Politics, Sex, Religion, and all those impolite Human Conversations...

My Photo
Location: Oaksterdam, California

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

War for Cheap Gas...

If you want to get gasoline for 5 cents a gallon be prepared to drive on an Iraqi road.
Before the war, forecasters predicted that by invading Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein, America would benefit from increased exports of oil from Iraq, which has the world's second largest petroleum reserves.

That would mean cheap gas for American motorists and a boost for the oil-dependent American economy.

More than a year after the invasion, that logic has been flipped on its head. Now the average price for gasoline in the United States is running $2.05 a gallon - 50 cents more than the pre-invasion price.

Instead, the only people getting cheap gas as a result of the invasion are the Iraqis


Cheap used cars shipped from Europe and Asia are flooding into Iraq. A 10-year-old BMW in good condition costs just $5,000. Since gas is so cheap, anyone with a car can become a taxi driver. Drivers jam the streets, offering rides for as little as 250 dinars - about 17 cents.

Iraq has no sales tax, no registration, no license plates and no auto insurance. Some would argue there are no rules of the road. Cars barrel the wrong way on the highway. They swoop into surprise U-turns. They ignore traffic signals.

Analysts say the U.S. gas subsidies can't last forever - and Iraqis may be in for an unpleasant shock when they end. In the meantime, however, the American taxpayer continues to foot a huge bill.


Iraqi drivers protest that the price difference between a gallon of gas in the United States and Iraq is fair, because the average Iraqi earns around $1,000 per year, a thirtieth of the average U.S. wage.

"If the price of gas goes up, we'll see lots of anger in the street," said cab driver Hashim, at a grimy filling station on Saadoun Street in central Baghdad.


"The United States controls all Iraqi resources now," said Jenan Jabro, 50, tanking up his black Opel. "So what if they have to pay a little bit for gasoline? That's nothing compared to what they get in return."

It almost sounds like a SUV paradise. I wonder if the parking garages are Hummer friendly?