The New York Times has a good opinion piece about what’s really driving gas prices these days. The Republicans and President Bush would like us all to think that it’s because we don’t have enough domestic oil drilling while the Democrats would like us to think it’s the “evil” oil speculators, or the “evil” oil companies, but the reality is that it’s basically a case of supply and demand. With regards to the “evil” oil speculators the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury and Energy Departments all concluded that “speculative trades in oil contracts had little to no effect on the rise in prices over the last five years.” (“Gas Price Follies“, The New York Times, July 28, 2008 ) Additionally, additional oil drilling, as I have noted in the past will do nothing for the price of gas at the pump in the short or even near term. The New York Times editorial notes that “Republicans should know that allowing more offshore drilling might marginally trim oil prices — in about a decade (emphasis added) — while sacrificing important environmental protections.” (“Gas Price Follies“, The New York Times, July 28, 2008 )

The fact is that we need to switch to alternative, renewable, energy and as we move in that direction we need to focus on conservation. You know conservation…that thing that Vice President Dick Cheney said “may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” Well, Mr. Vice President, it looks like you were wrong on that one. And the editors of the New York Times agree with me: “Americans must burn less oil and find alternative sources of energy that do far less damage to the environment.” (“Gas Price Follies“, The New York Times, July 28, 2008 )