lead time -- the first legislation bassed in
the year 2000. The reality is that the refineries didn't bother to make
sure that they were prepared, knowing full well that they had a rather
Additionally, ethanol absorbs water and so can't be shipped by pipeline
pre-mixed with gasoline (unlike MTBE), and there were transportation issues.
The fault doesn't lie with a Congress interested in preventing health risks.
The fault lies with the refiners who didn't secure the necessary supply
Some other reasons why price is higher:
* GWB's war in Iraq reducing available supply from Iraq.
* GWB's squabbling with Iran resulting in jitters on the market, a market
concerned that Iran will both cut its supply and slow up the Strait of
* GWB's squabbling with Chavez in Venezuela, resulting in more jitters.
* tUSA's high tax on imported ethanol ($0.54/gallon) restricting supplies
of gasoline alternatives.
* Gas prices always go up around Memorial day, because people like to drive
more in the summer, particularly on vacation weekends.
* There was that small rainstorm in New Orleans which tUSA's FEMA wasn't
prepared for, resulting in a dramatic reduction in the ability for tUSA to
convert crude to gasoline.
* Congress' policies on autos and SUVs/trucks over the past few years,
including the subsidy of vehicles more than 6,000 lbs GVW, as well as a
refusal to improve CAFE substantially for many years.
* tUSA still using oil to make electricity -- including 26% of MAs
Pushing alternative energy sources in New England, Florida, and Hawaii
would reduce the amount of oil used in tUSA to generate electricity (about
2.5% of tUSA's oil use), freeing up some more supply.
* tUSA's increasing of the speed limit from 55 to 65 to 70, 75, or 80.
Reducing back to 55 (and enforcing) would save about 15% of all gasoline
consumed in tUSA.
It's far more complicated than you make it out to be, and it's the result of
bad energy policy for many many years -- particularly the constant massive
oil, gas, and coal subsidies while completely ignoring the chances to
encourage growth in the ag & tech industries of alternative (read: green)
energy. That civil engineers and city planners think progress is measured
in the number of lanes the local highway has doesn't help, nor does
Congress' insistence that Amtrak break even financially even though their
services do lots of good in tUSA (including reduce demand on oil).
But it's always easier to blame the Commies than to take responsibility for
our own actions as a society, isn't it.
Quoting Justin Wong <lilwong at bu.edu>:
> Right. It's all the SUV owners' fault= Such a trite, mind numbingly
> ignorant view. Gas prices are up this season for 2 major reasons. 1:
> global demand (think CHINA) 2: those idiots in congress that also
> don't know about
> economics- see the last Energy bill, congress decided to switch gas
> additives to ethanol a few months ago, right before peak demand
> season, the refineries couldn't keep up...
> -----Original Message-----
> From: bostoncriticalmass-bounces at bostoncriticalmass.org
> [mailto:bostoncriticalmass-bounces at bostoncriticalmass.org] On Behalf
> Of David Hammond
> Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 7:57 PM
> To: 'Boston Critical Mass'
> Subject: RE: [*BCM*] Be the change you want to see in the world.
> Yeah, Baby, let's give the hummer-lovers an issue they can rally
> around and elect far-right demagogues with. Maybe then the
> Republi-fascists can ban bikes altogether.
> And you're what? 125 - 300 lbs (guessing) on a <40 lb bike, and you're
> gonna run a 5000 lb SUV off the road? What are you - one of the
> squirrels on that Geico commercial? To which funeral parlor should I
> send flowers?
> Hey, even
> better: mention me in your will first.
> SUV owners should be ashamed and embarrassed, not righteously
> How can we sustainable transportation enthusiasts accomplish that???
> I have a horrendous, gut-wrenching, nauseating photo of an Iraqi child
> machine-gunned by U.S. forces. Suppose prints of that photo with the
> caption "Keep Gas Cheap" get shoved under SUV windshields? Or a
> simple "Katrina Thanks You, NOLA Hates You", in 48 point bold arial?
> Or how about conducting a NOLA-style funeral procession for the Earth,
> in the parking lot of a huge auto/SUV dealership, where everyone gets
> arrested in front of the nightly news cameras?
> Or simply, how about a CM where folks pause at a busy intersection,
> point at the SUVs passing through, and shout "Shame, shame, shame!"
> "If you want to win, and not just make a grand gesture of defiance, do
> not adopt or accept your enemy's strategy, tactics, battlefield,
> choice of weaponry, or process of propaganda" Leon Trotsky
> Let's get it right this time.
> Dave Hammond
> > Goddamn hippie liberal bullshit. I want to see a world where every
> > has four slashed tires and a gas tank full of sand. I don't want to
> > 'respect' motorists - I want to run them off the road.
> "(And so on...)
> Hmmmm. While Boston does seem to be a pretty good fit for you and
> your world view, maybe you'd be even happier in Badhgad?
> been trying to leave Boston, and it's lovely worldview for a few years
> now, but appearantly not trying hard enough 'cause I'm still here..."
> "One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal
> we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We
> must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means." - Martin Luther
> King Jr.
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