um, you sure about that?

The petitions for cheap gas, the one-day boycotts, the consumer outrage at high gas prices in the U.S… people keep forwarding me stuff to sign, and now even seems to be getting in on it.

Now, if you’re all for the Iraq war, don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment and think women should be burned and not seen, then by all means sign the petitions. But if you consider yourself politically liberal, take a moment to think about what it takes to keep gas prices low. This is an email I sent in response to one forwarded gas price screed, about a year ago.

Are you sure you want to send this message to the oil barons and the government?

  • It’s largely American demand for cheap fuel that has prompted the war on Iraq, not to mention our cozy relationship with the Wahhabist Saudis.
  • Oil executives are now saying that global warming and the subsequent melting of the arctic ice shelf (which is even now leading to the extinction of the polar bears) may actually be a good thing because there’s oil under there.
  • The Alaskan oil pipeline, which threatens Alaskan wildlife and is built on a fault line, is also there to feed American oil addiction.
  • When fossil fuel is cheaper more people will use it, and the attendant pollution problems will increase.

We in Europe already pay more than $4.00 a gallon, and have for years. It’s not price-fixing by oil barons here, it’s taxes – to keep the roads in good repair and to offset some of the cost of cleaning up the environmenal problems gas consumption causes. Europeans accept that as necessary and logical, and find ways to conserve.

If you want to stop the oil barons, reduce your dependence on them, and make them obsolete. Drive a smaller car, drive it slower, drive it less. Ride the bus. Get a bike. Telecommute.

Spread the word.

4 responses to “um, you sure about that?

  • amy

    YES YES YES!! Thank you. I am so TIRED of Americans complaining about the price of gas while they drive their stupid gas-guzzling SUVs, and then being all entitled-like and trying to get everyone to boycott buying gas on one day, as if it makes a difference if everyone fills up the day before or the day after? Because is anyone actually changing their own habits much? Not too long ago I LOST MY CAR in a parking lot because it was surrounded by ginormous SUVs, for crying out loud. YEARS ago I was pointing out how much more gas costs in Europe and trying to explain the concept of resource economics and…and…well, what you said.

  • Nate

    Your brother the traffic engineer founded an annual transportation engineering/planning symposium in Colorado in 2003, and this year the theme was “Transportation in the New Energy Future”. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is in Golden, CO, and we heard from one of their folks about some of the cool vehicles and fuels they’re working on. He also points out that increases in CAFE standards are a drop in the bucket–this problem is WAY bigger than that. Here’s his powerpoint (some really informative slides in there, but I’m not sure how much longer it’ll be up) as well as a couple of other websites.

  • alala

    @ amy: some people here do have SUVs, it’s a conspicuous consumption thing – but they’re a lot stupider than their U.S. counterparts, because European roads are NOT designed for such large cars, and there is no off-roading here. Buying and driving an SUV here is basically just waving your dick around.

    @ Nate: you did that!? Man, you keep telling me your job is boring! (Also, the .pdf file is no longer up.) See that everybody? That’s MY brother. He is cool.

    And lest I seem too broad-brushed with the SUV thing, I should mention that I don’t object to minivans for people with large families, or SUVs for people who live in places with iffy weather and have to haul their own firewood and stuff. Such cars do have a place, but I think way, WAY more people have them than need them.

  • Melanie

    Just so you can feel informed as you rant (wonderfully), here in the land of ice and snow (Canada), people who need to haul firewood etc. drive pick up trucks. Smallish, economical and as fuel efficient as possible. Unless they are wankers and feel the need for a bigger truck so they can feel… bigger. SUV drivers are in-city dick wavers. There is no good reason for SUV’s, not here, not anywhere.

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