Friday, September 30, 2005

Atrios points to a NY Times article about the rise of natural gas prices and how much that's gonna hurt this winter. He's got that right. Gas prices have risen 7(!!!) times since the '90s, and tripled in just the last 5 years.

What I really want to know is this - Why are public service/public utility commisions and the Interstate Commerce Commission (or whoever it is that regulates interstate gas pipelines) allowing such precipitous rate increases when there little or nothing to justify them? Production costs haven't gone up. Transportation costs haven't gone up. Advertising/marketing costs haven't gone up. Supply, they say, is a bit constrained due to disruptions on the Gulf Coast, but is still sufficient to meet demand. So if the supply is indeed sufficient, the only thing the gas-price rise reflects is, pure and simple, gouging and profiteering on the part of the gas industry, with government regulators complicit.

Expect to see a lot more fireplaces at work this winter. Of course, that will produce a lot of particulate-laden smoke, and its concomitant air pollution - for which there are no clean-up resources anymore.

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