Jots with dots 11/19

Liberals who used to knowingly say hey we can’t drill our way to lower gas prices you guys vs we drilled our way to lower gas prices http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/11/18/_3_gasoline_drilling_for_oil_brought_down_prices.html

Re cheap gas undermining our geo-political foes http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2014/11/19/are_the_united_states_and_saudi_arabia_conspiring_to_keep_oil_prices_down.html

This has been chronicled here and there… I think… but one thing I’m mindful of by my own observation is that driving habits have changed A LOT in the last 6 or so years. Consumption IS down.

Surprisingly and unexpected by me, I got a check yesterday for $29 for a class action settlement for a defect on my 2005 Toyota Corolla. A defect that in my case never manifested itself. Now sending me money, this car is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s paid for, has 180,000 miles on it, and has been unfailingly reliable (one repair, $225, wore out a wheel hub). I bought this car in 2007 to trade out of a nifty 2003 Ford Ranger 4 x 4. We were having one of those spikes, and gas was maybe 3.50 a gallon. I was commuting to a job in the west suburbs. I dunno, I might have been making $35 bucks an hour, but this truck was literally going to bankrupt me, I was filling it every 3 days at $70 bucks a pop plus making a $400 payment on it. I had to get rid of the thing immediately. I was upside down on the truck and had to roll some negative equity into a new loan for the Toyota. Conceptually, that’s a hard choice to make but I did it and with the Toyota’s far superior gas mileage my monthly car expenses went down significantly pronto. Now its paid for and it never breaks down… cuz it’s a Toyota and not a POS American car…. what’s it cost me a mile to drive, a dime? One of the smartest things I ever did.

That’s an anecdote, but I think it’s accurate to observe the affluent middle class has been similarly weaned off their full frame truck / SUV addiction. I haven’t seen many people buy ‘em (you do see these crossovers). And also anecdotally, I was one of many along with others that began using public transportation at least for a time. Things have changed.

Kevin Drum has some sense Scott Walker may be the next president. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/11/why-scott-walker-might-be-our-next-presidentHis sense may be right. I’m going to come off as eminently sensible to liberal ears here again. Not trying to do that. But one thing I don’t like about Walker is his drug testing for welfare jag. Seems so retrograde, red meat to the base kinda thing.

I am ready to make a bet / prediction. Hillary is not going to be President. I don’t think it’s quite 50 / 50 that she gets the nomination. But if she does, she’s going to lose, to whomever. Kasich, Rand, Walker. She’s too old. It takes extreme circumstances and an exceptional candidate to elect a geriatric.

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2 thoughts on “Jots with dots 11/19

  1. pm1956

    As we both know, prices are set by the markets, which is supply (drilling is a part of that) and demand. Thing about drilling is that it can be easily countered by the Saudis, who have the cheapest (to produce) oil in the world, and are literally able to turn the tap on and off, at their whim. It costs them nothing (except income) to cut their production, and they have billions all over the world in US Treasuries, etc., so they can afford lower income for a period of time. Their flexibility is the only thing that has kept OPEC together over the years, as every other OPEC member cheats (and overproduces). So, short of massive new oil finds (and shale oil isn’t a massive new oil find–middling, maybe), drilling can lead to lower prices only if the Saudis are OK with that. Which, for the moment, they are.

    Of course, when you add lower demand on top of increased supply, then it becomes harder for the Saudis to react and maintain a higher price. There really is only so much they can cut their production without hurting. And lower world GNP growth leads to lower energy/oil demand. As do efforts to save, including conservation (like your story about the toyota vs Ford).

    All of which is sort of a prelude to why I’d like to see an increase in the gasoline tax. And do it now, while gas prices are low. We need the cash to spend on roads and bridges–get the highway system back in shape. Help out localities as well. And try to keep people from going back to the gas guzzling bad old days. and keep the pressure on the Saudis. To get the demand for oil lower. I think all of those fall into the category of generally good things…

    Hillary. I am not and have never been a fan of hers. She is better than a lot of others, though. I would love to see alternatives to her in the mix. That said, I do not think her age is her biggest problem, or really all that much of a problem. Obama said it best: “You’re likable enough”. Meh.

    Reply
  2. pm1956

    more on Hillary:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120303/democrats-hillary-clinton-could-lose-2016-presidential-election

    All are good points. Hillary is not a shoe-in, by any means. That said, the main thing she has going in her favor is the generally crazy nature of the GOP. If they nominate a McCain or Palin, Hillary wins. If they nominate a Romney (who acts like and adopts the positions of a Cruz), Hillary wins. Even a Christie who loses his cool could be problematic.

    It will be very interesting to watch!

    Reply

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