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Alan Auguston: the Cost of Gas and Peak Oil

Green Party Congressional Candidate Alan Augustson (IL, CD-05) called upon all Presidential and other candidates to back off from promises of lower gasoline prices.

“Cheap gas is over,” said Augustson, who will be seeking to unseat the powerful Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) in November. “Any candidate who promises lower gas prices is making a false promise, plain and simple. It’s a cheap, obvious election gimmick. Don’t fall for it.”

In a communique to a number of online media outlets, Augustson contended that speculators and taxation amount to very little in determining the price of a gallon of gasoline. “Gas is expensive,” he said, “because the oil is running out. And that which remains is harder to find, harder to extract, harder to refine and harder to distribute.”

In fact, he said, gas prices would be even higher still if not for government subsidies.

“Whether you drive an SUV or ride a bike everywhere, you’re paying for gas,” Augustson said. “Your taxes pay for enormous subsidies to the energy industry. Without those subsidies, you’d see gasoline prices similar to what they pay in Europe.”

He speculated that gasoline prices might fall “maybe a quarter or so, just in time for the election. But they’ll snap right back to the upward trend, immediately afterward.”

Augustson’s solution to high gas prices? “Stop using gas. Take public transit if you have it. Get an electric vehicle — not a hybrid. Ride a bike. Walk. Move closer to work. Shop closer to home. Just stop driving. I know that’s not going to be a popular answer, but the truth seldom is.”

Alan Augustson, 44, is an economist, statistician and management consultant living in Chicago. He announced his candidacy for Congress in June of 2007.

Ronald Hardy

2 Comments

  1. I don’t believe this is effective rhetoric for the Green Party. Back in 2000, the Green national convention adopted the Labor Party’s call for a “just transition” to environmental sustainability. Green candidates should revive that call, particularly with regard to the cost of gas.

    My employer is located in a sprawling compound in the suburbs. Presumably, it chose to locate there due to lower taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, etc.

    My workplace is not accessible by train, and taking the bus would triple the time of my commute. Therefore, I drive.

    The bulk of my monthly spending on gas represents a cost of doing business that my employer has effectively deducted from my wages.

    Millions of people face similar circumstances. Under these circumstances, environmentalist sanctimony about the cost of gas obscures the distributive consequences of price increases.

    Greens should address these issues head-on and propose comprehensive, just solutions.

  2. As I said, the truth is seldom popular.

    Technological “solutions” such as some candidates are pushing, simply amount to more consumption. You cannot consume your way out of a problem that was caused by excessive consumption.

    Your employer, who insists upon locating the jobs far from the people who need them, is a major part of the problem.

    And the problem cannot be the solution. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

    Employers such as yours will find it harder to attract and retain quality employees as gas prices continue to go up. And they will continue to go up, regardless whom you elect.

    Office-park “cities”, that exist for no purpose but for employers to evade their responsibilities to the community, must and will fall by the wayside. They are no longer economically viable. Employers who cannot adapt to the new reality will go out of business. Again, it’s just the truth that other candidates won’t tell you.

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