The Nail in My Conservative Coffin…

On Monday morning I put $50 worth of gas in my car. Monday was the cheapest gas has been all week. While I’m thankful for that good fortune, and while I feel the pinch on my pocketbook just like everyone else, I still think whining about gas prices is pretty egocentric as Americans. In most of Europe, gas tops $8/gallon. In Turkey, they’re paying more than $10/gallon and in Sierra Leone (in West Africa) gas prices reach almost $20/gallon.

The presidential candidates have all used gas prices as a talking point in the last few weeks, but the fact of the matter is, none of their “solutions” will actually do a whole lot. The problem isn’t with our gas prices, it’s the fact that we’ve trained our nation to depend on cheap gasoline. There are plenty of civilized nations who haven’t paid less than $4 a gallon in living memory, and their economies are all making it just fine.

Maybe paying more at the pump will force us to look at public transportation (an impossibility for me and the rest of us living in the largest city in the US without it), at carpooling, at biking, at walking. In addition to the environmental effects therein, those things also facilitate community. What would life start looking like if we interacted with other human beings on our suburban commutes? We might find the result is worth more than the extra cash we’re shelling out to fuel our busy lives.

To read more from people who think like I do about this topic, click here or here.

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5 thoughts on “The Nail in My Conservative Coffin…

  1. Loni says:

    I don’t think drilling for oil at home is necessarily the best solution. It’s kinda like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound: it might make us feel better, and it might be a temporary fix, but in the long term – it’s not really solving the problem.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I read an article the other day that said high gas prices may actually be a positive thing for America….from a health standpoint. Many of us are already riding the bike to the corner store instead of driving. We are leaving the car in the parking lot and walking down the street for lunch or even better, to help with the family budget, we are packing our own healthy, brown bag lunch (instead of the usual fast food loaded with calories and fat) and walking to the nearest park for lunch. All of these things will build community, too and that’s a good thing.

  3. erin vanv says:

    I’m in agreement that Americans do whine a lot about high gas prices but don’t take any steps to fix things (except blaming the oil companies)…. Houston is a great example where we spend tons of money to fix our highways but still have a lightrail that doesn’t go anywhere. Even though many times I disagreed with Canadians about certain things, I’m impressed that they walk the talk – they are concerned about the environment so they recycle and have incredible public transportations systems.

    And drilling more here may only be a bandaid – but one we need and we have the technology to do it responsibly now and minimize our environmental footprint.

  4. I’ve now gotten to the point where I accept that gas won’t ever be as cheap as it used to be, and I’m thankful that it’s only $3.76/gallon here. A lot of people I know just like to use gas prices as another excuse to complain and to blame our president.

    I’m looking forward to the day where there are more Civics and small cars on the highways than Hummers and SUV’s. It looks like that day will be sooner rather than later (http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/06/rising-gas-pric.html)

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