Remember this one?
From National Public Radio: Rising Gas Prices Could Put Sting On Summer February 19, 2012
The national average for unleaded gas has risen to $3.50 a gallon only three times in history. This year's rise to that threshold is the earliest ever, and the Department of Energy suggests that prices could near $5 a gallon by the start of the summer driving season. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin talks with Phil Flynn of the futures brokerage PFGBEST.
Well, aside from noting that the $3.50 number should be looked at in an inflation-adjusted context, that is a worthy admonition to Americans. Think ahead.
|Yep. Getting expensive again, relative to historic U.S costs. Figure from previous link in InflationData.|
As I've said before, we don't know what the future will bring in terms of energy costs. Energy is a global commodity and the state of the world economy is as unpredictable as predicting who will make the next major gaffe in the Republican Presidential Primary. So let's make sure folks have reasonable options that can share the spotlight with Old Belchfire. Keep yer options open. Save the gas money for vacation. Ride yer bike to work or the store.
Steve and Cliff Slater have intimated or said, all forms of commuting have their costs. One is we value our time: bicycling longer distances can eat up time. Unless one is poor or responding to other drivers (i.e. lack of parking, closeness of destinations such as on a college campus) the choice to bicycle is often not made on economic terms but rather lifestyle choice. Or, as in Honolulu, traffic was so bad there really wasn't a time penalty for my choice to bike to work. I had a hot shower waiting for me when I got to work, though, so I could hammer the eleven miles to the University, making as much or more forward progress as motorists.
Separately from all that, gasoline and crude oil are extremely energy dense liquids but they are after all non-renewable resources. Americans tend to think of two buck a gallon gas as a birthright but in a world market increasingly shared with other major industrial economies, the remaining oil in the world (as well as non-traditional fossil fuel liquids) will be up for bids. For those out there who say "drill baby drill", lets not forget the ancillary costs of drilling. Its not every day we soak the Gulf Coast in oil. Not to mention, even offshore oil fields have limits as well as risks. Harder to get energy (deep drilling, secondary recovery, etc) will only be exploited as prices rise, so there is, Newt Gingrich's assertions not withstanding, no free lunch in capitalism. Keeping one's options open as far as transportation makes transportation sense (I'll pass on the health and environmental bennies for now).