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April  30

Play The Blame Game

After trying unsuccessfully to post this on the Watercooler (come now, you really didn't think this would fly, did you?) Baristanet reader Bill asked us to run the following poll:

My Ballot Box
Who do you blame for the rising fuel prices?

George Bush
Saudi Arabian Government
Fuel Manufacturers/Distributors
Individual Fuel Stations
Americans disregard for resources
Politicians (other than George Bush)
All of the above
Fuel prices aren't that bad

View Results

April 30, 2006 in The Sunday Barista Poll | Permalink


I dislike debating politics with people, since I do not know much about the specifics of what is happening in the world (unlike everyone else my age and celebrities). I do find it surprising, though, that so many people can point the blame completely at Bush. I am by no means a Bush supporter, but do people seriously think that he is the only factor involved.

Also, I saw an article in the newspaper last week that said "Bush Lashes Out Against $3 A Gallon." I guess if he was the one that raised gas prices, then the article must have been about ice cream.

Posted by: jennnn | Apr 30, 2006 12:54:51 PM

( WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amid record oil prices and soaring gasoline costs, Exxon Mobil's $400 million retirement package to its former CEO is a "shameful display of greed" )

Yes, I dislike the whole politics / debatting thing...that $400 million could do an awfull lot in
New Orleans for one!

I heard someone say that the rise of
"oil per barrel price" should NOT effect the price at the gas station on the same day.

Posted by: JT | Apr 30, 2006 1:04:25 PM

I think that we should all drive hybrids, and conserve energy. Still, if Bush had not invaded Iraq with US forces, oil prices would not be this high, now.
Eventually, we have to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, by keeping the price of gas to $4 a gallon at the pump, with fluctuating federal taxes, just like Thomas Friedman of the NY Times has been suggesting. We also need for our next President to be a true leader.

Posted by: albee | Apr 30, 2006 1:14:33 PM

The reason oil prices are currently so high has nothing to do with the listed factors.

Prices are high now because traders (hedge funds, etc.) have driven up prices for purely speculative reasons.

Oil prices will come down once it becomes apparent that we are not going to war with Iran. Gas will hover at around $2.50 a gallon and stay at that level for years.

Posted by: Stan | Apr 30, 2006 1:18:12 PM

I wouldn't know what to do with $400 million, except donate most of it.

I heard that the oil per barrel prices aren't so high that the gas station prices need to be $3 per gallon. The Wawa that my dad lives next to in Matawan usually is 15-30 cents less than the gas stations up here in Montclair. That's why my friends don't mind driving me to my dad's...they can score some "cheap" gas on the way back.

Bottled water is still more expensive than gas, too. Kool-aid is even more expensive, once you add all those color-changing sugar packets.

Posted by: jennnnn | Apr 30, 2006 1:19:25 PM

It is amazing that $50 a gallon lattes don't concern anyone, and $12 a gallon water is common, but $3 a gallon gasoline sends people to the barricades.

Crude oil supplies have been tight for a decade, and US refineries haven't kept pace with the increased US demand for gas.

Even if Iraq was pumping at its 1999 level and selling / smuggling, the difference would be less than 1% of world pumping. Look first at China, which is increasing its demand by 7% per year, at India, and at the US personal demand. SUVs and pickups aren't subject to fuel economy rules, due to a bipartisan agreement not to push the issue.

The refinery issue is more complex, but the last new refinery was opened in 1972. Federal and state rules mandate about 80 different gasoline mixtures, which limits the ability to sell across state lines.

The Feds have outlawed MTBE as a gas additive, so that should drive up prices for alternate mixtures

Posted by: Paul from OB | Apr 30, 2006 1:37:30 PM

Lattes and bottled water are optional.

Or are they? Hmmmm....

Posted by: crank | Apr 30, 2006 2:18:37 PM

My boyfriend's family lives in Toms River. Bottle water is NOT optional there...

Posted by: jennnnn | Apr 30, 2006 2:39:11 PM

Three words: China and India.

Posted by: JeffG | Apr 30, 2006 3:08:12 PM

There's a customer that works for Mercedes. Anyway she was driving/taking home one of the "new" experimental cars SMART
(Swatch / Mercedes / + ART ) Gets some 60 mpg.
One nite she was coming home, going over the 25mph speed and she was pulled over. When she gave them her registration the VIN # was NOT the same standard as have here (USA).
Sooo the one Policeman called another then another then another... before you knew it there were 6!!! 6!!! Police cars surrounding this possible
violater. Well eventually they towed it away. Things were settled the next day and she still works for Mercedes, just doesn't have her SMART car to take home anymore.

Posted by: JT | Apr 30, 2006 3:19:22 PM

The Mercedes Smart Car isn't certified for street use in the US. My understanding is Daimler Benz imported 10-12 for testing, but not, officially, for street use. It failed the crash test standards applied to US cars.

Posted by: Paul from OB | Apr 30, 2006 5:29:43 PM

Yeah, without the China, India and too-much-regulation pieces, this poll is crap.

Anyway, I was one of the few who answered "not that bad" -- the only way that alternate sources will be widely pursued will be when they are cost effective relative to petroleum sources. That won't happen by gov't fiat alone.

Posted by: voice of razing | Apr 30, 2006 6:09:56 PM

lopsided poll

Posted by: appletony | Apr 30, 2006 9:43:43 PM

Dick Cheney is missing from the poll.

Posted by: Krys O. | May 1, 2006 8:09:42 AM

re:"Also, I saw an article in the newspaper last week that said "Bush Lashes Out Against $3 A Gallon." I guess if he was the one that raised gas prices, then the article must have been about ice cream."

I don't think that article was an expression of Bush's opinon on the gas issue in the same way your post represents your own off the cuff thoughts on the matter. If you read Bush's statement in an article, it is more the end result of a position arrived at in consultation with top-level advisors, with wording that was edited and revised.

(And no, Bush didn't personally raise gas prices, laughing maniacally as he pressed a special button.)

Posted by: skipwtih | May 1, 2006 8:58:52 AM

Krys O
Better NOT go shooting w/ Dick!

Posted by: JT | May 1, 2006 8:59:30 AM

I don't think this is a "party" issue ... democratic President Carter lead the nation into the fuel crisis of the late 1970s ... so I see this more of a international market and economic trading issue ... supply and demand, and US consumption is very high compared to other countries ... supply is "limited" and controlled by mid-east countries and conglomerate companies ... price per gallon in Dubai is around $0.30 I think ... Big Oil company profits and payrolls demonstrate greed ...

Posted by: Jim | May 1, 2006 9:03:02 AM

My solution would be to develop alternative fuels, such as E85 and hydrogen fuel cells. Transitioning automotive engines from using fossil fuel to a more plentiful and renewable resource is the real answer, but 20-30 years away. Still, we must begin now to realize the goal.

Posted by: Jim | May 1, 2006 9:10:15 AM

I don't like paying more for gas and oil.

However, higher gas prices will encourage people to by more fuel efficient vehicles, which will in turn cause automobile manufactures to offer more fuel efficient vehicles.

Similarly, it will make developing alternative fuels profitable. What good is having a bio-diesel car if there is no place to fill it up?

Posted by: Bitpusher | May 1, 2006 9:31:00 AM

All the demogogery from both parties on oil prices is shameful. Oil profits are in the range of 10% of revenues. That's *average* to *low* for most industries.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 1, 2006 9:50:51 AM

Let me clarify: technology will make these alternative fuel engines possible within 5-10 years, but transitioning the distribution network (your local Exxon/Mobil/Shell/BP gas station) from today's gasoline to something new) will take an additional 10-20 years. So, the consumer won't be able to switch for 20-30 years. But if consumers don't start lobbying for this movement now, you can push that timeline back even more. A consumer push will motivate Big Oil and automotive executives to think in this direction and effect the change.

Posted by: Jim | May 1, 2006 10:06:36 AM

"What good is having a bio-diesel car if there is no place to fill it up?"

You could fill it up with used vegetable oil from a restaurant's deep fryer. RoC, when I brought this up a few months ago, you'd pointed out flaws with growing biodiesel sources. Grease cars are actually using pre-existing, used french fry oil. No, there's probably not enough french fry oil all of us to use these, but isn't the idea to not be dependent on a single source?

(You need to have a diesel car, and buy a converter kit.)

Posted by: skipwith | May 1, 2006 10:22:29 AM

isn't the idea to not be dependent on a single source?

No, the idea is to get away from using fossil fuels which are a limited resource. Multiple fuel sources would create a problem for distribution. There needs to be a consensus for one type of renewable and plentiful fuel to distribute for a sound business plan. And I don't want to buy a car/truck that requires a Saturday afternoon chemistry project in my garage to refill the tank.

Posted by: Jim | May 1, 2006 10:33:37 AM

"But if consumers don't start lobbying for this movement now, you can push that timeline back even more. A consumer push will motivate Big Oil and automotive executives to think in this direction and effect the change."

Horse pucky.

Once these technologies are profitable they will be implimented quickly. (the beauty of capitalism). No "movement" needed.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 1, 2006 10:45:05 AM


The problem with "biofuels" in general is that millions of rainforest will be ripped down to plat soybeans and other bio-fuel crops.

The bottom bottom line is that fossilfuels are still cheap enough to power the world's economies. We should try to find a *cheaper* and cleaner source while making the fossil fuel use as efficient and clean as possible.

Much of the rest is just a pipedream.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 1, 2006 10:50:24 AM

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