Thursday, April 27, 2006

It’s 5AM and I can’t sleep. You are getting the thoughts rolling around in my head for the past couple days.


I receive an email this week from a friend. It was a chain email asking to boycott key oil companies and gas station to help lower gas prices. Basically, the claim is the oil companies are nothing more than greedy bastards and we all should have cheaper gasoline. Although this sounds great get this through your thick heads America. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Cheap gasoline is a luxury, not a gift.

The United States has the lowest gasoline prices in the world outside of country like Brazil (12 cents/gallon) and part of the Middle East (ranging from 5 cent to 25 cents a gallon). At three dollars a gallon gasoline is far cheaper than the going rate in Europe. Great Britain, France and Germany typically pay $4 to $6 a gallon. Here are some gas prices dated from March 2005.

At Five dollars a gallon gasoline is still a bargain, when compared with what a gasoline allows you to do. Every day I drive over 70 miles. Walking the trip would take me two days, assuming I walk at a pace of 4 miles and hour. It’s would take me 9 hours to work to Muscatine from Iowa City. By horse, I assume it would be shorter, maybe a day round trip. In my Civic Hybrid it takes me 1.75 gallons of gas to get to work, or about $8-10 a day at $5/gallon of gasoline. Not bad when you consider how much I spend for lunch.

I know America is a vast country and the distance between places we go are different than a lot of European countries. That is not the reason for low gas price; just because it is nice to have low price does not make it right. The days of $1 gasoline are long gone stop pinning for them. Soon $2 gas would be a faded memory. Why, because there are more people in the world who want gasoline. For 60 years, the United States has been the leading consumer of petroleum in the world. In 2006, that has started to change. China, with over 1.2 billion people is now starting to drive. India has over 1 billion people who want to put away the old methods of transportation and get a car. The world is demanding more oil and the Earth is running out. NO longer does the United States have the economy or the cash to outbid everyone for gas. Of course the price of crude is going to go up on the open market. It’s time to wean the baby.

I know we all rely on our cars to takes us around town, but does it have to be a HUMMER, pickup truck, or SUV. Just getting a smaller vehicle that get 5 to 10 miles to the gallon more will ease the string at the pump quite a bit. You will still be paying $4-5 dollars a gallon, but you will be thinking about turn the ignition key a lot less and walking. Did you know your vehicle is at it’s worst gas mileage and most polluting in the first two minutes of starting the engine than it is in running the next 20 minutes? In other words, when you drive those five to ten blocks to returns those DVDs, get a cup of coffee, or pick up a couple of things at the local Stop ‘n’ Rob you are getting all the worst aspects of your car. Try walking. Sure it will take you 20 minutes to get to the Video store but do you really need to get home that quickly to see Rocky 35, Saw 14 or Clam Lappers 23? Maybe if you walk to the deli you can have that piece of cheesecake that has been calling your name for the past 3 weeks.

I could go on and on about what you should do, but the most convincing argument is with your wallet. I will rejoice when gas hits $5 a gallon. Maybe people will start taking public transportation, maybe cities will stop have urban sprawl, maybe the world will be cleaner because people will drive less. Maybe people will stop buying snowmobiles and get skis. Maybe people will stop buying ATVs, dirt bikes, powerboats and start swimming, biking and exercising.

I don’t care whether or not you like G.W. Bush or not, but when a Republican president tells you might want to think about conserve gas, does that send up some red flags? We really could be in some deep shit? Maybe. Maybe it doesn’t matter who gets in office in 2006, 2008 or 20-whatever, the price of gas is still going to go up because it is running out!

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