While $5-6 a gallon gas would put a burden on the middle and lower income folks which would not be a good thing, had it been accompanied by reasoned research and development funding and a push toward that same "cleaner burning alternative fuel" concept, as was suggested by the other part of the Al Gore observation, things might be much different now.
It is easy to simply snip a third of Gore's comment to benefit your view. But add in the other two thirds, that being support for the folks who would get hammered by higher costs and increased R&D into alternatives as part of the quid pro quo of the higher price and the BALANCE of the $5-6.00 strategy makes much more sense.
As it was, we got an Oil Man [well, kinda, he did lose money in the biz] who did everything possible to make oil profits for everyone in the chain as high as possible by removing trade barriers, causing instability in the Middle East, ignoring labor regulations, environmental regulations, etc.
And with that Carte Blanche for the oil companies we, as Americans go virtually NO R&D into Alternative Fuels, Alternative supplies, more efficient propulsion systems. Just six years of "there is not problem" and "let's have a market driven solution". How's that working out? Ford and GM are losing their shorts. Chrysler is all but gone. We are, in yet another industry, OWNED by foreign engineering superiority.
When Bushie came into office Regular gasoline was $1.46. Today it is $3.807 and will go up again tonight as it raised .15 in most places today. For those in Math Denial, that is a 260% increase or 11.5X the cumulative inflation rate for the same period [22.69%].
Thank you for your reasonable methods of intelligent debate.
For a long time, there have been individuals who pursued and developed reasonable alternatives to our oil consumption. My recently deceased uncle tried for over 30 years, and failed, to get anyone to take him seriously about his rotary piston engine. It would produce twice the power for half the cost, but he was ignored. There have been others, as well, who were shouted into silence when they presented alternatives to 'big oil'.
We are dependent on oil because we've squandered our resources and ignored our own drilling options at home. I never have proposed 'drilling and exploration only' but a combination of drilling, exploration AND conservation. But, AL GORE promotes conservation only, which just doesn't work (he's not even willing to do his part to conserve!). Until we get rid of the guzzlers (people are STILL driving 78 Impalas that get 8 mpg!) and replace them with better mileage cars ALONG WITH more exploration, we'll continue to be strangled to death with high fuel prices and no relief in sight.
We could go on and on and debate this to death. But the answer is Exploration/Drilling + Conservation. Absence of either is a recipe for continued economic disaster.