The bill is sponsored by the dramatic Bart Stupak, D-Mich.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said the legislation would help stop "the truly outrageous prices we are seeing at the gas pump," The Detroit News reported.The "us v. them" black and white view point makes for good copy and emotional rhetoric. But like the legislation itself, is merely a distraction.
"Today, every member has a choice," said Stupak. "Side with big oil or side with the consumers who are being ripped off at the gas pump."
First of all, the prices aren't "outrageous."
A diagram in the June issue of Wired Magazine shows that "even when prices hit near-record levels in the US, American drivers get off cheap compared to European motorists."
Londoners, for example, were paying $6.65 and gallon for petrol when the article was written. Parisians pony up $6.52 a gallon, and Romans forfeit $5.62 to fly around in their Fiats.
What seems to be getting stuck in Stupak's craw is that companies are making money from selling gasoline. Can you imagine!?! A corporation profiting from doing business! The impudence! The shear audacity!
Look, the reason petroleum companies are charging more for gasoline is because they can, because consumers are paying for it. There are signs that we (consumers) may be reaching our limit, but I still see hundreds of people commuting to work in SUVs and giant pickups with nobody but the driver inside.
Americans don't really care about the price of gas. Not yet. Sure we may grumble. And Stupak and other politicians will try to score political points off that grumbling.
But the way to beat high gas prices is to change our behavior. When we really start to care, we'll buy more efficient vehicles and use more public transportation or maybe ride a bike once in a while.
A congressional investigation sure as hell won't do any good. I suspect Stupak knows this. This looks more and more like a wedge issue. A way for Stupak and Co. to make a meaningless gesture and then point to political enemies as being "in favor of big oil and against the little man."
tagged: oil, gasoline, gas prices, peak oil, Stupak, drivers, petroleum