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posted by LaminatorX on Monday December 01 2014, @07:20AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the you-got-to-roll-me dept.

The price of oil is now under $70 a barrel after OPEC decided it would not cut back production significantly in the months ahead and the latest OPEC move suggests that it isn’t going to reverse course anytime soon.. Now Neil Irwin reports in the NYT that the falling price of oil looks likely to be one of the dominant forces shaping the global economy in 2015. So who wins and who loses? Winner: Global consumers as anybody who drives a car or flies on airplanes gets lower prices for gasoline and jet fuel. Loser: American oil producers - One of the big open questions is just how many of the small, independent producers in the American heartland will still be viable with oil prices in the $60s rather than the $100s. Many have relied on borrowed money, and bankruptcies are possible. Loser: Vladimir Putin - Russia’s economy is already facing its sharpest challenges in years, as Western sanctions imposed after Russian aggression toward Ukraine crimp the nation’s ability to be integrated in the global economy. Russia is a major energy producer, and the falling price of oil compounds the challenge facing its president, Vladimir Putin.

Potential Loser: The environment. As a general rule, the cheaper fossil fuels become, the more challenging it will be for cleaner forms of energy like solar and wind power to be competitive on price. But solar and wind power are sources for electricity, whereas fluctuations in oil prices most directly affect the price of transportation fuels like gasoline and jet fuel. Unless or until more Americans use electric cars, they are largely separate markets, so there’s no reason that cheaper oil should cause a major reduction in investment in renewables. The average pump price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States was $3.12 this week, down from $3.80 in October 2012 and down from $3.70 just four months ago. In the past, cheaper gasoline has two environmentally problematic effects: It leads people to drive thirstier cars and trucks and to drive them more miles. This time may be different. The number of miles Americans drive per capita has declined for nine straight years dropping from roughly 10,100 miles in 2004 to about 9,400 miles in 2013. A change that significant suggests a change in lifestyle—one that would be hard to upend. In addition, the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks sold in the United States has increased markedly over the past decade—in contrast to the 1990s, when new-vehicle fuel economy essentially flat-lined. Today, the average new car sold in this country goes 36 miles on a gallon of gasoline, up from 29.5 mpg in 2004. "Times have changed since the dawn of the last era of cheap oil," says Jeffrey Ball. "Even assuming low oil prices are the new normal, a cleaner energy system probably is too."

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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @07:33AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @07:33AM (#121439)
  • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Monday December 01 2014, @07:39AM

    by Whoever (4524) on Monday December 01 2014, @07:39AM (#121440) Journal

    Does anyone really *not * think that this is the USA's strategy to deal with Putin?

    • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by frojack on Monday December 01 2014, @08:17AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 01 2014, @08:17AM (#121446) Journal

      Yeah, because the US has had total control over oil prices and could have lowered them any time they wanted over all these years, but waited for this particular moment for this clueless president to outsmart Putin with cheap gas!?

      If anything it is the culmination of a process to get out from under the Arab thumb that took 30 years.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @09:17AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @09:17AM (#121457)

      Or is it OPEC's strategy? They decided not to cut production

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by zocalo on Monday December 01 2014, @09:36AM

      by zocalo (302) on Monday December 01 2014, @09:36AM (#121459)
      I doubt that's the main reason. The one country that is missing from the loser's list is the one that is probably the most responsible for the continued depressed prices - Iran. There are really only two main players in OPEC that can sustain this price point, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, neither of which are not exactly on the best of terms with Iran which really needs a per barrel price over $100 to be viable. I can imagine that several of the other cartel members might be inclined to suffer some financial pain in one sector of their own economies in return for benefits elsewhere in their own economy and the side effect of putting a greater burden on their economic and political foes though. In the case of the U.S., that would include Iran, Russia and Venezuela as oil producers with high per barrel break even points, but also many of their competitors that are net oil importers including China, Europe, India...
      --
      UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Kromagv0 on Monday December 01 2014, @01:26PM

        by Kromagv0 (1825) on Monday December 01 2014, @01:26PM (#121493) Homepage

        I heard a similar analysis from the BBC over the weekend. They had mentioned that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait could ride out the low oil prices for a year or two without any real problems other than not growing their cash reserves. At the same time there are a lot of countries that are so dependent on oil, even in the region, that it could be a major disruptive force since their national budgets are dependent on oil revenue. Some of the countries that were listed as possibly facing problems were Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Nigeria. The other thing mentioned was that the oil boom in the Bakken Range [wikipedia.org] and Alberta tar sands [wikipedia.org] might not be profitable thus allowing Saudi and Kuwaiti to expand in the long run. Finally it sounds like the Saudis didn't want to be the only ones to cut production and instead wanted others to share in the pain. All in all I would expect some more unrest in affected areas and the Saudis are playing a long game.

        --
        T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @10:37AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @10:37AM (#121464)

      Yeah sure, in order to punish Putin, the U.S. bankrupts its own oil industry. Unless you assume a far above normal level of incompetence in the government, that assumption just isn't going to fly.

      I'd consider it more likely that the OPEC wants to get rid of the new U.S. competition.

      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday December 01 2014, @04:59PM

        by sjames (2882) on Monday December 01 2014, @04:59PM (#121556) Journal

        That seems quite likely. The longer prices remained north of $100/bbl, the more convinced the general population becomes that they need not care if the Middle East exists or not. Life goes on without OPEC.

        Even more dangerous for OPEC, the longer oil prices remained high, the more efficient production would become elsewhere until their ability to affect prices at all would come in to question. They needed to act while their action still had potential to have an effect.

  • (Score: 0) by anubi on Monday December 01 2014, @07:47AM

    by anubi (2828) on Monday December 01 2014, @07:47AM (#121443) Journal

    Its going to be really hard to convince anyone next go-around if there is another energy crisis.

    The ones who drank the kool-aid last time got hammered pretty good. I gotta admit I fell for it. Big-time.

    I feel what took the biggest hit was the credibility of the institutions which were trying to warn us of this. Now they are seen as chicken-littles. Even the President of the United States got in on the act, and now the credibility of his office is now regarded with skepticism.

    Now, just how many of our tax dollars went to fund "Cash for Clunkers", which effectively removed a lot of perfectly usable vehicles from the used-car market by having the taxpayer buy them then pour sodium silicate in their engine to render them useless?

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Monday December 01 2014, @08:36AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 01 2014, @08:36AM (#121452) Journal

      Well admittedly, the Peak Oil nut jobs were all wrong all along.

      But that doesn't mean that those things that were put in place over all these years were not at least partially responsible for the cheaper gas prices.

      Gas mileage is up, Utilization is down. Its down so much that State and Federal gas taxes are no longer sufficient to pay for highway maintenance. Say what you will about cash for clunkers it did improve fleet average mileage, and since the vehicles were all recycled, the actual waste was very small.

      Oil is pretty much totally retired as an electrical generation source. Even heating with oil is down. Gas is up.

      Wind farms are sprouting from every mountain ridge.

      We've exhausted much of the easy oil, and we are going after the harder to get oil.
      So don't be too surprised when the shortage re-appears. It is inevitable.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 1) by anubi on Monday December 01 2014, @09:00AM

        by anubi (2828) on Monday December 01 2014, @09:00AM (#121454) Journal

        Looking in hindsight, you are dead-on.

        I remember how it was at the farm, when the water table dropped.

        We always got more water in the next year's rain.

        However, from what I understand, petroleum was made in geological time, and from what I understood, we were burning it like a wild party.

        It sure looked like that party was coming to an end when the booze bottles ran out.

        I was preparing for one helluva hangover.

        I thought Saudi Arabia was watering out.

        I was following Matthew Simmons [wikipedia.org] like a lot of religious people follow their preachers. I had even worked in a major oil company's research lab and still remember numerous discussions of impending doom... I thought it was coming true.

        I swallowed it hook, line, sinker, fisherman, boat, motor, and tackle box.

        Most of the time I feel the way I did about this, I was right.

        This time I was dead wrong. I never thought I would ever see sub $100 oil again. Ever. I did not think we had enough oil left on this planet to pull this off.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
        • (Score: 4, Informative) by zocalo on Monday December 01 2014, @09:59AM

          by zocalo (302) on Monday December 01 2014, @09:59AM (#121461)

          I never thought I would ever see sub $100 oil again. Ever. I did not think we had enough oil left on this planet to pull this off.

          We don't, at least not that is readily accessible with simple and cost effective techniques - hence the use of approaches like fracking. Peak Oil was never supposed to be about actually running out of oil, it was about reaching a point where the cost to extract it exceeded the point where it was worth doing so - a simple return on investment calculation. And it's that RoI that the smarter analysts seem to be fingering as the real reason behind why the prices are plummetting.

          The story glosses over it, but the secondary issue here isn't so much the per barrel cost being $80 as that this is far below what many OPEC members can sustain as thier per barrel costs much higher than that - most notably in the case of Iran - and those nations would absolutely like a cut in production to drive the prices back up again. This isn't about suddenly having a surplus of oil as it is about squeezing political and economic rivals, and maybe gaining more control of the market when things shake out. The numbers are vague and vary from source [cnn.com] to source [wsj.com], but it seems pretty clear that the only reason that this price point is sticking is because some of the cartel are voting for it because it's harming their competitors much more than it is themselves.

          --
          UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
          • (Score: 2) by Geotti on Monday December 01 2014, @11:54AM

            by Geotti (1146) on Monday December 01 2014, @11:54AM (#121474) Journal

            and maybe gaining more control of the market when things shake out.

            Like marginalizing the shale market.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @03:09PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @03:09PM (#121525)

            Over 100 oil was not about demand in the way you think. Sure china and america are huge. But our demand was not growing at 400%.

            http://charts.gasbuddy.com/ch.gaschart?Country=Canada&Crude=t&Period=132&Areas=USA%20Average,,&Unit=US%20$/G [gasbuddy.com]

            But most of what you saw was a speculation bubble. Between 2000-2004 actual demand doubled? I doubt that. Then between 2006-2008 it quadrupled again?

            We were NOT using that much oil and not pumping less. Amounts used show a much different chart. It was estimated at one point nearly 70% of the oil demand was actually monetary derivatives. These guys just came off a .com bubble and wanted to park the money somewhere 'safe'. Then in 2006 when the housing bubble started taking off they were hedging those houses against 'safe investments', bonds, gold, and you guessed it oil. You saw the same bubbles in those commodities. Bonds busted because the gov had to step in and do something for the mess they made (which ironically created the two bubbles in the first place). Oil and gold kept going. When you see gold hit about 400-500 it will be back within historic norms. Oil will need to be somewhere around 50-60 a barrel to be in the historic norms.

            The people who will really suffer are the expats and indentured servants in places like dubai. The oil sheiks are not a sharing kind of people when it comes down to them vs some foreigner.

            People seem shocked that our oil prices are manipulated. They have been manipulated since the 1930s (we elected presidents on the idea of busting up the oil cartels). Then again in the 1970s when opec rose to power.

            You are seeing infighting in opec because they are not the 80% supply anymore. They now have to compete with their former customers. Their customers remember the price gouging for nearly 40 years.

            It is funny I have been saying it since 2006. Oil is overpriced for the amount pumped and levels of actual demand. It is like my cable company charging me 60 a month for internet. Yet they deliver it to me for about 5. I pay it because they are basically the only game in town not because I think they are building better infrastructure. They are busy putting in executives pockets.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday December 01 2014, @01:30PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 01 2014, @01:30PM (#121495)

          I think the lesson is real economic declines are never hollywood smooth. They're all jumpy. Stock market bear markets are like that. The housing bubble still hasn't popped all the way back to normal, talk about a ridiculously overpriced sector by any historical model. Company declines/implosions. Most financial crisis are like that.

          That doesn't mean the empty wells in TX and the north sea, or almost empty wells in MX and SA, are somehow going to magically refill in anything less than millions years. You got a finite pool of oil and when the pool gets near enough to empty, that's it, no matter how much financial sector magic you sprinkle on it.

      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday December 01 2014, @07:11PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday December 01 2014, @07:11PM (#121603) Journal

        Well admittedly, the Peak Oil nut jobs were all wrong all along.
         
        Given a finite amount of oil it is impossible for there to not be a peak. Do you contend that oil is actually infinite?

        • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Wednesday December 03 2014, @02:39PM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Wednesday December 03 2014, @02:39PM (#122238) Journal

          Given a finite amount of oil it is impossible for there to not be a peak. Do you contend that oil is actually infinite?

          I'm not sure that infinite oil is quite as absurd as it sounds.

          When prices go up, new production methods become practical. Or when efficiency of these new methods increases to a sufficient level. We're seeing that with tar sands for example -- it's only worthwhile because oil is expensive and because the extraction process has gotten much cheaper. As time progresses we certainly *could* keep discovering new methods of production and never quite hit that peak. After all, we could theoretically produce synthetic oil from atmospheric CO2 and close the cycle eventually.

          If we weren't constantly finding new ways to produce the stuff, we might have hit peak oil more than a century ago. But at this point peak oil may be more about it becoming obsolete rather than extinct.

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday December 01 2014, @05:06PM

      by sjames (2882) on Monday December 01 2014, @05:06PM (#121559) Journal

      Actually, this is a demonstration of the effectiveness of conservation efforts coupled with new production techniques to stretch the existing supply. It's no surprise that falling demand with increasing ability to get at less than prime supplies drove prices down. That doesn't mean depletion is gone forever, it just stretches the time line.

      A nice additional effect is that it puts a cap on just how much nutzery from oil producers the world has to put up with.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Hairyfeet on Monday December 01 2014, @08:30AM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Monday December 01 2014, @08:30AM (#121449) Journal

    When you figure in the cost of everything from mining the lithium to the recycling? They just don't work. Also to affect real change you have to have used cars as well as new and because of how quickly the electric batteries shit themselves they will never be a serious contender in the used market where most of your poor (who drive the most gas guzzlers because that is all they can afford) get their cars. What we REALLY need is a "people's car/truck/crossover" where the requirements are 1.- Under 20K, 2.- Over 38 MPG, 3.- A big "cash for clunkers" style program to give your working poor the capital to get the gas hogs off the road. Frankly this wouldn't be hard to do, you could take a good 4 cyl diesel and wed it to a basic small truck chassis and use that as the base for all 3. Sadly you can't get enough Solyndra style kickbacks for such a practical thing to ever take off.

    As for the mileage? Thank congress for blocking Internet taxation as online shopping seriously cuts down the driving. I went from a Ford ranger to a big ass GMC Yukon (have an autistic son I have to drive around and married a woman with grandkids, what can ya do?) yet my gas spending has gone down, thanks to online shopping. this is not only better for me but better for the environment as I sat down and figured how much driving I'd need to do to get my ecig supplies, parts for the shop, pretty much everything that isn't groceries and I'd be looking at a good couple hundred miles and that is if I planned ahead and didn't have any curveballs. Compare this to my shopping online where I went a grand total of 8 miles to pick up some packages that wouldn't fit in the box. That's a pretty big difference and I'm not doing a ton of shopping guys, I bet there is a lot of folks using a hell of a lot less gas by just shopping online.

    --
    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Gravis on Monday December 01 2014, @12:00PM

      by Gravis (4596) on Monday December 01 2014, @12:00PM (#121476)

      When you figure in the cost of everything from mining the lithium to the recycling? They just don't work.

      wow! now that is shortsighted! the gigafactory being built is expected to reduce the cost of the batteries by a minimum of 30%.

      Sadly you can't get enough Solyndra style kickbacks for such a practical thing to ever take off.

      it's hilarious you mention that because oil is subsidized. i say we shift those subsidies to electric cars batteries and solar panels since they "dont work".

    • (Score: 2) by Daiv on Monday December 01 2014, @01:57PM

      by Daiv (3940) on Monday December 01 2014, @01:57PM (#121505)

      We are effectively in the first generation of practical electric vehicles. I welcome the evolutionary changes likely to come out of the electric vehicle market that may overflow to other areas. Even if some of the technology gets adapted into hybrids that eventually take up a small percentage of the market, it's worth it.

      Electric cars may not work in your self-defined parameters, but they do work. They work for making progress.

    • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Monday December 01 2014, @04:38PM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Monday December 01 2014, @04:38PM (#121550)

      Nobody is trying to take your gas guzzler away. Or more realistically, nobody is going to give you a free car to your exact specifications. You want people to subsidize your gas use by cancelling all electric vehicle programs? Well it isn't going to happen. Gas is already highly subsidized in the USA, it always has been, probably more than electric is considering all the lobbyist dollars.

      The car you ask for already exists [fueleconomy.gov]. In fact a lot of light cars are close to 40mpg today. Hell, Hybrids are nearly down to $20k at this point. That they can't haul around all the stuff you need is your problem, not ours. You want an SUV that runs on normal gas that gets 40mpg. At no price point will this ever be possible unless it is a hybrid.

      As much as I would like to have an electric; the specifications for my next vehicle require it to run on gas. (All wheel drive, carry camping gear and a 11" telescope, range of at least 400 miles including refueling.) At least there are hybrid crossovers that do what I need and save gas while doing so. Yes, I will be paying more, and because of my requirements, I am totally fine with this.

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Tuesday December 02 2014, @01:07PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Tuesday December 02 2014, @01:07PM (#121821) Journal

      will never be a serious contender in the used market where most of your poor (who drive the most gas guzzlers because that is all they can afford) get their cars.

      Define gas guzzling. Where I live they mostly drive around in pretty efficient cars, mostly older 90's Japanese cars such as Hondas and Toyotas. And not all of them are younger kids in wanna be ricers. Up until recently I ran around in a 95 Civic and sold it to a kid for $500 who was ecstatic to get a black 2 door civic with a stick.

      • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Thursday December 04 2014, @06:07AM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Thursday December 04 2014, @06:07AM (#122472) Journal

        I was going by the DOT numbers which stated last I looked that the average car used by those making less than $25k a year (your working poor) has an average MPG of just 23mpg, lower than pretty much anywhere on the planet. Next time you are driving by a used car lot, the type that brags "got a job get a car" see what kind of vehicles you see, yours is the exception NOT the rule I'm afraid.

        And again this frankly could be fixed in less than 5 years, a single small diesel truck chassis could be the base for a "peoples vehicle" that would easily get 35+ MPG, probably over 40MPG if you choose the right engine AND you could cover a good 80% of the use cases, from your poor mom with 4 kids to the guy hauling trash, you just wouldn't get Solyndra style kickbacks from it. BTW just FYI might want to look and see how much the big donors got from the POTUS for their "green initiatives", biggest payout since Nixon. Sadly the more things change...

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @11:19AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @11:19AM (#121468)

    Winner: Global consumers as anybody who drives a car or flies on airplanes gets lower prices for gasoline and jet fuel.

    Yes, global consumers are winners, but not just because they can drive around/fly for less money. Indeed, that should be the least effect (although the most obvious one). Global consumers win because the cheaper oil price essentially makes everything cheaper. For one, all your goods are transported around, and that transportation in included in the price. Next, many products contain plastics, which is made of oil. Cheaper oil means cheaper plastics, and thus cheaper products. Also, food should become cheaper because cheaper oil means cheaper fertilizer as well as less cost for driving all those agricultural machines. And of course, quite a bit of electricity is still made from fossil fuels, so also electricity should become cheaper.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday December 01 2014, @01:35PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 01 2014, @01:35PM (#121496)

      Global consumers win because the cheaper oil price essentially makes everything cheaper.

      This makes the hilarious assumption the increase profit will result in lower revenue rather than higher profits on the balance sheets.

      Remember, "fuel surcharges" and the like are only added and only go up, never removed or go down.

      If you were willing to pay $100 for a flight last month, they're not selling the same seat for $80 next month out of the goodness of their heart, they're just going to keep the extra $20. We have regulations to keep competition out of the market, so no fears about that.

      • (Score: 2) by metamonkey on Monday December 01 2014, @07:47PM

        by metamonkey (3174) on Monday December 01 2014, @07:47PM (#121612)

        No, they would not lower the price back down to $80 out of the goodness of their hearts. They would do it because their competitors lowered their price to $90 to capture more of the market. That's kind of how the market works.

        All this only happens if the price of oil stays low for an extended period of time. Then the savings will eventually trickle through the supply chain to the consumer.

        --
        Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
    • (Score: 2) by mrchew1982 on Monday December 01 2014, @05:59PM

      by mrchew1982 (3565) on Monday December 01 2014, @05:59PM (#121581)

      With the impending changes the EPA are set to make I doubt that we'll see cheap electricity any time soon... All of the upgrades are going to cost some major coin.

      We'll be better off with all of the changes, I agree, I just wasn't looking forward to paying for them!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @11:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @11:50AM (#121473)

    historically the price of oil never went down, sorry.
    obviously the monarchocrats can't just draw a straight slop line that is steadily going up.
    no, that would be too obvious, so in the name of good PR for the sheeples, they declare
    oil to be "cheaper"... sometimes.
    but rest assured it WILL go up again and if you know some integration rules you will see that
    what you "save" today, you WILL pay for later on.
    the line IS straight and it just goes ... UP!
    -
    one might ask the question WHY it is going up?
    we have abundant sunshine and thus energy? why has an economy been built around a finite resource?
    the answer is that with a economy build around a infinite energy source, the stuff created in this economy
    would ultimately lead to the stuff created becoming near free or very very cheap.
    the problem with this scenario is that monarchocrats would lose the power to manipulate (or steer)
    the "ship of sheeples".
    the reigns that tie the general population to the 1% is called ... inflation and rising costs ... FOREVER!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @01:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @01:45PM (#121501)

      we have abundant sunshine

      and an abundance of the natural factories that turn that light into really useful stuff--

  • (Score: 1) by CyberB0B39 on Monday December 01 2014, @02:24PM

    by CyberB0B39 (492) on Monday December 01 2014, @02:24PM (#121511)

    With the price of gas low, now is the time to raise gas taxes. As unpopular as taxes are, the gas tax actually funds infrastructure projects. Raise it now so the next time the price of gas swings up the taxes are already in place.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday December 01 2014, @04:00PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Monday December 01 2014, @04:00PM (#121542)

      That will never happen in the US thanks to Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform: A majority of the US Congress has signed a pledge (enforced by the threat of an extremely well-funded primary challenge) that they will never vote raise any tax under any circumstances.

      And of course, as expected, this kind of blanket rule leads to extremely stupid policies.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Monday December 01 2014, @04:40PM

        by nitehawk214 (1304) on Monday December 01 2014, @04:40PM (#121551)

        At some point we need to find a new way to fund roads aside from gas taxes. Even as things stand, gas taxes are insane since the US government already subsidizes to keep gas prices low.

        --
        "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
  • (Score: 2) by morgauxo on Monday December 01 2014, @02:46PM

    by morgauxo (2082) on Monday December 01 2014, @02:46PM (#121516)

    Ok, so gas has stopped (for now) raising in price. Maybe it has even rolled back to where it was a few years ago. So what? The price had been increasing way faster than overall inflation for the last 20 years! People here are talking like gas is suddenly so cheap we will all go buy hummers and drive them across our respective continents just for the hell of it or something. Are you kidding? Gas is still expensive!

    When I started driving it varied between about 60 and 70 some cents per gallon. Yup, just dateted myself, oh well. Older people than I tell me about times it cost far less than that. Yes, inflation means it really cost more back then than it sounds like but not THAT much! Where I am now it still sometimes hits $3!

    I think we have a lot of kids here that never knew what cheaper gas was like. I remember not even thinking about gas mileage. (that was probably bad, I don't want everyone to go back to that) but I also didn't even have to think about fuel as a barrier to travel. In my college years I could travel to places hundreds of miles away just because I needed a break and wanted to. I think some people don't know just what kind of freedom that is! Now I drive a car that barely has enough acceleration to pass a slow truck and mostly only go places I need to go.

    As for the environment, yes, burning more fuel is bad. Cars and gasoline consumption get way too much attention though. It's our electricity production that creates almost all of our man-made greenhouse gasses! Not our cars! Let's focus a bit more on energy eficiency at home and reward ourselves by driving somewhere fun!

    • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Monday December 01 2014, @03:12PM

      by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Monday December 01 2014, @03:12PM (#121527) Journal

      Yup, I remember about 10 or 15 years ago big protests here in the UK when petrol prices threatened to go over £0.80/litre. The last three or four years prices have been hovering around £1.40, and now we are supposed to celebrate that they are back down to £1.20ish? Well fuck a doodle do.

  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday December 01 2014, @03:08PM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday December 01 2014, @03:08PM (#121524) Homepage Journal

    The 99% win and the 1% mostly lose. Almost nothing moves without oil, and the price of everything depends on the price of oil. The "great recession" was directly caused by the fact that gasoline more than quadrupled in price in five or six years. No economy can withstand that.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02 2014, @04:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02 2014, @04:31AM (#121738)

      Yeah, I find it shocking that they only found some tiny economic advantages. Can we get something from somebody that at least read the financial page?! lolol

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02 2014, @03:02AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02 2014, @03:02AM (#121720)

    First of all, if you check the gold-oil ratio, you'll see it isn't anywhere near unreasonable. Much of the rise in the oil price is due to the strength of the dollar. Second, consider the Saudis' motives. They want to maximize profit. This requires both high demand and high oil price. The way they see to get that is to re-energize the world economy. So they are willing to accept some short-term pain for long-term gain. Especially since they can export most of the pain to Iran, Russia, shale drillers, and the minor OPEC players. So chill and enjoy the ride, take the long view like the Saudis and Buffet.