The other day, I filled up both my cars with gas on the same morning. They were both at a quarter tank, and it took over $92 to fill them both up. I’ve known for a while that we’ve been spending an astronomical amount of money on gas, but that just brought it home for me. Not good at all.
Not only am I killing my budget with the price of gas, but every dollar I pour into my gas tank literally puts weapons in the hands of terrorists who would love to destroy our entire way of life. So, I’ve had it. The question is, what do we do?
Faith and I had a conversation this morning about how to conserve. Three things come to mind immediately… drive 10mph slower and keep the house 5 degrees warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. We’ve been doing two out of three (missing the turning down the A/C, but need to make that happen too), but I’m shocked at how many people I know that aren’t even thinking about it.
I have to wonder why people don’t seem to be reacting at all to the war and the terrorism crisis we’re facing as a nation. Driving the expressways in Chicago, people pass me like I’m standing still. I’m down from 75 to 65 on the 55-mph-speed-limit roads, and people are whipping by me at 80-90. I wonder if it even crosses their minds to slow down. Set aside the fact that it helps our country. Do they realize they’d save hundreds of dollars a year in gas?
The internal home temp thing is even easier, as long as the thought occurs to people and they’re willing to sacrifice if and when it does. What gets really hard is backing off of vacation plans, not going places we’d normally go, etc. For instance, Faith and I are working on making the (hard for us) sacrifice of only taking one car to church on Sundays. Might not sound like a big deal to others, but challenging to us, because we’re involved in all kinds of different things. This would mean a lot of coordination that we don’t currently have to do — a sacrifice, but not a big one in the grand scheme of things.
I wonder how we as a nation would react if we were suddenly back in the rationing mode we experienced in WWII?
I think part of the reason people don’t react is that this is one of those situations in which it takes everyone making a little difference to affect a large overall change. Always in that mode it’s hard to get people to do their little part, because they all they feel is the sacrifice … very hard to observe the positive overall effect they’re shooting far.
But either way, we as a nation have to do something. And even if we don’t, I will. I can’t handle the cost of the gas, and I can’t handle the thought that I’m funding the Iranian nuclear program, the terrorists in Lebanon, Hugo Chavez’s recent $3 billion Russian weapons purchase, etc. We’ve got to get off the oil, but until we do I’ll be driving slower, hiding in the nice cool basement in summer, and calling everyone to figure out what they can do to help.
Technorati tags: gasoline, terrorism, terrorists, lebanon, venezuela, hugo chavez
A programmable thermostat can also help. In the winter you can drop the temp overnight while you are under blankets, in the summer raise the temp while you are at work.
Jeff I so agree with you here. There was an absolutely fascinating Thomas Friedman piece on tv about two months ago that highlighted many of these same points. His fundamental argument was that our overdependence on foreign oil was funding islamist extremists. The show then went on to highlight ways we could save energy and be greener. My favorite thing was that he closed the piece by talking about how being green and environmentalism were once considered to be for pie in the sky idealists or hippies but that now green was the new red white and blue and that it was the most American thing you could do. I am going to try to find the name of the piece so I can refer you to it. I think you would enjoy it.
I am having trouble coming up with the name of this special. I think it was close to the time of the release of “the world if flat” If anyone know the reference maybe they can help
The documentary was called “Addicted to Oil” and played on the discovery channel. The next airing is AUG 14 2006
@ 08:00 PM (Don’t know which time zone they are using)
Re: now green was the new red white and blue and that it was the most American thing you could do
I’ll go with you on this to an extent. However, remember that part of the problem here is that the environmentalist lobby is adamantly apposed to new refineries, drilling for domestic oil in places like Alaska, building nuclear power plants, etc. So, as long as being “green” doesn’t mean going to that extreme, I’m all about green. The “new red, white and blue”… We’ll see. I guess I think there’s a difference between being “conservation minded” and being “green”, which now drags with it a lot of (political) baggage.
And it goes without saying that there are problems on the other side with big corporations (like the oil companies and auto makers) and their lobbies who have a very shorsighted view of this problem.
Both the greed of some corporations and the idealism of some green organizations could get us all killed.
that was the point that green doesn’t have to mean extreme. Being conversative with resources is green, it is a matter of being a good steward and a responsible citezen
Great sentiments JB! We have been conserving (to an extent) as well. I must admit it’s not because of any altruistic reasons – you are a better man than I. I’m a cheap son of a gun.
It’s really cute to call for Americans to start conserving energy, but let’s be serious here, what are we really going to do about it? Remember, the government did not simply ask people to ration in World War II.
First of all – our addiction to oil is very similar to a crack addiction. The burning of fossil fuels at the current rate is poisonous (if we disagree on this, it’s time to start a greenhouse effect blog, actually if we still disagree despite 20 years of scientific study, I’m not sure I’d want to bother). Also, our suppliers of oil, like drug dealers, do not exactly have our best interests at heart. They’re aren’t great people to have around the neighborhood. Unfortuantely, like crack users, we are convinced that we can’t live with out oil. This is a serious problem.
Crack is whack!
We need to deal with the problem now, as in today. Drilling for oil in Alaska is only postponing the inevitable. It’s like saying, “Please, can I have just one more cheap fix.” Those that know me, know that I am not opposed to ANWR drilling because I want to save the cute, cuddly caribou. Despire my recent visit to Alaska, I really don’t give a flying antler about them or the beautiful scenery. Although, in light BPs recent irresponsibilty in the area, I am now having some environmental concerns.
No, I’m opposed to ANWR drilling for practical reasons. First of all, we got lucky in Prudhoe Bay. There was more oil than initially expected. Because we got lucky, no permanent solution came out of the energy crisis of the 70s. We went back to our old ways in the 80s and 90s and funded the jerks that are making our lives miserable now. Another 20 years of excessively buring fossil fuels with a bonus of the Exxon Valdez dissaster. No one knows how much oil is in ANWR. If we allowed it, there could be little there. Or worse, there could be another 20 more years of oil going through the Alaska pipeline.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to break our addiction to oil. JB’s solution of drilling for more is not going to help. So, what is a country to do?
Please explain to me how you read that entire thing and got out of it that “JB’s solution is drilling for more”. I can’t believe you said that. I’ll write a post on what I think we *should* do.
If we *do* drill for more oil, it would be a SMALL piece of the puzzle, and be temporary (in that it would reduce our dependence on middle east oil for the near term, while we work on longer term solutions). And even then, it would only be *any* kind of solution if we sanctioned more drilling in concert with a bunch of other stuff.
I’ll pontificate later.
Our problem is that currently nothing can match the energy density of oil. Nothing can touch it economically either. Drill hole -pump. OK my job is a little more tough than that, but much easier than trying to extract and store hydrogen. Don’t fret young padawan, I see the future a little more hopefully. We are well past the peak in world oil production, and we have already grabbed all of the easy oil. As we go after the tough oil (Canada has as much oil as Saudi Arabia, but it is very hard to get – google Athabasca Oil Sands). As gas gets more expensive, my guess is about $6/gallon, alternatives will become economically viable without incentives. Oil use will decrease until an economic balance is found.
I know this does not address the environmental impact, but it does prevent the “Thunderdome” secnario. I would also add about the Prudhoe Bay incident. All metal corrodes over time. They only lost 500 gallons (A kiddie pool). And if you had an inside perspective as to the length big oil is going to be more environmentally friendly you would be impressed.
Admittedly this is all good for my employer (Halliburton) as we are the most environmentally friendly energy services company, we have more work than we can handle.
My biggest push would be for more nuclear power plants as they are the only existing technology that can realistically meet most of our energy needs without contributing to global warming.
It also doesn’t address the near-term economic impact. With the average American mortgaged and credit-card’d to the hilt, don’t you think it’s going to get a bit ugly while we head north toward $6/gallon. We need to take the area of alternative fuels by the horns, and not just wait around for the economics to force Exxon’s hand naturally. Again, post coming on my opinion of the details.
And I’m all for more nuclear power plants. Why don’t we have 50 more?
I am sure it will have some impact, but I think we can absorb it pretty easily.
I will say it again that the average person spends little of their transportation costs on gas it is just the most visible expense, but assuming some people do here is a little math. Average person drives 15,000 miles per year. Gas is about $3/gallon.
1. GMC Yukon, epa ave 15 mpg, $3/gallon = $3,000 a year in gas
gas moves to $6/gallon
2. Honda Accord (4 cylinder), epa ave 29 mpg, $6/gal = $3,100
Both haul 5 people and have very close passenger volumes.
Compare this to the $5000 to $8000 per year they are paying for the vehicle (assuming they finance it). And $800 to $1200 for insurance, $500 for maintenance, parking, license, etc.
Jeff, you make good points…
The gas prices are killing our family. For the past couple of years, we have had to cut back on so many things. A couple of examples are…We never travel in the car without making a planned route to use our gas for its maximum efficiency. My husband and I have committed to driving slower to increase our miles per gallon. Often, he picks up groceries or goes to the bank on his way home from work to save me those “out of the way” trips. Our children are only enrolled in after school activities that are affiliated with their schools, so they are not being driven from place to place unnecessarily. These activities are also less expensive, as our extra money is being put into our gas tanks.
I am always angered by what seems to be an unchangable government. It seems to me that the individual American citizen is too bogged down by their 50-60 hour work week to have time for being a politically active person. Who has time to write their congressman, and who really feels like this will change anything? It seems that the current power, oil companies and their lobbyists, have way too much to loose by changing to more efficient, environmentally friendly, cheaper solutions to powering our cars and homes. They also have endless money to spend to keep our legislative government officials voting for bills, laws, and tax breaks, that maintain the current energy status quo.
Living in a democracy makes change a slow and difficult process. We wait for an election to vote, wait for a legislative session to have a bill introduced, wait for a new law to become effective, wait for a new administration to come into power, etc., when what we need is an immediate solution to a very dire problem. Right now, I feel we are funding our own downfall. When we drive fast, buy “gas guzzler” vehicles (because they are the safest for our children), and put $3.00 a gallon gas in our tanks, we are ultimately funding oil company executives, and Islamic nations (OPEC) who have citizens that want to destroy and kill anyone who does not believe in their extremist religion. If we can’t get our government to hear us screaming at them to try alternative fuels and energy sources NOW, I am afraid we are in for a future in which we are no longer the most powerful nation in the world.
Here’s a ten-years-later idea… Solar Roads! Very interesting… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlTA3rnpgzU