Thursday, April 27, 2006

All this oil business

Wow, the last couple of weeks flew by quickly. After hearing stories about oil prices on NPR everyday for the past week or so, I thought I'd weigh in:
  • First of all, can republicans and democrats (intentionally not capitalized since they're acting like children) quit pointing fingers and blaming one another for everything. Yeah, we have oil barons in the white house. I'm not sure they have the power to single handedly raise the price of crude oil all around the world. Yeah, the dems blocked legislation to drill in Alaska. We probably wouldn't have gained that much oil anyway. Quit trotting out 101 lame excuses about how it's the other guy's fault.
  • Second, as I see it, this crisis has little to do with all of those lame excuses mentioned above. It has a ton to do with the fact that we are bottomless pits of oil consumption. We all drive around in our cars BY OURSELVES and wonder why gas prices go up. In response to a question about how we can drive oil prices down, one expert simply said, "Drive less." Wow! What a concept. Now, I drive around Nashville by myself a lot, so I'm totally complicit in this, but I'm also not complaining that the oil companies keep gouging us. Does it suck? Yes. Is it all their fault? No. We keep paying the prices that continue to rise, because we just have to get to work in 15 minutes when it would take 30 minutes by bus or train.
  • Third, I wonder if our lawmakers could make some headway by actually introducing legislation designed to address the problem of so much individual consumption. What about subsidies for municipalities that are willing to bolster mass transit services? I can tell you that if there was a bus system of some sort that ran throughout Williamson County, I'd use it to get around. What about more bike paths when the department of transportation widens roads? What about anything besides pointing fingers and being upset while standing at the pump filling up our cars?
  • Finally, maybe some of us need to do some serious self reflection about this issue. What kind of vehicle do we drive? How often do we drive when we could walk? Could we conceivably carpool? Do we need to encourage our local towns and counties to think more seriously about mass transit options? If we're unwilling to make some of those sacrifices, I'm not sure we should be quite as upset with the oil companies for doing what they've been trained to do in a free market capitalist economy, which is get as much money as you can for the product you have to offer from those who want the product.
In the words of my former brass caption head Bill Watson, "That is all."


noell said...

right on!!

you are such a smartie!

personally i'm a big fan of forgetting about cars for a while and focusing on mass public trans... i LOVE riding buses and trains places... when i lived where there was good public transportation it was onderful time to listen to music, nap, people watch, read, cath up on things... it's pretty consistent in timing too, so you know for the most part when you need to leave and when you'll arrive...

that's my two cents!!