Obligatory Gas Price Story

by SMD 

Okay here we go on the gas price. Personally even though I own a car, I commute by bicycle so please forgive my detached tone and the rambling route towards the point.

Let’s start with Trump’s take on high gas prices:

 I wish that the United States would just get on the ball with alternative energy. As much as I’m impressed with the space program, maybe those funding dollars should be redirected into research that would develop other ways of fueling our nation.

He goes on from there with some hammer-headed wisdom about how to negotiate with the middle-eastern oil brokers, but his point about alternative fuels is on target. What is taking so long?

Oh, by the way, as I listen to fireworks going off outside my window celebrating Alberta’s centennial, it is appropriate that I am writing this story from the place on earth that has the largest oil reserve outside of Arabian world. This province I live in is getting rich very quickly from the taxes on oil. Pretty soon we’ll be a terrorist target.

Bad planning. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I wheel past my local Esso station. [Now for you non-Canadian's reading, we sell gas here in litres - 4.5 litres to the gallon - and our price just this week went over the magic $1.00 threshold].

gas stationIt wouldn’t be so bad if this station didn’t renovate less than 18 months ago. Every day I imagine Red Green up there on some rickety ladder applying a great big “|” out of duct tape in front of the two other digits. That would fix it. I can’t help wonder how much it is costing them to not be able to advertise the price of gas? Probably some heads are going to role.

My local member of parliament circulated a petition annoucing his grand plan for how to deal with the problem. He’s going to give a tax break to everyone who buys bus passes. I guess that’s a good idea, but what about us cyclists? Don’t we save more fossil fuels than the bus?

Are you living in a delusional fog that the price of gas will somehow ever go down? Snap out of it:

It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil.

We’ll use the next trillion in 30.

‘Cuz it ain’t going to happen. Simple supply and demand [unless theories like this, that suggest that there is no connection between petroleum and decaying organic matter, turn out to be true].

gas station signWhy, and this really is the point, are we, as a society that will spent hours researching and shopping in order to save a dollar on toilet paper, still buying big gas guzzling cars? Every car ad I’ve seen or heard for as long as I can remember, emphasizes horsepower and doesn’t even mention gas mileage. I mean does your Ford Focus station wagon really need 234 horsepower? What are people doing with all that power, besides idling in traffic.

Obviously the car is something that we, as a society, connect to on a deeper level than money, which I wouldn’t have thought was possible. It’s got to be primal; basic survival, in the era of ‘sell your extra kidney on eBay’, is all that comes in front of money on our priority lists.

This theory would support the SUV as the vehicle of choice; it’s not rational at all, but you feel safe. I guess if you can’t afford to drive it, at least you can go sit in it to feel safe. It’s very interesting to me to see all the forces, both internal and external, at work in the environmental – gas price – primal needs tug-o-war.

We all say we love nature and the enviroment, but only as long as it doesn’t demand anything from us. When, it comes to down to a choice between nature, or even money and filling our emotional needs, the choice is clear, rational thought doesn’t stand a chance.

You can learn a lot about human nature and the real meaning of money from situations like these.

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3 Responses to “Obligatory Gas Price Story”

  1. Bryan on June 13th, 2007 2:51 am

    I agree, the delay in development of alternative energy sources is intolerable. While I don’t agree with Trump that crippling the space program is the way to go, we need to start redirecting our research dollars in that direction. I think our current situation is really waking up the academics. Now let’s hope the businesses recognize the opportunity. I’m inclined to think that the market will straighten things out. Paid $2.95US/gallon yesterday. I wish I was within walking distance of my work.

  2. Amit on June 13th, 2007 2:51 am

    Interesting post. Small mistake however, the US gallon is about 3.78L – different from the gallon the rest of the world uses. :)

  3. Ray Roman on June 13th, 2007 2:51 am

    I don’t think alternative fuel is the answer to the problem. I know here in the US, it not a lack of crude that is hurting us right know. It’s lack of refiners. If we had enough refineries than there would be no shortage, but environmentalist obstruct development of refineries. We should be drilling in Anwar for more oil, there is no evidence that it’s bad for the caribou. What the hell is a caribou anyway? (Just kidding). Bottom line is this society will continue to grow and it’s growth will depend on “fuel”. It is going to be a very tough challenge and I personally do not see any member of our government with the “balls” to tackle this issue honestly, passionately and for the sake of the people rather than their political agendas.

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