Thursday, May 22, 2008

OILAHOLICS ANONYMOUS

Is anyone else LOVING these high gas prices? Fuck yeah. I hope they keep rising. Yes, seriously. Because we need to get pissed as a people. We need to open our eyes and understand what's going on in the world - and nothing gets people to open their eyes more than making them open their wallets more.

There have been voices for years telling people to drive smarter. DECADES. There have been calls for car manufacturers to develop more fuel efficient cars. There have been demands of government to explore renewable and alternative sources of energy to subsidize our national addiction to oil. But does anything ever really change? Hasn't had to...until now.

As long as there was cheap gas, all these voices were drowned out by the revving of our nation's complicit economic engine. Lawmakers continued accepting tossed salads from the oil lobbies. Carmakers ignored the worldwide trend toward fuel efficiency, promoting size and power over miles per gallon. Consumers insisted on buying Hummers and other behemoths that get 12 miles to the gallon so they could feel more powerful on the road. In today's world, it's not a comfort thing or a safety thing - it's an ego thing. And the sooner we get over ourselves, the better off we'll be.

Because today people are pissed off.

Finally.

And the American carmakers are concerned because foreign carmakers are way ahead of them in the fuel efficiency fight. And politicians are taking note that their jobs may be at stake if they don't start forcing industry to invest in alternative energy. And people are only now realizing that when they bought that massive suburban palace 45 miles from where they work, they were tethering their future economic well-being to the price of oil.

I sit in traffic on 90/94 every day to go a lousy three miles. It's a crawl, but still faster than negotiating surface streets. And while I'm idling forward at the speed of a man recovering from hip replacement surgery, I can't help but look around and think of all the poor souls who are driving far longer distances than 3 lousy miles. And they do it twice. Every day. I pass a good three or four neighborhoods to get home everyday, but most of the people I share that same road with will keep going until the city ends, then pass three or four entire suburbs before finally getting off and heading home. Meanwhile, I've had a good jog, a warm shower, and the burgers on the grill are almost done.

These high prices are a wake up call to America. Do not hit the snooze bar. Some analysts are on record as saying $12 a gallon is "inevitable." Reread that if it didn't sink in. We keep expecting the price will go down at some point - but why would it? World demand for oil is increasing as foreign economies require more to fuel their growth. And we've shown little ability to lay off the black sauce - no matter how high prices climb. Some say we can't - we built our urban and suburban communities on the availability of oil. We spread out.

We need to contract. We need to come together. Love thy neighbor again. Live closer to work. Learn to share again. Give up some of that precious space. Buy my condo - it's probably a little smaller than the master bathroom in your current house, but it's close to the beach and you might be able to walk to work.

Weaning ourselves off of oil is going to require making sacrifices. It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be necessary. I just hope you didn't hear that here first.

1 comment:

discopalace said...

Word up! Very well written. My friend Jim pointed me here, after reading a similar but not-so-poignant post on my own blog on this topic. Take care.

I SEE YOU!