Albert Einstein is often attributed in defining insanity as the act of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Based on that definition, I am going to preemptively declare the U.S. Congress insane. Allow me to explain. Reading the headlines this morning, I see this story:
The price of oil is poised for another run at $100 a barrel after a global economic rebound sent it surging 34 percent since May. That could push gasoline prices to $4 a gallon by summer in some parts of the country, experts say.
My immediate reaction? Oh crap, here we go again. Gas prices are going to rise, people are going to scream from the mild discomfort caused by the natural workings of the market and those left and right nuts in Congress are actually going to try to do something about it. So in anticipation of 2011: Another Year of Overreaction to Higher Gas Prices, I will harken back to what I consider to be one of my best posts (originally posted May 17, 2007) All politicians are idiots and other obvious thoughts on high gas prices (I highly recommend that you read the whole thing if for no other reason than to just make me happy in the new year):
High gas prices are NOT an economic or political problem. They are the result of the natural workings of markets. There is nothing wrong with the market--and no reason, other than self-preservation and the false appearance of being able to do something, for politicians to intervene. Supplies are decreasing--both temporarily through unexpected refinery shut-downs and permanently through stock depletion. Demand is increasing--both in the U.S. and worldwide. Both of these will cause gas prices to rise and that's good. If gas prices don't rise, we will consume gas even faster and run out sooner. Higher gas prices encourage conservation and encourage investment in alternatives. High gas prices might be uncomfortable while we search for viable long-term solutions, but they're more comfortable than the alternative: no gas and no solutions.
The Great Recession has suppressed gas prices for long enough. Higher gas prices will distract people from the trivial problems of unemployment, low income, foreclosure ... and give them a rallying point for their collective dismay. We here at Env-Econ (OK, just me) celebrate this irrational collective hysteria as it gives us the opportunity to renew our simple yet dramatically insightful grassroots public action campaign: DRIVE LESS!
Here's to hoping 2011 is a good year for all.