Gas Tax Holiday

Tuesday, May 06, 2008
There's been a lot of talk in the United States about the gas-tax holiday that both Hilary Clinton and John McCain are promising for voters. It seemed pretty obvious from the start that it's just a vote getting tactic and nothing else. Seriously. This is not going to change the way the west (and not just Americans) uses (and abuses) gas and oil. It's just going to encourage them to drive more because their saving money. Or buy more groceries that aren't grown locally and have to be shipped hundreds or thousands of miles to reach their plates.

This morning, CNN interviewed campaign reps from both Obama, who opposes the "holiday", and Clinton. Nothing really remarkable was brought up except for the final statement by Clinton's rep. She said that for folks like her, who live in places like Washinton and can take public transit, won't see any savings. It's folks in places like Indiana (who's voting in their primaries today) and all over the country who drive 30 - 40 miles every day to get to work. Let me say that again for emphasis: people who drive 30-40 miles every day just to get to work! You can be be almost guaranteed that most of those people aren't driving hybrids/electric cars ... they're barrelling around in their giant gas guzzling SUV's and not carpooling. you see them all the time, all alone in their bohemoths. Why are gas prices so high? Hmmm, look in a mirror.

Sure that's not the only reason but when you multiply that one guy driving 30 miles down the highway to reach his office by 1,000,000 (and that's a SMALL number), it really adds up on a daily basis. A few months ago, I watched a documentary, The End of Suburbia. I highly recommend this to documentary to everyone. While it's not the best doc, the message is one I had never ever considered before...Suburbia and the west's obsession with it, is a major part of the oil crisis. Think about it. They're located on the outskirts of cities, away from the major centres so you have to drive to get to work (and many take years to get transit routes if at all); to build them, large construction vehicles have to drive back and forth to these locations for months/years in order to finish them; there are usually not much in the way of amenities in the suburbs (they'd destroy the pleasing "aesthetic" of rows and rows of the same style house...uck) so if you want to head to the mall, a movie, a museum or go just about anywhere, you have to drive to get there. Seriously. Check it out. Please.
To combat this problem, Cuba has been undergoing an "accidental revoluton". I've talked about this before - after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba was in some serious trouble. To combat the lack of oil, gas and other resources, they implemented community gardens, encouraged folks to plant rooftop and balcony gardens, and rather than just have one centrally located university or government offices, the country was divided up into smaller regions, each with smaller universities, local government offices, and more amenities. Sure the transit system in Cuba still sucks but they're trying. I also recommend watching How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.

I hope voters don't fall for this electoral trick being played by Clinton and McCain, two folks who've been in the government system long enough to know how to "play the game". Isn't it interesting that the one who's smart enough not to play that game or run the juvenile attack ads favoured by his competitors is a relative newcomer to the political arena....oh, and look at that...he's still in the lead for the Democratic primary. Maybe voters aren't so stupid afterall. I guess we'll see in a few weeks.


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