Monday, June 09, 2008

Could Bush Be Any More Out of Touch?

This morning I heard on the news that Americans are buying significantly more cars than trucks or SUVs now that gas prices have passed $4.00 a gallon. According to this article in the LA Times,

"For nearly a decade, Americans bought more light trucks -- a segment that includes pickups, SUVs and minivans -- than cars. But starting in March, cars edged ahead. The gap widened in April, and in May, 193,559 more cars than light trucks were sold."

It is about time. For too long our government has had policies that actually encouraged the purchase and manufacture of trucks and SUVs.

Finally the gas prices have managed to do what all of the environmentalists' scoldings were unable to accomplish - make people realize they were using too much gas and switch to smaller, more efficient vehicles.

Back in the 1960's America had lots of really big cars with really big engines that used a lot of gas. Gas was cheap and seemingly limitless so no one cared. But then came the energy crisis of the 70's and suddenly big cars were out, little fuel-efficient cars were in, and even diesel became popular for awhile.

But once the lines at the gas stations decreased and gas became plentiful again, everyone forgot about the lessons they learned and went back to buying big vehicles with big engines, and the American car companies kept churning them out instead of looking into alternative fuel sources and ways to make engines more efficient and burn less gas.

Now that people finally realize gas prices just aren't going to get cheap again, the U.S. car companies are in deep trouble as they were overly dependent on SUVs and trucks.

"General Motors posted a sales drop of about 27% from a year earlier and said it would close four truck plants, prepare its Hummer brand for a possible sale and focus on making smaller cars. Chrysler's 25.4% sales decline put it behind Honda in monthly sales for the first time.

And, after 17 years, Ford's F-Series trucks were dethroned from the top sales position, falling to No. 5 behind the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord."

So, in the midst of this mess, what does our esteemed president have to say as he's about to go off to Europe?

"...the United States has an opportunity to help increase the supply of oil on the market, therefore, taking pressure off gasoline for hardworking Americans, and that I've proposed to the Congress that they open up ANWR, open up the Continental Shelf, and give this country a chance to help us through this difficult period by finding more supplies of crude oil, which will take the pressure off the price of gasoline."

This is the "vision" of our "leader." He's still focused on his obsession with drilling in ANWR. He still thinks this is the solution to the CURRENT gas prices. Analysis shows that even if Congress had allowed drilling in ANWR back in 2002, there would still be no oil available for another 3 years! And that comes directly from the Energy Information Administration, an arm of our own Energy Department.

"The Energy Information Administration, which is the Energy Department's independent analytical arm, estimated that if Congress had cleared Bush's ANWR drilling plan the oil would have been available to refiners in 2011, but only at a small volume of 40,000 barrels a day -- a drop in the bucket compared with the 20.6 million barrels the U.S. consumes daily."

Anything approved now would have absolutely no effect on our current situation and would not have an effect for years to come. Even if ANWR reached its peak production (which would not happen until approximately 2020 according to this article), it would only change our consumption of foreign oil by a measly 2%. Yes, 2%.

"With ANWR crude, imports would have met 60 percent of U.S. oil demand in 2020, down from 62 percent without the refuge's supplies."

So for a 2% difference in our dependence on foreign oil, Bush and his cronies would be willing to sacrifice the pristine environment in the Alaskan wilderness.

While Bush always pays lip service to developing alternate energy sources, his continual focus on drilling in environmentally sensitive places as a solution to the problems we face is just an excuse to blame the situation on someone else. (It was all Congress' fault that gas prices went up, for not letting him drill in ANWR).

It continues to amaze me that this ignorant man is our president. He must think the American public is stupid. I wonder, do even those who supported him believe anything he says anymore?


John J. said...

Sadly, he isn't much more stupid than a number of economists out there. This morning on the Today Show, they interviewed Erin Burnett and Jim Cramer. When asked what can be done about oil prices, Jim's immediate response was "Open ANWR!!!" Not one minute later, when asked about McCain's gas tax holiday, they said "No, it's a bad idea. We can't go with short term fixes." My head, subsequently, exploded.

splord said...

Excellent post, but I have one small quibble....

make people realize they were using too much gas and switch to smaller, more efficient vehicles.

I don't think the average Murrikan thinks s/he is using too much gas, I believe they think that the gas they use is now too expensive. I'm afraid that the vast majority of people are always going to be more concerned about the immediate economic than the long-term environmental.

I'm not saying that the economic isn't a concern, just that it has way too much sway over all the other.

(Sorry I haven't commented in so long, btw) :)

- the blogger formerly known as Phydeaux

Fran said...

I think that Phyd... ooops I mean Bob has a good point.

That said this is an outstanding post on this tragic topic.

I had lunch with a friend today who is very well versed in green economics - there is so much we could do, but people are still slow to adopt or to change.

Cosa Nostradamus said...

Detroit, once again, is having its' ass kicked for going after short-term profits even when it was obvious the tide had turned. Their fixation on size in the 70's opened the door wide for Toyota, Honda, Nissan, et al, and killed American Motors and Chrysler (but for a taxpayer bailout). Guaranteed: At least one of the three remaining US automakers will die in this debacle. And all those jobs...

If we'd committed to getting off oil in the 70s, we wouldn't be in Iraq today. All those lives...

And if you're wondering why we still can't get aid into Burma, six weeks after the hurricane, as thousands more die every week, ask Chevron, Total, Nippon, and the Indian, Russian & Chinese oil & gas companies. Nobody wants to rock the Junta's boat and risk losing their investment. All that money...

That's all the corporatist Republicans care about. Nothing they say or do surprises me, but it all disgusts me. They'd eat their own children if there was enough money in it. And McBush is their new leader. All those money-grubbing fools...

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Excellent post. I was just thinking about this the other day. As far back as the late 70s, it should have been obvious that we were going to have to figure out a solution, but would the car companies and the oil companies do it? Would the average citizen do it?

I was reading a thread on a discussion forum a couple of months ago, in which people were discussing the high price of gas and whether they could ever give up their SUVs. And the predominant answer was no. The typical reason was "My husband is six feet tall and he just can't fit in a small car."

I wanted to post that my husband is also six feet tall, and we've never owned anything but small cars, but I wasn't in the mood to get called a troll that day. (They're very sensitive about disagreement at that particular forum.)

Anyway, I really agree with this post.

And thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciated your comments.

Randal Graves said...

bob beat me to it. Bush may be dumb, but Americans aren't far behind. If gas were to drop to around a couple of bucks and stay there for a bit, goodbye Prius sales, hello road hogs.

Larry said...

Bush fails to mention his boasting that when he attacked Iraq that gas prices would fall and there would be plenty of oil.

So far upward is his nostrils of greed, does he fail or refuse to see the hurting he has caused below his little world.

Distributorcap said...

anyone who thinks ANWR is the solution needs immediate massive doses of thorazine

we have blown it -- TWICE we were given wake up calls and did nothing -- and now -- well it might be too late -

i dont know what will happen --- but i think we need to also take into account the massive amount of wealth that is being transferred daily to the Arabs -

Anonymous said...

That's right MG -- he wants to drill, drill, drill. Yeesh. Tell me again how many days left before we don't have to listen to this moron any longer. BTW, I think we all need a little thorazine just to cope with Chimpy's statements

Mauigirl said...

John, it never ceases to amaze me how illogical some of these so-called pundits can be.

Bob, great to see you, and I too have been remiss in my commenting - too much going on! You, Fran and Randal are all right - I was giving Americans too much credit. Of course you are right, Americans think it is their god-given right to have cheap gas and they're only cutting back now because it's pinching them where it hurts. They would immediately switch back to huge gas guzzlers the moment the gas dropped back to a lower level. Let's hope that doesn't happen, for the sake of the environment and our future.

Cosa, agree completely - you said it all.

Ruth, welcome! And I know what you mean, people feel so entitled - back when I was young nobody had huge SUVs and tall men got around perfectly well in regular cars.

Larry, you bring up a great point. The result of this foray into Iraq was supposed to be cheaper gas, not more expensive gas!

DCap, you are right - we've blown it twice, and it is a mess. I don't even know if it's fixable at this point. The dollar is tanking, our trade deficit keeps growing, the gas and all other things are getting more expensive, there is a bigger gap between rich and poor...a mess.

Spartacus, that was my thought as much longer do we have to listen to this idiot? I need to put that Bush Countdown widget on my blog so I can keep track!

Odessa said...

great post MG! i'm counting the days 'till November.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

"So for a 2% difference in our dependence on foreign oil, Bush and his cronies would be willing to sacrifice the pristine environment in the Alaskan wilderness."
No. Big business would sacrifice their Mothers for an extra ten dollars in the bottom line at the end of the year, and ANWAR drilling just happens to be a way to do that. Business wants us to remain dependant on foreign oil. Should we ever break that dependency, they lose a lot of money!

"He must think the American public is stupid."
I don't know if he's ever bothered to think of the American people that much. His focus since day one has been Business, and how can I help them get richer?

"I wonder, do even those who supported him believe anything he says anymore?"
No. They believe "everything!" he says. I know that sounds stupid, but stop and think a moment: who got him elected? Fundamentalists. What is Fundamentalism? A cult. What are cult members famous for? Loyalty right up to and including death! But most importantly, Business believes in Bush, and they run the country, and the world now.

D.K. Raed said...

During that 70's gas shortage era, I had a series of small cars that got great gas mileage. That ended around 1980 when I went to buy a brand-new Datsun (now Nissan) and saw they were now so popular, the dealers had added this item to their sales stickers: "additional dealer profit". All the small car dealers were doing it. When questioned about it, the answer was more-or-less, because we can! Supply and demand, I guess.

This week, the outpost gas stations between UT and Vegas were $4.50 for regular. Highway robbery or just a preview of the future? We waited to fill up back in UT where I can still get regular for $4.05 (interesting to see how far below empty the gas guage can go & it is straight uphill, so no coasting).