Five-dollar gas is no longer unthinkable. But is expensive gas a good thing for the United States, in the long run? We asked you, in our latest edition of Working it Out, what would be your #1 proposal to influence the price of gas -- in either direction. Here are the best responses we received. Put your own in the comment section and we'll publish the best ones, with credit, this weekend
We need cheap gas now, and expensive gas later
I recognize this is probably unfeasible, given how things work with the
Highway Trust Fund, I'd like to see a federal gas tax holiday tied to a
gas tax hike. We don't want gas prices to damage the recovery, and we
know we need higher gas prices over time to account for various
externalities. The politics still don't work in an era of
hyperpartisanship, but I like the idea of the holiday as the carrot to
finally raise the gas tax. -- Walt Frick
Higher prices aren't a choice. They're an inevitability.
am glad somebody wrote this. Yes, higher prices are the natural
outcome of where we are headed and and are probably the only effective
mechanism to change behavior at the consumer level, both in commuting
and choosing which cars to buy --- good!
It would be better if we had a dollar a gallon gas tax. I would
rather see that than any other revenue increase being discussed.
Eventually we will see electricity prices rise to European levels and
that is good. Look at the horrific state of electricity
should be buried underground but most over-regulated electricity utilities
have no money. Who will pay, the utility's bond holders who already get
pathetic returns? Who will pay if the "public" utilities boards
around the country refuse to allow rate increases? We have our heads in
the sand (or worse places) in this country about how cheaply we should
be able to consume energy and we have political harangues attacking oil
companies and utilities rather than facing up to reality. I never heard
of Marty Nemko before but he is a breath of fresh air and honesty even
daring to discuss all this. -- Jozef_2
Natural gas transit is the answer
Airports transit buses are all propane run. They seemed to have
normal acceleration and the driver said he could run all day on a tank.
Initiate tax credits for natural gas motors and infrastructure. -- trythemiddle
Mass transit is the answer
about reducing demand through mass transit and more efficient vehicles?
Keeps money here and out of Saudi pocketbooks as a side benefit. -- LaurelhurstLiberal
Subsidies for the low-income are the answer
is a good opportunity for the government to subsidize low income and
unemployed population for the gasoline price spike. Alternative energy
resources shouldn't come at the price of those at the bottom who are
struggling in this recession. Govt needs these people's psychological
supports. Obama needs them for his re-election. -- Bean Cube
The impact of natural gas
of the big reasons for the recent hike in U.S. gasoline prices is cheap
natural gas. Domestic refiners are benefiting from abundant local
supplies of natural gas--largely acquired through fracking and
horizontal drilling--to cheaply produce the process heat required to
crack crude oil into products like gasoline. They can then export
gasoline to countries like Mexico, underselling refiners there who have
to pay more for process heat. The resulting squeeze in U.S. supply
raises domestic gasoline prices. While natural gas extraction techniques remain controversial, if
domestic production can be responsibly maintained (e.g. via more
thorough regulation, which will admittedly raise natural gas prices
slightly), gasoline prices may remain high, helping spur a U.S.
transition to electric vehicles. Cheap natural gas could in turn spur a
move away from coal in the electricity sector, providing potentially
cleaner and cheaper source of electricity. Once dwindling supplies of
domestic gas result in higher prices, renewables will have likely
achieved widespread price parity with traditional sources, leading
ultimately to a renewably-powered electricity grid fueling an oil-free
transportation system. -- Greg Rucks
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Derek Thompson is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, technology, and the media. He is the author of Hit Makersand the host of the podcast Crazy/Genius.