Gas prices dip could be curse in disguise

Published 7:13 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

While we’re as happy as the next newspaper staff that it takes $40 to fill up our gas tanks instead of the $70 it took two months ago, the huge price decrease could end up counterproductive for our country’s goal of independence from foreign oil.

When Americans were breaking the bank to have enough gas to get to work, we had to figure out what it meant to conserve fuel and sales of SUVs and the like plummeted.

It’s never good to see the loss of jobs that result when an industry suffers, but automobile manufacturers were finally being forced to give us better options—and politicians were at least giving lip service to alternative fuel sources.

But with prices back below $2, less than half of two months ago, it’s back to gas guzzlers and road trips.

Of course, there are complicated market factors at work here, but we can’t help but feel as though the people that own the oil are playing us like a fiddle: make prices low, wait for gullible Westerners to buy vehicles with terrible gas mileage and plan vacations that include long drives, jack prices up to unreasonable levels for the summer, laugh at our genius while the money piles up, repeat.

This cycle has existed for too long for us to keep playing along. We must demand that our new president and Congress lead us toward energy independence no matter the short-term inconveniences.