Sunday, 25 May 2008

A very narrow definition of "policy"

Wired blogger Alexis Madrigal posts a map of gasoline prices nationwide and comments:

Note how similar gas prices are within individual states and how much they vary between states. Using just gas price data, you could practically draw the state lines, if they weren’t already inked in for you. Look at that Illinois-Missouri border!

This county-by-county highlights the importance of energy policy at the state level in driving prices, at least at the relatively small variations in price they are mapping here.

I know this is an amazing concept, but individual states set this thing called the “gasoline tax” at different levels. (A few states, including Missouri, also mandate a 10% ethanol blend to subsidize already overpaid and oversubsidized farmers kill most drivers’ gas mileage, thus actually increasing the quantity demanded of gasoline reduce our dependence on foreign oil.) Gasoline is essentially an easily-transportable commodity, and while there are some regional variations in formulation the marginal cost of those variations is rather low.

On a related note, acting Federal Highway Administration, er, administrator Jim Ray says it is time to decouple highway financing from the various motor fuels taxes levied by states and the federal government. Good luck with that.

Via Sully, who links without comment.

1 comment:

Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.
[Permalink] 1. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Sun, 25 May 2008, 8:23 am CDT:

It looks like, within states, the population centers are a nickel or so higher. Look at MS and western TN—the only two areas that I could probably label 75–80% of the counties on a map.

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