What is Bloomberg News columnist Caroline Baum thinking (“Give me life, liberty and a tank of cheap gas,” April 29)? Her thinking is so far removed from reality I do not know where to begin.

The rising gas prices come down to the simple word, “greed.” It is greed, not supplies, that drives the prices up and will keep them there. British Petroleum — yes, that large company that dumped a couple million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico — posted a $5.48 billion profit for the first quarter of 2011. Shell had an off year, posting a $6.3 billion profit for the first quarter of 2011, up from $4.8 billion for the first quarter of 2010. They cited higher gas prices and a rise in output.

Exxon Mobil, yes this one will hurt, saw $10.7 billion in profit in the first quarter of 2011, up from $6.3 billion in the same quarter in 2010. Again the reason cited was an increase in oil production. Seeing a trend here?

So the oil companies are producing more oil, many are reducing the costs of refining it but the cost is going up, Does that make sense? When supply goes down, cost goes up, not the other way around.

Auto manufacturers have produced and made available a hybrid car/truck/SUV. However the cost to purchase one is so far out of reach for the average person that only the rich can buy it. Instead of pumping money into flat-out welfare or residential “I wanna sit on my butt and collect money for nothing” programs, how about helping the auto industry produce hybrid cars at affordable costs? The politicians and friends of politicians have their money in the oil industry so, if the costs go down, so do their profits.

Today a hybrid costs $5,000 to $12,000 more to purchase (sticker price) and will take six to 15 years (depending on model) to offset its gas savings. I propose that the government issue a voucher for that cost up front, so if the hybrid is $7,000 more expensive than its gas model, the government issues a voucher for the additional cost to the car company. You are stimulating the economy, growing the auto industry and reducing the reliance on fuel.

I know I am coming off a deployment with some built-up hostilities, but lock me in a room with the oil executives for 30 minutes and I am sure we will come to terms on more affordable gas prices.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Lane


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