Who’s Really to Blame for High Gas Costs?

It’s easy to blame the “greedy oil companies” for high gas prices. We hear a lot of talk about “supply and demand.” Let’s talk driver to driver.

First… go to your garage or driveway and see what kind of vehicle you are driving. Do you see a big truck, a van, or other gas-guzzling vehicle? Why did you choose that vehicle?

If the only thing you carry in your pick-up truck to work is your lunchbox, get out a mirror and take some of the blame for the demand that’s causing $4/ a gallon gas prices.

I drive by a construction site every day and their must be 200 pick-up trucks carrying just one guy back and worth to work each day. Whatever tools may be in the trucks would fit in a smaller vehicle. These aren’t trucks delivering the materials used to erect the building…these are “I like sitting up high” vehicles rarely used to move friends or to bring home large items. These vehicles could be rented when needed while a smaller fuel-efficient car could be used for daily travels. The amount of money now being burned to drive these vehicles could pay for another car now.

“Yea, but I need it to pull my (boat, camping trailer, motorcycle trailer, horse trailer).” Guess what…for most people, these are LUXURIES….not necessities.

Not only do these big vehicles costs their owners more money…they pollute the environment, they steal from future generations (FYI oil doesn’t grow underground overnight) and they make the roads more dangerous to those driving small cars.

Everybody who owns a car is feeling the pinch of rising gas prices and the ripple effect on the economy. Have you ever thought about those who have always taken mass transit? Did you ever think about WHY some folks in some cities ride the bus? Like those people who make minimum wage and can’t save enough to buy and maintain even an older beater car. They’ve been budgeting for bus passes for years. In some cities, bus service sucks…limiting their job choices. And what about disabled people who maneuver bus routes in wheelchairs? Do you think they are all making big bucks with a world of “welcome” signs greeting them wherever they go?

Here’s another thought. You decided to move out of town a-ways. Owning a piece of land or a newer home in a newer suburb requires you to drive a truck, van, hummer, or SUV. The best paying job you could find is 60 miles away. So now it’s costing you a small fortune to commute…while in some cities, there are whole neighborhoods of old buildings sitting empty. Some of these places were abandoned years ago due to “white flight.”

Now get out a calculator and figure out how much you saved in taxes or per square foot when you justified your home purchase however many years ago that was. Perhaps you have lived far out long enough to still be ahead…but now when you figure in the cost of driving back and forth to work…where you going to cut back? Your retirement plan? I think a lot of people are going to do the math and buy a smaller car. Others may decide besides the hassle of the commute, they could net more money with a lower-paying job closer to home Remember, everybody doesn’t earn a high salary and they’ve always had to watch what they spend on things like food, shelter, and clothing.

Here’s another argument: I need a big car to drive the carpool to school.

Do they have big subdivisions in Europe? Does everybody there pile into a van or SUV to get to school? Are they are a lot of wide open spaces criss-crossed by highways full of SUVs, RVs, etc.? Did you ever compare our gas costs with theirs? Does anybody know how to walk in this county? Who created – and bought into – the way we American’s have designed our communities?

I used to hear a lot of talk from architects about designing “green” communities and the importance of urban planning, blah, blah, blah. So one time we were in Washington, DC for a convention and we had to travel across town for dinner. Most of us took the Metro….but some of the architects took a taxi. Gee, were they afraid of the subway? Were they too classy for the train?

In the end, everything is local. Local to your household. And now that gas prices have invaded your local pocketbook, the alarm signal has been set off. “Something’s gotta be done!”

I think there are a lot of people out there say, “Yea, no kidding. We’ve been struggling for awhile. Where have YOU been?”

3 Responses to “Who’s Really to Blame for High Gas Costs?”

  1. green4u

    Great post. When I looked for my house a few years ago we did look farther away and we decided not to do it because we did not want to have to drive to get to everything. As gas prices go up I wonder how low housing prices will go in those areas to make up for the increased commuting cost.


  2. intuitivelyobvious

    Good point. I think we’re about to find out. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Theresa

    Yes I do drive a mid-size SUV. I purchased it because of my accident. I don’t want to drive a tiny automobile anymore. The price of gas is a decision in my driving, but my safety in a car comes before the cost of tank of gas. Anyone who has been in a head on collision would feel the same I think. On the other hand, I only drive 15 miles round trip daily for work, so the size of my car doesn’t bother me. I wish I had purchased a home within walking distance of stores and such, but I did not, so I drive. I make my trips together (or coming home from work, etc.) and I cut back on other things (dining out, etc.). It’s hard but I manage.

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