It is sad that gas station make you pre-pay, have to put up signs when they only get $0.10 on the gallon and all of the anger. Prices are high and I am angry but I know why it is this way and I have to wait it out. I had a great conversation with my friend about this, and why prices are so high, or least for Americans they think it's high. Gas prices have been hovering around the $4-5+ mark in Germay since the early nineties. People think that the oil companies are gouging us, and they might be to an extent, but it is OPEC that sets the price of crude oil, not the oil companies, so DO NOT blame the oil companies or the President for high gas prices. The only thing the President has to do with oil is how much of a tax the Feds put on it. The main reason the prices are high is simple, it is supply and demand. The demand is high, the supply is intermediate, and so the price goes up. Contributing factors into this problem are:
1) Old and fewer refineries. Katrina didnt help this much either taking out a bunch of them in the south. I think the oil companies should build refineries in Gary Indiana, or the Southern Lake Michigan bay, and supply the Midwest and the east coast with gas from there, rather than the south and west coast. Plus they need to build newer more efficient refineries to replace the obsolete ones.
2) 22 different summer grades of gasoline. People you only need about five to six, not 22. Car companies are to blame for this one. Get rid of about 15 of them and your set. That would help supply a lot more.
3) There are fewer crude oil tankers, do to repair, old age etc. We have plenty of oil out there between the Middle East, Russia, Venezuela, and the US, just not enough tankers sometimes to take it to the refineries.
4) And the biggest problem China. Those communist idiots are finally figuring out that communism and socialism do not work and are following the cool people in the west and becoming a developed, modern, civilized country. So in turn they too are consuming like a 1000 times more fuel than they ever had before, because the Chinese now have a better standard of living and can own and operate a motor vehicles. Thus more oil consumption.
With that out of the way, how do alleviate the problem? Well one, bring supply up to meet demand to bring prices to equilibrium, but that is a short-term fix and not necessarily the correct one. Doing that only depletes our natural resources quicker, and then we are really screwed. Jeff had it right. The way to fix this is to bring demand down, and you do this by introducing and developing alternate fuels sources, and better fuel-efficient technology. This takes time, and a ton of money, capital and R&D to achieve this goal. They have been doing this for quite awhile now, and we are just beginning to see this technology come to market because it has become cheaper to introduce it to the product, i.e., hybrid cars, ethanol fuel, and natural gas to run our cars. According to ABC news I beleive, Oil companies reinvest half of their profits back into production, R&D, and exploration etc., so they aren't just getting rich and doing nothing they are reinvesting it. So it will come down people you just have to wait it out. Thats my story and Im sticking to it.
"Those are my principles and if you don't like them....well, I have others." - Groucho Marx