Home Commentary Op-ed John deJongh Says 'Together We Can!' – Solve the Gas Crisis

John deJongh Says 'Together We Can!' – Solve the Gas Crisis


Sept. 25, 2005 — This past week I read in the New York Times that Toyota was planning to convert its entire fleet of cars to hybrids in the future in order to increase gas mileage and efficiency. Later that same day, I filled up my car on St. Thomas at over three dollars a gallon! And then, days later, while driving on St. Croix, I saw gas stations advertising regular gas at just under two dollars a gallon.
Well, we can’t wait for hybrid cars. But we can ask why it costs a dollar more to buy a gallon of gas on St. Thomas than it does on St. Croix. And we can ask whether there is something we can do to get the price of gas down, and soon. After all, the Virgin Islands are home to one of the largest refineries in the world. And it is, despite all the political distance that sometimes divides us, only 41 miles from St. Croix to St. Thomas and St. John
Where is our leadership? Who is asking – no, demanding — answers to these questions? Whatever happened to the gasoline study and the reduced prices that were to come? Can we create a bulk storage facility on St. Thomas so local gas stations can get cheaper fuel? Can we retrofit and use any of the big WAPA tanks for this? Can we expand the tank farm at the airport? What are HOVENSA’s suggestions? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but somebody does. Is our current leadership demanding answers to these and other questions? Well, I do know the answer to that: NO! Nobody is leading; nobody is demanding answers, and action.
We have too many bright people living here not to be able to find ways to relieve our people of burdens like skyrocketing gas prices which threatened to lower the standard of living for all. It cannot cost a dollar a gallon to transport gas 41 miles! We have too many bright people living here not to come up with the ideas that will bring hope and relief. What would it take to create independent gas stations on St. Thomas and St. John? What government policies are required to create these opportunities for our people? True leadership generates both questions and answers. Leaving government to the same old group generates neither. I know that we can do better. Together we can!
Editor's note: John de Jongh, Jr., served as Commissioner of Finance and Executive Assistant to the Governor during the Administration of Alexander A. Farrelly and served as chairman of the Economic Recovery Task Force and co-Chairman of the Cruise Ship Task Force.
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