Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dear Americans: STFU About Gas Prices

I'm afraid I can't help but be annoyed when I sign into Facebook and every other (American) friend is complaining about gas prices.

Gas is $3.63 per gallon in my hometown of Rome, Ga right now.  Granted, it will be higher elsewhere in the States (I'm hearing rumors of $5 per gallon in California).  The equivalent cost of a gallon of gas in England right now?  $9.50.  That's right.  $9.50.  So, dear Americans, I say to you sincerely:  shut the fuck up about gas prices.  No one wants to hear it.

America's pursuit of cheap oil has been a leading force in the destruction of our planet and the people on it.  If you aren't happy with paying high prices for gas (and really, you shouldn't be happy with the world's, and especially America's, over-reliance on oil in the first place), then do something productive about it.  Here are some ideas:

1.  If you have public transportation in your town, USE it.  Subways, buses, bike-friendly lanes- if you have any or all of the above, support them by using them and save some cash in the process!

2.  If you don't have public transportation in your town, start pushing for it.  The local level is really the only place you still (might) have influence anyway, so band together and use it!

3.  Bicycle or walk for short trips.  I know how America is laid out, and I know simplistic directives like "ride a bike" and "walk" aren't always feasible.  I also know that many of us don't even bother to walk or bicycle short distances when we very well could do so.  So do it.

4.  Your town isn't bicycle or pedestrian friendly?  See #2, above.

5.  Carpool.

6.  Stop it with the fucking SUVs and monster trucks already, assholes.  (Unless you have a bona fide need for such a vehicle for your business).

7.  Support unions and unionized workers.  Unionized employees usually enjoy better pay, benefits, and working conditions than their non-unionized counterparts.  You know what better pay is good for?  Paying for expensive gas.  So join a union and/or support your unionized fellow citizens.

8.  At the very least, taking off your fucking me me me glasses and have a long look at the bigger picture. Then, instead of whining about the price of gas on Facebook, turn that energy toward advocating for better conditions for workers, for bicycle lanes in your hometown, for the upgrading and expansion of Amtrak as a public good, etc. etc.

Look, I've been an American struggling to make ends meet and complaining about the high cost of gas.  I wasn't really looking at the bigger picture, and I'm sure I came across as just as much of an asshole as my friends come across to me now.  So consider this whole post just a little friendly advice.  A learning opportunity.  And then STFU about gas prices.


4 comments:

  1. I sincerely have been hoping for years that our gas prices get even higher. As long as we keep getting pinched there's no reason to change. Once gas prices become something you can't afford then you can make a change.

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  2. Unfortunately, rising gas prices have made my bus prices jump, too :(

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  3. Hi Katie- That's a good and fair point. Sorry! :(

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  4. Rising gas prices do affect transportation costs and even the most dedicated recumbent cyclist will be impacted unfairly by that. But vehicle owners have made the choice to drive, none of the big car companies are pushing for practical, viable alternatives and bitching doesn't lower the price. We made our bed, we have to lie in it, so pay the price and stfu. I totally agree.

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