The Upside of Costly Gas

I’m sure that by now many (most?) of you are sick of hearing about gas prices, but I thought I’d throw in my own two cents anyway. According to a recent AP news article, high gas prices have resulted in an increased reliance on public transportation. If this turns out to be a real (and substantial) trend, and not just a bunch of media hype, it will not only decrease demand for oil, perhaps helping to moderate prices, but it will also help with regard to other urban woes, such as traffic and pollution.

In fact, an AP story that was released earlier today reports that gas prices have dipped slightly in the wake of reduced demand. With the summer driving season just around the corner, it’s just a matter of time before the downward trend reverses itself, but… At least in the short term, this is the kind of news that many of us have been hoping for.

In terms of real, long term changes, I doubt that the whole mass transit fad (if there is one) will hang on. But maybe the skyrocketing gas prices will serve as a wakeup call to those that are in the market for a new and improved SUV that guzzles even more gas than the one that they’re driving right now. As for myself, I’d love to be able to hop on my bike or plop down on a bus or train to get to work. Unfortunately, I live about 12 unbikeable (unless I want to die) miles from work, and public transit really isn’t an option in my part of town. Moreover, I haven’t been able to come up with a workable car pool. Thus, I’ll have to be content to drive my reasonably efficient car (a 4-cylinder Honda Accord) and continue my new habit of telecommuting one (and sometimes two) day(s) per week. Hopefully the rest of you are doing what you can to save gas, thereby keeping prices down, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, reducing pollution, and easing traffic.

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