Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The True cost of Gasoline

Lots of people have an opinion about how much a gallon of gasoline really costs. As I've been on various message boards and forums, I have found those who think gas is cheap to be merely regurgitating information that can be traced back to oil company propaganda.

On the other hand, people who think gas is expensive seem to be unable to back up their claims. Maybe I'm just in the forums where everyone is secretly auditioning for the Faux News Network?

I found it was somewhat difficult to find out whether we really do pay tax dollars to oil companies to explore, drill, and pump oil. I hit upon a Google search that turns up hard information: "oil tax subsidy." I ended up at a 1998 report from The International Center for Technology Assessment with the headline "Real Price Of Gasoline" Report Reveals Actual Cost of Gas to Consumers Is as High as $15.14 per Gallon.

Over $15 per gallon!? Nearly 10 years ago? Where are the current reports? Do I really have to slog through Congressional appropriations bills to find current data?

It seems crazy to me that we subsidize oil companies. They are making money hand over fist, and our lawmakers continue to grant them tax cuts and special accounting techniques to make even more money. I came across a report by Jenny Wahl which showed that as long as oil companies are exploring new wells, they defer 100% of the taxes on that enterprise. No wonder they need the arctic opened up! It's not for the oil, it's for the tax deferment!

Our nation consucted a little economics experiment recently, when gasoline went to $3 per gallon. What happened? Driving habits changed a little bit! And now prices are back down, so habits returned to "normal." I'm curious what our habits would be if we paid the true cost for a gallon of fuel.

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