Sunday Discussion: Gas Prices

I think this Sunday Discussion is a very important topic.  People are getting tired of the  gas prices that are too high.  Right now gas prices around this area are around $3.50 a gallon.  But many experts think those prices are going to go way up.  Many are expecting gas prices to be over $4 a gallon by this summer.  And if there is conflict in the Middle East or a hurricane coming up the Gulf of Mexico.  The sky’s the limit.  Do you remember the movie called Oil Storm that was on TV a couple of years ago?  Here is the full movie to refresh yourself.

The movie depicts a major hurricane and war in the Middle East causing a major disruption in the oil supply and causing gas prices to go through the roof.  This almost crashed the U.S. economy.  Of course this is all portraying a major oil disruption in this country.  But we have had similar events.  Remember Hurricane Katrina and the gas supply disruptions afterward?  And we may get to see what happens if a conflict over Iran starts.  Which I hope does not happen.

So what is causing the gas prices to go up.  I give you a couple of reasons.  One is conflict in the Middle East.  Just the talk of bombing Iran is causing the oil prices to go up.  Two is the speculators.  They are wanting the price of oil to go way up so they can line their pockets with money.  This is a very greedy way to make money.  Third is the growth around the world.  India and China has exploded in economic growth and guess what they need?  Gas!  When you have more people needing energy around the world.  Prices are going to go up.  We are in an election year and one of the candidates Newt Gingrich has proposed ways to lower the gas prices.  By the way Newt Gingrich will be in Pell City on Wednesday at 2pm at the Pell City Civic Center.  And yes I am going there.

I would like to question a couple of things about the gas supply.  One is the U.S. exporting a record amount of gas to countries around the world.  Why are we doing this?  We should be keeping the supply of gas in this country.  And this brings me to the second point.  Some refineries in the North East are going out of business.  The talk is there is not enough refineries in this country to process the oil and now there is talk to shut down refineries.  Could it be greed or low demand?  Who knows.

So in my beliefs; what can be done to lower the gas prices.  Here are some ways.  One; we need to drill for more oil.  Until we get the network of alternative fuels set up we need to keep up with the demand.  And the Keystone pipeline was blocked by Obama.  So if Obama does not like the route of the Keystone pipeline through Nebraska; let’s move it around.  Because Canada wants to export its oil to us instead of China.  Plus we have oil reserves all over the country that can be tapped.  So we can get started now!  And yes I would make sure it was done the right way to protect the environment.

Another way is to punish the speculators on Wall Street.  We have nothing going on in the Middle East right now and the oil price is very high.  Something is wrong here.  We need to pass laws and increase the supply so the speculation is taken out of the oil prices.  Another way is to increase the fuel mileage in cars.  Also we can develop mass transit and better communities so people do not have to drive too far to work or school.  But here in Alabama mass transit is a joke.  Birmingham has some of the highest ratio single car drivers in the world.  Mass transit is very bad in the Birmingham metro and is not properly funded.  That needs to change.

But here is the ultimate change we need to do.  We need to transition off of oil.  America has become way too addicted to oil and no one out there has talked about new ways to fuel our cars.  Natural gas is one great alternative to fuel our cars.  And we need to accelerate development of new ways to keep our cars moving.  Batteries and hydrogen can be great new ways to fuel our cars.  We can also design our communities better so people do not have to drive to do simple errands.  Let’s create areas so people can walk or ride a bike from their homes to the store or to have some fun.  We can also say we are addicted to our cars.  And this is something we need to change as well.

America is very divided right now on issues from the size of government to what to do in jump starting the economy.  But I think we can all come together to solve the energy problem.  And who knows; maybe we can solve some other problems too.

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Bell Ringers and the Military

Salvation Army Bell Ringers

One Christmas tradition that we all see when we go Christmas shopping is seeing the bell ringers from The Salvation Army ringing the bells asking for donations to be put in the ironic red kettle.  We can not escape the bell noise.  We hear the bells ringing when we go inside and it reminds us to get an dollar when we are checking out of the store.  Or when you get out of the store you will try to make up an excuse on why you have no money to put into the red kettle.  I have done that a couple of times this holiday season.  When you are unemployed for over five months now you really keep track of where your money goes.  Now I have donated a couple of bucks to the Salvation Army this year and I hope I do not have to use their services next year.  But the good thing is the volunteers standing there with the ringing bell understand my situation.  The best time to walk out of the store is when the bell ringers are taking a break.  Then you do not feel guilty by refusing to donate into the red kettle.  You can walk out with ease knowing you did not have the choice to donate because no one was there.  But if you can do donate to The Salvation Army Red Kettles as help needed this year has exploded due to the bad economy and the tornadoes here in Alabama this year.

Military Homecoming and Send-Off

Christmas is often the best time of the year to see people from the military coming home to see their family and kids for the Christmas holidays.

Here is an local story of an solider surprising their kids at school wrapped as a present.  There are many videos and stories on the web showing off unique ways to surprise loved ones that their military family member has come back home.  Everyone just has to love those stories.  No matter if you are for or against the wars in the Middle East.  You just have to love to see the reaction of seeing your loved ones back home in your arms.  But this time of the year you can also see people in the military leaving for the Middle East right before Christmas.–next–Christmas?instance=home_news

Troops from our area; the 1312th Engineer Detachment are deploying for a one year commitment.  The families are happy and honored to see their loved ones helping to defend our country.  And the support from people from all around us who will support and comfort the people here at home.  So do something this holiday season.  Thank a person who is serving or has served in the military.  It will make your day!