1. Stop restricting oil exploration and production. Many know about ANWR, but there is also a moratorium on off-shore drilling. No new refineries have been built since the 70’s, largely due to the high cost associated with regulation. And of course there are promising technologies with oil shale and coal liquifaction.
2. Stop inflating the money supply. This has a two-fold effect. As more money goes into the system, prices rise. Wages are almost always the last to rise. As a result, prices go up while our purchasing power decreases. Second, the easy money policies from the Federal Reserve floods the market with credit to invest in all sorts of things. In a time like now when the dollar is weak, the stock market is shaky, and the housing market is not doing well, people will invest in commodities, including oil and foodstuffs.
3. Stop fighting foreign wars where no national interest is at stake, but where our involvement significantly affects global oil prices. The price of oil has increased fourfold since our involvement in Iraq. Even if our actions have been justified, for how much longer can we afford its economic drain? What would a serious engagement with Iran do to global oil prices? These are not happy thoughts.
If the government was serious about helping Americans at the pump and with price increases in many other areas, they would immediately begin to investigate and address these three patterns of government intervention.
Unfortunately, they appear either unwilling or unable to provide serious, meaningful help.
In the days before zoning, we could live close to where we work, shop, worship, and play. Gas increases wouldn’t hurt as much. But in the zoning era where automobiles ruled the roost for decades, such a pre-zoning structure is incomprehensible to many, though admittedly, mixed-use zoning areas try to re-kindle that spirit. It would be nice if this type of lifestyle was a legitimate option for a huge number of people, but I believe it is not as of now.