Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Inequality sucks

I work all over town on different issues and campaigns, and one of the things I noticed on my way to a meeting today was that my local gas station had gas under $2 for the first time in months. This might seem like good news and you may be tempted to run out to get gas immediately, but that is what inspired this post.

The San Antonio Express News jests about the price of gas being $3.45 a gallon in a recent commentary, but it ignores a problem that currently plagues our great city. If you live in the north and center of town gasoline prices have steadily declined to under or around $2 bucks a gallon.

However, over the same period of time gas prices in the east, south, and west side of San Antonio the prices have either come down a mere 3 cents or not at all. Is it that it is harder to get gas there? Do the trucks not work as well in the areas of town where the average income is under 30k? Or, as I speculate, is it that gas is more expensive because people have no either option to get to their north side job?

Looking at the VIA website if someone from southwest San Antonio were to drive to Northstar Mall it would take approximately25 minutes in their own cars. On the other hand it will take over 2 hours to take a VIA bus the same distance.

In the end, gas companies have decided that because prices are less elastic and demands are higher, they will charge the people that need gas nearly 20 cents more. I find this disgusting. If in 2010 the average gas price is $3.45 it will be about $3.60 in the impoverished areas, and that is if this price change is fixed. I have no solutions for this problem, but it is something to think about.


At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gas prices, like prices for any other item, are a product of supply and demand. A business will charge the highest price that the market will allow, and the consumer will find the lowest price that he can within a reasonable distance from his house. Presumably you advocate price controls to keep gas stations from charging these higher prices. Do you also advocate price controls in other industries? If you had the power to legislate, would you pass a law prohibiting high class department stores from selling a pair of jeans for $400?

At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, combined federal and state gas taxes are 38.4 cents per gallon in Texas. Perhaps you could look into doing something about that?

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Matt Glazer said...

I agree that there is a complicated paradox on a commodity. Do I have the solution? No. Do I have the means of fixing it right now? No.

Since posting this I have thought about it very little since the Spurs were on, but what I can say is there is always a solution.

I do advocate price controls when they are needed. I do advocate equitable, revenue neutral tax breaks and incentives. Gas taxes affect lower income people disproportionately (much like Prop 3). However, the dilemma is so complicated I have to say that I support prop 3 regardless because of the greater good.

If studying economics has taught me anything it is this, there are no easy solutions.

I appreciate your comments and if you have any other thought... shoot em my way.


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