Problems Aren’t Just at the Pump

While half the Arab world faces violence daily, from the way people here whine, you’d think one of the world’s most heinous crimes is paying $4.30 at the pump.

About 4,000 children die every day because they don’t have clean water, but people here have the nerve to rant about gas prices as if it were the greatest injustice on Earth. And while I’m sure we’re all a little guilty when it comes to complaining about an extra $10 at the pump, the worst part is people who don’t do anything about it.

Exhibit A: Some genius on Facebook (surprise) thought the solution to lowering our gas prices was for everyone to boycott gas stations on March 14, and only March 14. Of course, a boycott for a day isn’t effective since everyone ends up buying gas the next day or the day after that.  Nevertheless, 600,000 angry people joined thinking it was a good idea, and hoping others would do the actual boycotting.

But even if it had succeeded, the biggest harm would be to local gas station owners who have seen a great loss in sales, not the oil companies. Thank God people were too lazy to even boycott, or their actions could have harmed business owners while oil companies stored the oil for another day.

Exhibit B: Politicians calling for offshore drilling take second place in this stupidity battle. It’s been only nine months since BP’s little accident devastated the Southern states, yet politicians still have the gall to demand more oil. Obviously, the environment must be subservient to the goals of the almighty SUV. According to the Energy Information administration, more drilling would cause gas prices to go down by a few cents, but the relief would come in 2027, not tomorrow. But even this relief comes at the cost of environmental catastrophe. Not to mention that we’d be postponing the inevitable shift from gas to renewable energy.

Exhibit C: Tea Party governors are blocking funding for high-speed rail, which consequently keeps gas prices high. The Wisconsin and Ohio governors refused federal funds to build high-speed rail between their major cities. These governors seem to have missed the point that high-speed rail would discourage the use of cars and lower gas prices due to lesser demand. In fact, Europe, Japan and China have all been enjoying the effects of 120 mph trains at half fares while our asses are stuck on Amtraks that go 60 mph on a good day. There’s a budget deficit, but realistically, there’s no way to lower gas prices without receiving some form of assistance. Oil companies aren’t going to learn empathy and lower costs. BP, with $66 million in daily profits, already had a tough time being persuaded to adequately compensate victims of the spill.

So, what to do about gas prices? First, consider yourself lucky for living where cars are practically a birthright and gas is, relatively, dirt cheap. Don’t forget to use public transportation — with free MTS bus stickers, there’s no reason not to.

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