In the face of rising fuel prices and dwindling supplies the Administration of George W. Bush is mulling over the prospect of gasoline rationing that would take effect in time for this years summer travel season. Administration sources indicate that the system of alternate odd/even license plate number fill up days that were instituted in the early seventies as a response to the Arab Oil Embargo would most likely be the process used again this time around.
In addition to limited gasoline and diesel supplies, major fuel producers have warned that a price of more than three dollars a gallon should not be unexpected by the traveling public by June. They further indicate that if the current situation is not resolved by the Administration soon then the winter of 2005/2006 may see heating oil prices as high as four dollars or more a gallon.
Economists worry that the rise in oil prices will bring with it the threat of rampant inflation as producers of everything from bread and milk to clothing to computer games will be forced to pass on the additional costs of production and shipping along to consumers. In the age of the global economy where a simple article of clothing must be shipped half way around the world to American consumers this could mean a thirty to forty percent increase in the final cost of the product. Ironically, the only ones in this situation who could be viewed as winners are local producers such as organic farmers and specialty manufacturers and merchants who use no petroleum based fertilizers, fabrics or packaging and have less transportation costs. Smart consumers are searching for local businesses that were once perceived as expensive specialty shops but that soon may well become the cheapest stores on the block. Bicycle sales are also booming.
The Bush Administration, which had pinned it’s hopes on the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and access to the potentially unlimited supply of oil reserves that his country possesses, has been forced to quietly admit that any real production of fuel from Iraq is years away. In addition, the cost of securing Iraq, which has to date reached three hundred billion dollars ($300,000,000,000.00) or approximately $1,066.00 dollars for every man, woman and child in the United States means that any oil reserves from there will cost substantially more than initially anticipated.