I was afraid of this. The irrationality being exhibited about the price of gasoline is on prominent display this week in Congress.

According to the New York Times article “Congress feeling pressure for action on oil prices,” some of the things being considered are 1) drilling, of course, 2) anti-speculation legislation, and 3) “incentives for renewable fuels,” ergo, corn ethanol.

The most ironic idea, to me anyway, was Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) suggesting that voters blame “the government.” I thought people didn’t want the government to intervene in the economy — since 1980 we’ve supposedly been getting government “off our backs.” Thirty years later, since “government” didn’t do anything, there’s a crisis. Now, “government” is supposed to fix it immediately?

As I predicted about a year ago, peak oil (the idea that the era of cheap oil is over, and soon the global supply of oil will go down) may make matters worse, environmentally. People will reach for simple solutions like more drilling, tar sands, oil shale, coal-to-liquids, and biofuels.

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That’s why I think that it’s imperative that activists argue that the reason oil is going sky high is because of peak oil. That way, not only is the discussion more reality-based, we can more cogently offer real alternatives like transit, plug-in hybrids, denser urban areas, and high-speed rail, instead of continuing to bury our head in the (tar) sands.

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