Those crazy Taiwanese news animators have covered nearly everything in the world at this point, but the video they just dropped is a rap America’s oil prices, and it’s a remarkably nuanced take on different arguments about why gas prices are high and what we can do to fix it (note, some NSFW language contained within):
The protagonist is Joe, an unemployed man angry at the high price of gas, who wants us to tap our strategic reserves and do more drilling at home. Then he has some global economics explained to him by some helpful Taiwanese newscasters. Instability in the Arab world, as well as increased demand from China, are driving up oil prices. And even if we open up the reserve, that oil will still cost as much as the new oil. It’s a commodity.
But what about renewable energy? It simply isn’t ready to take over the demand from oil–at which point Joe falls off a cliff after trying to fly with solar panel wings. And high gas prices raise prices across the board; it could crush any recession recovery. What’s the solution? The Taiwanese news comes out pretty hard for a gas tax, name checking Arthur Pigou, whose theory of taxation is to tax things with negative externalities (like the carbon released by burning oil).
Since oil demand is going to remain constant until a cleantech revolution, the only way to lessen it is massive societal behavioral change. A gas tax could help that along, by making people more aware of the costs of using gas. On the other hand, making gas more expensive as a solution to it being too expensive might not be be the best short-term solution for a global economy in the doldrums.