Monday, April 25, 2011

The Price of Gas

Everyone in America is bitchin' about the price of a gallon of gas.  Oil companies are reporting 60% profits in this quarter, but say they have nothing to do with the price of their product.

Well, I don't much like spending $60 to fill up my tank, and I have a small car.  But the truth is, the whole world pays, on average, $5 for a gallon of gas.  Canada.  Mexico.  Costa Rica.  England.  Spain.  Argentina.  Etc.  Why do Americans think they are entitled to cheap gas?  Why are Americans always so dang entitled?  Why do they think they deserve more than every other citizen on the planet?

Governor Scott Walker destroyed the high speed, energy efficient rail that was proposed between Milwaukee and Madison, eventually extending to Minneapolis.  I took the train to and from Chicago this weekend.  I like trains.  I can read a Sunday newspaper in the time it takes me to travel 90 miles.  But we don't have trains here in America, or at least, our train service is very limited, by world standards. 

Moving people efficiently in America has always been car-dependent.  As a nation, we were short-sighted in our transportation views.  I might be able to take a train between Milwaukee and Chicago, but if I wanted to take a train to my cottage in the northwoods, I'd have to hop a freight.  Probably several freights.  Although I am bohemian by nature, I'm not sure being a hobo is the right path for me. 

I do not mind paying $5 for a gallon of gas.  I don't blame Obama for it,  nor should anyone else.   My disgust is for the people in this country who would sooner die than find alternate transportation.  Driving their cars is their right, in their opinion.  Well, pay for it then.  You're entitled to drive your car.  What you're not entitled to is a special price break for that privilege.  I know people who have never been on a city bus, and would consider riding one to be a mortifying experience.  I also know that the larger the car, the greater the owner's resistance to mass transit.  I also know that mass transit is simply unavailable in large parts of this nation.

If we have consistent $5 per gallon priced gasoline, it might inspire people to find alternative energy sources, or better yet, alternative methods for moving people around.  It might keep the gazillion cars off the highways that cause congestion, pollution, and the undeniably unstoppable destruction of the earth's eco-system.  I'm all for this.  But I'm not short-sighted.  Are you?

Pay.  Pull our your wallets and pay for the gasoline.  And shut the hell up about it. 

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