Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Price Of Gas

It's hovering around $2.70 a gallon right now. Still mild by European standards.

Is it really a bad thing that the price of gasoline in America is rising? The knee-jerk reactions, naturally, is yes. But on deeper thinking, I'm not so sure.

I listened to an article on NPR recently (I listen to NPR a lot these days) regarding this exact subject. Let's see....

If the price of gas went up, say to $7 a gallon, what would the consequences be?

My (somewhat influenced) thoughts..

1. People would complain a lot.
• Complaining is really good. It causes people to become aware
• Somewhat the same. It causes the complainers to think about wjhat they are complaining about.

2. People would refuse to buy gas.
• ….for a little while. They then would buy it because they need it, or in other words, buy it only when they need it.
• It’s not like the energy companies would really feel the pressure.
• There would be some silly schemes like “don’t buy gas on the 13th of the month” or something. Dumb. Does anyone think that will work?

3. People will ultimately drive less.
• It’s obvious that people drive way, way too much. Is there a need to drive for 2 minutes as opposed to walking for 10?
• Because people would be “forced” to drive less, they would optimize their trips. No going to the supermarket, then home, then back to the cleaners (located next to the supermarket). Trips will be combined.
• Bikes. Think about it. I used to cycle to the supermarket when I didn’t live in America, I should really do that here. OK, it gets a wee bit chilly in the winter but a bike ride could warm me up.

4. After some worries, people might start carpooling in their daily commute. This is a big one. I do not carpool. Yet. What happens if people carpool?
• Fewer cars on the road. Less pollution.
• Get to work faster, because there is less traffic
• Statistically, you are less likely to cause an accident if you’re not alone in your car.
• Less traffic = less stress. = a better mood when you get to work. = more productive. = better for the economy. = less waiting around. = getting home earlier. = more relaxed. = a better mood. = less illness. = lower health insurance costs (yea right). = better mood. = less sick time. = more productive. ……etc.
• Carpooling = conversation with other people, usually. A good chunk of the cube farm inhabitants rarely get a chance to talk to each other.

5. There would be a greater focus on avoiding petroleum dependency.
• Self explanatory really.

6. Smaller cars will become more popular.
• There is no need for an SUV in normal suburban life. Or a Chevy Suburban.
• Or a Hummer. You live in a condo!! What do you need a hummer for? There is surgery out there to help; go seek it.

7. A good excuse for public transport development.
• Again, self explanatory.

And yes, I know there are those who rely on their vehicles to survive, particularly the seniors. Two points… Public transport can help a lot. And … A crown Vic is not an efficient car.

And on we go. The cycle continues. In my delusional normal state I can see all the above happening, and the price of gas dropping. Eventually.

That’s all for now folks. G’night,.