Liberals manage to find a way to make cheaper gas a bad thing

By:  @xxjefferson51, 7 months ago
Comments: 63 ..


In case you hadn’t noticed, ever since the United States moved into a position of being a global energy leader and exporter of both crude oil and natural gas products, gas prices at the pump have gone down. And what’s more, they’ve stayed down for quite a while now. That’s been good news for consumers in terms of both getting back and forth to work and possibly even taking a vacation instead of a staycation. But as John Lydgate once said, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Leave it to liberal America to find a reason to complain about cheap gas, and Justin Worland at Time Magazine has set forth the case why you should be paying more.

Americans love the low gas prices that have made driving increasingly cheap in recent years, but cheap fuel has a nasty side effect: more driving that has helped lead to a spike in traffic deaths, according to transportation officials.

Traffic fatalities in the U.S. increased more than 7% between 2014 and 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said this week. That rise in annual deaths—to 35,092—is the biggest percentage annual increase since 1966.

When gas is cheaper, Americans tend to drive more—total vehicle miles traveled increased to 3.15 trillion miles in 2015 up from under 3 trillion in 2013 when gas prices were higher. An improving economy also leads more Americans to hit the roads for work, according to NHTSA. Other factors that contributed to the likelihood of a fatal traffic accident included drunk or distracted driving.
Of course, Justin works in some other complaints as well. Driving more leads to more emissions which leads to (you guessed it) global warming. And those exhaust fumes aren’t good for anyone’s health. But the big, data driven focus here is on the fact that more driving leads to more traffic fatalities and injuries.

As Dog-Bites-Man stories go, this one is fairly middle of the road if you’ll pardon the pun. It’s obvious that higher traffic levels result in more accidents. When the economy is doing well and there are more new buildings being erected or existing ones extensively renovated we have more accidents on construction sites. As construction increases we produce more construction materials and factory injuries increase as employment goes up. Shall we cease all of those activities as well?

Here’s a quick tip for those who are waving this particular flag. Since the 1970s, traffic fatalities in the United States have continued to fall, even as total population and the number of vehicles on the roadways have skyrocketed. Per capita traffic deaths are less than half what they were when Jimmy Carter was in office. And when compared to other western nations, we’re absolutely one of the safest.


There have been downsides to America’s surging energy production and I’ve discussed them here before. The oil and gas industry is, in some ways, a victim of its own success. We’ve lost jobs in former employment hot spots and the rig count dipped significantly. (It’s only just now stabilizing and beginning to rise again.) But that’s life in a capitalist society and the industry has had to adapt and overcome as always. But of all the challenges we face, low gas prices are not on the list. It’s a positive feedback loop which allows workers in a barely recovering economy to get to work more economically and spread around a bit more of their money to other industries.
link 08/31/16 11:41:18PM @xxjefferson51:

Liberals simply find fault with anything that is positive or  good news for America.  

link 08/31/16 11:55:37PM @sixpick:

Americans are probably driving more in spite of gas prices in order to get to that second and third job to make ends meet and keep the same standard of living they use to be able to do with one job.

link 09/01/16 12:01:07AM @krishna:

I've no doubt that people drive more when gas prices are low. And more drivng leads to more accidents.

But I think there may be another factor at play as well-- may more drivers (especially younger ones) text while driving.

Bob Nelson
link 09/01/16 03:26:18AM @bob-nelson:

1 Low gas prices encourage less efficient vehicles. Low gas prices encourage more driving. 

2 Motor vehicles are a significant contributor to global warming. 

Conclusion: Low gas prices contribute to global warming. 

That's the negative side. What is the positive side? I see none. 

I have two homes. One in Calais, France and one in Yuma, Arizona. Seven dollars per gallon or two dollars per gallon. My car in Calais is bigger than my car in Yuma, and much older. The Citroën C4 Picasso gets better milage than the Buick Encore (which gets pretty good milage for an American car). 

European cars are more efficient than American cars because inefficient cars don't sell. 

Pickups are more common than cars in Yuma. Most of the time, the loadbed is empty. There are a lot of jacked suspensions and huge chromed wheels. That is to say, utterly useless conspicuous consumption. 


1 People should be free to do as they please, as long as their behavior is not deleterious to others. Behavior that harms others is reprehensible. 

2 Global warming hurts everyone. 

Conclusion: Behavior that contributes to global warming is reprehensible. 


1 Low gas prices contribute to global warming. 

2 Behavior that contributes to global warming is reprehensible. 

Conclusion: Low gas prices are reprehensible. 


Obviously, AGW-denialists see no downside to low gas prices. So please! Don't waste everyone's time on that angle. My purpose here is to present a chain of logic that is unbreakable, IMHO. It is not a "liberal" argument. The reasoning is the same regardless of one's position on the political spectrum. 

AGW is not a left/right topic anywhere in the world, except in the US. Denial has become a conservative cause because conservatives have decided to make it so, not from any intrinsic characteristic of AGW. 

So... Calling for higher gas prices as a means of encouraging fuel economy is not a "liberal" argument. It is an inevitable result of global warming. 

... except in the minds of denialists who confound their fantasms with reality. 


I will now take bets on how many Replies will address my chain of logic, and how many will address AGW, futilely. 

Nowhere Man
link 09/01/16 03:53:09AM @nowhere-man:

Nice logical chain of thought, Beautiful argument, except.....

For the assumption that HAS to be made for the argument to be valid.

So in one line I dispose of all your beautiful logic....

And it's speculative conclusion.

So sad.

Bob Nelson
link 09/01/16 05:04:29AM @bob-nelson:

I wouldn't expect a denialist to agree with the conclusion. That's the subject of my last paragraph.

I wanted to propose an ironclad line of reasoning, and you apparently agree that it is. 

This line of reasoning is pretty much accepted in advanced societies around the world, without regard to position on the political spectrum... because AGW denial is a specifically "American conservative" dogma. Elsewhere, AGW denial is perceived as a symptom of derangement, an incapacity to handle unpleasant reality. 


More generally, conservatives' taking AGW denial as dogma is a good demonstration of the inexistence of conservative ideas in America today. Conservatives never present anything; they have only rejection of others' ideas. 

Look at C4P's five-seeds-per-day. They almost never present policy proposals. They almost always attack what they fantasize to be liberal thinking.

Conservatives disbelieve AGW because they imagine it to be a "liberal idea". Then they backfill with pages of cherry-picked data. 

Nowhere Man
link 09/01/16 06:11:34AM @nowhere-man:

I may be a conservative, but I also disagree with GW and the entire argument.


Because it disagrees with so much of already established science, and the proposition your making relies on disregarding all other sciences.

NO ONE has explained global warming as anything but normal or better put against the normative cycle theory of a living planet. (which of course has been described throughout history in the scientific literature)

You want us to make all these decisions at a fevered pace and disregard all scientific thinking that came before it.

That, I cannot do.

AND until someone establishes that this is unusual climate behavior outside the already charted scientific norms.

I'm not going to go along to get along.

Guess what, everyone that has tried to place this as something outside normal historical climate cycles has failed.

I haven't seen one smidgen of scientific evidence along those lines. And overtime I bring it up, I get dismissed as a conservative crank.

And that's fine, there are a lot of us out here with a decent education that are asking the question based upon our teachings.

Either our teaching was faulty, or there is one hell of an assumption without any evidence being made.

I was not only taught science I was taught the scientific method of thinking.

I see a lot of people and governments pushing for a specific outcome and ridiculing the opposition. That is not science.

Therefore, I respectfully disagree.

And your logical thinking is flawed by that assumption that GW is outside of normal environmental cycling......

Of which there is no evidence at all.

Now that being said, yes average temps are climbing, I have no doubt of that, it's a simple measurement over time.

And they have charted what a half a degree rise in the averages over the last ten years?

They have already established that the average temperature was at some points 5 -10 degrees higher than it now is. They have also established that it was 20 degrees colder at other points in the planets existence. Although we are on a temperature spike we are no where near the normative high, and at the rate it is climbing we won't get there for another 500-1,000 years. If it is that fast. AND: as scientific history is replete with example that a downward temperature swing can start at any time.

Also of note, when you are close to the top of a cycle, you are a lot closer to it going down than it going up further. Right now the current spike we are on is around the tenth or twelveth highest in deduced scientific history.

I don't get the drive to push everyone into a conclusion that hasn't been proven yet based upon fact.

Have we reached the top of the cycle yet, they do not know.

Have we reached the point in the cycle where it is going to start going back down, they do not know.

All I know is that the human race is the most adaptable life form on the planet and from prior teaching all life forms are pretty damned adaptable if given the time. and at the rate the temps are increasing, I would say we will probably adapt fairly well to small increases in global average temperature.

Yes the scientists are correct, average temps are going up, but I believe they haven't a clue as to why, and they couldn't stop it even if they did.

So why do I need to be kajoled into something on the basis of hyperbole. the hyperbole of dire consequences just makes me disbelieve in the push all the more.

And it does science a big disfavor.

Nowhere Man
link 09/01/16 06:36:55AM @nowhere-man:

One more thing Bob....

 I wouldn't expect a denialist to agree with the conclusion.

Why should I bother to discuss this with you when you start off dismissing anything I might say at the start.

 I wanted to propose an ironclad line of reasoning, and you apparently agree that it is.

Yes sound logic, IF I was to accept your initial assumption, which I don't, on sound scientific grounds.

 This line of reasoning is pretty much accepted in advanced societies around the world

Going to get a long way discussing the subject by insulting people right off the bat. Anyone that doesn't agree with you is a member of a less advanced civilization.

 Conservatives never present anything; they have only rejection of others' ideas.

Well I just rejected it based upon simple sound scientific reasoning. Answer the questions I posed above. HOW DO THEY KNOW?

They Don't....

You Don't....

No one has those answers.....

But then I do not expect a liberal environmental extremist to have those answers. I just expect them to make blind statements and claim anyone who disagrees with them as beneath them, less educated, or an idiot.

Much like you've done here

Bob Nelson
link 09/01/16 08:27:43AM @bob-nelson:


I don't pretend to know much in the sciences. I have never seen an atom. I've seen breeds of dog, and wolves at the zoo... so I'm pretty sure of evolution, but I can't say I hold real proof. Photosynthesis seems cool... but I certainly have no proof. Every day, my personal experience proves to me that the Sun revolves around the Earth, but I've been taught the opposite. 

I'm a layman. I don't know enough to have a valid opinion on... anything, basically. So I am forced to rely on the experts.

Do you remember the brouhaha a year or so ago, when the "God particle" was discovered at CERHN? The scientific community waited impatiently for the six-sigma (or was it seven?) data. Scientists are skeptical. They don't change their minds easily. 

I remember the first articles about global warming, over forty years ago. They were received with skepticism. Global warming was not the "dominant ideology" at the time. But while scientists are trained to be skeptical, they are also trained to accept whatever the data impose. 

Fifteen years later, just about every trained climatologist, the world over, had accepted the reality of global warming. The "A" in AGW took another few years, but the numbers -- greenhouse gasses produced related to rising temperatures -- also convinced almost all the experts. 

Like I said, I don't pretend to know anything. To become an expert in any scientific endeavor requires years of study, and more years of experience. Totally beyond any amateur like myself. 

I don't want to be a Sorcerer's Apprentice, causing disasters by acting beyond my competence. 

Petey Coober
link 09/02/16 08:20:13PM @petey-coober:

Climatologists are [by the nature of their subject] biased to find in favor of the AGW explanation . But according to that explanation there shouldn't be any periods since the industrial revolution where temperatures have leveled off or even receded . This is obviously not what happens in reality ...

link 09/01/16 03:58:49AM @xxjefferson51:

And yet even with the low natural gas and gasoline prices we met or Exceeded the goals of the Kyoto accords.  

Bob Nelson
link 09/01/16 05:06:51AM @bob-nelson:

If you're implying that the Kyoto objectives lacked ambition, I agree. 

link 09/01/16 10:08:24AM @xxjefferson51:

So Gore and friends lacked ambition?  NOT!  They simply relied on industry crippling regulations and taxes to get there.  Instead industry and technology provided the solution to make the achievement in spite of federal government interference. Fracking has made both lower prices and reduced carbon emissions possible at the same time.  

Bob Nelson
link 09/01/16 10:17:00AM @bob-nelson:


I decided long ago to never waste time arguing with denialists. 

link 09/01/16 10:24:02AM @xxjefferson51:

That's fine.  We will go right on using cheap gas and relying on free markets and innovation technology to meet our economic and environmental needs regardless of what chicken littles cry about and mock them while we achieve goals without giving up our freedom.  We have ignored the climate change frauds and global warming hoaxers from day one and will continue to do so.  

Bob Nelson
link 09/01/16 11:20:07AM @bob-nelson:

Do you have children? Grandchildren? 

You're killing them. 

link 09/01/16 01:47:33PM @cerenkov:

Leftist hyperbole at its finest. Cheap gas kills grandchildren. Does cheap gas beat up kittens, too?

dennis smith
link 09/03/16 01:57:49PM @dennis-smith:

Bob -acccording to your "logical assumptions" we should not use gas at all.  


Bob Nelson
link 09/03/16 02:20:35PM @bob-nelson:

That should probably be kept in sight as a long-term goal. Fossil fuels are bad. Period. 

We can't do without, right now. But we probably should keep "no gas at all" as an  ideal. 

dennis smith
link 09/04/16 06:37:32PM @dennis-smith:

If you are so concerned that gas is bad why do you use it. There are alternatives right now.

link 09/01/16 10:55:44AM @cerenkov:

If higher gas prices are such a boon, undiluted by any negatives, why doesn't Obama raise the has tax to a couple dollars per gallon? That should induce some form of utopia.

link 09/01/16 02:05:03PM @dowser:

OK, so shoot me.  I'm going to comment despite the fact that I've moderated this article before...

However, to me, lower gas/oil prices are the key to a robust economy.  Every time gas/oil prices go up, our economy tanks, and every time it falls, we chug right along.  Just my own opinion.

I would hope that we could keep the prices lower, but not ignore the environmental impact.  I'm not saying, gas/oil rules, the environment go hang itself-- I'm saying there have to be controls somewhere.  Right now, we're doing economically better, because the price of gas/oil is down.  I think the economy hasn't fully recovered, because of the sticky prices of everything else.  Remember when everyone charged a fuel surcharge because gas/oil was so expensive?  I haven't noticed them removing that surcharge now that gas/oil is cheaper...  

But that's business-- gouging at its finest.  winking

Mark in Wyoming
link 09/01/16 02:58:55PM @mark-in-wyoming:

BANG DEE, now when you talk about surcharges , are you talking about the taxes? because those taxes are not controlled by the petrol companies , those are controlled by the government , be it state local or federal, the gas stations that collect those taxes have no control over what the taxation rate is in any of those instances. and those taxes , are suppose to go into the highway funds account be it federal for dispertion to the states or the state directly , or if its a local tax for the local road repair .

link 09/01/16 04:13:07PM @dowser:

No.  I am talking about here, where everywhere added a $2-$3 fuel surcharge to everything you bought.  Maybe other places didn't do it, but here in Louisville, if you wanted a couch, you had to pay extra to have it delivered, (of course),and extra on top of that, for the fuel.  Wally World upped their prices, due to the cost of shipping-- about $.50/item.  A lot of the companies here made a killing, so they decided to just include it in the cost of the item/service.  They no longer call it a fuel surcharge-- it is just a part of the normal price.

Not taxes.  A fuel surcharge, charged by the business to off set their increased price of fuel.  They're still charging it, they've just included it in the cost of the item.

You wanted your pool cleaned?  Then you had to pay extra for the fuel surcharge.  Wanted your lawn mowed?  Extra.  A pizza delivered?  Same.  Now, they've just raised their prices to match what it was with the fuel surcharge.  Our state AG tried to sue them, but it wasn't against the law.  Price-gouging, but since it wasn't an emergency, the law didn't cover it.  That's what I meant.

Y'all didn't have that in Wyoming?  We did.  Anything delivered or purchased had an extra charge tacked onto it to cover their fuel costs.

Mark in Wyoming
link 09/01/16 04:45:12PM @mark-in-wyoming:

no they didn't they either just upped their prices a couple cents over all , or charged more for delivery  to cover the added fuel costs.

written off as inflation .

link 09/01/16 06:44:51PM @dowser:

It was excessive here.  To the point that the state AG tried to stop it, and couldn't.

pat wilson
link 09/02/16 09:01:58PM @pat-wilson:

Cheaper gas is great but the benefit is pretty much canceled out by the huge increases in food costs. Whatever you saved at the pump you're paying back out at the grocery.

Petey Coober
link 09/02/16 09:11:14PM @petey-coober:

Huh ?

pat wilson
link 09/02/16 09:15:39PM @pat-wilson:

You didn't notice your groceries costing a lot more ? Good for you.

link 09/02/16 09:19:11PM @dowser:

HOLY cow!  I did!

Petey Coober
link 09/02/16 09:40:54PM @petey-coober:

U made it seem like those 2 price changes are related ...

pat wilson
link 09/02/16 09:49:09PM @pat-wilson:

I don't know that they are related, it's that they occurred in the same time frame. I was happy to see a big savings at the pump but it was pretty much wiped out at the check-out. 

link 09/02/16 09:50:00PM @xxjefferson51:

They are not related or connected.  It takes fuel to get things from the farm to the store and all the steps in between so food prices would be even worse if gas was still around $4.00 a gallon.  

pat wilson
link 09/02/16 09:53:28PM @pat-wilson:

Did you not see your grocery bill go up a lot in the past year and a half ?

link 09/02/16 10:22:58PM @xxjefferson51:

I did.  That wasn't my point.  I'm saying that if gas prices had not dropped during that same time, the food inflation would have been even worse for the reasons stated.  

pat wilson
link 09/02/16 10:30:58PM @pat-wilson:

Your point was that lower gas prices = lower grocery bills. That's not what happened.

link 09/03/16 12:13:50AM @xxjefferson51:

I never said lower gas prices = lower food prices.  I said clearly twice now that lower gas prices mitigated the amount of the increase in food prices, that if gas prices had remained at the earlier levels, the food inflation would have been worse.  

pat wilson
link 09/03/16 12:26:40AM @pat-wilson:

Have a great holiday weekend.

link 09/03/16 01:00:26AM @xxjefferson51:
You realize that not all of the various commodities move up or down in concert with each other? At times they can all go up or all go down, but most of the time they move independently of each other for a variety of reasons.  I know my shares of corn etc went up while oil was going down and the metals we're going up when everything else but government bonds were going down. I invest broadly in all commodity areas indexes (industrial metals, precious metals, agriculture, energy) and directly in oil, gas, gold, silver.  You have a great weekend too.
link 09/03/16 02:41:32PM @dowser:

Pat, in all honesty, I think that food prices went up a lot because of the droughts in the west and southeast...  PLUS, the cost of shipping out foods from the warehouses to the actual market.  We got a double whammy.  winking

link 09/03/16 03:53:10PM @xxjefferson51:

Exactly.  There are a variety of things that can impact a commodity's price.  Not directly related commodities such as fuel and food can move in opposite directions with out it being some sort of conspiracy.  

pat wilson
link 09/03/16 03:58:09PM @pat-wilson:

I wasn't trying to connect the two. It's just that they happened at the same time.

link 09/03/16 06:33:46PM @dowser:

Pat's right, they did.  AT the time, it was a double whammy, triple whammy or whatever.  EVERYTHING went up.

Yes, the price of general food went up, at the same time the price of gas was so high.  Then again, I do think that the price of fuel did impact the cost of food, no conspiracy, just the way things are.  It also hit when the droughts came to the southeast, (where we get a lot of our food), and the west, (where we get a lot of our beef).  I don't think that this gets a lot of good gas mileage...

Don't be mad at me, I am agreeing with you.  

link 09/03/16 02:38:01PM @sixpick:

Gas prices are almost totally dependent on oil prices and taxes.  Look around you and find something that isn't tied to oil in some way, even if it is something that doesn't have oil as part of its makeup.  The price of oil is the #1 factor that determines the cost of everything we use in our daily lives with the exception of man-made inflation by the Federal Reserve.

link 09/03/16 02:40:07PM @dowser:

Which is why I agreed with the "bravo to cheaper gas prices"...  And yet, everyone wants to fuss at me.  I'm AGREEING WITH YOU.

So what's up?

link 09/03/16 03:59:29PM @xxjefferson51:

What's up is that the tree hugging Eco freak purists think anything that causes economic growth and extra money in people's pockets a bad thing because we might use more carbon energy.  They overlook the technology that has made those products cleaner and ignore the cleaner air and water we have now compared to the first earth day.  They resent that most all progress on that was done by industry and technology that lets us improve our living standards instead of the regulatory thumb of a government they control demanding ever more sacrifices from us while they maintain homes on two continents and fly back and forth between them.  

link 09/03/16 06:37:21PM @dowser:

Why are you mad at me?  I am agreeing with you that cheap gas is good for the economy.  I'm not advocating additional taxes, nor am I trying to throw a monkey wrench into your article.  All I'm saying is that I agree that cheap gas is a good thing.  

Have I come across as an eco-freak?  If so, where, and please show me!  I hope we can do something about the CO2 in the atmosphere, but I'm not advocating for gas to go back up to what it was then...  

I am agreeing with you and everyone is jumping on me with all 4 feet.  EEK!

link 09/04/16 02:11:45AM @xxjefferson51:

I'm not mad at you at all.  I know you were generally agreeing with me here.  It was a blanket in general statement I made and if it was directed toward anyone here at all it would be Bob.  

link 09/04/16 11:16:49AM @dowser:

Thanks, XX.  I've been really trying to be more amenable, and to be your friend.  Your kind words mean a lot to me!  Take care!


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