Everyone’s reporting on John McCain’s lack of knowledge of current gas prices.  I’ll let Joe Gandelman over at TMV take that one.

Yet, McCain’s interview with OC Register Martin Wisckol included more than a revelation of a possible disconnect with the American public.  I have my own issues with one of his other responses:

Wiskol: Under your presidency, can you offer any ideas on what we’ll be paying for gas in two years?

McCain: It’ll be less because we will have been moving forward with measures to become oil independent – independent of foreign oil. I’m very confident that the American people can do it. We didn’t get into this situation we’re in yesterday. So we’re not going to get out of it tomorrow. But Americans want a little relief. That’s why I support a gas-tax holiday. And if you don’t think it’s important to some people, ask someone who owns a couple of trucks and is paying 24½ cents tax on every gallon of gas.

The point is that we need to have clear plan of action and we will have a clear plan of action. We will become energy independent.

Now, I understand McCain is doing this interview quite literally as he’s walking through an airport, but he needs to think before he speaks.  The question is asking if gas prices will be lower in two years, and though McCain initially seems to agree, later he says it won’t happen “tomorrow.”  I think he really means that no, gas prices won’t be lower in two years.

He’s right.  If what the American Petroleum Institute says is true, any new drilling won’t return decent results for a decade.  So, the obvious second option is alternative fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel, right?  Well, the problem is that the infrastructure for them is not anywhere near widespread enough to make a decent impact at the current time.  And alternative fuels are getting bad rap because someone had this great idea to use corn, one of the most use ingredients in (American, at least) food.  Should have gone with switchgrass like the President wanted, and maybe this food crisis will finally force it.

So, no new oil results for a decade, and probably no alternative fuels for nearly that long.  I’d say McCain is right, gas prices are not dropping tomorrow, or for that matter, for the foreseeable future.

The only thing that might impact the pocketbook of gas users the world over is a steep drop in price of and steep adoption of hybrids.  That way, you’re still paying the same amount for gas, but less overall, as they use less of it over a same amount of time.

Time will tell if McCain’s statement turns out to be true.  One thing is apparent to me, though.  Gas prices are not going down any time soon.  Certainly not in two years time.

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