7.15.2008

THE JOY OF HIGH GAS PRICES

A nice piece in the LA Times about high gas prices being a good thing: "The Joy of $8 Gas." Less highway deaths? Less obesity? Less environmental impact? More social interaction? These all sound like good things to me.

My boss returned from a trip to suburban Atlanta and marveled at a culture completely based on the premise that you drive everywhere: five-lane boulevards, free parking everywhere, spread out houses and developments. Sounds like the American dream, but it's leading to an apocalyptic nightmare; we need to fundamentally reverse course, and a more correct gas price gets us there.

By the way, the article isn't quite right about the consequences to the poor. Many live in urban areas and can make do without driving, while shifting the tax burden from earning income to consuming fossil fuels could make a livable wage a lot more achievable for a huge portion of the working poor.

To be sure, it'll be a painful transition to wean ourselves from a society built around cheap gas. But sometimes it takes pain to identify that we have a problem, and to motivate us into a solution to that problem. Getting a biopsy or a colonoscopy is a pain; but so is getting cancer. $4 gas is a pain; but so is a world of withering heat and tapped out natural resources.
Post a Comment