Monday, March 14, 2005
Ration Gas Now!You heard it here first. I believe the Federal Government of the United States should start rationing gasoline for all private consumers. It's not a popular notion, I realize. But after thinking about it long and hard, I see many reasons why this would benefit our country. But before I get into it, I must confess how odd it is to hear such words come out of my mouth. The Butcher, you see, used to be a die-hard Libertarian. I used to believe the Market was God and it would solve all problems. But ... my political lifetime can be summed up in this nifty little poem: I went to sleep a Republican. I dreamed I was a Libertarian. I woke up a Democrat. So anyway, back to the topic at hand. Here are six reasons why I think gas rationing would be good for this country: 1. Increase awareness of the crisis. The world is running out of gas, and most people don't realize it. Most people also don't realize that the crisis won't occur when the last drop of gas dribbles from the nozzle. The crisis will occur the year that our consumption surpases production. That will mean the end is near, and the price increase itself will cause the crisis. People need to know this, and the best way to tell them is to begin controlling their gas consumption. 2. Change behaviors As soon as we issue gas rationing, people will begin thinking about ways to conserve gas because they will want to make sure they have enough gas to drive their SUVs to the river with their Boat and those gas-powered put-put thingies that people drive on water. For fun. 3. Increase the window of time until the gas crisis occurs We want this crisis to happen later than sooner. This will give us more time to evolve to a new solution. 4. It will place more emphasis on alternative fuel solutions We've been spending billions on alternative fuels. We need to spend more. Rationing gas would send a signal to Venture Capitalists. 5. It will send a signal to OPEC Gas prices are skyrocketing. I don't need to tell you this. There are two good reasons: 1) demand is increasing and 2) the supply is dropping. HELLO??!! While the earth's oil supply plummets, gas consumption in the U.S. is steadily increasing. If OPEC sees that we are going to conserve it might slightly impact the price of oil in our favor. 6. We can begin stockpiling oil for our supply chain Now here's where the crisis could really hurt us. We don't just need oil to get to work. Likewise, the solution to the gas crisis isn't just a Hybrid car. The problem is that Americans are woefully separated from the sources of their food, clothing, and supplies. The food is grown in farms that use oil to produce tools and supplies required to raise the cattle, squash, wheat, artichokes, etc. The food is then sent to a processing plant via a truck that uses gas. The processing plants also use gas for their lights, tools, machinery, etc. Add to this that all the above supply chain uses plastic parts for many components. Plastic comes from petroleum as well. I think you get the picture. The absense of gasoline could--in the very worst scenario--result in massive starvation. We obviously need to plan well in advance of this crisis to make sure this doesn't happen. (Note: I'm not an alarmist. I don't think we will all starve.) You might say, "I drive 100 miles to work every day. I will lose my job if I don't get there!" Relax! Gas rationing doesn't mean that you won't have enough gas. It's simply a means for the government have control. It doesn't mean they will exercise the control in such a way as to put you out of work. Gas rationing WILL EVENTUALLY happen. We might as well start sooner in order to reap the benefits now.