Gas prices will always be as high as people allow. And its not the gas stations and distributors that make the money, its the big guys and the government. Gas taxes and sales tax are all % based, prices go up, they get more money. So if the government and the big 3 get paid when prices are high, you can bet your *** they are going to be as high as possible. They will use ANY excuse possible to make them higher, even if it never really effected the industry.
It is no coincidence these industries and the government have stalled the electric vehicle and refuse to make any meaningful increases in fuel economy.
But this isn't the whole story. I'm sure some of you here are familiar with peak oil. M. King Hubbert predicted during the 1950s that America's oil production would peak around 1970. He was right, America's oil production peaked in 1972. This had a major influence on the 70s fuel crisis. He also predicted world oil production would peak somewhere between 2000 and 2010. 2005 production is down from 2004, and 2006 seems to be consistent with 2005 as far as production is concerned. He may be right there as well. In which case we would be on a plateau before the peak is reached.
The implications of this could potentially be catastrophic. A 1-2% shortfall in supply is an excuse by industry to nearly double prices, and oil production almost follows a Gaussian bell curve with a decline rate of 2-5% per year being the general estimation of what will follow peak oil. Nearly everything we buy is currently linked to oil: food, cheap plastic crap from China, home heating, production of semicondictors and microprocessors, and yes, our automobiles. Does it have to be that way? No. But sadly, what we do is oil intensive by design. It makes people money. Post peak oil, we may be in for a serious economic depression, a unique scenario in which prices might increase by a factor of 5 or 10, but wages will continue to stagnate and unemployment will increase dramatically. Depending on your degree of pessimism, this may not bode very well for humanity, at least as far as our living standards are concerned.
But we are doing nothing about it, despite the serious implications this problem could pose. We are doing nothing about it, even though we have the technology to.
If we adopt alternatives prior to peak oil's effects, the oil industry won't be able to maximize profits, and the federal governments won't be able to maximize economic growth, tax revenue, and control. That is my explanation as to why so little is being done, despite the viable, workable soolutions all around us, whether by 200-300 mile range electric cars, aerodynamic cars that get 50+ mpg with no sacrifice, wind turbines which are now cheaper than coal, industrial hemp for plastics and biodiesel, electric rail to replace trucking for shipping, mass transit systems to displace some car use, ect.
All of these measures to decrease oil consumption without harming our living standard? They are cheaper, they take less of your money and transfer it to industry, they make less profit, they generate less tax revenue. So industry and government both have a motivation to make sure they never become reality. Economic growth has to come from somewhere, and it comes from the pockets of your average American. The top 1% doesn't want to compromise it, damned be the consequences, whether oil wars, environmental destruction, or increasing fascism by governments in an effort to maintain control in face of growing civil discontent.
The electric car, for example, about 1/3 the cost to run factoring in batteries over a comparable gas car, and far less profitable. No maintenance, tune ups, oil changes, and those electric motors last 500,000+ miles. The auto industry wouldn't make near as much money if people drove around in cars that never needed powertrain maintenance and lasted 40+ years. The auto industry is 4% of America's GDP. Imagine shrinking that amount to one third. Then imagine doing that to the oil industry, electric utilities industries, defense industry. You get the idea.
Another example of the government and industry trying to stimulate growth occured in the 1940s. America had the world's best mass transit system. Trolleys everywhere, only 1/3 of driving ages americans owned cars. The rest didn't need them and saw no reasion to; the trolleys came every 5 minutes on time, were far cheaper than a car, and transported their passengers faster than the flow of traffic. In cities like St. Louis, LA, Salt Lake city, Columbus, there were trolley stops literally blocks apart. Seeking to stimulate growth, the government, oil industry, and auto industry got together to dismantle them. Industry was sold the mass transit systems by the government, then dismantled them, forcing millions into car ownership without any other viable form of transportation. There were in fact riots in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and other cities, because indidivuals did not like the idea of having to have a car to get around. But profit won out over people. Enter the auto boom of the 1950s and a continuous interstate highway boondoggle laden with pork. Before the mass transit system was dismantled, auto use plateued at about 1 car for every 3 people of driving age and 5,000 miles per year. After, auto use shot up, and today we have 1.2 cars for every individual of driving age and each car sees 12,000 miles per year. This was intentional, it made certain people money at the expense of the public.
We don't have the resources to continue this growth forever. Oil is finite. Something will have to be sacrificed. Will it be profits for the guys on top to go, or will it be our lifestyles, our environment, our individual freedoms, and possibly our lives? Will americans eventually have to live like those in Somalia so that a few rich *******s can keep making money, or will our economy shrink in a controlled manner as we trnasition to alternatives while wages and employment is maintained at the expense of profit?
Once we're in a serious crisis, ordinary people won'thave the cash to switch to alternatives. It will be too late. Which future do you want?
There are a lot of wealthy individuals that want to maintain the status quo at all costs, and they are more than willing to stick the rest of us with the consequences when it comes time to pay the piper as they seal themselves off in their gated communities.
Meh no matter what the price of gas is, I'll still drive just because I know how to squeeze every last liter/gallon to the very end. And with high prices that's just an excuse for me to squeeze some more!
If your reading this, then good for you, your saving some gas because your here.