Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bitchin' and Moanin'



We all know what this sign is referring to, and we have ceased to be amazed by anything we find posted there. What can you do about it? You really want an honest answer? Read on.

First and foremost, you can do nothing about gas and diesel prices except make a choice, or a series of choices, to STAY OFF THE ROAD.. Gasoline and diesel (and the crude from which they came) are commodities bought and sold in a global market.

As such, whenever a load of fuel is bought or sold, a price is established by a bidder or broker, and the agreed-upon price becomes the baseline value of that quantity of that commodity for delivery at a given point in the future. Yes Virginia, there is a future, and oil brokers make or lose their fortunes (and those of the people they represent, buyers and sellers) on the basis of how well they can predict the future. Try doing THAT in a rollercoaster environment!

Buy today, you pay today's price, and that price is constantly in flux because the "price of oil" is not one price but a composite of many many transactions taking place simultaneously all over the world.

No single corporate entity or bigwig or faceless monster "controls" the price of oil. The most any single entity in this market system can do is to buy a commodity (or make a promise to) or sell it (or promise to), and in doing so he/she/it is in full-bore competition with other interested parties with oil to buy or sell, and that is pretty much that. Organized chaos.

Cartels are affiliations between interested parties that band together, either loosely or not, to attempt to maintain the interests of those parties...in other words, to try to ensure that they have stable markets for what they buy and sell. By "stable" we mean dependably predictable. Using the word "stable" in connection with a commodities market is oxymoronic. Stability is a relative term. And market volatility has both fact-based and emotional components to it, making "stability" a description of a wobbling spinning top hovering around on a tabletop, occasionally coming perilously close to flying off the edge. Yet the top is "stable" because it keeps spinning. If a market/top ceases spinning, it collapses. Cartels fear collapse more than anything in their world, and the bulk of their efforts go to preventing any such thing from happening, and "controlling" prices, even if that mythic dream were possible, would not "stabilize" the market system, it would destroy it.

This is what people don't get.

Anyway, discussion aside, I return to the initial question/answer, what do you do about it? Well, as the answer given above states, get off the road. You don't have to pay for what you don't buy. You don't have to buy what you don't use. You don't have to use what you can get by without.

So do some self-analysis and, this time, pay attention to what you discover. Did you drive a circuit doing shopping, for example, or did you dart from place to place all willy-nilly? You are a GASHOG. YOU, not the unfortunate vehicle toting you around. Did you have to turn around and go back the other way because you were in a hurry and forgot something? Shame! Gashog.

You might be a Gashog if you are perched atop a two-story vehicle gazing down on all of us below with all that superiority of yours, because, admit it! you don't need a Monster Truck to make a run for a pizza. Call and have the hotrod in the little car do it. You might be a Gashog if, GreenPeace treehugger you, you cruise around all over town attending protest meetings every other day to Organize when a couple phone calls would get the message across just as well. Your nifty new and trendy Prius might get good gas mileage but ask yourself the question they asked everybody in World War II...

"Is This Trip Really Necessary?"

6 comments:

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I think this is a very important discussion.

However, it needs more careful analysis.

Not everyone can stay off the road without HUGE major changes. Most people have to work and shop and visit family. Not everyone lives within walking distance.

There are serious changes individuals, families and communities, as well as the nation and states can make. These changes require a GREAT DEAL of thought and consideration, and EFFORT which we NEED to be willing to make for the ENVIRONMENT as well as our pocketbooks.

Can we move closer to our jobs? Can we carpool? Can we take public transportation? AND YES, can we consider buying smaller cars? Can we build bike lanes and ride bikes to work when the weather is appropriate? Can we combine tasks? Can we buy online or order from catalogues? What can each of us do to cut our energy consumption? How can we lobby our elected government officials to make community, state and nationwide changes--all these things DO MATTER!

bluerose9062 said...

I hate where I live. Our public transportation sucks. I have to drive 10 miles to get to it. If you walk or ride a bike around here, you're risking your life. Everybody and their grandma owns a pickup truck, and it takes 15 minutes of traffic and traffic lights to get down the street. Our gas prices are probably the lowest in the country, and I guess it shows. This city is wastefull.

Raven said...

Well said. Of course it's easy for me to agree with you because I don't leave the house and I no longer own a car. I SO want this country to invest in developing solar power. I don't understand (well, maybe I do) why we haven't done that already.

Living in the country where I do, it's hard for people to avoid doing some driving. That said, one of my neighbors goes back and forth twenty or thirty times some days.

Anyway, interesting post.

---Michael--- said...

Any quick piece like this needs amplification, and simialrly, discussion, but my main point remains... the best way to conserve fuel and resources is to avoid consuming them whenever and wherever possible... though many trips cannot be avoided, car pools are feasible, shared rides, and many other solutions, even for rural people. The ladies in my old rural neighborhood would go on shopping trips together, for example, and thus saved untold gallons of fuel, and they did this even when the prices were much lower.

---Michael--- said...

Raven, I am working on a solar home which collects rainwater and then recycles it, collects heat from the sun, and is cooled by natural convection and geothermal means. I call it FutureHome and I will try to get drawings posted of it soon.

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