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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Hold your wallet when it comes to gas prices

Uploaded: Nov 6, 2012
As the governor flits around the state to plead for his tax increase plan that holds school children and college students hostage, consider two items from the Bay Area News Group's business section last Saturday (that's the omnibus group that publishes the former Times and Herald as a literal shadow of them former selves).
One piece reported that the governor appeared at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group's annual public policy gathering. Like many pols, the gov touted job creation in the valley—a true statement, if your skills happen to fit the specs for what currently is in vogue. It's worth noting that Silicon Valley executives, once the bubble popped in 2000, shed jobs at an unprecedented rate. The valley is growing right now—don't talk to people elsewhere in the state where unemployment lingers above 10 percent.
So, Gov. Brown was laying out his priorities for next year—controlling spending (may be particularly necessary if Prop. 30 goes down); improving reliability of water (the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the twin tunnels and environmental restoration in the Delta) and ensuring that utilities reach goals of 33 percent of power coming from renewal energy.
Two rational goals coupled with one that comes from left field. Remember that hydro power from dams does not count as renewable. The governor has upped the goals in the 2006 global warming bill, AB 32, to make it one-third of power from renewable sources.
A second article reported Chevron's progress getting the Richmond refinery back on line after the major fire in August during a call with analysts about third quarter results. Chevron executives reported they planned to have the refinery repaired and in operation by March.
Buried low in the story was a comment by Mike Wirth, Chevron executive vice-president for downstream and chemical operations. He noted that AB 32 will cause gasoline prices to spike as it is implemented. Wirth told analysts that the first phase would raise costs by millions of dollars annually then by billions of dollars per year.
All, to joust with windmills, as the state of California, by itself, tries to limit carbon emissions into the atmosphere. That's based on the theory—that some reputable scientists debate—that human actions are causing the climate to change.
Wirth frankly said that the company will not absorb the costs—they will pass directly through to consumers.
So, if you've been choking on $4-plus per gallon prices, just wait. The governors Brown and Schwarzenegger want you to pay much, much more.
You might reasonably ask for what reason.
Of course, you could ask the same of the current occupant of the White House who said four years ago that power costs would necessarily skyrocket as he pursues his policies.
I guess all three of these elected leaders managed to skip Econ 101.
What is it worth to you?


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