Speed Reads

Carpe gassum

Stephen Colbert makes analyzing the pros and cons of cheap gas surprisingly entertaining

Gas is down to under $2 a gallon in parts of 13 states, and Americans are taking full advantage of this oil war between OPEC and the U.S., Stephen Colbert explained on Tuesday night's Colbert Report. SUV sales are up sharply, and America is treating cheap gas as a "non-stop petroleum party that will never, ever end."

"Carpe gassum," Colbert said. "I mean, fuel is cheap this week? Give me a five-year lease on a rolling cargo ship with the aerodynamics of a cinder block." Between the jokes, he had a pretty substantive discussion of international oil markets with Jason Bordoff, the director of Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy. Bottom line: Cheap gas is good for consumers (in the short term) and U.S. foreign policy, and bad for the environment, oil companies, and countries like Iran, Venezuela, and Russia. What's a faux-conservative pundit to do? --Peter Weber