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Gas Price Schadenfreude

Wow. One of the joys of being car-free is when gas prices go up and you know that your simple, environmentally friendly, and fun way of getting around will cost just the same as it usually does – virtually nothing.

Apparently, this time around (as opposed to when hurricanes last August and September crippled Gulf of Mexico oil production), people are actually saying the proverbial oh crap… and realizing that prices may not come down any time soon (especially if hurricanes hit the Gulf of Mexico again this year.

As much joy in this situation I take in this as a non-driver, it is sobering to note that because our city and country and continent are so fixated on oil consumption – as gas prices go up, people will spend more on their cars and less on other things – creating an economic slowdown, which isn’t good for any of us. Of course, if gas prices rise, slowly but surely, it’ll give people a chance to make their lifestyles more sustainable… moving closer to where they work so they can drive less – buying locally, etc.

My schadenfreude is still present though – basing one’s life around oil (whether they know it or not) is like planning on living your life with a limited amount of water. You drink as much as you want as long as you want and then are surprised when you’re dying of thirst when the water is gone.

It’s a little crazy.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I know the feeling. I too get schadenfreude with rising oil prices. But don’t get too cozy, when gas prices keep rising and the people start grumbling more, the governments start talking about reducing gas taxes and subsidizing car drivers so that they can keep up the lifestyle to which they are acustomed.

    And do you know who pays to keep them in their SUVs? Yes… you and I do. At least this is what I predict will happen.

    Another sad part to the whole story, is that many poorer countries start seeing their consumer prices rising. Even though very few people own or drive cars in countries like Haiti, Bolivia, Namibia, they are very sensitive to any increase in prices that aren’t matched by their wages and incomes.

    Sorry for my bad attitude! I truly hope that high oil prices will help more than they hurt!


  • joe

    Great points, Herb… I’m all for high gas prices, but do hope it’s a constant, slow increase to allow people time to adjust their lifestyles and start putting money they were putting into their cars into more practical things… that could help offset any economic downturns.

  • Darren J

    You made me use a dictionary!

    I think it will be increasingly difficult for governments to remove fuel taxes since public transit will become more obviously important.

  • joe

    Very funny Darren. I’m glad someone needed a dictionary. I feel all learned now.