May 16, 2007

Gas Fumes


This carrtoon was originally posted on April 25, 2006, and is one of over 400 illustrations you'll find in our latest book Black & White World III, which can be ordered via Cox & Forkum, The Steyn Store, and Barnes &

From CNN: Gas prices hit another record high.

Gasoline prices hit a record high for the fourth straight day Wednesday, according to the daily reading on gas prices from AAA, and more records could be on the way.

From The Daily Record: N.J. moves against gas price gouging.

With gas prices increasing, New Jersey lawmakers moved Monday toward toughening gas gouging penalties that haven't been changed since Franklin D. Roosevelt was finishing his first term as president. ...

The state's gas gouging law makes it illegal to, among other things, display and charge different fuel prices and change the selling price more than once in any 24-hour period.

From the Ayn Rand Institute: Who Is Gouging Whom? by David Holcberg.

To "gouge" means to extort, to take by force--something that oil companies and gas stations have no power to do. Unlike a government, which can forcibly take away its citizens' money and dictate their behavior, an oil company can only make us an offer to buy its products, which we are free to reject.

Because sellers must gain the voluntary consent of buyers, and because the market allows freedom of competition, oil and gasoline prices are set, not by the whim of companies, but by economic factors such as supply and demand. If oil companies could set prices at will, surely they would have charged higher prices in the 1990s, when gasoline was under one dollar a gallon! ...

The true culprit that we should condemn for driving up prices is the government, which has engaged--with popular support--in the gouging of both the producers and consumers of gasoline.

Federal and state governments have long viewed gasoline taxes as a cash cow. In 2003, for instance, when the average retail price for a gallon of gasoline was $1.56, federal and state taxes averaged about $0.40 a gallon--which amounts to a far higher tax rate, 34 percent, than we pay for almost any other product. (Contrary to popular belief, gasoline taxes do not just pay for the roads we drive on; less than 60% of the gas-tax-funded "Highway Trust Fund" goes toward highways.)

Yogi Love has an excellent cartoon illustrating the above editorial.

UPDATE -- May 17: More at Jeff's Garage & Ale House: How About a Windfall Ignorance Tax?.

And from FOX News: AAA: More Americans to Hit the Road on Memorial Day Despite Gas Prices

Posted by Forkum at May 16, 2007 04:11 PM