The oil companies do, however, tolerate the so-called hybrid cars. These are more costly and complex as they have both electric and gasoline powered engines and a number of models are now on the market. Hybrids currently average about 50 miles per gallon of gas.

Some conservatives say that the laws of supply and demand are such that the free market can meet our environmental needs with a minimum of government interference. This is true, theoretically speaking. But it’s a fact of life that many businesses, especially the ones that feel big enough to make their own rules, do not always compete fairly.

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The question of the needs and desires of individual corporations versus the needs and desires of society as a whole was an issue when the Sherman Antitrust Act was introduced back in 1890 and it remains an issue for us today.

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