Got Gas?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The price of oil and gas continues to rise and people aren't happy. Truckers in London and fishermen in France have blockade ports and shut down highways in protest with hopes that the governments will cut European fuel taxes. I understand their concerns and sympathize somewhat. Natural gas prices here in Alberta are expected to almost double next month. Yesterday must have been one of those days where everyone is focused on one topic because the subject of Wild Rose Country's call in program was all about the rising prices as well, asking callers if it was changing their habits.

One thing that became crystal clear from the radio program, and touched on by Andy's recent post, is that the public wants the government to do something (whether it's gas tax holidays, lower prices, etc) but for the most part, people haven't changed their habits. This is a huge problem. In all fairness, Andy downgraded his vehicle to a much smaller model with better mileage. But what about the rest of you car owners? How many folks out there are carpooling? Or taking public transit? Or walking instead of driving? Taking shorter showers? Putting a sweater on rather than turning up the heat? Or, as I did (but for different reasons) send parcels a bit earlier by surface mail rather than letting them fly? It's all fine and dandy to demand the government step in to try and help out but until we're willing to do something to help out and lessen the demand, it's just going to delay the eventual outcome.

We have to remember that oil and gas aren't a renewable resource. Well, it is but you have to wait a few million years... Solar and wind power? It's all around you and not going anywhere. Bio fuels aren't the answer. Given the rising demand, if we make the switch it'll just end up with more and more farms growing crops for fuel rather than food. Look what's happening with corn right now?

So, folks, before you start demanding rebates, government assistance, and lower prices, take a look at what you yourself could do to lower your usage. Until we all start using less, nothing will change. Perhaps it will take Chavez's promised $200/barrel oil for people to start parking their cars.

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