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The impact of high gas prices
by Jeff Blanck
May 12, 2008 | 676 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I remember thinking not too long ago that it would be years before we would hit four dollars a gallon for gas. Well, I was wrong. We seemed to fly right through two dollars a gallon into the high threes and now into the realm of four dollars per gallon.

What adds insult to injury is the fact that the oil companies are making record profits. What is also frustrating is the feeling that there really isn’t much the public can do about it.

No one is selling inexpensive gas. There are no competitive alternatives yet. We are at the mercy of the large oil corporations. In the early 1900s corporate greed caused President Teddy Roosevelt to initiate anti-trust litigation against major railroad holding companies. He also established the Federal Department of Corporations to monitor corporate practices. The press once remarked in 1906 that Wall Street was taken by surprise that a president would actually try and enforce the law.

President Bush won’t enforce the anti trust laws. After all, it is his oil buddies that are making a killing. So what can we do about it?

The main thing we, the general public, can do is support alternative energy sources. We need a new source of energy that is not controlled by the oil corporations such as electric, switchgrass for ethanol, or wind power. Just like home solar panels can take you off the power grid, we need a transportation energy source that can do the same thing.

I remember the first oil shortage crisis in 1976. It backfired on the oil companies because it made alternative fuels competitive. I hope that with our record high gas prices, the same thing will happen now.

A hundred years ago ,the railroad monopolies lost out to the automobile. With an increased use of cars and trucks, the reliance on trains was drastically reduced. Railroads lost their stranglehold on transportation. The oil companies now have that stranglehold. We need to see that they go the way of the railroad monopolies.

We must find alternative energy sources that are good for the general public. High mileage vehicles are a good stop-gap measure but we need no-gas vehicles. Teddy Roosevelt helped end the railroad monopolies; hopefully our next president will do the same with the oil companies.

Jeff Blanck is an attorney in private practice in Reno. He can be reached at:
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