Gas prices soaring
Not a bug - a feature.
There are many reasons for gas spiking 51 cents a gallon over the last two months. Some of the reason is seasonal adjustments made by refineries.
But it is equally clear, that when you have a government that actually wants consumers to pay high prices for gas - demands it, develops policies that insure it - we should not be surprised when the price of fuel goes through the roof.
Consumers are taking another huge hit in 2013. First, the two percent Social Security tax hike began the year. Now, gas prices are soaring ever closer to $4 a gallon and have jumped 51 cents a gallon since Dec. 20.
According to the Oil Price Information Service, the national average for a gallon of unleaded was $3.21.9 on Dec. 20, 2012. Today, that price is $3.73.0. While there has been a steady increase, prices shot almost 9 cents just over the weekend.
This President's Day also marked a full month of rising gas prices every single business day, following a very small early year drop. Gas prices began rising Jan. 18, from $3.29.3-a-gallon, and have soared since. If this increase continues, gas prices could threaten or even top the all-time high price of $4.11, set in 2008.
February 2013 saw record high gas prices for the time of year according to news reports. CNBC noted the national average was the highest ever for the time of year on Feb. 1. As of Feb. 11, The Los Angeles Times reported that the national average that day ($3.587) was also a record, "7.8 cents higher than the record for Feb. 11, set last year." Today's price is now 17.6 cents higher than 2012.
It took the media some time to catch on to rising gas prices, as "Good Morning America's" Josh Elliot said two weeks after the climb began that "we have just learned that gas prices have skyrocketed."
Those higher pump prices hurt consumers, who were already paying more for gas than in decades. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported recently that the average household spent more on gas last year, as a percentage of income, than it had in 30 years.
The high cost of fuel is an outgrowth of the belief that only when gas is as expensive as solar power, wind power, and other "green" energy sources, will alternative energy become economically viable.
This is true. But rather than deliberately setting policy that jacks up the cost of gas, why not develop solar, wind, geothermal to the point where the price actually comes down to meet the price of fossile fuels? As it stands, there is very little incentive to drive the cost of alternative energy sources down quickly because of government subsidies and artificially increasing the cost of fuel.
Improving energy collection in solar cells, making turbines more efficient, and finding ways to make other alternative forms of energy cheaper is the rational way to develop energy policy. Forcing these green companies to play by the rules will spur the kind of development that would be beneficial to competition. This is especially true when you consider that $5 a gallon gas is ruinous to the economy and will only drag down sales of solar and wind products in the process.
In short, government's energy policy is ass-backward. Instead of finding creative ways to make energy more expensive, we should concentrate on forcing green companies to compete in the marketplace and bring down the cost of delivering energy for their own products.