Summer gas prices: Here's the reality

Posted on April 30th, 2012 by Kevin Curtis

© 2010 Flickr/shirokazan cc by 2.0If you follow Climate Reality on Facebook, attend our presentations, or watch our videos, you know we're doing all we can to reveal the truth about climate change -- and the fossil fuel industry-funded campaigns to spread mistruths and denial about the crisis we face. Here's something else that could use a heavy dose of reality: The facts behind the price of gasoline.

The latest forecasts say that gas prices may be decreasing slightly as we head into the summer driving season. But that's small comfort to families struggling to keep to a budget when gas prices still average nearly $4 a gallon. The average U.S. family could spend $3,400 on gasoline this year -- an increase of $250 from a year ago.

But in reality, the full price of gasoline goes beyond what we pay at the pump. Let's start with the bill that came due on April 15. Every year, oil companies receive $2.4 billion in tax breaks from the government -- money that comes out of taxpayers' pockets to an industry that's immensely profitable.

What do we get for all this expense? We allow oil companies to pollute our air and destabilize our climate. With a changing climate, we now face more frequent or intense heat waves, severe storms, and new threats to our health. These impacts raise the true price of gasoline well above $4 per gallon. As we suffer the consequences, the oil companies are profiting from the status quo.

So what can we do about this? Big oil and its supporters have the same answer they always have: Drill even more. Worse yet, they are now using dangerous and unconventional forms of drilling that are even more carbon pollution-intensive, like dirty tar sands oil. And the more we drill, the more we continue our dependence on oil -- and you pay for this dependence every time you fill up the gas tank.

But there's a better choice. We can fight back against the oil companies that are trying to stand in the way of change. We can call on our leaders to support policies that will end our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. We can stop giving billions of dollars a year to the oil industry, and we can invest in renewable energy that is rapidly becoming inexpensive and widely available.

Big oil companies would like us to think a transition to clean energy isn't possible. The reality is that it's the only choice that makes sense.

On this blog, we're beginning a series that will help reveal the full truth behind the price of gasoline and what we can do about it. We're not going to ask you to give up your cars; we're going to invite you to learn about and work with us on real solutions that can end our dependence on oil.

Bookmark this blog and watch this space for more.

 
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