High petroleum prices soon will be more than a pain at the pumps. Already, fuel prices have become a gripe at the grocery store, in part because of higher costs to deliver food and other items. Soon, they will cramp clothing sales, produce pangs at the pharmacy and make life harder at the hardware store.
Petroleum is used for much, much more than gasoline and heating oil, as the CEO of Dow Chemical Co. reminded Americans last week. Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris announced that the chemical giant will increase its prices by as much as 20 percent, to offset higher costs for feedstocks used in its products.
Dow uses petroleum to produce a variety of items ranging from pharmaceuticals to paint, from fabrics to food products.
According to Dow, its expenditures for petroleum-based feedstocks could increase to $32 billion this year — up from $8 billion in 2002. Obviously, the higher cost of production will have to be passed on to consumers.
In announcing the price increases, Liveris lashed out at federal officials for failing to develop a sound national energy policy. “For years, Washington has failed to address the issue of rising energy costs and, as a result, the country now faces a true energy crisis,” he said.
Liveris is correct, as Americans have been learning during recent months. Dow is not the only manufacturer that is raising prices — or will be forced to — because of higher oil prices. Virtually every good or service consumed in this country will be more expensive because of that.
We are among those who have warned for many years that a sensible energy policy was needed. Yet presidents and members of Congress have failed to produce one, sticking instead to what they viewed as politically correct.
Now, we all are paying the price for our failure to convince them otherwise.