Wednesday, December 03, 2014

$2 Gas? NOT a good thing

Nice as it may seem in the moment of filling your tank, in the big picture this is NOT a good thing.

Even the most anti-science, These Are The End Times Luddite has to acknowledge that fossil fuels are at some point finite.

Yet even the greenest liberals are reluctant to say out loud that reducing our fossil fuel reliance is going to take more significant life style changes than than some high profile feel-good recycling.

It takes energy to heat and cool things and to move things. And on a global scale, Americans pay an insanely low price for gasoline. Here's a map from a couple years back. Prices were on the high end then, but for rough comparison this map still gives you the idea.

In general we're paying about half what western Europe does. (You know what else Western Europe has? Good public transportation). America's artificially low energy prices subsidize energy wasters like 50 mile one way commutes to refrigerated cities in deserts.

Granted, I'm a maniac who chose my home because it was four blocks from my office. But we need a few more crazies like me.

In my anecdotal experiences, nothing makes people think harder about transportation alternatives than gas prices. The tipping point seems to be around four bucks a gallon. At that point, the minor inconveniences of public transit or car pooling start to seem like smaller problems than that $65 tankload.

Free market in action. And if the free market won't do it, look at the tax structure. In the long run, until Magic Cold Fusion happens, we need to pay more for gas and live closer to work.

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