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It’s a Gas War, Let's Ration

We are strictly nonpartisan and apolitical here at Tom's Turn, so we will be naming no names today.

Let's put it this way. Two powerful and influential figures with overweening political ambition have suggested that the federal government should suspend federal gasoline taxes between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year to provide some relief to people suffering from soaring prices.

A brilliant idea it is, for sure. The figure I heard as I rode to work this morning (on my bike, ain't I noble) was that this magnificent gesture will save the average American driver just under $30, which isn't even a whole tank of gas. And here I thought the whole idea these days was to discourage the burning of gasoline and other fossil fuels, which are warming us up and driving us broke.

I'm personally of the opinion (this is just me; don't holler at Earthjustice please) that gas should be at least $10 a gallon, with most of the money diverted to support mass transit and other good public purposes. I'm also inclined to suggest looking into a way to stop Big Oil from bleeding the public with obscene profits going to their executives and shareholders.

Is it time to nationalize the oil companies? Not sure about that, but paying four bucks a gallon one day and reading about another record-setting quarter for Exxon the next does not make one smile. As I said, I'm not for cheap gas and I'm not for enriching oil companies.

I also realize that there are hard-working people who depend utterly on their vehicles to earn their livings. In the long run, the economy will adjust to minimize those jobs, have the vehicles powered by something other than gasoline, and so on.

In the meantime, what about bringing back rationing? It worked in World War II, as some of us remember. Everyone would be entitled to a small ration of moderately priced fuel. Those who don't need their full ration can sell the leftover coupons to Hummer owners for whatever the market can bear. Just might help. Makes at least as much sense as repealing the gas tax for a few months.