Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Exxon's full page ads against conservation in Minnesota papes

Yesterday's twin cities' newspapers had two full page ads urging Americans to stop our government's plot to suck the gasoline out of our cars. One of the ads was "signed" by "Americans working in the energy sector", I believe the other wasn't. Exxon's history makes them the most likely source of the ads, so I'll skip the nonsense and re-sign them "Exxon".

One of the ads claims that "price controls" and "other thingamajigs" (I'm paraphrasing) will induce gasoline shortages. That's cute -- a classic conflation of a partial truth and an outright lie designed to advance a lie. Price controls, of course, would induce gasoline shortages -- but nobody is talking about price controls. The proposal that terrorizes Exxon is a gasoline tax, possibly including a preferential tax on premium gasoline. The reason the ads are running in Minnesota is that our (a smarter version of Bush, alas) republican governor has made noises about a gas tax to pay our bridge repair.

I presume Exxon's terror comes from an expected near-term reduction in their profit margins if American's were to reduce the growth of their gasoline consumption. It may even be that Exxon's competitors are better positioned to take advantage of such a transition, so that Exxon's loss may be greater than the industry average.

This is the most hopeful sign in some time. First comes denial, then comes the fight, then will come the carbon tax, starting with significant gasoline taxes. The fight will be very nasty, I'm pretty sure I know who will be making Karl Rove rich. We can expect a full Rove smear all the time.

Lefties, greens, realist-rationalists need to stop with the feel-good stuff and start funding a carbon tax PAC. Taxation first of gasoline, and then of other carbon sources, is the only way to reduce CO2 emissions, reduce the power of petroleum producing states, and drive a migration to extreme conservation and non-petroleum energy sources.

Thanks Exxon. You'd have done better to stay in the shadows, by showing your hand you're advancing the rationalist agenda.

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