Lawmakers wonder why gas prices are so high

Lawmakers wonder why gas prices are so high


Mass. lawmakers are calling hearings to figure out why gas prices are so high. Here’s a start for them: weak dollar, constrained supply, competition from India and China, lack of domestic drilling, high gas taxes. So which of these do state lawmakers have control over?

“People are curtailing their Memorial Day and summer travel plans. You can’t help but think there’s someone out there who’s benefiting from all this - and it’s not us,” said Sen. Susan Fargo (D-Lincoln).

Gee, you think? Who might that be? Could it be the people who drill the oil out of the ground? Certainly, the person who has to buy the gas—and pay for others’ gas through higher prices—aren’t benefiting.

“People can barely afford to get back and forth to work,” Pacheco said. “The point of this is to talk to consumer experts about what is going on here, and what we can and can’t do about it.”

Yes, let’s see what the politicians can do about it. Hey, maybe they can penalize the oil companies and gas station owners! Certainly, lowering the gas taxes is out of the question.

“There’s no way I would recommend doing that without some way to replenish the funds we would lose for roads and bridges,” Pacheco said. “Yes, we would be able to help consumers for a very short period of time, but we would lose revenue for the same roads and bridges that we hear complaints about all the time.”

Here’s a simple lesson from the Ronald Reagan School of Supply-Side Economics. High prices are deterring people from buying gas, as Pacheco acknowledges, and if people avoid buying gas it means they’re paying fewer gas taxes anyway. So if we lower the gas tax perhaps, just perhaps, that will spur people to buy more gas and thus increase gas-tax revenues.

But no, liberal politicians don’t seem to grasp basic economics and assume that consumers/taxpayers are “sheeple” who will not be influenced by changing circumstances. In fact, some are even proposing raising gas taxes to fund infrastructure.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.

Image Credit

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli