After all, we've all been told we need to cut back on our use of fossil fuels. Admonishments and finger-wagging have been useless – we just buy larger SUVs. But basic economics tells us exactaly how to get people to cut back. When you charge more for anything, people buy less of it.
This piece looks at the calls by environmentalists and others for higher gas prices.
The dirty little secret about oil politics is that today's high gas price is precisely the policy result that Mr. Schumer and other liberals have long desired. High prices have been the prod that the left has favored to persuade Americans to abandon their SUVs and minivans, use mass transit, turn the thermostat down, produce less consumer goods and services, and stop emitting those satanic greenhouse gases.
Just last weekend Tia Nelson, the daughter of the founder of Earth Day, declared that even at $3 a gallon she wants gas prices to go higher.Well, now it's up over $3 per gallon, and heading higher. As a result, people will buy less gas, drive more efficiently, conserve energy, and produce fewer greenhouse gases.
A higher gas price also makes energy alternatives more competitive and thus, more attractive. The only thing the oil companies could do that they haven't done yet is promise to hold the price at the pump at its current high levels, no matter what happens to the supply of oil. That way, investors in fuel alternatives would have some assurance that ethanol, hydrogen, or unobtanium would still be in demand after they'd figured out how to produce large quantities of it.