Relief is coming but it’s not enough


There may be slight, albeit temporary, economic relief in sight for Californians.
President Joe Biden on Thursday announced he wants to release one million barrels of oil per day for the next six months from the nation’s stockpile.

The move would increase available fuel supply and theoretically lower gas prices from an arm, leg, eye and first born per gallon of regular unleaded to merely half a paycheck for a tank of gas.

In November last year Biden made a similar gesture when he released about 60 million barrels and delayed the pain at the pump just long enough for it to arrive in January when post-holiday shopping bills were due.

At the same time California Governor Gavin Newsom is fine-tuning a proposal to provide the state’s vehicle owners with gas cards as a way of relieving the shock and AAUGHH! of a topped off tank.

Newsom’s $400 per vehicle, with an $800 cap per owner, would not arrive in the mail until early summer—just as Californians start hitting the road on their summer vacations, which of course will drive up demand for fuel as well as the cost.

The primary targets for consumer/voter ire are the politicians. The electeds are easy to blame given we tend to expect them to solve our problems and make our lives better because on the campaign trail that’s what they suggest they’ll do.

While some of the grievances are justified, too often we lose sight that in this particular instance there is enough blame to go around.

Oil companies, eager to regain the losses of the early days of the pandemic manipulate the cost of fuel by withholding production while at the same time trying to keep up with an explosive demand for fuel by people who are eager to make up for lost time and travel now that the pandemic, in their minds, is over. (It’s not).

In May 2020 gas cost about $2.35 per gallon in large part because fuel supply exceeded demand as a result of pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Hopefully, in addition to thetemporary fixes they propose, people like Biden and Newsom will come up with more long term solutions, like tax incentives for employers who encourage work-from-home environments and more funding for effective and equitable public transportation, and energy efficient vehicle mandates.

Gas cards and barrels help, but they are not enough

Relief is coming but it’s not enough