Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gas Prices Up, Car Use Down?

Here's an encouraging finding... the Department of Transportation reports that Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles this Spring versus the previous one. There appears to be a noticeable correlation between that and the steady rise in gas prices.

Some people, of course, see this as a bad thing. In the short-term, for those who like the convenience of driving somewhere close rather than taking mass transit, it likely is. But taking a long-term view, it mostly definitely is not.

Of course, I admit it's easiest for folks like myself in urban areas where public transportation is abundant and reliable, and you can actually walk to stores that you need. In the suburbs, it's still very possible to do, though maybe more time-consuming. In rural areas, however, you might not have much choice at all in these matters. I know; when I lived in Oregon, the closest store to us was a tiny general store many, many miles down the road.

The real solution is better cars, and a viable alternative (read: NOT ethanol) to oil-based fuels. We need a real wakeup call to automakers, which can only come from consumer demand or lifestyle changes. They've been making cars run on gasoline for well over half a century now... time to start thinking outside that box. We put a man on the moon, we can make a car that doesn't run on oil. We just don't want to. Start leaving your car at home more often, folks, it's the only thing they'll listen to.


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