Tuesday, May 02, 2006

# Posted 9:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

LIBERAL BLOGGERS SILENT ABOUT GAS PRICES. (DO THEY ALL DRIVE HYBRIDS?) The price of oil is dominating the airwaves, but none of the liberal bloggers whose sites I read have been paying much attention.

All we get from Matt Yglesias is the observation that gas prices will most likely fall before election day, thus limiting the damage done to the GOP. Josh Marshall, as always, writes that Democrats have to hit back hard at the GOP, but doesn't have a single kind word for all the Democratic senators denouncing Big Oil and its predatory ways.

At least Kevin Drum has something. He points out that both Democrats and Republicans should get down from their high horses, because both have a terrible record of supporting fuel efficiency in automobiles. Kevin also says that the GOP has taken pandering to new heights with its plan to give Americans an $100 rebate to soften the impact of rising gas prices.

Sure, it's pandering. But I sort of prefer a straight-up pander to dark and absurd rhetoric about a Big Oil conspiracy to impoverish the American consumer. Besides, I can use that $100 to buy some new gear for my bicycle, which is even more fuel efficient than Dick Durbin's hybrid SUV.

Also, since Kevin has nothing to say in defense of any of the Democratic rhetoric about oil, I'm going to assume either that it is indefensible or that all the hoopla about the Spanish Star-Spangled Banner has kept Kevin from paying attention to his representatives in Congress.

Finally, we come to Kos. georgia10 points to a NYT article about how the GOP is backing off its effort to strike down some provisions of the tax code that Big Oil really likes. But that's it for the past few days. Even Stephen Colbert got more attention. And Kos himself found time to mock liberal hawk Peter Beinart as "pathetic":
It's easy for chickenhawks like him to talk tough when they don't personally have to suffer the consequences of the policies he promotes.
With standards of debate that low, you'd think Kos would at least find something kind to say about all of the Democrats' mindless oil bashing rhetoric. Or maybe I should just be glad this particularly idiocy hasn't spread to the blogosphere.
(26) opinions -- Add your opinion

Everyone should just get Segways. I saw one in midtown Manhattan today and the guy was going faster than bikes and cars. Very cool
I saw people renting Segways out to tourists in Paris last week. I shudder to think, though, how they'll mesh with the scooters, Smart cars and aggressive pedestrians. They'd better stay on the Grands Boulevards! And they'd not be much use in Montmartre. Stair climbers, anyone?
Liberals have been pushing for higher gas prices for years. Now they've got their wish. It would be hypocritical of them to complain.
The $100 rebate is pandered, but CAFE (mandatory fuel efficiency standards) is not the best way to encourage lower oil consumption. It's not that economically efficient, and has the effect of encouraging more driving (by making driving a mile cheaper, since people consume transportation, not oil), negating some of its benefits.

Raising gas taxes is a far better idea, supported widely by economists. Since many (most?) highly-educated, upper-middle class to wealthy liberals (especially environmentalists) support higher gas prices though taxes, it's not so much of a hot button issue for them.

I'd rather say it's admirable that they aren't being hypocritical or demogogues about it. (Unlike Democratic politicians, but such is the problem if you're a politician.)
The US needs to become more independant. We will need oil in the near future, at least the next 10 years.

We have the oil resources off the coasts and in ANWR. Mexico is drilling in the gulf and Cuba is going to drill between Florida and Cuba.

We do not drill - why? because we are to good to get involved in such reprehensible endeavors.

I include a blog entry from awesternheart.com regarding a gas find off the coast of Australia:

Gas field promises big benefits: "Exxon Mobil is preparing to accept a new gas production licence for the Kipper gas field in Bass Strait, off the Gippsland coast of south-east Victoria. State Energy Minister Theo Theophanous says the Kipper gas field will ensure Victorians continue to have one of the lowest priced gas supplies in the world. Rob Young from Exxon Mobil says his company will work with BHP and Santos Woodside to take up the production licence. He says the companies will form a joint venture to meet the Government's deadline of June 6. "We're a separate joint venture between ourselves, BHP Santos and Woodside ... looking to develop that part of the field and it has enough gas there to power a city of a million people for about 15 years, so it is significant in terms of its size and we think it can bring a lot of benefits to the people of Victoria," he said."


Maybe the answer to the NIMBYs is to ofer the states a share of oil licence fees.
High oil prices are good. They make people aware of the real cost of fossil fuels, and encourage lower consumption.

Most bloggers understand this, and most politicians don't. Hence the silence in the blogosphere.
what is the real cost of fossil fuel.
davod says: "what is the real cost of fossil fuel."

That depends: if you include the cost of future climate change, then it is probably thousands of dollars per gallon.

If you include the cost of military interventions in oil-producing countries (as opposed to our usual non-interventions in non-oil-producing countries), then the cost is probably a few dozen dollars per gallon.

It is hard to quantify the cost of sucking up to oil-producing giants in non-military ways, such as our long tradition of looking the other way when the Saudis fund terrorists who then attack Israel, requiring us to increase our military aid in the middle east. It is safe to say that this probably amounts to a few dollars per gallon.

Or, if you just include the market cost of production, refining, and shipping, taking into account supply and demand, then it is about three dollars per gallon today.
when you see the stupidity that emanates from both sides you wonder how we got this far at all....nobody is this ignorant by accident.
Note that Patrick Neid has not addressed any of the arguments that he dismisses.

The climate change issue is now officially endorsed by the US Government:


(Look at the two items posted on 2MAY.)

The military intervention issue is admittedly debatable.

The sucking-up issue is not debatable. It is an obvious corruption in the US that has compromised every presidential administration since Eisenhower's.

What do YOU think gas really costs?
Matt's main post on the topic was over at Tapped, where he responded to criticisms that people like Brad DeLong had made of the merits of the Democrats' approach, basically by saying that the Dems were just being savvy politicians (aka "posturing"). DeLong fired back here, and I believe that was the end of that conversation. Matt also had an earlier post at TPM on how gas prices would probably rise over the summer, with bad political consequences for Republicans (he also mentioned there that all he drives is an occasional Zipcar).

Also, you say since Kevin has nothing to say in defense of any of the Democratic rhetoric about oil, I'm going to assume either that it is indefensible or that all the hoopla about the Spanish Star-Spangled Banner has kept Kevin from paying attention to his representatives in Congress. Why would you assume that? Why make any assumptions about why some blogger hasn't posted anything about some angle on some topic?
What's the point of this post? Are they to be criticized or commended for their silence? Or is it just a slow news day?
If you want somebody to fight with -and it looks like you do - go to Maxspeaks. Excellent, provocative posts about gasoline. Especially this one: http://maxspeak.org/mt/archives/002173.html
We need to drill in the USA.

Per SFgate:
Washington — Saudi Arabia’s oil minister scorned the popular notion that America can achieve energy independence as a myth, saying Tuesday the idea denies the existence of interdependent global markets and the need for countries to work together for oil-price stability.

Top Democrats in Congress, who argue that America can become independent of foreign energy sources within 10 years, reacted heatedly to Saudi minister Ali Naimi’s statement, insisting their goal is realistic. The exchange came as Congress was locked in a testy debate about how to react to record high gasoline prices, an issue that both parties recognize has jumped to the top of voters’ election-year agendas. ...

The Saudi oil minister Naimi, in Washington for a Saudi-U.S. energy conference, rejected the idea that energy self-sufficiency is a worthwhile goal for America.

"While self-reliance is appealing, the efficacy of such an approach for achieving long-term energy security is an illusion built on the myth that security can be achieved through protectionist measures aimed at blocking certain types of imports or goods and investments from certain regions of the world,” Naimi said.
This is entirely not the most important issue the nation should be focusing on. There are many ways in which $70 oil actually strengthens America relative to other countries. Something to think about.
I drive, but don't own a car. If I did, I would, at minimum, have a hybrid.

In a large city, there is no sensible reason to drive to and from work when public transportation is a realistic alternative.
man, does anyone do the math before making calculations (while calling other people idiots?). $1000s/gallon of cost due to climate change? just back of the envelop:

from industry website:
U.S. gasoline consumption of 320,500,000 gallons per day (March 2005) works out to about 3700 gallons per second.

In U.S 321m gal/day x $2000/gal = ~$650b x 365days = $237tr div by .2 for ~$WW/yr = ~$1250 trillion/yr, which is ~50x the world economy. talk about bad ROI.

also, you can not discount the benefits of development that a gas-based economy, for all its faults, has produced. hopefully, we figure a way out of the current problem with creative solutions, but throwing around crazy statements like that one do not advance the debate - just plain stupid really
Try taking a sick child to the doctor on a Segway. Some of us need cars and have responsibilities to other humans in our care, which is our first priority not gas prices.

I did credit card comparisons on my last two fillups in the SF Bay area (where gas is now $4.40+) the grand total was a whopping $7.00 difference between what I paid last April per tank.

Big frickin' whoop.

That won't even buy you a large popcorn with butter flavoring at the cineplex.
Surely a good liberal does not own a car! I don't have one and I couldn't care less about petrol prices. Hence I never mention them.

Of course, I also don't live in the US, with its generally apalling public transport; or the country. Frankly, this whole petrol debate stinks of middle-class and Western narcissism - when the world has so may people without WATER and FOOD, I could hardly give a damn about whether the people down the road have to pay an extra 10c to run their two cars.

Don't change the subject. Where do you live? Do you have excellent public transport.
The argument for public transport is interesting. Increase the cost of driving so high that the average man in the street cannot afford to drive. Then he or she will have to use public transport. This of course leaves the streets clear for the rich and powerfull including the politicians and those in think tanks who support the need to save the world from the depredations of the man in the street.
It's all the democrats fault!

Everything bad: the war in Iraq, the deficit, the torture at Abu Ghrarid, global warming, and on and on.

It's all their fault. The Republicans only do good.

There you go, bringing politics into a rational discussion on energy options.

For your edification you should know that the energy minister quoted in my 11:01 am entry is a member of the Australian Labour Party - read Democrat. He is minister in the Victorian State parliament which is a Labour government.
Um, the vast majority of "peak oil" talk is by liberals. There are entire swaths of the blogosphere devoted to it. Liberal swaths.

Big blogs like Atrios and Kos have mentioned peak oil before, but it's all been done. We're pretty much informed on the topic, and have been for years.

The thing is, conservaitves are not capable of understanding arguments in favor of conservation as a way of life. Energy consumption is something conservatives want to *increase* not decrease. Y'all get the biggest hard on in the world from driving Humm Vees. Being conspicuously consumptive is a status symbol to conservatives. It's the opposite for liberals.
It's all the democrats fault!

Everything bad: the war in Iraq, the deficit, the torture at Abu Ghrarid, global warming, and on and on.

It's all their fault. The Republicans only do good.

The thing is, conservaitves are not capable of understanding arguments in favor of conservation as a way of life.

Josh and anon, I believe you're looking for this thread http://oxblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/enough-of-namecalling-there-is-certain.html

As for the Peak Oil stuff, its real similar to Global Warming, in that despite scientific disagreement on the issue (global temperatures have fallen between 1994-2004. Global dimming is the hot new man-made catastrophe about to happen http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/warming/) one side seems very certain when it comes to causes and remedies. The main problem with Peak Oil theories is that they only take into account discovered, easily extractable oil deposits in places like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and ANWAR. As price goes up to say, $70 a barrel, suddenly it becomes economical to drill in other harder to reach places - primarily oil sands in the rockies, both Canadian and American, deep into Siberia and deeper in the oceans.

No, it's not possible to continue with the status quo forever, but it won't either. And the best mechanism for affecting this change is a generational shift by individuals as current technologies become more expensive and new technologies become less expensive rather than some government-mandated switch on a certain date. But judging from the content of your initial post, I'm guessing you've already got your set theory.
As Republican Congressman Jack Kingston so clearly put it, energy independence is not a partisan idea
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