Gasoline Rationing?

Michael Giberson

Raymond J. Learsy, writing in the Huffington Post, is incredulous that “over a span of two weeks during the Aspen Ideas Festival and the Aspen Energy Conference” no one had the sense to bring up the one idea offering a solution to problems like our national security being at risk, our environment being in danger and “our economy held hostage to ongoing supplies of oil….” The solution to all these problems, Learsy apparently believes, is rationing of gasoline.

Oil rationing during WWll brought us a shared sense of mission and dignity to the home front. We didn’t fight and win that war to now become vassals of the oil barons!

Now I’m incredulous.

So let’s see, because he thinks we are metaphorically becoming “vassals of the oil barons,” he proposes as a solution that we become vassals of the state? That’s his idea of dignity for you: a government office telling you how much oil-based petroleum you are permitted to use.

Learsy doesn’t quite come out and say it, but doesn’t it sound like President Carter’s old “moral equivalent of war” theme to you? As it has turned out, with now nearly 30 years of experience with the Carter energy programs, the best parts of the Carter-era programs turned out to be the ones that most pushed the industry away from government restrictions on oil and gas and toward reliance on market forces.


5 thoughts on “Gasoline Rationing?

  1. PURPA introduced competition into at least one component of electric service, which turned out to be a system-altering change. Its unintended effects were probably beyond the realm of common thinking at the time.

    As for gasoline, to quote a well-regarded economist [in a non-attributional meeting], “Many years ago the United States issued gasoline rationing tickets. Each one of them has George Washington’s picture on it.”

  2. What is up with the left’s irrational fascination with “shared sacrifice”?

    I’m only 35, but I remember the second oil crisis in ’79, and sitting in gas lines with my parents. What a waste of our precious time.

    Even poor Americans are filthy rich by the standards of life in the 1940s. Our time is much too valuable to waste sitting in a gas line.

  3. D.O.U.G.,

    Arguably, all unintended consequences are “beyond the realm of common thinking at the time”. The mass of unintended consequences suggests that the common thinking is frequently less than wonderful.

    The “ration coupon” quote is great.

    Einstein is frequently identified as the source of my favorite definition of insanity: “…continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.” Gasoline rationing is insane by that definition; or, those who suggest it are.

  4. D.O.U.G.,

    Arguably, all unintended consequences are “beyond the realm of common thinking at the time”. The mass of unintended consequences suggests that the common thinking is frequently less than wonderful.

    The “ration coupon” quote is great.

    Einstein is frequently identified as the source of my favorite definition of insanity: “…continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.” Gasoline rationing is insane by that definition; or, those who suggest it are.

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