I’ve been resisting a gas price rant. Really, I have. Summer of 2004, when we THOUGHT we were at the peak of gas prices, a certain poster on a forum in which I participate made some inane, rambling rant which ended with "Gas prices like crazy, lol". On that forum, the other posters shredded him, and the phrase came to indicate any illogical or inane argument. I have completely forgotten what the stupid comments were, but the catchphrase remains. Regardless, I shall now add my rant, and if someone should decide to shred it, tough. It’s my website. However, I won’t add the cliche photo of prices, because I know that we may be longing for those same prices this time next year.
Also in the summer of 2004, we drove from one side of the nation to the other and back. Prices were higher than we would have liked, but it didn’t stop us. Here it is a year later, with prices even higher, and I don’t see ANY change in driving habits. I-85 is still the domain of huge SUVs cruising at 80 mph, sucking down fuel at a ridiculous rate. Of course, habits are hard to break, and not every family can shed a huge land yacht on the spur of the moment and purchase a hybrid. Perhaps we will start to see some changes as prices continue to rise.
I came of age driving in the first fuel crisis of the 70’s. As a child, I remember prices of $.29 per gallon, and was not happy having to pay $.49 per gallon in high school. The 70’s crisis occured between those two points, and what changed habits more than prices was availability. The long lines formed, and driving habits changed because gas was scarce, not because it was more expensive. That’s the difference with this current crisis. Apparently people are willing to pay more rather than conserve, even if they’re not happy with it. I’m afraid we won’t see real changes in behavior until gas is hard to get.
So, of course, we get a new energy bill. Instead of promoting new sources of energy, it encourages more of the same. Search for new oil sources. Keep the appearance of abundance high so people will continue in their habits and keep buying the expensive stuff. Line the pockets of the oil industry. Maybe, just maybe, when the last drops of crude are sent to China, we can take the rusting hulks of Ford Expeditions, GM Hummers, and Yukons, and create a monument to consumerism.