"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sherlock Holmes' Silent Dog Shouts Again

Well, now, I never realized that the silent dog that solved Sherlock Holmes' murder investigation was a female. But it now is clear: In the face of gasoline prices well above $3 per gallon, even for the regular grade, the ineffable Barbara Boxer, whom I am proud to have as one of my representatives in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (the U.S. Senate), has maintained a silence utterly deafening and supremely amusing. No conspiracy accusations. No calls for investigations. No demands for testimony before Congressional committees.

Now, why would that be? Never before has Babs been so modest in her complaints, so retiring in her accusations, so timid in her pursuit of wealth redistribution, oops, justice for her constituencies. Could it be that the current price runup has been caused in substantial part by the oxygenation mandate for motor fuels---a requirement for the use of either ethanol or MTBE, neither of which has been shown to reduce air pollution---for which she voted? Could it be that she voted against liability protection for the MTBE producers in the face of groundwater leakage lawsuits, leaving ethanol production capacity too meager to prevent price runups in the gasoline market? Well, yes, truth be told; so, please, Senator, speak up with the courage that you always have displayed, and tell us whom to blame for this outcome.

4 comments:

Evanston said...

Babs is definitely worried about us Americans. Instead of launching an investigation, I'm sure this time she is preparing a bill to reverse the federal gas surcharge (tax of 18.4 cents/gallon per http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=80).
She's particularly interested in reversing the 1993 Clinton/Gore add-on. Right?

Tom Van Dyke said...

So, Ben, gasoline reformulation is just a comforting fiction of the left?

Oh well, everybody has their Intelligent Designs...

S. T. Karnick said...

Tom, the MTBE requirement, and especially the refusal to protect gasoline producers against lawsuits for obeying a federal law(!!!), was indeed disastrously stupid and wrong. The costs are grotesquely out of proportion with the minuscule benefits. Other ways of reducing air pollution, which are far more efficient, should be used in preference to schemes such as this. The air in this country is much, much cleaner than it was forty years ago, thanks to the Clean Air Act and other effective measures, but not everything purported to clean up the air actually works or is worth anything near the costs. MTBE is one of those that most decidedly is not.

Tlaloc said...

From CNN Money:

The Energy Department agency blamed rising prices on three things -- soaring oil prices, the added costs of producing lower-sulfur gasoline and phasing out older additives, as well as rising demand from American drivers.

...

Gas prices have gained nearly 33 cents, or almost 14 percent, in the last month.

Lower-sulfur gasoline is mandated under federal law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while the leading additive, known as MTBE, has been found to contaminate groundwater and is being phased out in favor of corn-based ethanol.

The agency said price hikes from the change to new lower-sulfur gasoline is coming due to possible spot shortages.

Production of the reformulated gas is only expected to add 2 cents a gallon while it will reduce sulfur emissions by up to 90 percent and nitrogen emissions by up to 95 percent.

The phase out of MTBE meanwhile is expected to be more disruptive as ethanol, a newer additive that's replacing MTBE, would be in short supply.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/04/11/markets/gas_prices/index.htm

So apparently there are several reasons for the high gas prices with the MTBE thing being the smallest contributor. Additionally the reformulation of gas is expected to make a significant difference in air pollution.