It’s as regular as the seasons. With the spring fuel reformulation curbing supply, and the soon-to-arrive summer driving shaping demand forecasts, gas prices are….what’s the word?…soaring.
George Will takes an informative look at the phenomenon in his column today, acknowledging that some journalistic observers have finally noticed that, adjusted for inflation, gas prices just are not that unusually high. And anticipating the political urge to punish (read, tax) the oil companies, he notes several important points, first that oil companies invest great amounts to bring gas to the pump, and second, that domestic resources are available.
In the 20 years from 1987 to 2006, Exxon Mobil invested more ($279 billion) than it earned ($266 billion). Five weeks after the company announced its 2006 earnings, it said it will invest $60 billion in oil and gas projects over the next three years.
America produces about one-quarter of the 20.6 million barrels of oil it uses a day. Unfortunately, just as liberals love employees but not employers, they want energy independence but do not want to drill in the “pristine” (read: desolate) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ( potential yield: 10.4 billion barrels) and are reluctant to countenance drilling offshore.
We doubt Will’s column will prevent any ambitious or cynical politician from taking a whack at “big oil,” but at least we’re seeing some common sense about gas prices. Wouldn’t it be nice if common sense, too, were as regular as the changing of the seasons?
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