Friday, April 9, 2010

Driving cost up; cycling cost steady

There is much unrest across the Fruited Plain, as gas prices are suddenly going up sharply. (It's over $3 in Boise for the first time in several years; significantly more in lots of places. Over $9 in the UK! Ouch!)

Drivers are moaning, "How can this be? Doesn't Exxon know we're still in a recession?" One of the Idaho candidates for governor even asked the state Attorney General to investigate the apparent gouging. Reviving fond memories of an earlier AG who would occasionally threaten to investigate... and the price would drop a few cents for a couple weeks, then edge back up.

You drivers, I can explain how this can be.

If you're in traffic, take a look around. Perhaps you are surrounded by fellow motorists. Each is paying the same $3 for gas as you are. Each is contributing to the demand. That demand causes the price to settle at a level where the oil companies and vendors can make a profit. If demand goes up, the price will follow. If demand drops way off... guess what? The price will likely follow.

Meanwhile, every time there's a story suggesting that more people are choosing bicycles or mass transit to get around, some folks whine that this country is becoming more "third world," while China and India are becoming more like us. Where's the justice?!!

An "inconvenient truth" is that indeed, auto usage is up significantly in other places. And all those foreigners are putting a strain on the supply/demand curve, too. If Exxon can sell gas for $6 in China or India, why would they sell it to Americans for $1.50? They're not running a charity, ya know.

My advice?

Combine trips. Eliminate trips. Use a bike, or perhaps a bus, for transportation. Carpool. If you need to drive a couple blocks for a half-gallon of milk, maybe you deserve to be paying $3 or $4 for gas. Reduce your contribution to the worldwide demand for fuel!

It may be a little "third world" to ride a bike or take the bus... but at least ValleyRide still won't let people bring their chickens and goats onboard...

(If anybody has a right to complain about expensive gas, it would be me! And other folks who do minimal driving. We don't use very much, yet your insatiable appetite for the stuff makes the price to go up for us too, on those rare occasions when we need to buy a tankful.)

If the water don't rise, I'll be signing off for a week, and buying some of that precious gas. Planning on throwin' my leg over the Iron Steed and heading south for a few days of ridin' and gas-buyin' and sightseein'. (Anticipated highlights: US50 through Nevada, "America's Loneliest Highway," Death Valley wildflower bloom, Zion Nat'l Park, Bryce Canyon Nat'l Park.) Hasta la vista, baby.


bob t said...

Hope that you have an enjoyable (and safe) trip.

Scott said...

The only flaw I see in your post is that you failed to mention the train as a means of reducing demand for oil. Although in your defense, Boise doesn't have a metro system.

Have a great ride and keep the shiny side up!