The True Cost of Gasoline Is Closer to $15 a Gallon (Video)

CC BY 2.0. brownpau via Flickr

Last week's news cycles were dominated in part by rising gas prices, and the political parties' response to costs at the pump inching closer to $4 per gallon. The GOP is outraged, rather, is feigning to be outraged, and is disingenuously blaming Obama's energy policies for the spike.

But all this political football obscures one important fact: Gasoline should really be a hell of a lot more expensive than both the GOP and Obama's worst nightmares combined.

I recently wrote an in-depth examination of the true cost of fossil fuels, where I looked at the various significant costs that refining and burning oil, coal, and natural gas impose on the public. Suffice to say that when you factor in all of the government subsidies and 'externalities' (increased health costs from respiratory sickness, environmental degradation, etc; the stuff that we all have to pay for maybe not from our wallets but in our tax returns), the true price of fossil fuels is much, much higher than any individual or company pays. Gasoline is no exception.

The video above, from the Center for Investigative Reporting does a good job of explaining how those costs are incurred—though it doesn't mention a few things, like the cost of maintaining a military presence in volatile, oil-exporting regions. Which means that the true cost of gas may be even higher than $15 a gallon ...

And that means that we should probably be looking for a way to make the market better reflect those true costs, while buffering those who'd be hurt most from such a spike—that's one of the reasons that fee and dividend is such a clever policy idea.