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Poor Richard's Print Shoppe



Like the Gas Prices? Thank an Environmentalist



With gas prices that have been rising steadily over the last few years and the more recent spike of the national average that's expected to peak at well over $3.00 per gallon, we have heard plenty of vitriol directed at the American oil industry - some of it even deserved - but concurrently there has been a stunning, vacuous silence on the single largest factor in that price spiral: Environmental regulation.

- Vast tracts of American fossil fuel resources both on land and offshore are currently designated as off-limits - in the manner of untouchable religious shrines - thanks to environmentalist legislation, thereby virtually guaranteeing to OPEC a de facto "No Competition" promise in perpetuity;

- New oil refinery construction has been at a standstill since the year the last new American refinery went on line: 1979. Do the math, folks. That's a full twenty-five years [as of this writing, 2004,] since the last oil refinery was completed in America! The reason? The obstructionist regulations imposed by government at the behest of environmentalists have jacked up the cost of building a single new refinery to $3 Billion (that's billion with a "B".) If you can't increase refining capacity for the crude oil you do manage to pump out of the ground, there will remain a bottleneck in the supply chain, therefore significant upward pressure on prices. The refining bottleneck is the single greatest factor in restricting supply in the face of steadily-increasing demand. Elementary economics, folks: When demand rises and supply doesn't, or can't, what happens to prices?;

- The same is true of pipeline construction, without which there is no cheap way of moving the product from place to place, therefore an increase in price. A year ago a pipeline failure in Arizona was cited as the cause of a major spike in fuel prices throughout the American Southwest - should this be necessary in the 21st Century?;

- Regulations dictating a huge number and variety of gasoline grades within the U.S., ostensibly for environmental reasons, mean that oil companies must produce a smorgasbord of "boutique" gasolines - a practice undreamed of even by our socialist allies in Europe - at a huge additional cost that has to be covered by higher prices. In testimony on April 26, 2001 - well before the September 11 terrorist attacks that sent oil prices even higher, mind you - Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, put it this way: "Part of the problem is that fuel made for consumption in Oregon is not suitable for California. Fuel made for distribution in Western Maryland cannot be sold in Baltimore. Areas such as Chicago and Detroit are islands in the fuel system and require special 'designer' gasolines." According to an Illinois House Special Committee's final report on gas pricing dated February 1, 2001, "In the 300-mile line between St. Louis and Chicago, three grades of gasoline are offered in each of four different EPA gasoline zones, for a total of 12 different varieties of gasoline...";

- Nuclear power, the cleanest and most advanced energy-producing technology available, has been virtually stalled dead in its tracks by...environmentalist obstructionism. The unavailability of nuclear power generation in turn means a larger amount of power capacity needing to be produced by burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas - which along with increasing pollution, adds further demand to a limited oil supply, meaning...higher prices. Meanwhile, even socialist France(!) continues to produce roughly 60% of its nation's power by nuclear technology, as it has for decades. What is wrong with this picture?

In short, the environmentalist cult has largely succeeded in "monkeywrenching" the U.S. energy industry - to the point where we are not only forced to buy our crude from OPEC nations that have been documented as having funneled money into terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, we are also forced by the law of supply and demand to pay through the nose for what we do have, due to artificially-constricted supply.

This situation has got to change, ultimately via repeal of the bulk of America's environmentalist regulation and restrictive land-use laws. But it must begin, as in every other area of philosophy, with a clear identification of relevant facts. In this case, the simple fact of the culprit behind the crisis must be identified - loudly, publicly, repeatedly.

Slap this on your car and revel in the knowledge that you are helping to do the job journalists are supposed to be doing but won't.
The Eco-cult has gotten a free ride for long enough. Do your part to expose the monkey behind the wrench, the cause behind the effect - for which we're all paying daily.


Analysis from economist George Reisman, Ph.D.:

"Free Markets Would Be OPEC's Undoing"

"Why the Price of Oil Is Surging"

"Greens Vs. Energy"


and from the Ayn Rand Institute:

"How the U.S. Government is Causing High Oil Prices" by Floyd Farleigh and Andrew Bernstein

"Senate Should Allow Drilling in ANWR" by Andrew Bernstein

"Bush and Norton Should Lift Environmental Restrictions on Energy Production" by Andrew Bernstein



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Commentary © 2004-2007 by Poor Richard's Print Shoppe
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