Thursday, April 27, 2006

entitlement


remember the oil crisis of 1973?. how about 1979? doesn't matter, because you're definitely going to remember the next one. bush and the republican party refuse to learn from history. it's as if they have no knowledge of what's transpired before. the united states, the richest, most resource using, polluting country on the planet, is a dinosaur.

did this country learn nothing from the previous oil shocks? it certainly doesn't seem so. for such a self-confessed addict, america acts differently from other oil-dependent nations. take japan, for example. unlike any other oil-importing developed nation, japan fared particularly well in the aftermath of the world energy crisis of the 1970s. japanese automakers led the way in an ensuing revolution in car manufacturing. the large automobiles of the 1950s and 1960s were replaced by far more compact and energy efficient models. in the west, and particularly the united states, auto manufacturers were forced by market conditions to offer alternatives to v8 powered tanks that handled like boats and boasted fuel gauges where the needle visibly dropped whenever the gas pedal was floored (a friend of mine used to own an old amc javelin that actually did this).

sadly, for the world, the initial moves toward more efficient automobiles and alternative sources of energy stalled as oil prices fell and memories of gasoline shortages of 1973 faded.

2006. so americans are fed up and angry about paying $3 for a gallon of gasoline. this absurd air of entitlement is the result of a 50 year love affair with big oil, a government that refused to implement legislation aimed at auto manufacturers in ensuring more fuel-efficient vehicles, and a public accustomed to not paying what every other citizen in developed countries pays for its gas. today's sorry sad state of affairs is the responsibility of those lawmakers who consciously made bad decisions, even when faced with the lessons of history past, and a future certain of one thing: the age of oil will come to an end.

successive american governments have sold this country out, both with regard to its future energy needs and a population protected from the harsh realities of simple economics. ronald reagan's removal of solar panels from the white house looks real clever now...

i first came to america in 1995. i was absolutely floored when i saw the price of gasoline being paid at the pump. a dollar a gallon! it was a total shock. i saw it as if this country viewed gasoline as a resource solely belonging to present generations. today, ten years on, i still see the same thing, but this time, the public are angry, why? because for the first time, they actually see high prices of gasoline as part of their future. now, perhaps for the first time, the average american doesn't see oil as something they can choose to use as freely as possible and as cheaply as possible, with no regard for the future. the age of entitlement is nearing its end.

the cost of petrol in the united kingdom is around one pound sterling, that's around $1.75. but that's for a litre (1/4 of a gallon), a gallon will set you back a whopping $7.00 or so!. guess what? the united kingdom, and most of the rest of europe has small, fast, interesting designed and fuel-efficient cars being offered for sale to a very knowledgeable, and aware, public. of course, what's good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander, america has very different needs. but for the auto industry and the government to continue to do nothing but react instead of innovate, this strategy, if you can call it that, is going to look pretty stupid when economic reality finally bites hard enough to hurt the nation as a whole.

last time I checked, a hummer h2 is taxed as a commercial vehicle, just so it can get around weight legislation. just when was the last time you saw a hummer with a company's logo painted on it's doors?

welcome to the future. either pay a lot now, or pay a great deal more later. one thing is certain, however; you will pay.

just don't hold your breath waiting for this administration, the oil companies, or the auto industry (who still want to sell you a pick up truck, despite whatever their hybrid adverts say) to take a bold step forward. they're all too busy keeping the status quo.

a nest of thieves has no interest in honesty outside its own members.

all those that elected bush into office the first time around can pat themselves on the back for picking a real winner for humanity.

all those that re-elected him (an ex oil man) are getting exactly what they voted for. you must be a very proud bunch.

2 comments:

JasonSpalding said...

Have you ever looked at a map of gas prices in the United Stated based on county? Have you compared it to the results of a presidential election based on a precinct map?

D said...

I wrote about this issue yesterday at my own blog rockpaperscissorsgun.blogspot.com in a post entitled “President Asks “Why the Heck Am I Making So Much Money?! Heh Heh Heh Oh Wait, Is This Thing On?”, Orders Investigation of Oil Company Profits”.

I am incredibly surprised that I've not heard word one about conservation - all the talk is about how to get prices down. I was born in 1973, right during the embargo. I remember my mother telling me that one day we had a land yacht V8, like everyone else in suburbia, and the next, a subcompact Japanese car.

This country is capable of conserving, but the example needs to be set, or at least suggested, at the federal level. “Investigating” gas prices just encourages the idea that it’s not our fault and we are entitled to cheap fossil fuels in unlimited supply.

My advice to my neighbors who can’t afford to fill the tanks on their SUVs: buy a bike. Sure, you all look at me sideways when I ride by with my groceries in my bike’s basket, but my fuel cost: $0.

Though I still feel this intensely American need to wear a shirt or carry a sign that says “I have a car too!”. I just don’t drive it unless I absolutely have to.