A few Republicans have joined the bandwagon for the economically illterate idea of imposing a "windfall profits tax" on the oil and gas industry. But lo and behold, guess who makes the largest windfall off gasoline sales? The government. According to this study from the Tax Foundation, between the years 1977 and 2004, the government has collected $1.34 trillion in gasoline taxes, while the combined profits of the oil companies was $640 billion.
Meanwhile, even as gasoline prices are starting (predictably) to decline, natural gas prices look to stay very high through the winter. The Argonne National Laboratory issued a report entitled Environmental Policy and Regulatory Constraints on Natural Gas Production that identifies more than 30 different laws and regulatory regimes that have put off limits at least 100 trillion cu. ft of natural gas in the United States—a 20 year supply at current rates of use. Instead, were soon going to have to start importing natural gas from you-know-where. (Hat tip to Holman Jenkins column in todays Wall Street Journal—not available to non-subscribers—"Something to Think About While Shivering in the Dark.")