Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Build more refineries!

"Troubles blend for gas" in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Gas around the north side is about a 30 cents/gal higher than it was when I moved here from Iowa last May. According to the article, once you get through the hints of collusion and oil company bad behavior--"As happened after Katrina, Milwaukee pump prices have diverged sharply from the trend in the price of crude oil"--it comes down to refinery problems in Indiana, refinery problems in Minnesota, refinery problems and labor strikes in Europe, and increased demand.

Hey, I have an idea. Let's build more refineries!

Unfortunately, I already know this will never happen. 9% profit margin--at risk to the whims of shrill socialists in Congress--is just not worth working through the 800 federal permits (not to mention waging a PR battle against hippies, eco-terrorists, and class-warmongers) necessary to build a modern petroleum facility. Meanwhile, China--where the government doesn't bother to pretend they don't control all economic activity--has brought new refineries online within the past 30 years....

I find this much more depressing than paying $3.25 for a gallon of gas.

My favorite feature of "gas prices! Oh noes!" articles is the Sob Story. You have to have the Sob Story to stir up anti-business sentiment. Unfortunately, today they chose very poorly:

With a daily 70-mile drive between his Sun Prairie home and his job at Milwaukee music publisher Hal Leonard Corp., Christopher Sink gets about two hours a day to listen to the car radio and wonder how much higher the price of gasoline will go this summer.

"It adds up pretty quick," Sink said.

In fact, he said, it's adding up enough to cause him and his wife, whose job transfer prompted the couple to move from Milwaukee, to look at ways to save money elsewhere, such as dining out.

*blink* Man chooses to move 70 miles away from his job (to a town currently undergoing a surge of big cheaply-built McMansions larger than my grandparents' barn, but I digress) on purpose. Now, because of big bad gas prices, he has to cut down on dining out.

Damn. Life's HARD. Or something.

C'mon, J-S. You have to do better than that. Get someone from the neighborhood where I work who has to choose between driving her family to see her sick grandmother in Chicago and getting her son a pair of Sean Marburys. The blame still falls on the whackjobs who've been preventing new refineries from being built since the 1970s, but I won't laugh at her. Or your paper.

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