Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dispatch Editorial Hits the Mark: Temporarily Low Gas Prices Are No Reason To Celebrate

This is one of the better editorials we've seen out of the normally conservative Dispatch, I think.

There are so many reasons to agree with this that it's almost too hard to think of them all.
  1. Fossil fuel usage is the number one reason for global warming being the problem it is.

  2. $3.00 gas isn't all that cheap - compared to where it was a few years ago. Our expectations that oil companies were concerned about the communities they serve have just diminished.

  3. Cars promote danger. 40,000 people died in car-related accidents last year alone... ten times the number of US military deaths from the Iraq War since its inception.

  4. Fossil fuels make us sick - whether via pollution from exhaust, pollution from drilling and the industry that goes on around it, or pollution from the refining process.

  5. Cars promote obesity.

  6. Cars create a sense of disconnect from the world around us.
I could go on... but I won't. Read the editorial and enjoy the common sense.
Don't look back
Temporary dip in gasoline prices shouldn't wipe out recent gains in conservation
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:53 AM

Americans, don't start your engines.

Don't rush out and buy a bargain-priced SUV and cancel the bus pass, just because gasoline has dipped to $3 per gallon. Continue to plan ahead so that numerous errands can be accomplished with one trip.

Don't stamp out those fragile little shoots of conservation and energy efficiency that have recently taken root.

Less-expensive gasoline is something to celebrate, for the relief that it brings to low-income families and for the drag that higher prices exert on the U.S. economy. But it shouldn't be the signal to rush back into the bad habits that have helped place the country at the mercy of foreign oil suppliers.

Americans' willingness, at long last, to try to rein in their use of fossil fuels has been the silver lining to the spike in oil prices. It's an important benefit because it goes beyond saving money and oil; less pointless driving, combined with a move toward better fuel efficiency, has meant less pollution.

High gasoline prices have encouraged more central Ohioans to take COTA buses to work, cutting down on traffic congestion and giving the system a shot in the arm that could help pay for better bus service.

Taking a longer view, high gasoline prices have spurred interest in compact urban development and discouraged long-distance commuting -- trends that could preserve farmland and open space and make communities more livable.

Of course, many people love their cars and their suburban homes, and some won't give a moment's thought to resuming gas-guzzling habits as soon as they can afford it.

But even those who aren't moved by the threat of climate change or the look of Downtown parking lots should consider a hard fact: Regardless of what it costs, oil is a finite commodity, and the United States consumes far more than it ever can hope to produce.

Shortages, and thus higher prices, are the inevitable future for oil. National security and economic health depend on people weaning themselves from the stuff and turning to alternatives.

Developing energy sources and technologies, along with improving the efficiency of our machines and our personal habits, are among the keys to future prosperity and comfort.

The future of oil is a dead-end.

People, not speed.

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