OK, I'm one of those Democrats "seething" at the injustice of high gas prices
. Geroge Will, who I bet hasn't had to worry about what it costs to fill up a tank with gas in a lot of years, pooh-poohs the ridiculously high gas prices: "In real (inflation-adjusted) rather than nominal dollars, $3.07 is less than gasoline cost in 1981."
Here's the BIIIG problem with that. Average salaries/pay rates haven't kept up with the rising cost of goods and services -- especially gasoline. I'd be interested in what the "real (inflation adjusted)" salary/pay rates are, as well. I mean, you can't draw an informed conclusion without that datum.
Oh, and why has gas consumption gone up a little over 2% in the past year? Could it be that fewer people are flying because flying is so damn expensive? And why is flying so damn expensive? Hmmmm.
Also, when have we EVER seen gas prices increase so radically so fast? Prior to Katrina, I can't ever remember a time when we would see a pump price increase by 10 cents per gallon within a week's space of time. Now it's routine. The reason for these unconscionable price hikes is that the oil companies, when they saw we would pay anything for the gas, simply decided to kick up the price. It didn't matter how much or how quickly, they knew we would pay, because we HAVE to pay. What real choice do we have? Of course we're being gouged, and the oil industry is laughing all the way to the bank with their record profits.
I saw a program on TV recently about alternative fuel sources, including hybrid, biodiesel, hydrogen and compressed air. What most of these developers have done on literally a shoestring suggests to me that with a concerted government effort, we could be in business with, say hydrogen, almost right away. Here's one outfit, in Norway, that's, uh, paving the way
. for a comprehensive look at U.S. government info on this topic check out the 2007 Cyber Guide to Hydrogen Energy, Fuel Cell Cars and Vehicles, Federal Government Research (Three CD-ROM Set)
In the realm of oil/politics fiction (maybe), check out The Formula
featuring George C. Scott and Marlon Brando, and directed by Rocky
and The Karate Kid's
director, John Avildsen
UPDATE: Thanks to an anonymous commenter, it appears that, comparing 1981 to 2004, average weekly wages between the two are essentially identical
. So, while wages have remained the same, look at where gas prices have gone. It IS more for schlubs like us, because our wages haven't kept up with gas prices.