I’m showing you a picture of my car, which a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. It’s a nice car that gets me where I need to go.
So, why am I showing you this?
Look at this next photo.
Do you see the letters “TDI?” That stand for “Turbo Diesel Injection.” Yes, my car runs on diesel fuel.
I know what you are thinking. You are probably remembering the diesels, General Motors introduced in the 70s when they basically put modified gasoline engines that supposedly took diesel fuel into their cars and the result was disasterous. My diesel runs great even in the harsh winter climate of Minnesota. (My car starts even when it’s 20 below.)
I got this car for two reasons: first, it has great mileage. It’s about the high 30s in the city and in the low to mid 40s on the highway. Since I drive to work (there are no buses that go to my place of work in the ‘bubrs) I only have to fill up about once a week. (When I was taking the bus, I filled up every two weeks.)
Second, it puts less greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It’s not perfect, since there are still bad particulates, but because of government mandates, it’s getting cleaner.
I made a decision in the free market to get a fuel efficient car. So, the rising fuel prices do take some bite, but not as much in the long run.
This is a really long way of saying that I’m not sad that we have rising prices for fuel. These high prices have made us think about buying more efficient cars. The car companies are even bringing more small cars to the market. People are considering trading in their gas guzzlers and getting more efficient cars like a Honda Civic.
Americans thinks that they can buy huge SUVs and not pay the prices that come with it. In Europe, people are used to high gas prices , most of which come from taxing gas highly, that they have adjusted accordingly.
The high gas prices are not because the evil gas companies are gouging us. This is all about economics. It’s about a simple thing call supply and demand. Demand is high. Americans drive innefficient cars and drive a whole lot. And then we have to deal with the rise of China and India whose economies are rising. So demand is outstripping supply. And that causes high prices.
My take is that we need to tax gas more, not less. I think we should pay $4 a gallon. Maybe then we would see more conservation and greater fuel efficiency.
As Ronald Reagan said, there is no such thing as a free lunch. America has lulled itself to believe it can get oil for cheap. It’s time to wake up and smell the petroleum.