Increasing oil prices demand attention

Can’t imagine oil prices getting any higher? Well, think again, because oil prices are skyrocketing and Americans are suffering. It won’t get any better. Prices are expected to be as high as $6 a gallon.

If I were to take a survey of every Mercyhurst student with a vehicle on campus, I would say they’d agree with me that oil prices are hurting them. This is a time of budgeting and thrift.

Many students cannot cope with the rising oil prices.

Luckily, I have a proposal that could fix things. Although this proposal will likely never see the light of day in Washington, it can give you a measure of comfort that lawmakers are already working on similar solutions for the problem.

Here is my plan to alleviate the oil prices:

1. Cap gas prices – In ancient Rome, the Emperor Diocletian, whose reign marked the end of the tumultuous Crisis of the Third Century, put a brilliant price ceiling on rising food costs. These price caps were adjusted over time for inflation and made food affordable for millions of starving Roman citizens. A gas price freeze would set a rate cap on all petroleum products. For example, if President Obama were to hypothetically sign an executive order freezing gas prices at $3.50 a gallon, gas companies could only charge that amount or less for fuel. This works, but it almost always results in a reduction in quality of the product over the long term, so gas will be cheap but could be less refined and more toxic to the environment.

2. A gas tax holiday – This was done under Bush in 2006-2007, when gas prices were shooting through the roof. A gas tax holiday has a temporary effect on lowering gas prices, because the government simply doesn’t tax gas. Although the government loses millions of dollars in revenue, this method leads to an almost immediate reduction in gas prices for the consumer.

3. Invest in alternate energy – Ultimately, the dependence of foreign oil has to be reduced. In the short term, we can drill for our own oil in our borders, but we don’t have enough for the long haul. So we need things like electric cars, biofuels, wind, solar and other green energy solutions.

Americans are addicted to oil. We need to implement a wide range of solutions to cure this addiction. It starts with us making a conscious decision to drive less. Start today.