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Stop Driving!

I'm hearing a growing chorus of people calling for government intervention to halt the increase in gasoline prices. My response to such calls is this: If you want the price to drop, change your travel habits. Kick the habit. Get off the juice. The price is increasing due to two very real reasons, neither of which are under the control of 'greedy oil barons'.

  1. Increasing demand (more cars on the road, increased fuel consumption of big-assed SUVs and performance cars, China and India and other developing countries ramping up to consume more oil.)
  2. Static or diminishing supplies (please don't bother telling me there's an unlimited supply of oil - there is a finite limit on production capacity, and increasing capacity takes ten years or more. There's a limited quantity of oil that can be pumped, refined, and delivered on any given day.)

Consumption of petroleum is not a right. You do not have a right to an unlimited quantity of gasoline, nor do you have a right to purchase it at prices below those set by the market, and therefore you do not have the right to force someone to deliver it to you at a fixed price. To call for government intervention so that you can continue to consume a limited commodity as if it were twenty years ago, is shameful behavior in my book. Now, lest ye label me an eco-fascist, I have no problem with people driving cars that get only 8 miles per gallon. I do have a problem with people choosing high-consumption vehicles, or choosing a high-consumption lifestyle, then whining about the price they have to pay to fill the tank. The sooner gasoline reaches $5 or $7 or $10 a gallon, the sooner we will have viable alternative fuels and technologies available on the market, and the sooner we will see a shift in people's habits - to wit: carpooling, telecommuting, realigning priorities to match reality. It'll be painful, but market pain is what is needed in order to deliver the message: "Stop driving so damn much!"