Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cheap Gas By Jimmy Petrol

Of the developed nations, the US has the cheapest gas. This is due primarily to the low tax on gasoline, which is about fifty cents per gallon.

Other developed countries tax gasoline heavily, to encourage conservation and for other "good government" reasons.

In relatively undeveloped countries that are also oil producers, the prices are heavily subsidized and kept at a very low point to encourage development and manufacturing. This subsidy comes from oil revenues when sold on the world market.

Here's a sampling of the current gas prices worldwide: (figures as reported by the New York Times this week).

Venezuela $0.25 per gallon, Iran 0.41, Saudi Arabia 0.60, Iraq 1.74, Mexico 2.54, China 2.84, Russia 3.79, United States 4.00, Japan 4.72, India 4.79, Canada 5.09, Spain 7.30, Sweden 8.60, United Kingdom 8.71, France 8.78, Italy 8.85, Germany 8.98, Netherlands 10.05.

For most of the countries that have prices above the US level, the additional cost is generally entirely due to taxes, which range from $0.49 per gallon in the US, $3.37/gal. in Spain to $5.34/gal. in Germany.

For all the countries that have gas selling cheaper than the US, there is no direct tax on the fuel as sold at the pump.

It is hard not to see the parallel between the countries currently in the cross-hairs of the American government and military and countries which are oil producers and have cheap fuel. Of the five cheapest gasoline producers, the United States is at serious odds with four and is at war or going to war with two.

Venezuela has a great deal on gas....odd coincidence that the US and Venezuela are at political odds.

The same goes for Iran; that country would be a great bargain, coming as it does with such cheap and plentiful fuel. Again, just a silly coincidence that the US and Iran are about to go to war.

It is plain that the United States tends to have serious, unresolvable issues with nations that produce gas cheaply. These countries will be annexed militarily in the next few years, as Americans clamor for more gas to fuel grossly inefficient vehicles.

There is a bit of irony in the current and impending war annexations; the fuel that is available in Iraq and Iran for next to nothing is not going to come to Americans. This fuel is headed for Eastern Europe via a brand new pipeline (as reported by The Economist last year) and also to India. India is a rapidly developing nation which depends on oil importation. It is also right next door to our new "territories". The current price at the Indian pump is $4.79, with no taxes added there. Clearly, the Indians will pay more than Americans for the Iraqi oil; the American oil companies who recently "won" contracts to "administer" the Iraqi oil will be sending it to the lucky Indians.

All of this is documented in business journals worldwide. The British weekly, The Economist, is accurate, even as it takes pains to paint the governments of Venezuela, Iran and Mexico as villainous and warranting custodial invasion.

The upshot to all this is simple; the oil wars are on, but the greedy American driver, hopeful and resplendent in his Hummer, Expedition and Suburban is not going to benefit at the pump. American Oil is busy doing business as usual, while the American government is providing the muscle.

Adding insult to injury, the oil will support rapid growth in India and former Eastern Block countries; people and places that are not generally considered to be American sympathizers. While we are browbeat into supporting the troops, the troops are drafted into support of profits for big oil. The United States military no longer serves the needs of the American people; the troops unwittingly support American Oil Company profits. Whether more profit for big American Oil supports freedom is one of those questions posed only to cloud the issue.

The fatuous intellectual practice of over-complicating these issues has been effective in the American political arena; most Americans choose to believe that the Oil Wars are about freedom, not profit. The task of the over-educated talking-heads of media, to obscure the obvious, has been successful.

Meanwhile, all the rest of the developed world uses gasoline more cautiously, taxes it judiciously and looks to the energy future as any country with truly custodial government must.

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