Benheck Podcast Episode 20 – Controversial Soapbox Edition

Usually we shy away from anything vaguely political on this site, but with gas prices now at nothing-other-than-absurd levels Jones and I felt we should chime in about something.

In topic 1 of this podcast we ponder why certain habits, indulgences and sins are regulated, taxed and banned in this country (or rather by state and city levels) yet there is no apparent limit to how many gas-guzzling single-occupant SUV’s there can be on the road. We don’t advocate the banning of either, but discuss why governments allow one and not the other, when both adversely affect people other than the offenders. We also touch on the “giant trucks used to haul air” problem…

Topic 2, on a “let’s fix this” note we discuss alternative fuels of the future and their effect on the price of tacos and french fries. See, there’s some technology talk in this episode. Finally we have a segment in which we interview that “average American game-buying dude” we keep mentioning, Joe Six Pack! Enjoy and discuss below, but please keep it civil.

Direct link to Podcast Episode 20

12 thoughts on “Benheck Podcast Episode 20 – Controversial Soapbox Edition”

  1. smoking was banned in public buildings in Scotland since summer 2006 and the bars local to me haven’t suffered as much as the hype would have people believe in fact some are doing better as the smoke in bars drove many people away who wouldn’t necessarily go to them in the first place.

  2. I’d prefer a heavy tax increase on smoking than more tax on gas… I already pay $1.78 a liter (In the UK of course)… having a $3 gallon sounds like heaven trying wearing a $8-9 gallon for a while… it explains why my wife never fills the car up….

  3. Smoking has been banned in pubs and club here in Australia too. The reason for this has been labelled an OH&S issue (Occupational Health and Safety). It is stated that the employees should have to breath in second hand smoke. As a non-smoker and frequent pub goer, I personally have welcomed the change.

    We have a public health system here in Australia, so I can only imagine that soon it be illegal to smoke at all, as it costs the government 6 times more than what it get from cigarette tax.
    A few local councils have already banned smoking in parks and on beaches, and other open aired areas. Sporting venues and events have been smoke free for years. You aren’t allowed to smoke in a car with a child under 5 in the car either.

    Seems like it a worldwide trend.

    Great work guys

  4. I went out boozing in smoke-free downtown Madison on Friday and there certainly was no shortage of people. (Of course there’s entire banks of folks smoking on the sidewalks)

    Regardless, if they [the bars] can live without smoking, maybe people can live without SUV’s…

    The door swings both ways!

  5. i think americans shuld look at the rest of the world before they say that their gas prices are high…
    in sweden one(1) liter gas costs about $1.70 thats like $6.50/gal and thats cheap gas in sweden…

  6. alexzander

    its not the fault of gas companies its the taxes your government puts on your gas. so when you try to compare prices please deduct your excessive taxes.

  7. Actually gas is taxed in the US. It varies from state-to-state, but according to the following site it averages about 62 cents a gallon across the nation.

    The problem for me isn’t so much the price of gas as the fact that it has risen so sharply, so quickly. Then every quarter the oil companies report record profits. Exxon in the past year or so has had the two largest quarterly profits in HISTORY. That’s of any company in any industry ever.

    To say the oil industry is not culpable in this is incredibly naive. Especially considering the fact that the cost per barrel of oil a year ago was significantly higher than it is now yet we’re paying more at the pump. Check out this article.

    This shows that the disparity is even worse than the comparison I used in the podcast.

    Also, for those in other countries saying their gas is more expensive… This is true. Has been for decades as far as I know. The difference is that the US is by far the largest consumer of it in the world. Generally when you consume a lot of something your price is much lower than for others because you are buying in bulk so to speak.

    It’s the same reason why McDonald’s can buy ketchup a hell of a lot cheaper than any of us can just to use one example.

    I sympathize with you, but that’s the reality of the situation. The core issue is still that our state, local, and federal governments choose to be very selective in what they’ll legislate against and what they won’t. Hence the comparison we chose of the smoking ban phenomenon (that affects a limited number of people) that is ripping through this country vs. the SUV phenomenon (that affects everybody in the US as well as the rest of the world) that runs amok largely unchecked. The difference of course is that smoking has been demonized for the past few decades, whereas (which have technically been around since the 40’s) SUVs have been glamourized by the companies who sell them, in music videos, and by professional athletes. So really who would want to propose any legislation against these darlings of the US.

    That might require a politician with some integrity and there are very few of those left in this country anymore.

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