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By Robert Rapier on Jun 26, 2008 with no responses

The Fault of the Government

I have long maintained that the root of our energy problems in the U.S. stems from our failure to enact a consistent, long-term energy policy. Big energy projects generally take years to complete, and when there is an extra risk that the government will change the rules halfway through the project, companies are going to take a very cautious approach. So, we end up with less energy than we might have if there was more consistency.

For the first time, it seems that the public overwhelmingly thinks so as well:

Drivers blame D.C. for high gas prices

According to a Consumer Reports Auto Pulse Survey released Thursday, 77% of consumers said the root of high gas prices lies with the government’s failure to implement an effective energy policy. That compares with 75% of drivers who blamed oil companies, 70% who said foreign oil producers were at fault and 68% who thought the Middle East conflict was a leading cause for record fuel costs.

So, 152% of those polled thought it was either the government or Big Oil behind the problem. (Must have been a case of “Vote early and often.”)

One thing that was surprising to me was the number of people who favored off-shore drilling:

As a result, 90% of those surveyed support an increase in alternative energy development, and 81% want the U.S. government to allow more drilling on and off our nation’s shores. Americans also favored conservation measures, with 83% saying they supported tax incentives for alternate transportation.

Of course I know one person who voted for Big Oil as the culprit behind oil prices. He works for the government. Chuck Schumer, notorious demagogue when the topic is oil, had this to say following the recent congressional hearings into the impact of speculation on oil prices:

Schumer downplayed the role of speculators in driving up oil prices, and he placed blame on the oil industry and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“I think it is interesting that the big oil companies and OPEC are blaming speculators for out-of-control prices, when they may be much more of the cause,” said Schumer.

Attaboy, Chuck. Keep looking for that boogie man. But don’t be surprised if you spot him during your morning shave.