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Zer Netmouse
May 14th, 2008
01:02 pm

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Better than a gas tax holiday

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From:dagibbs
Date:May 14th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
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When energy (gas) prices were low, Americans were buying hug gas-guzzling environment-polluting monster SUVs, urban pickups, and the like.

Higher gas prices are a good signal, hopefully the market will respond with reduced usage and more efficiency. In fact, historically US gas prices have been among the lowest in the world (with the exception of a few oil producing nations which subsidise their gas prices to below cost).

This complaint feels like expectation of privilege... wah you took our unnaturally cheap gas away from us wah.
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From:dagibbs
Date:May 14th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and not to speak about the urban sprawl, huge suburbs, and massive lawns and mansions that cheap gas has allowed.

And, then there's all the farmland lost to this urban sprawl.
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From:knightlygoddess
Date:May 14th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
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I live out by the farmland. I have to commute more than 30 miles in any direction to get to a major town or a place of employment. We have always bought responsible and high-MPG vehicles so that we could save as much gas as possible without having to sacrifice the beautiful area where we live. We do not have a sprawling lawn, we have a regular lot, on a small lake in the country.

I feel that my bitching and whining is totally allowed. :P
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From:dagibbs
Date:May 14th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
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You have CHOSEN to live 30 miles from anywhere. Having that choice, even if you try to mitigate it a bit by using an efficient vehicle, is a choice allowed by the cheapness of transportation (gas) that was available in the past. Being able to comfortably live 30 miles from anywhere is, very much, a rich-world western phenomenon.

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From:knightlygoddess
Date:May 14th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
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Actually, I didn't choose it, my parents did. Because of the economy, we are unable to sell my mother's home, preventing us from moving closer to "somewhere".
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From:dagibbs
Date:May 14th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
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My apologies, your parents CHOSE to live somewhere unreasonable.
(Deleted comment)
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From:elizilla
Date:May 14th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
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There are a a ton of reasons why the USA's style of urban planning is just plain bad. Leaving out the environmental costs, the biggest problem with it, is that it makes it impossible for those who can/should not drive, to live normal lives. Completely stranding the young, the elderly, the physically challenged, the mentally challenged, the substance abusers, the poor, and the chronically irresponsible, is not an appropriate urban plan. When you create this type of environment, people who know they should not drive, but who kinda sorta can, get behind the wheel, and people get hurt.

This structure didn't happen by accident. It was chosen, most of us adapted, those who didn't adapt are not visible in public life, and most people can't conceive of anything else. They imagine that this is just the automatic, accidental result of "freedom" as if no decisions were made and we all just fell into this pattern by accident. But there were decisions here. This is not a level playing field.

The higher gas prices are going to hurt us all. But if people can take a little wisdom from it, and make some different choices, perhaps we'll reach a new equilibrium where people can choose not to drive and still live normal lives, instead of being forced to drive when they really don't belong behind the wheel, just so they can live somewhere decent and put food on the table.
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From:dagibbs
Date:May 14th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
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Toronto has a functioning subway system. I have lots of friends that live in Toronto without owning a car.

I have friends who live in Ottawa without owning a car. They will rent a car when they need it, or use an urban car-sharing type program.

I have lots of friends that live in Montreal without owning a car.

Canada had approximately the same gas costs 50 years ago. We still have sprawl -- there are far too many people who commute to/from Toronto from the exurbs (scary that that word needs to exist), but different choices could have been made.

To a certain extent I think it may come down to a different balance of collective good (which is often long-term in its benefits) and individual benefit (which is far too often short-term in its benefits, but long-term in its bad effects).
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From:elizilla
Date:May 14th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
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The USA doesn't have a lot of places where you can live without a car, and the places it does have are so expensive that they're beyond the reach of many of the people who truly need to live without cars.
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From:dagibbs
Date:May 14th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
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A feeling of "entitlement" was the word I was looking for there at the end.
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