Coulter on Gas Prices

Even if you don’t like her rhetorical devices, you’ve got to admit that it’s a little strange that Democrats are bashing the President over these gas prices.

By the way, I’m not sure we should be too upset about oil companies’ profits. How do you think they get that money? It ain’t because we stopped buying gas when the price hit $2.50.

Timotheos

Advertisements

33 thoughts on “Coulter on Gas Prices

  1. We’ve discussed this before. The Oil companies are not the ones dictating the price of fuel. The world trade-market is.

    The oil companies are experiencing a record increase in profits from the high cost, but they are also experiencing the same high expense of buying off the world market.

    We have all the cheap oil-reserves we need for 100 generations. All we need to do is pump it out of the ground. And oil companies could then take advantage of true profit increases.

    But if we did this it would upset the current balance of the world trade markets. Driving down the price and increasing the availability of the world oil market to our political enemies.

  2. You’re right, Tim: I really do think that Ann Coulter’s rhetorical devices are awful.
    Just start building nuclear plants, it works well here.

  3. I think Ann Coulter is a riot. She doesn’t exactly set a good personal example with regard to religion, but she is a strong champion of traditional conservative views.

    Whether or not one agrees with her opinions, she stays on top of the hot political topics of the day and is a good resource for staying informed.

  4. Not to explode the conversation in a different direction, but to clarify, Ann Coulter is NOT a champion of traditional conservative views, she is a champion of NEO-conservative views. Her foreign policy ideas (which are the same as a good chunk of the Republican party) are not traditional conservatism, they are Wilsonian — traditional liberalism.

    She may share some of the traditional conservative family values, but she is not a traditional conservative by any means.

    I will say that she is rather good at rocking the boat of political conversation — which is always fun 🙂

  5. Good to see some people are still able to make the difference. I do not think (and certainly not hope) the neo-conservative impact will last. Those men remind me, in their rhetoric, the dogmatism of the Marxists we had not so far ago in Europe.
    Anyway, to go back to what I have said earlier; just build nuclear plants.

  6. It’s not a little strange that Democrats are criticizing Bush on gas prices. Opposing drilling in ANWR doesn’t mean that the party is for rising gas prices.

    Reducing consumption is going to happen whether we like it or not and the market is dictating this. The problem with simply increasing supply is that combustion produces CO2 and that contributes to global warming. So even if we can find more oil, there is a downside to simply consuming it all.
    Reducing demand also helps hold down prices.

    That said, the administration has opposed efforts to increase fuel economy and encourage conservation. Not only that, but the war in Iraq has reduced supply from those oil fields.

    So, one can argue reasonably, that the administration had options before the current runup in oil prices and only chose to deal with the supply side of the equation (and not successfully either) leaving the demand side alone.

    That’s why the criticism and it’s spot on.

  7. Inevitable reduction of consumption is an idealistic argument, but unfortunately unrealistic.

    David, my friend, reducing U.S. fuel consumption will have little to no impact on supposed global warming or global pollution in general. You suggest that our oil consumption must be reduced. While we in the US, and Europe, have high ideals about saving the environment, our international enemies have no problem creating pollution to fuel their burgeoning industrial complexes and military machines.

    If we choose to purchase less oil on the world market it will create less overall demand and drive prices down a bit. However, China (for example) is purchasing as much oil as it can get and paying high prices themselves to get it. Whatever we don’t buy, they will. Whatever we don’t use, they will use. They will use it to fuel their own industrial complex and military machine. And the effective net change in pollution will be zero, if not worse.

    We in the U.S. hold to an intellectually naive idea that we are the only ones who use fossil fuels irresponsibly. We also naively wish to believe that other countries pay anything but lip-service to environmental protocols they sign. Brazil is an exception, but if we look hard at their alternative fuel programs it really isn’t working out that great for them and they are starting to increase their drilling of crude to alleviate their increasing demands. Likewise, other countries are exploring and drilling for oil as fast as they can while we in the U.S. just sit on our oil reserves and watch.

    >>>

    If we wish to criticize, we need to criticize both parties right now. Niether party is really doing anything other than paying lip-service to the issue. Neither party wants to fiddle with the world oil market; because both parties know they have limited influence over the world market prices anyway.

    Furthermore, if the government tries price controls, all it will do is upset the supply and demand balance causing fuel shortages inside the U.S. with minimal impact worldwide. If the world market price of fuel is more than the national price standards, then it can only be sold at a loss. And companies will stop distributing and selling it if they lose money doing so. And then we have no fuel at all, at which point our industrial complex crumbles. And if our industrial complex crumbles, so does our nation.

    >>>

    In the mean time, auto fuel prices increase is primarily due to increased demand from other countries for existing crude supply on the world market. Other countries (China for one) are willing to buy more and pay more for what we used to buy cheap. Futures traders are playing this for all it is worth causing fuel prices to increase even further. This will continue until the purchasers stop buying, reaching a new equilibrium of supply and demand.

  8. I’ve argued before in comments on this blog that rising demand from other countries that are modernizing is a big culprit in the rising price of gasoline.

    Nevertheless, the US is still a major consumer of oil worldwide. The excesses of oil use by other countries do not mean that we shouldn’t try to reduce our use of oil.

    Besides, China has a big air pollution problem and they are making efforts to copy us and learn how we reduced our air pollution. Further, they are ready to impose big time restrictions on gasoliine use, driving and so forth in an effort to deal with demand and the after effects of it.

    But, even with all that said, I’m trying to figure out what is the big deal with our own government encouraging conservation for the internal benefits to our own country and for the intrinsic value of consuming less of something that does seem to be a major driver of climate change worldwide.

    It seems in keeping with our Christian ethic to do the right thing, even when everyone around us does otherwise.

    As for global warming, I don’t believe in waiting until we are 100% sure to take steps to combat global warming. After all, if you wait until we’re 100% sure, it may be too late. Heck, it may be too late now.

    Most CFC’s were banned or heavily restricted worldwide some years ago and apparently the ozone hole in the Southern Hemisphere is not as pronounced as in years past.

    If we might be able to make a difference for the better, we should. Collectively, our governments should encourage/represent this.

  9. I agree that we must strive to make a difference for the better. But we need to be realistic about it. Reducing our use of fossil fuels before we have viable alternative energy is simply placing our cart in front of our horse.

    If modernizing is a big culprit then do we want to stop modernizing, just because we dont like fossil fuels? This is a Catch-22 scenario. It is practically impossible to reduce our use of fossil fuels enough to affect how other countries do business, or reduce enough to have any appreciable impact on pollution due to the rise of fossil fuel use in other developing nations.

    Other countries can and are developing faster than we can ever hope to change. By prematurely reducing our use of fossil fuel we only serve to stunt our own development and growth. It doesn’t affect anyone else in any way, except it helps our cultural and political enemies become stronger than us.

    Yes, China works to reduce pollution, but that is not their primary concern when it comes to their efforts to develop and become a superpower strong enough to dominate world trade and world politics. All we do by prematurely abandoning fossil fuels is hamstringing our own industrial complex and military machine, making it just that much easier for other countries to gain world dominance. And when that happens, those countries wont give two hoots about U.S. environmental policies and pollution control.

    I want to do away with the use of pollution generating fossil fuels just as much as anyone, but not at the immediate expense of destroying our nations ability to defend free democratic ideology and influence and free practice of religion on the world stage.

    The only way we have a ghost of a chance to maintain long term influence is to maintain long-term free-market industrial and military strength. And right now this demands the use of fossil fuels.

  10. I’m not arguing for an immediate, wholesale, willynilly retreat from fossil fuels to the degradation of our economy.

    In fact, most mainstream Democrats have not advocated that at all.

    Instead, the idea was to encourage development of alternatives and conservation and do this while oil was cheap –which it no longer is. Obviously this is a gradual process.

    We benefit from the changes because energy which has become more expensive for everyone else, is less costly to us because we have alternatives. And energy powers the economy. Before you know it, those other countries will be buying and/or investing in our alternatives.

    Unfortunately, the Bush administration hitched their cart to finding more oil, not investing in conservation and not investing in alternative fuels (except for some bully pulpit talk on nuclear). For Bush to talk about these things now is too late for them to do any good during the short run of this problem.

  11. “It’s not a little strange that Democrats are criticizing Bush on gas prices. Opposing drilling in ANWR doesn’t mean that the party is for rising gas prices.”

    You did read Coulter’s column, right? That’s only a small part of her argument. Her main point is that Democrats have long advocated a gas-tax increase. That has nothing to do with drilling.

    Tim

  12. Tim,

    Nope I didn’t read her column. I was responding to your post, not Coulter’s column. I don’t read Ann Coulter. I don’t like being called traitor, someone who lacks morals and the general guilt by association that Coulter sells a lot of books with. She lost me a long time ago.

    And Democrats have not advocated, as a party, an increase in the gas tax since the deficit reduction plans of the early 1990’s –something even Ross Perot was advocating, to the tune of 50 cents per gallon. Back when gas was not to far over $1.

    It is the Democrats that are advocating a gas tax “holiday”, which is a temporary elimination of the federal tax for a period of time.

  13. D:”Instead, the idea was to encourage development of alternatives and conservation and do this while oil was cheap –which it no longer is. Obviously this is a gradual process.”

    L: This is a good argument David. Unfortunately it simply isn’t true. Oil is still cheap to pump out of the ground. We just choose to buy other people’s oil at HUGELY inflated prices, rather than pumping our own cheap crude out of our own oil fields.

    Where you and I agree is on the issue of encouraging the development of new fuel sources. On this issue, with both political parties, our congress has completely failed us.

    On the issue of conservation, we are actually doing very well considering where we started. And experiencing constant improvements in both conservation and pollution reduction. Probably not as fast as we would like, but it is improving.

  14. D:”As for global warming, I don’t believe in waiting until we are 100% sure to take steps to combat global warming. After all, if you wait until we’re 100% sure, it may be too late. Heck, it may be too late now.”

    I guess you have a point here. I have been surprised by the number of conservative christian bloggers that just deny the existence of ANY form of global warming. Are all those guys funded directly by oil companies or what?
    On the other hand, I do not share the cataclysmic fears of some extreme environmentalists. I do not trust the greenies; I do not trust Exxon, BP or Total either.
    We all know that we are going to need to find new sources of energy. Here in Europe we see things even more radically because, unlike you in the States, we do not have any oil. What will the future be? I do not know. At least for energy: nuclear, new ways to use coal, bio-fuel. We have been working on that for years, but I am not sure at all the coming evolution will not be very painful for our economies and our societies.

  15. J-M: ” but I am not sure at all the coming evolution will not be very painful for our economies and our societies.”

    Your point gets at the heart of my argument. That is, if we (meaning our governments, societies, individuals) work on alternatives before we absolutely have to, it will be much less painful. Small investments and moves towards alternatives while the oil is still flowing and not exhorbitant will mean that we have viable alternatives when it gets scarce. This is my criticism of the administration –their attitude is to increase supply of oil, and hasn’t been towards reducing and moving away from our major uses of oil during this sort of “Golden Moment” where we could do this. It’s called planning for the future and the administration just isn’t good at this.

  16. It depends on what we mean by Global Warming.

    Now, I’m not saying we should ignore pollution problems.

    I’m just saying we need to keep our horse of industry in front of our economic apple-cart. Reducing our dependency on fossil fuels is wise, yes, but doing it too fast will dump our apples.

    We then run the risk of increasing our dependency on cheap fossil fuels rather than decreasing it.

    >>>

    I did some checking on this a while back. The average increase in temperature of the Earth over the last 100 years (some say 140 years), since people started keeping detailed useable records, is less than 1 Degree Centigrade. (0.6C 0.2C)

    So, yes, I agree that there is an element of global warming at play. But the temperature statistics simply do not correlate with the theory that pollution is the cause. Nor do the statistics reflect any relational increase in temperature with respect to to the increases in pollution over the past 50 years.

    Point is, the temerature increases we are experiencing are well within natural climate variation parameters. This data is based on knowledge that the middle ages where just as warm as we experience now. While between then and now the earth experienced a period of global cooling. Unforutnately we do not have detailed data from back then to correlate with the detailed data of the very recent past, to calculate exactly how much of a temperature drop was experienced prior to the mid 1800s when the temperatures started going back up again.

  17. L: “Unfortunately it simply isn’t true. Oil is still cheap to pump out of the ground. We just choose to buy other people’s oil at HUGELY inflated prices, rather than pumping our own cheap crude out of our own oil fields.”

    Lawrence, I tend to agree with a lot of what you say in general, however, the above quote is problematic. We certainly can pump domestic oil, but it is not free and it is not cheap. I don’t know the figures, but the market value of domestic oil is not that much different than from other markets. If you favor a free market, then simply producing our own oil will not mean that is a cheap source while worldwide prices are escalating.

    And global warming is an issue because again, we are dealing with the supply side over and over again, but combustion creates greenhouse gases. Global warming even in small doses can increase crop failures, change the potential success of agriculture, increase natural disasters (hitting areas with weather not planned for). All this affects the economy by affecting the bottom line which must (even if we don’t) factor in that making profits is not as easy as it once was because of “outside factors”.

    In a way, it’s like taking care of one’s body. Do you want to do moderate amounts of exercise while you are fit, healthy and young and likewise moderate your consumption of food in small ways. Overall, making small changes early on to plan for the future.

    Or would you rather, do it all at once, but wait, just try adopting that exercise routine when you have heart disease (or a heart attack) and just try to cut back on your calories when you are 100 lbs overweight.

    When it comes to resources, the same common sense applies. Do a little at a time, early as you can, and you stand the best chance of avoiding grief later.

    Well, at least in the temporal realm there’s some validity to this.

  18. Lawrence,

    Regarding your climate change statistics, consider the different time scales when talking about human induced climate change and natural climate change. The latter works in geologic time, not human time.

    Also, 0.6C/1F doesn’t get at local variations, like melting of polar ice caps, it also doesn’t get at temporal variations, like warmer nighttimes across the globe. We did an experiment while I was in grad school on good old hardy cotton plants. They love heat, so we did an experiment to see how they would adapt to nighttime temperatures just a little warmer. Turns out, just a little warmer and you get problems.

    Also, there are the unanticipated consequences. 1F doesn’t sound like much, but how does it affect the ocean circulation and how does that in turn affect the weather? And if you start melting ice caps and glaciers everywhere, how does that change the climate? What percentage of the world population lives at an elevation where melting of polar ice would inundate them? It’s astounding, it’s a big percentage of the population.

    Those are just some things to consider and why we should be pushing, in a reasonable, but serious and sustained way towards dealing with this. Unforunately, that pace was wise two decades ago, it seems a little lacksadaisical now.

    Nevertheless, if the US develops alternatives and applies them throughout the country showing success on a wide scale, we will once again lead the world, become a magnet of investment and our economy and our people will enjoy the wealth that results from foresight. This is the new venture capital. Hitch your cart to this.

  19. D: “This is my criticism of the administration”

    Good points David. We are actually doing very well in developing alternative energy. But doing very poorly in creating an environment to implement that technology.

    Yes, we want to increase our own oil production. Yet we hamstring every effort to do so. We also want to move away from our major uses of fossil fuels. But we hamstring every effort with pointless bureaucracy.

    For example. We have developed the technology for biodiesel to the point where it is useable and marketable. Yet the price of biodiesel is artificially kept about 20-30 cents a gallon higher than whatever standard diesel is priced. While providing about 10% lower miles per gallon than standard diesel. And one has to seek out the few special locations where it is sold.

    Ethanol fuel alternatives pose a similar cost vs. mileage dillema.

    Electric hybrid vehicles pose other cost problems in that average people can’t afford to own this new breeds of vehicles. And on the open highway their mileage benefits are minimal.

    Contrary to popular media portrayals, most Americans still drive older used vehicles because they can’t afford new ones. The per mile cost savings of reduced fuel useage rarely if never balances with the increased purchase price of the newer car. Especially when the majority of people must finance new car purchases.

  20. The only reason I posted was because of her column. My comment about Democrats is not very understandable apart from her column.

    Tim

  21. Take a look at two quotes, Bush said one of them.

    Who said the other, or did Bush say both?:

    quote 1:
    “We have a partnership with the American auto industry to develop cars that achieve three times today’s mileage with the same pricing, comfort and safety; the companies and research scientists are making remarkable progress toward revolutionary change in the design and development of fuel cell vehicles.

    quote 2:

    “Some of the most exciting advances in technology you’ll see will be in the field of energy. When I graduated from school, cars drank gasoline. Last month in California, I saw cars powered by hydrogen that use no gasoline and emit no pollution. Within your lifetime, advances in technology will make our air cleaner and our cars more efficient; the gasoline engine will seem as antiquated as the rotary phone and the black-and-white TV.”

    Quote 1 was Al Gore in 2000
    Quote 2 was George Bush in 2006

  22. Tim,

    Point taken, although the thread drifted from your original point anyway. Just please don’t make me read Ann Coulter. In return, I’ll promise not to ask you to listen to Randi Rhodes.

  23. Lawrence,

    I think I agree with you with respect to the implementation of the new technologies. It’s backwards. Newer, more efficient technologies should have a price advantage not price *dis*advantage.

    If you compare the Corolla with the Prius, once you offset the price difference, the Prius, even with slightly higher fuel economy, is more expensive to buy than a Corolla.

    Right now, we are “boutiqu-ing” alternative energy and it is priced so just a few motivated individuals are going for it. It’s changing –but it is backwards, that’s for sure.

  24. We are posting almost simultaneiously David.
    😉

    D: “Also, 0.6C/1F doesn’t get at local variations,”

    L: But we are not talking about local variations. We are talking about global averages.

    D: “like melting of polar ice caps, it also doesn’t get at temporal variations, like warmer nighttimes across the globe.”

    L: But these are just as much due to natural variations as to human influence. We can argue all we want that humans can directly impact global climate change, or even local climate change, but evidence is zero of any long-range sustained global climate change due to human intervention. (Regional, yes. Global, no.)

    The most visible and well known climate impacts are the draining of lakes and redirecting of rivers. Secondarily is the brown-cloud pollution effect of large cities, and polluting of rivers. These directly impact the regional climate in a variety of drastic ways. But none of these instances has shown to have any impact on average global temperature and global climate.

    The evidence does show, however, that measureable global climate changes are impacted on a regular basis due to a wide range of natural phenomenon.

    What we are trying to argue is that environmental changes known to be caused by natural phenomenon are somehow influenced by human intervetion. I just don’t buy it.

    But that doesn’t mean we can excuse being irresponsible about taking care of our environment.

  25. David, Tim,

    Discussing environmental impact and implementation policy for new fuels technology is a lot more stimulating than arguing about Ann Coulter. I hope you don’t mind me steering us off on that tangent.

  26. There is something in the climate system called a “water balance”. If you reroute rivers, drain lakes and so forth, the atmosphere will compensate for the change. So, the one example of environmental change caused by people does result in climate change and on a broad scale.

    And global climate change is simply the average of all the regional changes, so they really aren’t separate, but the global may mask the severity of the regional –thus, to address the question properly, you look at both scales.

    Also, the science of climate is actually fairly simple, which is why the concept that humans contribute to it is basically undisputed. The arguments are mainly over the proportion of the contribution and the presence of negative and positive feedbacks which offset and amplify those contributions.

    Disputing the presence of human contribution to global warming is not a position held by climate scientists. It may be held by non scientists and non climate/atmospheric folks. In other words, if you asked an expert you would tend to get one answer supporting a human role in climate change. The primary way to get the opposite answer is to ask someone who doesn’t know much about climate.

    I mean no offense as I say these things, but there is simply a lot less doubt among scientists than many people think.

  27. That said, scientists could be wrong.

    However, if 9 plumbers told me I needed a new toilet and 1 electrician said my toilet was fine.

    Who am I supposed to listen to? If I was Pentecostal, perhaps I’d pray for revelation. ;o)

  28. David, I do understand your perspective. It sounds like you have a solid grasp of the larger environmental issues.

    I happen to be one of those science types that doesn’t buy the theoretical arguments for Global Warming. I’m not a climatologist, but I am an environmental safety professional schooled in a variety of sciences. I understand how pollution works against the environment in both a scientific as well as practical context.

    My scepticism is based on my years dealing with these issues, making me jaded and pessimistic about a number of new theories regarding our interaction with our environment.

    My scepticism is further fueled based on my interaction with any number of PhD researchers that often focus on what brings in research grant funds moreso than what develops good science.

    If you want, pop me an email and we could pick this up off-line.

  29. “My scepticism is further fueled based on my interaction with any number of PhD researchers that often focus on what brings in research grant funds moreso than what develops good science.”

    Maybe, but the profits of the chemical industry and of oil compagnies are big enough to justify other distortions of the facts, don’t you think??

    I think it is fair to say there is a general consensus in the scientific community regarding climate change, even though there are nuances in the evaluation of the situation. Now, I think scientists can do a good job describing the current situation, but I do not think they have the tools to give a correct interpretation of the facts. What we need is a real history of climate, to determine what part industrial activities really play.
    THis is being done here in France by a group of historians and climatologists. They are working on the vineyards archives of the past four hundred centuries. Based on the dates of the first grape harvest each year, they hope to establish long-term trends, pre and post-industrialisation. That seems to me like the kind of objective work we need to be able to really assess the facts in front of us.

    Anyway, we pay 1,26 for a liter of gas and it’s going to get worse

  30. J.M. that works out to about $6.12 per gallon. Yipes.

    What percentage of that is taxe?

    Highest I’ve paid for fuel this year is $2.89/gal. About $0.40 of that is tax.

  31. Just to let you guys know, taxes must 75% of the price here. I am not sure though, because I do not own a car.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s