Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tom Friedman on Gas Prices, Honesty, Obama, and Electric Cars

Tom Friedman of the NY Times has been hammering away at the bi-partisan disaster that is the US energy policy for years now. One cornerstone of the policy is cheap gas. Pandering politicians have ensured the true cost of gas remains shrouded in tax policy and the defense budget. Now the pressures of a changing global market have provoked a precipitous rise in gasoline prices for the heretofore protected American driver. Friedman says it's time for some truth telling. We need to pay more for gasoline to keep up market pressure for more fuel efficient vehicles. Good policy according to Friedman would keep gasoline from ever dropping below $4/gallon.

That may seem an unlikely campaign platform for any politician hoping to be elected, but the gas price holiday dust up suggests American voters may be ahead of their leaders. Sen. Obama was not blown away by his opposition to the gas holiday.

Next, Friedman hopes, new leadership will choose the right policy, one that leads us to electric cars.
We need to make a structural shift in our energy economy. Ultimately, we need to move our entire fleet to plug-in electric cars. The only way to get from here to there is to start now with a price signal that will force the change.

Barack Obama had the courage to tell voters that the McCain-Clinton summer gas-giveaway plan was a fraud. Wouldn’t it be amazing if he took the next step and put the right plan before the American people? Wouldn’t that just be amazing?