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Why You Should Embrace $4 Gasoline

Everyone should want cheap transportation. Everyone should want to return to the days when filling up your automobile didn't incinerate your savings. Your 100-mile daily commute shouldn't consume half of your paycheck. You deserve better.

And that's exactly why you should embrace $4 gasoline.

Nearly every "solution" to the current gas situation involves lowering prices. There are all sorts of proposed ideas, from establishing gas-tax holidays to scolding Big Oil companies to building more refineries. Some of those ideas would indeed lower prices. You can't blame people for wanting to pay less.

But reining in the assault on our wallets isn't the only thing to focus on. The ultimate goal is to wean ourselves from our love affair with oil altogether. And by "weaning," I don't mean making it cheaper to commute in Hummers. There's only one ultimate solution to the oil dilemma: to consume less oil.

Beyond the argument over who's to blame for $4 gas lies the reasoning that nothing will happen without higher prices getting us in gear. If gas were cheap, there would be no incentive to change. No one would care about developing new technologies, no one would bother driving more efficient cars, and no one would give a horse's patoot about conservation. If you can convince anyone that lower gas prices will entice people to cut back on consumption and give entrepreneurs an incentive to develop new technologies, you deserve the Ron Popeil award for ingenious sales skills. It just won't happen. Something as engrained in our culture as deeply as gasoline will cling to the "if-it-ain't-broke-why-fix-it" mentality until something, like higher prices, "breaks" it.

You can see the new mindset taking hold already. Ford (NYSE: F  ) and GM (NYSE: GM  ) recently announced plans to cut back production of gas-guzzling SUVs. Among the airlines, Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL  ) , United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA  ) , and American Airlines parent AMR (NYSE: AMR  ) have all announced plans to scale back, all in response to higher fuel costs. So the transportation landscape is already moving in the right direction.  

Easy there
But that brings us to a new road: If reducing consumption means having to walk to work, staying home on weekends, and waiting in longer lines at the airport, count me out. Americans will go out kicking and screaming before settling for a life of immobility.  Unless, that is, they do something about it.

It's been done before
Back in 1798, a British economist and demographer named Thomas Malthus wrote a treatise titled An Essay on the Principle of Population. His theory was depressing: Food supplies wouldn't keep up with population growth, and the future thus held the promise of famine and starvation. Why, more than 200 years later, have his views been proved grossly pessimistic? Because he failed to realize that the same pressures pushing down on food supplies would cause people to push back with new technology and innovative agricultural techniques. The same can be said for energy.  

For example, back in the 1970s, Brazil relied on the rest of the world for 85% of its oil. The result? Debt ballooned, and rampant inflation became the norm for decades. But those high prices pushed the need for change, and change is exactly what Brazil got. Innovation and commitment to overcoming the oil burden pushed Brazil to energy independence today by way of sugar cane-based ethanol (which is, importantly, far different from the corn-based ethanol made in America.) The oil embargo of the 1970s also pushed Denmark, which was 99% dependent on imported oil, to become one of the world's leaders in alternative energy, such as windmill technology. The important thing to realize is that it's highly doubtful that any of this would have happened if higher prices hadn't spurred people to action.

Here at home, higher gas prices will be one of the only things that ramp up both oil exploration and alternative-energy technology. The investment community is paying serious attention to companies such as Capstone Turbine (Nasdaq: CPST  ) and Sasol (NYSE: SSL  ) , and attention is exactly what's needed to push the energy industry into the next inning.  

Bite your lip. Suck it up.
None of this is to say gas pains are anything to scoff at. It's taking a serious toll on people. The more serious question to ask, however, is what the state of the economy will look like 10, 20, 50, or 100 years down the road if the issue keeps getting swept under the rug -- which is where it'll go if low prices return.  

Yes, $4-a-gallon gas is painful, and $10-a-gallon gas could be catastrophic. That's why you should embrace $4 gas now, and welcome it for the changes it will inevitably bring. Problems correct. Markets work.

Hang in there.  

For related Foolishness:

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. He appreciates hearing your questions, comments, and complaints. Sasol is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick and an Income Investor recommendation. You won't hear any call for change for the Fool's disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (30) | Recommend This Article (173)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2008, at 5:41 PM, prginww wrote:

    Excellent article and great research. I am of the same opinion that it stinks to pay $4+/gallon for fuel. But, the high prices seem to be the only way to induce technology and people to come up with a change.

    I do find it funny that many (not all) Americans blame other factors (political, Big Oil, Iraq, Bush, etc) before looking at themselves. Consumption is key here, we need to reduce our consumption of oil. The hard part is learning what items/actions in our daily lives are dependent in some way on oil. Our consumption is not limited to unleaded gasoline. Oil is at the root of so many things in our daily lives. Plastics, food (supply chain), packaging, and many of our manufactured goods use oil in their production in some way.

    I think that figuring out ways to reduce oil usage/consumption will be difficult, but, either we control the rate or let oil's scarcity dictate the rate.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2008, at 7:44 PM, prginww wrote:

    All well and good & I was paying almost a tenner for a gallon in Europe 10 years ago -- but WE need to recognize how we got to where we are today -- remember the quote of a infamous southern President, "we need to decrease our independence on foreign oil" ... well -- 30 years later, guess what, it ain't happened Bubba.. seems like the same political party making the statement also voted AGAINST any attempts to allow domestic drilling in fear of harming "woodsy the owl" ... hey, I don't want to look at oil rigs in my back yard either, but when ya ain't got the stuff ya gots to pay for it ... I also like my quad injected fuel burning pickup truck and the mobility that goes along with it .. so you're correct - I ain't givin' it up -- so what's the solution ??? get 545 people off their duff & allow the market to work .. government plans, controls, rhetoric, socialism, "change", none of which will help the consumer, need to be thrown out and let the folks who produce the oil do their job .. a free market works, social change does nothing ... cheers

  • Report this Comment On June 11, 2008, at 5:35 AM, prginww wrote:

    I like your article and I agree with you on most points. I certainly don't believe big oil is to blame for the price. China's economy will be larger than the U.S. economy sooner than most people realize. I think in the future people may look back and say "yep, when oil went to 150 was around the same time China passed us." American big oil was able to leverage tremendous power to keep oil cheap at home as the largest economy in the world. America's entire economy was able to leverage it's power worlwide. America has been the biggest economy for more than a century and a half, longer depending on who you ask. When China passes the U.S. that leverage will be lost. It will be a brave new world for this generation of Americans. I think there is some truth to what authors like Matthew Simmons and Paul Roberts are writing. I don't think I have ever heard of a rise in oil prices being caused "because China's GDP is expected to grow by 3%". Wind and nuclear power should be the obvious choices for industrialized nations.

  • Report this Comment On June 11, 2008, at 6:42 AM, prginww wrote:

    The article is an eyeopener. Singapore has a unique way of tackling the issue of oil consumption. At first they urged then pleaded then begged people to use public transportation. However, in the mid 70's with the economy going great and purchasing power in the hands of the people everybody wanted the biggest gas-guzzler on the road. So instead of worrying about possible oil debt and lack of natural resources, the government invested billions in making probably the worlds best public transportation system. They simultaneously increased taxes for the purchase of automobiles to such exorbitant rates that the Average Joe (80+% of any country) would rather use public transport than buy a car. As an un-researched "off the top of my head" comment, I believe that Singapore is the most expensive country in Asia to buy a car in. It might make sense to do something like that in the US too! Maybe just till technology is present that can change the way we commute.

  • Report this Comment On June 11, 2008, at 12:43 PM, prginww wrote:

    I feel so validated! I recently blogged the same sentiment ("I'll Admit It: I Like High Gas Prices") on OurWorld ( Thanks for all the back-up.

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2008, at 11:08 AM, prginww wrote:

    I don't often agree with George Soros, but I think he's right that speculators have driven up the price of oil to unrealistic levels even taking the needs of growing economies like China and Inda into account. Ultimately, the bubble will burst and the price will go down.

    In the meantime, Congress' blocking of domestic drilling is totally irresponsible. It increases our dependence on foreign oil and keeps the American economy vulnerable. The greater the number of suppliers, the more difficult it becomes for any group to fix the price of oil (or any other commodity) at an artificially high price. The greater the number of domestic suppliers we have, the less we have to worry about the whims of hostile suppliers.

    Further, keep in mind that the negative impact of high oil prices isn't just on those who drive around in oversized SUVs. High oil prices are affecting the airline industry, the trucking industry, and -- indirectly -- on the cost of food and goods. Many jobs may be lost as a result.

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2008, at 3:49 PM, prginww wrote:

    I agree that 4 dollar gas will ultimately benefit us long term. People are already realizing the absurdity of driving SUVs for no valid reason other than percieved coolness. The trend of popular culture toward living within more modest means can do nothing but good. The research into alternative energy that was killed in the 80's by cheap fuel will hopefully shift back into high gear.

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2008, at 11:38 PM, prginww wrote:

    In rural American it is not always possible to take mass transit (I live in Iowa) Corn/Soy based gas is foolish especially when one bad year (either flood or drought ) will make Corn gas worse than the real stuff. We should have opened ANWAR 10 years ago and drill off the coast of Ted Kennedy's house. All these technologies that will suppose to save us will make the cars half the price of a house . Who is gonna buy a Hydrogen car that cost $200,000? The high oil is gonna be a drag on the economy for years to come. We already did this in the 70's the and we have 2 Carter Clones to chose from as president.

  • Report this Comment On June 13, 2008, at 2:52 PM, prginww wrote:

    This is going to be a painful period of adjustment, but necessary and overdue. The article is spot on - the markets determine when change is made, not people just saying "We need to change". The beauty of our society, and our world, is that crisis breeds genius. When humankind is faced with a crisis, the brightest minds come up with solutions that allow us to adapt.

  • Report this Comment On June 14, 2008, at 4:12 PM, prginww wrote:

    $4-$5 dollar a gallon a gas, ouch, but if it makes us come to our senses! ?

    Please read Earth, The Sequel by Peter Krup.

    I put my 1968 Ford 500 custom farm truck in the barn so as not to be thought of as a jerk.There is lots of money to be made if we are not drilling for our prehensile tails but using our brains for creative solutions.

  • Report this Comment On June 14, 2008, at 8:20 PM, prginww wrote:

    Hi -

    One question - How will more refineries help the current situatioon? The cost of the raw material is through teh roof, and refieneries are runing at 88% of capacity right now.

    Also, as far as the ANWR drilling is concerned - the head of the Energy Information Admininstration (EIA) was on CNBC SquawkBox the other morning, and Joe Kerran asked what differnce the ANWR would make to the current cost of oil - the reply was about 2 dollars. The reality is, the US uses about 20 million barrels of oil a day, give or take a couple of million (CIA Factbook) and the largest field in teh ANWR contains about 500 million barrels - less than a 30 day supply if that was all we had.

    The EIA report is here -

    Incidentially - does anyone remember Project Independence? Nixon era?

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2008, at 12:03 AM, prginww wrote:

    Brucel42 what are you talking about when saying 500 million barrels, on page 1 (or page 7 in adobe) of the EIA report it clearly states that there are proven reserves of 5.7 to 16.0 billion barrels of oil. Not a ton but definitely nothing to sneeze at. Now if we could turn oil shale into oil shale into oil we have a ton of that. According to wikipedia there is at the Green River Formation the equivalent of 1.5 trillion barrels of oil. Approximate total in the US is about 2.12 trillion equivalent barrels of oil. Now thats energy independence. At our current rate of consumption (~22 million barrels a day) that would give us about 263 years of energy independence. I understand that our consumption will probably increase but that should give us more then enough time to find alternative energy sources (that do not include corn based ethanol...which in my opinion is a scam that helps only corn farmers).

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2008, at 12:33 AM, prginww wrote:

    Great article. We need to develop alternative energy sources, and high oil prices will motivate industry to do just that. Ocean acidification is an even bigger and better documented problem than global warming.

    We are beginning to incorporate solar and wind generation into new buildings. In time those energy sources will hopefully supply the majority of our energy needs.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2008, at 5:19 AM, prginww wrote:

    ccguy1, I disagree. Many Asian countries don't share the same respect for capitalism as the United States. But it has obviously worked out pretty well for the USA. Instead of the government deciding what mode of transportation is the best and manipulating the market, why not let the free market decide on what the best mode of transportation is? Capitalism will fix the problem of high gas prices, we don't need the government interfering and micro managing our lives.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2008, at 10:55 AM, prginww wrote:

    Gunlock123, What exactly do you mean many asian countries don't share the same respect for capitalism? I find that a very dificult comment to believe. The U.S. is doing a fine job manipulating the market now. I am still laughing hard that the auto industry, farming industry, fertilizer industry, and big oil are so supportive of ethanol. The market clearly decided hybrids were the way to go, instead the government decided to focus on improving the fuel, not the vehicle, taking the pressure off of American automakers. The move torwards ethanol makes us more dependant on oil. The tax the gentleman mentions in Singapore is not a bad idea, this is similar I believe to what Harford examines in "The Undercover Economist"

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2008, at 3:26 PM, prginww wrote:

    The current fantastic price is in large part a result of the US build-up of heir strategic oil reserves. Figuring out exactly how much the US government is spending to keep the oil price on a continuous up trend is left as an exercise for the reader. You would probably need a fairly high security clearance to have access to those numbers. Since I live in Norway I really don't mind, but the Bush gang really justified the investment big oil made to their camp when they pushed the 20 year build-up plan through your governing bodies early last year.

    Sometimes I wonder if anybody (American that is) remembers where Bush comes from and what his initial pack of cronies used to do before he was elected – and I’m still not sure he was elected by democratic means.

    So what would happen if the oil price crashes? Remember that your banking system is tottering, and will probably not be able to recover anytime soon. Do the same banks use their shares in Exxon, ConocoPhillips and other oil companies as surety for their loans? Probably – and if the valuation of those stocks falls the banks will fall with them.

    So go home and do your math – the high oil price is giving you a breather AND an incentive to revamp your industrial base.

    So just be careful what you wish for – you just might get it, but it won’t make you happy.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2008, at 4:34 PM, prginww wrote:

    Did you know that the oil companies make 9% off of every dollar you spend at the pump? Let's go attack the oil companies for gouging us. While we're at it, we should probably head to capital hill, since they're making 18% off of every dollar. If the government would stay out of it, the market would fix itself. Instead, Congress will not let us refine our own oil, and have decided that taxing MORE will help drive the cost of oil down. Seems counterintuitive doesn't it?

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2008, at 6:39 PM, prginww wrote:

    I also think a large part of this problem is perception. Even if we do drill ANWR, who is to say that Americans will recieve the oil? Whoever drills ANWR should be selling oil to whover pays the most, China, the U.S. or India probablyAs a stockholder in several companies, I fully expect these companies to make a profit anyway they can. I would not buy stock in them otherwise. China, the U.S. or India probably. I would not be in favor of artificial price controls, tarriffs, etc, that would keep anwr oil in the United states. More artificial controls would only make the situation worse. China must convert it's power production facilities from coal to oil or they will face the same problems London did until around the 1950's. The consquences of the U.S purchasing manufactured goods from China has been enormous. The Americans and the rest of the world have lifted millions of people out of dire poverty in China by purchasing Chinese manufactured products. This is the way the market is intended to work. China will do anything necesary to complete it's transformation from a coal powered nation to one that is oil powered. In the coming years China will outbid all competitors save a precious few that will use their political might to accomplish their goals.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2008, at 1:51 AM, prginww wrote:

    There is a 4 % variance in the demand AND supply of oil of the top 5 countries of the world in the last three years. How does that account for the 60 % rise in the price in the same last three years. Hint: speculation. You are welcome to do the research and find the validity of my statement.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2008, at 8:03 AM, prginww wrote:

    redraider0807 -

    Point taken - I was referring to the largest single field which is about 500 million barrels IIRC.

    I agree we have plenty of energy - but we need to quit acting like it is infinite. Even 16 billion barrels is not much at 20 million per day consumption. Oil shale may work - or it may not. The energy economics of it do not sound real good right now to extract it.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2008, at 11:03 AM, prginww wrote:

    This article is naive, based on flawed assumptions, and advocates using force to engineer behavior the author sees as necessary. The previous article on why "Big Oil" is not to blame for high prices was spot on. This article ignores that gas is high because governments are controlling the supply and blocking exploration and production. There are literally trillions of barrels of oil yet to be had in the U.S. alone. We are not running out of oil anytime soon. Artificially high oil prices do have a real human cost among the poorest around the world. The market doesn't need tampering to fix the "problem." Tampering is likely to stifle long-term innovation which would lead to real solutions. Governments should leave the market alone.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2008, at 5:34 PM, prginww wrote:

    Your article was insightful, and has sound reasoning to expect technology to get us out of the oil-stranglehold our country has been throttled by for many decades. I am not convinced wind or solar-powered options will make a millionths of a microns difference in our energy requirements and do not address the need for a change in the internal combustion engine driven by oil-based fuels. But I do believe there are better options on the horizon. Whoever develops it will be a skillionaire.

    We are in this predicament,and your article fails to mention this, because of the environmentlist's countrol over the building of new nuclear power plants, building of new refineries, and failing to explore and tap the extremely rich oil and gas deposits IN OUR OWN BACK-YARD. If these options were available over the last 30 years, I am convinced our fuel prices would be much lower than now. Your article was not addressing these issues because it was asking us to buck up and endure the hardship---my contention is, brought on by the environmentalists.

    Personally, I hate the fact that we are driven by such a dirty fuel such as oil, and more importantly, that other countries like Saudi Arabia prosper at our expense. I hope we do find real, viable fuel alternatives that are clean and highly efficient. and I agree that growth and change is painful.

    Maybe you should have explored the factors involved in the escalating costs and why we should be pissed at the individuals responsible (especially politicians who cave in to their demands), and when we get over that, then we can "buck up".

    America will survive this ordeal, but let's be honest and not point the finger at ourselves for $4/gal. gas, but instead give the person's responsible the middle finger for their contribution to this mess.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2008, at 9:52 PM, prginww wrote:

    Brucel I agree with you that 16 billion is a drop in the bucket. However, it’s something and something is better then nothing. As for oil shale, supposedly it’s economical if oil is above $70-95/barrel for the first 500 million barrels and then drops 35-70% after the first 500 million barrels. Assuming that output increases by 25k barrels a year the price to produce a barrel would decrease to $35-48 a barrel in 12 years and after a billion barrels had been produced it would decline to $30-40 a barrel. Now this was all according to a study done by the RAND Corporation and is explained on Wikipedia (under oil shale economics). But who knows how close this mirrors reality. And who's to say they wouldn't run into unforeseen problems. It is definitely worth looking into though.

    Stockcommander, I have to disagree with you. First off they put about 70k barrels in the Strategic Reserve daily and in May they decided to stop purchasing oil as of July. Purchasing 70k barrels of oil a day in a market somewhere around 85 million barrels a day is not going to have any effect on price at all. Before you spout junk like that maybe you should do some research. You keep saying junk like that you'll sound like Al Gore blaming Bush for the tomatos being tainted by salmonella, lead toys from China, and tainted pet food from China. A real class act.

  • Report this Comment On June 19, 2008, at 2:26 PM, prginww wrote:

    Preposterous... keeping oil this high only makes the oil companies richer. People will use oil as they need it, and letting it get higher just makes the gougers get fatter. Energy companies should be forced to change their business to sustainable sources by Federal legislation or be asked to leave the US and their assets nationalized. Learning to love high gas prices is a really stupid idea, get off the internet.

  • Report this Comment On June 19, 2008, at 5:24 PM, prginww wrote:

    I hope this isn't seen as 'cross posting.' I first deposited this in the "Industry Discussions/Renewable Energy " board. I intended it to part of a thread about this article; I managed to post it as a 'stand alone' post instead. I'd rather see it here than there if only one copy is allowed.

    I am a retired synthetic organic chemist. Long before I retired I became uneasy when I looked at the rate at which we were using up crude oil as a 'cheap fuel.' I saw it as a significant raw material for many other things we all take for granted, for example, the alkylbenzensulfonate detergents we use to wash our clothes, our dishes, and our hair; the polyvinylchloride we seem to have all around us if only we would look. I am pleased that some crude oil is 'locked up' in areas currently deemed 'too sensitive' to exploit today. Once we've solved our 'energy crisis' and 'global warming crisis' we'll need that oil as a manufacturing raw material and as a lubricant. The last thing we need to do is to rush it into gasoline production to keep prices down in the short term.

    We've been driving a Prius since 2004. The fuel economy is fine on the highway. For short trips to the store it never really fully warms up and the fuel economy suffers. I'm not ready to spend another $10,000 to convert it to a 'plug in hybrid,' especially if it voids the elective long-term warranty I purchased. An electric vehicle would be an ideal second car for us. Unfortunately one obvious choice is called a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) and federal regulations require a governor on it restricting it to 25 MPH. Such a vehicle is unsafe on major local surface streets with speed limits of 35-40 MPH because it cannot travel at the prevailing speed. The creation of an intermediate vehicle classification, one not for freeway speeds but for city streets with a top speed of 45 MPH would get a significant number of gas guzzlers off the road.

    It was heartening to hear this story about a six-month decline in miles driven in the USA:

    It will be interesting to see just how long the curve keeps heading downwards.

    Finally, take a look at this link:

    and ask yourself what kind of message its owner is broadcasting to future customers.


  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2008, at 1:47 AM, prginww wrote:

    Embrace $4 Gasoline!

    Europeans pay about $8.80 actually!

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2008, at 3:36 PM, prginww wrote:

    Here is what should happen. First, earmark billions to build public transportation that works and is plentiful. Then, tax the crap out of gas, increase the cost to register a vehicle to the point where it is almost impossible to own a car. Use those funds to pay back the funding for building the transportation, as well as providing funds for alternative energy research and implementation. As part of that, tax corporations [gas, auto, etc] more, but also provide huge tax breaks for implementing alternative energy technology...

  • Report this Comment On September 08, 2008, at 11:08 PM, prginww wrote:

    And I thought I was the only one on earth that liked that gas prices were going up... In my opinion, there are tremendous social costs to our current materialistic lifestyle, which is largely possible because of relatively low price of gas. I'm not exactly the patriotic type, but I do find it offensive beyond description that the 'american dream' has become nothing more than owning a large house, expensive cars, and an HDTV, instead of what really matters, such as freedom, safety, friends and family, and happiness.

    I remember thinking about 6 years ago that I would like gasoline to go up to 10 dollars a gallon or more. There would be an adjustment period, but we would survive, and be better for it. I have absolutely no remorse for those who complain about these current gas prices.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2008, at 12:45 PM, prginww wrote:

    We have two different issues bouncing around in these posts: national energy independence and reducing dependence on oil. Some of the solutions are the same: alternative energies, conservation and so on, but the issues are a bit different. Reducing US dependence on foreign oil is a bit of an empty promise without reducing overall need. Supposedly, we need to do this for reasons of national security. But we get most of our imported energy from Canada and Mexico! We get nearly all of our other raw materials from trade and a good bit of our manufactured goods. Unless the US economy shrinks substantially, we will continue to get our energy via trade. And there's nothing wrong with that-- unless we intend to turn our backs on free trade and revert to mercantilism.

    Reducing overall need for oil is the real problem and drilling a few holes offshore and in Alaska just furthers the dependence. The Bush Interior Dept has been issuing drilling permits in the West like mad for 8 years but we are still at the mercy of macroeconomics and the reality of limited supply. We need an aggressive, comprehensive energy policy that includes not only benefits but punishment. Small annual increases in the fuel taxes are probably the cleanest way to do this-- use the money on alternative energy, efficiencies, and public transport.

  • Report this Comment On December 06, 2008, at 4:23 PM, prginww wrote:

    answer to this article and the idea that 'high prices lead to innovation': europe.

    high gas prices in europe since forever and no 'alternative' fuels available in europe yet...

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