The next time you drive by a gas station and see $3.00 gas, … smile. It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding your motorcycle or driving that gas guzzling pickup many of us have for hauling or towing. Smile, because in the next several years we are going to see huge advances in technology caused by all of the scrambling companies are doing to come up with alternatives to those high prices. If you like technology and motor vehicles, this is a great time to watch it happen. Every possible invention and idea will appear, some crazy, some cool and a few will astound us.
The absolute worst thing anyone could do now is try to cap high prices with laws or regulations or take away incentives with windfall profit taxes. Windfall profits come to those companies that supply things we really need or want. Take away the possibility of high profit and why bother going to the trouble? Suppose someone came up with a great, new efficient fuel cell design, would we cap fuel cell prices or penalize the company with windfall profit taxes when it started selling like crazy? I don’t think so, the real motive with windfall profit taxes is to punish oil companies, easy targets to score a few political points with people who don’t understand how markets work, or don’t care.
High gas prices also mean great deals. Before you rush over to your new car dealer and get into a bidding war with everyone else and pay a huge premium for that new hybrid, avoid the crowd and look at that lonely truck or car the dealers are trying so hard to move. Compared to the hybrid, you’ll spend more for gas but add up the savings and incentives they’ll give you and also add in the premium hybrid buyers are paying. That buys a lot of extra gas which is all you care about, just the extra you’ll buy. Hybrid buyers need gas, too, so take your many thousands of dollars and calculate how long it will be before you break even. You might be surprised and in the meantime you get more room, more capability and mature technology that’s easier to maintain.
Another bit of perspective is in order. If you remember the big change in emission regulations in the early 1970’s, you’ll also remember car companies were building absolutely awful cars because the smog control equipment was in its infancy. Right now, hybrid cars are in their infancy. Wait until the technology advances and more competitive pricing pops up and you can get a hybrid then that will get better mileage and better performance. Let someone else blow their money to be cool. In the meantime, enjoy whatever you’re driving, … and smile.