High Gas Prices Can Make You A Better Person

If you've read this blog long enough, you know that I believe that gas is still way too cheap. When our fuel prices match those of Europe, then we may start to see some real change in behavior. We could easily get there, by raising the gas tax, of course. Not only would people suddenly be turned off about their cars, the extra earnings could be used to innovate on transportation (individual or public) that did not rely on gas, or relied on gas very efficiently.

Despite my Libertarian-ish ways, this is a different sort of tax from an economist way of thinking (if the pop non-fiction I've read holds true) because the tax is put in place to motivate behavior, as opposed to a government tax that is put in place simply because there's not enough money.

Anyways, this leads to why I really liked this editorial in the Enquirer a few days ago from the Des Moines Register about how high gas prices could eventually improve our lives. He looks faaar into the future, past the benefits I just mentioned:

Tough as it is, [high gas prices] could force us to make adjustments that result in healthier, more communal and environmentally friendly living. And they could push governments and businesses to help provide the infrastructure.

...At the most basic level, it should give a much-needed boost to public transportation, especially in cities that don't have extensive bus routes or late hours of operation. If enough people start riding, and demanding, better routes and times, maybe we'll get them.

...More commuters may be inspired to ride their bikes to work, a great heart-healthy exercise. Then we might get more bike lanes.

...And since the cost of gas is most felt by companies and people doing long-distance travel, it might inspire the federal government to finally get behind better long-distance passenger rail service and even high-speed rail between major cities.

...Some communities are looking at four-day workweeks, which could promote a better quality of life and more family time.

And if people limit their forays to the mall just to hang out or exercise, and start using their neighborhoods for recreation, maybe we'd see more block parties and picnics and a growing sense of community connectedness.

Pie-in-the-sky for sure. Right?

1 comment:

Barry Floore said...

You never know Gerard, the last time we had such a big crazy oil situation, it changed the world: we will forever be able to take a right turn on red.

And can you deny the importance of THAT?

It was nice to meet you today :-).