Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Reuters reports that oil fell below $39.00 a barrel on the world market today due to the US economic downturn and, as a result, weakening demand for the commodity which only a few months ago was trading in the vicinity of $150.00 a barrel.

So, while it’s a terrible shame that people are losing their jobs and retirement accounts, you’ve sort of got to appreciate this silver lining that shows how humans can change their appetites and that maybe, just maybe, there’s hope we’re not doomed to all die in a petroleum-hunger fueled apocalypse sometime in the next few years.

On my ride home from school, I pass a Safeway gas station that displays its current prices on a large digital sign, easily readable from the trail. Prices at their pumps are around two dollars cheaper than they were a few months ago.

Seems like this would be the perfect time to institute that fifty cents a gallon federal gas tax that Thomas Friedman is always going on about. Imagine, as he does, how much money could be generated to fund transportation and energy initiatives with half a dollar collected on every gallon of gas sold in the US—and it’s pretty clear that people would still buy gas (since they did) if it were four bits more expensive.

Naturally, the gas tax strikes me as an especially good idea, given that I’ve bought all of one tankful in the past six months—and that’s only because Jen left the car close to empty the morning that Mimi and I drove to Everett to kill our Thanksgiving turkey.

During our current great “Snowmaggedon 2008,” I’ll bet that lots and lots of gas has been saved in the Seattle area; while there are plenty more cars on the road today than yesterday or the day before, it’s still way less than usual.

However, those that are driving are spinning their wheels a lot, so maybe it evens out.


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