Gasoline didn't get to more than $3 a gallon overnight. This dilemma has been brewing since 1973.
Our outrage should focus on this: Our politicians, our automobile companies and our oil companies have done little or nothing to try and figure out some sort of rational energy policy.
The auto industry has successfully fought tooth and nail to keep our Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) for cars at the same level it's been for the past three decades.
The oil companies are continuing to drill and distribute petroleum products while profits rise as sales increase. Let's hope that they spend their profits on exploration and refining and not dividends and bonuses.
And of course our president-make that seven presidents-and our Congress have been sitting on their hands for the last 30-plus years while the situation continued to deteriorate.
To add insult to injury, Congress was talking about either eliminating the federal gas tax for a couple of months or sending us all a check for $100.
Both political parties have been totally incompetent in crafting any sort of energy policy for three decades.
We're going to have to wait until there is a real energy crisis, and then we'll see them spring into action and screw things up even more.
CAFE is 27.5 miles per gallon. If we had raised the bar by just a half a mile per gallon each year, we'd be well over 40 miles per gallon today. It would have been very doable.
If Congress had chosen to raise the gas tax and encouraged the use of diesel fuel over the past three decades, we could have seen consumers slowly switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles without economic pain.
Instead, it appears everyone was happy to bury their heads in the sand and hope it would all go away.
All the while, we've watched China and India develop their own economies and become buyers of the world's petroleum. We all know that their needs for petroleum are only going to grow in the future.
We need someone to make the tough choices everyone else has avoided. It's not going to be easy or cheap. The longer we wait, the tougher it's going to get.
When baseball was a mess after the Black Sox scandal of 1919, it brought in a commissioner who ruled with an iron fist but who restored the game's integrity. Where is Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis when we need him?
Mr. Crain is publisher and editor-in-chief of Automotive News and chairman of Crain Communications Inc., parent of Tire Business.