Sunday, May 06, 2007

Must Be That Time Of Year Again

I can see a press conference is being held at the Hess gas station on 10th Avenue.

I can see the local TV channel news trucks parked along the street, a small group of reporters gathered around a politician railing about gas prices.

I can see the Hess station sign from window.

If I squint, I can see that a gallon of regular goes for $3.09, a gallon of unleaded goes for $3.25 and a gallon of premium goes for $3.35.

Must be summer driving season on the horizon.

Given that the price of gasoline is this high on May 6th, it looks like it's gonna be one long driving season.

But you know, there is a solution.

Don't drive so much.

Hold less press conferences that get covered by reporters who drive to them in big-ass gas guzzling trucks.

Drive smaller, more gas-efficient cars.

Bike more.

Better yet, walk more.

Move closer to where you work.

If you cannot afford to do that, move to where you can take public transportation to work.

If you can't do that, then too damn bad. You were the one who made the choice to live where you have to drive whenever you want to go somewhere.

Nobody forced you to do that.

In fact, you can rectify that situation by moving to someplace to where you don't have to drive so much.

You know, like a community that has sidewalks and public transportation.

And for god sakes, stop bitching about gas prices - America does not the Divine Right of Cheap Gas Prices nor do Americans have the right to expect to be able to drive hundreds of miles every summer without having to pay a financial and environmental price for their selfishness.

I'm not saying you can't live far from your job in someplace without access to public transportation or sidewalks, nor am I saying that you can't drive hundreds of miles every summer for your summer vacation.

But since you're contributing to the energy problem, you gotta stop bitching about the high price of gas.


Stop it.

You sound like a city boy. ;-)

Us suburbanites pretty much have to drive to work. But on many a weekday morning I've sat gridlocked on a highway clogged with fellow commuters, and wondering how many of us are driving to a job that could just as easily be done at home. If more businesses adopted a work-at-home policy, it would ease the pressure on gas prices and help reduce pollution.

But there I go being reasonable again. ;-)
What struck me as odd is how much of our current problems have been self-induced during my lifetime. Admittedly, I grew up in a small city, rather than a metropolitan area, but my Mom walked to work when I was a kid (2 blocks), and the mom-and-pop grocery store was on the corner. We did quite well with a car that didn't work all that often. Even as a teen, I walked everywhere I needed to go, and my step-father caught a ride with other people working at the same location so Mom could have the car (then a '50 Mercury). The idea of a second (or third) car was considered extremely wasteful and only for the very wealthy. Living in another small city again, I would have a lot more trouble without a dependable car now, because the closest supermarket is on the other side of town, and I don't have the skills to get any job within even a long walking distance (teaching, food service, retail, barber shop, manual labor). Even if there WERE sidewalks.

One would think if we can get where we are now within a couple of generations, we could get back to somewhere close to where we were in a similar length of time, but I'm not so sure, and I'm even less sure we would want to.
Hey, higher gas prices just push up the value of our centrally located apartments.

With gas nearly 50% higher here in CZ than in NY, I don't hear anyone bitching, even though they make 1/3 as much.

Weird. I guess we all understand that driving is a privilege, not a right.

That is an idea that will catch on....eventually.
kicksiron, I hope you're right that we can return to a more village-centered community lifestyle in a couple of generations. I think it would be good for both the environment and society to have people living in closer proximity to work and school.

PT, you crystallized exactly what I was trying to say - driving IS a privilege. So many Americans seem to think it's a divinely-given right.

abi, work at home would help, but not really solve the problem of a exurban and suburban American society that is hostile to any kind of transportation but cars.
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