Energy prices are wrecking America’s economy. Lives are at risk.
America has seen relatively high prices before, but current motor fuel prices are setting records in constant dollars.
On May 30, the national average price for regular gasoline reached $4.619 per gallon, up from $4.178 a month earlier, and about 52% higher than last Memorial Day.
California prices exceed $6.00 a gallon. Houston, home to many refineries, has hit over $4.00 a gallon for the first time in the city’s history.
Today, gas prices average at least $4 a gallon in all 50 states. Experts expect it to exceed $5.00 everywhere.
AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said: “The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers. Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year.”
President(ish) Joe “The Buck (Never) Stops Here” Biden has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and “greedy oil companies” for high prices, even though he was personally responsible for boosting oil prices to record levels before Putin invaded Ukraine.
During the 2020 primary, candidate Biden promised, “No more drilling… No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period. It ends.”
Then, on his first day in office, Biden signed executive orders limiting fossil fuel exploration and extraction, cancelling leases on federal land, killing the Keystone XL pipeline, and began pressuring lenders to restrict financing for exploration and production of fossil fuels. Biden cancelled more leases in late May despite the elevated prices for motor fuel and other petroleum derivatives.
It is an absolute fact that, when the cost of conventional energy goes up, everything gets more expensive.
The seventy percent of Americans who understand the benefits of ample market supply favor producing more domestic oil and gas.
But, President(ish) Joe Biden, his administration and congressional Democrats think voters will 1) buy their fraudulent excuses for the soaring costs of energy, and 2) overlook the inadequacies of the alternative energy schemes they imagine will provide “energy independence.”
Frankly, it is difficult to see a bright side to high energy prices, especially when family budgets are being strained to and beyond their breaking points.
Nonetheless, eleven years ago, higher prices for gasoline were seen as a health benefit by Dan Chapman, an Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) writer who “solved” the health care crisis, the exploding costs of health care and the national debt.
In an article entitled “Who Wins with Higher Gas Prices,” among other “benefits,” Chapman offered “statistical proof” of the relationship between high gasoline prices and public health: “…when gas prices are high, people drive less and walk more.”
Apparently, higher gas prices have financial benefits as well. The writer referenced a study by Charles Courtemanche, an economics professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro who claimed that “a sustained $1 increase in the price of a gallon of gas results in a 10 percent drop in the nation’s obesity rate.”
According to the good professor, “Americans who walk and bike more and eat at restaurants less often will suffer fewer obesity-related diseases.” Courtemanche posited that “every $1 uptick in gas prices saves 11,000 lives and $11 billion in health-care costs annually.”
“About half the bill for obesity is borne by the government via Medicare and Medicaid. If obesity declines, then taxpayers could end up benefiting.”
Emphasis on “could,” as in “perhaps.”
In other words, if gas prices increase by $40.00-plus per gallon, we can virtually eliminate obesity in America (do the math). But, even better, if we raise the price per gallon by about $28,000.00, we can save the lives of every American, presumably in perpetuity, and erase the national debt!
Note to mathematicians, statisticians and hobbyists: I know that context is important, but, as I see it, I’m no more guilty of abusing the content of the AJC article than the writer was of ignoring the larger issues associated with high fuel costs in an energy-driven economy already in slowdown, very much like the problems America faces today.
For the record, Joe Biden, his administration, and Democrats’ faithful media handmaidens haven’t a ghost of a clue about those issues either – or, if they do, don’t care.