Gas is expensive. My bike is not. Thus, in addition to taking the bus to work most days, I’ve been biking when possible or not driving. And, despite the fact that my skis still wait wishfully by the door, gas money is no longer required for ski adventures. I realize that not all people can make these adjustments, but is a gas rebate a solution? NO! Even disregarding the fact that a $100 gas rebate from the government is something we already paid for with our taxes, it essentially accomplishes nothing. I have my $100 back, but do I have any additional incentive to reduce my oil consumption? Is the $100 helping drive incentive to create alternate fuel sources? Would that $100 have been better spent on supporting other public services?
While I, like everyone else, finds the oil companies suspect and, in no way, believe that all their practices are on the up and up, they are providers of a non-renewable, highly demanded product. Should a private corporation in a low margin industry with inelastic demand hold their price artificially low? Idealogically? Sure. Realistically? No. It would only serve to lengthen the process of alternative fuel sources innovation. It’s that darn long term vs. short term quandary again.
UPDATE: Late last week, the Democrats, not wanting to be left out of the gas price relief game, introduced their plan for a 60 day gas tax holiday. Again, what does this really do? For 60 days people feel okay about the price of gas? What does that accomplish? It, in the Dems’ world, gets them more votes.
Also, I forgot to mention that the Republican bill, of course, tosses back in the provision of opening up ANWR to drilling. Hopefully that provision clouds any possibility it might have had of passing.
See also: Defective Yeti’s humorous take.