Comical Gas Prices

© Jim Korpi

It’s easy to laugh now that gas is the same price it was in 2004. It’s like buying a car yesterday for $20,000 and then today it’s on sale for $10,000. If you’re buying a car today you’re laughing about the sucker who bought yesterday. The cost of making the car hasn’t changed much in a day, so either someone was making a huge profit yesterday and less today, or someone is losing their job at the dealership today. Something tells me no one is losing their job due to the sale price.
If we carry the analogy over to gas, we can see no one is losing at Exxon/Mobil.
In August the New York Times reported a quarterly profit of $11.68 BILLION. Yes, that’s billion, and, yes, that’s profit! After all the employees and Iraqi guards are paid and tax incentives collected this one company made $11.68 BILLION in one quarter. Just as there are four quarters in a dollar, there are four in the financial year.
With all this said, gas prices depress me. Not only do I have few options for transportation (no trains, one bus a day, and my bike), but I’m left rolling the dice every time I cruise by the nearest oil dealer. This means innovation and incentive to change for both you, me and the people making the profits is on hold. I’m not saying this because I love to see social security recipients suffering with thicker blankets this winter, but more because I’ve realized the self-interest behind progress. By progress I don’t mean GDP, I mean GDH, Gross Domestic Happiness. This is a list of measurements to determine GDH or GNH (Gross National Happiness). How happy are we?

1. Economic Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of economic metrics such as consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution
2. Environmental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of environmental metrics such as pollution, noise and traffic
3. Physical Wellness: Indicated via statistical measurement of physical health metrics such as severe illnesses
4. Mental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of mental health metrics such as usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of psychotherapy patients
5. Workplace Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of labor metrics such as jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits
6. Social Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of social metrics such as discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, crime rates
7. Political Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of political metrics such as the quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.

Posted November 14th, 2008 in Uncategorized.


  1. Lau:

    Know there is one country in the world where wealth is not measured in GDP but GDH: Bhutan. Its the government’s (and the former King) official policy. How peaceful it must be out there. Not sure they would completely qualify for political wellness. But in an election held a vast majority said we dont need democracy, we want our king to say in power. But he didn’t. He abdicated.

  2. Pops:

    Great job Jim
    Please don't get me wrong I think that it is a crime that the price of commodity's such as oil,corn,soybeans,ect. are manipulated so much. They blamed the high price of corn on the biofuel industry. They are still producing biofuels and more of it, but the price of corn has dropped through the floor? Not that corn base ethanol is the answer. Speculation in the markets must be brought under control.Shorting stocks should be illegal.We need regulation back to the market place.They have made a casino out of the stock market. We need to see the price of oil around $90.a barrel and stable to keep venture capitalist interested in renewable energy. I believe that in the long run this would make our GDH & GNH a lot happier:-)

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