More Price Gouging

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Right. The other thing about demagogic attacks on “price gouging” at the pump is that it serves to further re-enforce the view that providing consumers with cheap gasoline ought to be a major policy aim of the US government. If you care at all about the environment, of course, this is precisely wrong.

Liberals like to meld various different energy policy questions into a seamless blend of saving money at the pump, reducing dependence on the dread Middle Eastern oil, and fighting global warming, but to a significant extent these things all pull in different directions. Fossil fuels are really, really useful — that’s why we burn so much of them. Insofar as they’re cheap, they’ll be burned in great quantity. If you want to burn less of them, they have to be made more expensive.