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The summer we gave all our money for gas: How high can it go?

I get stopped at a certain corner every morning giving me plenty of time to look at the price of gas on the sign there. And I swear, it’s going up at least 3¢ a day — and it has for weeks. Last time I filled my tiny gas tank, I paid $35 the last time I filled up. Gas has gone up nearly 20¢ a gallon since then (shaking my head).

Hillary has Plan to Address Soaring Prices at the Pump

Americans are being squeezed at the pump like never before. The price of oil is approaching $120 a barrel. Gas is at a record high in North Carolina of $3.59, up from $3.26 a month ago and $2.90 a year ago, a 23 percent increase in just one year. And while the average family’s energy costs have gone up $2,000 a year since President Bush took office, average North Carolina family incomes have fallen by almost $5,000. Record oil prices are contributing to higher energy prices, food prices and a squeeze that is making many middle class families feel like they are falling further behind. American families are hurting now. They need a President who will focus every day on ensuring that they can make ends meet. That is why today, Hillary is unveiling her aggressive plan to address the problem of skyrocketing gas prices. Hillary’s plan includes:

  • Imposing a windfall profits tax on oil companies and using the money to suspend the gas tax for the peak summer months;
  • Closing $7.5 billion in oil and gas loopholes and using the funds to provide assistance for lower-income families to pay their energy and grocery bills;
  • Cracking down on speculation by energy traders and market manipulation in oil and gas markets that are driving up the price of oil by at least $20 a barrel;
  • Pressuring OPEC to increase oil production, including by filing a WTO complaint against OPEC countries
  • Stopping new additions to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and standing ready to release oil to counter market spikes and reduce volatility.

This plan builds on Hillary’s long-term plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and address global warming. She has committed moving America towards energy independence by cutting foreign oil imports by two-thirds from 2030 projected levels, more than 10 million barrels per day. (read the full plan)

But Obama isn’t quite so concerned.

Clinton highlights Obama’s objection to gas tax holiday

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday criticized Barack Obama for opposing the concept of suspending the gas tax during the peak summer driving months, a plan both she and Republican John McCain have endorsed.

The idea to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day was first proposed by McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, as a way to ease the economic burden for consumers during the summer.

Obama does not support the “gas tax holiday” and has said the average motorist would not benefit significantly from such a suspension; by some estimates, the federal government would lose about $10 billion in revenue.

“My opponent, Senator Obama, opposes giving consumers a break,” Clinton said, campaigning in North Carolina. “I understand the American people need some relief.”

Clinton said she would make up the difference in revenue by imposing a “windfall profits tax” on oil companies.

I think this is a good chance for the candidates to prove they can work across the aisle. But, maybe he thinks working with McCain would be a sign of weakness? Hillary’s fearless though. The idea might have started with McCain but, she found a way to make it work within her plan. She keeps coming up with ideas even while she’s running for president. Her responsibilities aren’t on hold for the campaign.

It’s so nice to know that more and more voters are appreciating her message.

10 Responses

  1. If you’re going to work across the aisle, you may not want to do so in a way that will ultimately increase the cost of gas and encourage greater consumption for a total three-month savings of $30.

    This is a really boneheaded move on Clinton’s part.

  2. Starscream, where do you get the $30 figure?

  3. The $30 figure probably comes from .18(#of gallones consumed); some sort of average. It does not sound that far out to me. Obama has got the right idea here if you ask.

    Lowering the price on fuel (by eliminating the tax) is going to raise demand. Our consumption is going to be higher without the tax. I’m not really oppossed to Clinton’s plan; I just think that what the candidates are doing to adress the underlying problem is more important. Going from the information on their websites the plans are pretty similar.

    We need mass transit so bad. I wonder how much of our fuel is spent on just going to and from work? Probably a lot.

  4. We have no mass transit out here in NW PA- if you can get into the city you CAN take the bus. Problem is getting into the city- my health will not allow for walking a mile and then climbing up a steep half mile long hill to get to the nearest bus pick-up.
    We drive ONLY to work now and if there are errands we do those going to or coming from.
    Energy has consumed so much of our budget we have already turned off the furnace for the year and it still goes down in the thirties at night.
    Absolutely no unnecessary expenditures- no eating out, no movies, starting our garden from seed this year- no buying plants all ready to go. Tripling our garden space and planning on canning non-stop all summer so we have less grocery expense come the winter. Thank God our kids are grown, we can not afford milk anymore. We buy our meat for the year at the 4-H market auction in the late summer and we are stretching out last year’s meat now. Thank God the asparagus is coming up now so we have fresh vegetables. We will be putting a lot of that up as well. (In the past we have sold the extra or donated it to the food pantry- not this year.)
    It is sinful that Bush’s buddies are making profits in the billions while the workers and the poor are choosing between heat and gas to get to work. Speculation on oil needs to stop.
    If I can save $30 over the summer, I will take it and buy more canning jars.

  5. Some links from Wired on the $30 figure:

    “The national average for a gallon of gas is $3.38, and it could hit $3.50 or even $4 before long. Cutting the cost by 18 cents amounts to a 5 percent reduction. The Arizona Republic – McCain’s hometown paper – says the average Phoenix commuter will save $23 under McCain’s proposal. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials says the average American will save $28.”


  6. I think this is a temporary measure lasting through the summer. I doubt it will raise demand because the people who will benefit the most from that $30 are people going to the food bank here because they can either by gas or groceries.

    Our local foodbank just sent out another plea for donations because they’ve seen another rise in demand for their services. This is the third in the past four months.

    Sen. Clinton has a plan that would repeal of taxes combined with windfall profits taxes on the obscene profits of oil companies—can’t repeal one tax, where revenues are used to maintain roads, etc., without find a way to raise those revenues elsewhere. And it’s not her complete energy plan.

    This looks to me as more of a political position than a long-term solution, especially since Sen. McCain already has a bill in the Senate that would do this very thing.

    I think we’d all agree we need a major overhaul of our energy and infrastructure, but that’s not something that will happen quickly and certainly not in the next few months.

  7. If this is the best that can be done…

    Gas prices are very hard on the working poor. They have to live far away from jobs to afford housing. They are likely to be single moms making 70% of a man’s wage. The bus might be an option, but often the bus schedule doesn’t allow getting to a child quickly in an emergency. Also, buses add time to an already long commute and daycare centers charge extra for late pick-ups.

  8. IIRC, McCain wanted Fed gas tax holiday–no indication of how to make up the lost revenue.

    Hillary said Fed gas tax holiday would help cushion the shock of the gas price increases–and she wants an excess profits tax on Big Oil to both replace the lost revenue for road infrastructure and for R&D (that is included, I think).

    And, thank you St. Ronnie, for telling voters we didn’t need to conserve or develop alternative energy technology. NOT.

  9. CNBC reporter said on MSNBC this morning that the $120/barrel price will take 6 months to get the full increase into the revenue stream — and show up at the gas stations.

    Which takes us to November — and heating season, which will be a killer financially in the oil burning areas of the nation (Northeast, but elsewhere as well).

    Discretionary income is going to be scarce for the middle class and below. For median earners and below.. — dire.

    Public financing got for the general election might be a good idea for both McCain and the Dem. Even Obama’s supporters might find it hard to come up with those extra $10-50 a month to send to a candidate.

  10. and most of the “quick fixes” are inadequate and have their own set of problems attached. I don’t think that eliminating the Federal tax for the summer is going to have enough impact to make a difference. There needs to be better regulation of oil companies and they need to be compelled to build refineries and storage facilities. I have always questioned why the government is giving ultra rich oil companies tax breaks and subsidies, it should be ended and those monies be put into rail and mass transit. Windfall profits should be taxed, heavily.
    But these are long term solutions and we are in a crisis now. I hve become pessimist about the ability of Congress to do anything because of the obstructionist Republicans and Bush’s ability to veto anything that does not fit his agenda for the economic destruction of this country.
    This is going to be a very rough year for everyone except the very rich. Sad.

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