Letter to the Editor: Issue of rising gas prices not black and white

Editor:

Gas prices are getting higher and the United States, together with other countries of the world, is likely to start looking for solutions. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to decrease production in petroleum. This move is expected to increase prices at the pump.

Nick Macey, in his April 5 column (“Countries of the world, unite!”), labeled countries representing OPEC “terrorists.” Macey also criticized the organization for becoming too powerful.

These views reflect a typical ethnocentric attitude that suggests that the United States is in the best position to decide how the oil industry should be regulated. Naturally these views are highly favorable to our own economy.

The assumption is that OPEC adjusts prices only at a “whim.” This oversimplistic view of the oil industry suggests that gas prices are the result of fundamental supply and demand economics.

The fact is that many other factors determine how much we pay for gas, including market speculation and environmental concerns.

These concerns aside, the original allegation that these countries are “terrorists” for controlling their resources is unfounded. Countries have a right to control the distribution of their products and oil is no exception.

Both the United Nations and the United States have a strong history of implementing economic sanctions. These policies keep products of the Western world from the most vulnerable classes of undeveloped and developing countries.

The right for us to control these products is rarely called into question, even though the consequence is often death and starvation on a very large scale.

Macey’s call for a stronger investment in renewable energy is commendable. However, the idea that this should be done to “better the environment” stands in strong contradiction to his advocacy to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska.

With drilling comes the high risk of destroying the environment and many species’ habitats.

Finally, there is the naive assumption that reducing gas taxes will “allow consumers to get where they need to go.” Unless the plan is to go through potholes and cracked asphalt, consumers won’t get anywhere. These taxes maintain the roads that our infrastructure relies on to keep our economy moving.

If vilifying Middle Eastern countries and getting rid of gas taxes would were a solution to making transportation more affordable, then we would have had a solution long ago. The simple fact is that it’s far more complicated than that.

Moses Baca

Sophomore, Undeclared