Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gas Prices (part one)

A few weeks ago gas prices in the Treasure Valley area of Southwestern Idaho temporarily peaked at a little over four dollars a gallon. Most of the country was having a similar experience as gas prices reached new highs nearly everywhere and the news media focused on the increasing cost of gasoline for many days. Some blamed the president while others said that speculators were the cause. Of course the oil companies are always at fault when gas prices increase. Still others blamed the Democrats in Congress. In addition we can't forget the environmentalists who are nearly always at fault, whenever concern is expressed about the poisons from burning fossil fuel being released into the environment, and how they contribute to illness and global warming, as they have always done.

On the positive side, the news media also reported that the number of miles driven in the country compared to similar time period last year was significantly less. That is hopeful news considering the reduction in mileage driven took place rather quickly and apparently without the need for legislation. In the meantime motorists of Western Europe are paying seven to ten dollars a gallon for gasoline (or the equivalent Euros per liter for petrol), and I highly suspect that there were few if any stories in their news media about their citizens complaining of high gas prices. If fact, American complaints about the cost of our much cheaper gasoline was probably a bigger news story in Europe, as well as a source of humor for Europeans.

However it seems as if most news media outlets in this areas missed the easiest and quickest method of reducing the cost of gasoline. Next to using mass transit or some form of transportation that does not use gasoline, the easiest way to cut your cost of gasoline is to simply slow down. Although I usually take the bus or walk, when I've driven in the past couple months I've tried this solution many times. I've driven 40 MPH on West State St. between Collister and Glenwood where the speed limit is 45 mph; 30 mph on Glenwood, Chindon, and other streets where the speed limit is 35 mph. Without exception the minute I slowed down, I was passed repeatedly by others going the same direction on that street. Although nearly everyone was complaining about high gas prices, very few people were actually doing the simplest thing anyone can do to cut their gasoline cost, and that is "drive slower." In fact many of them were exceeding the speed limit. Unless you're driving an emergency vehicle, try slowing down. If you're still driving the speed limit or faster, you have no legitimate reason to complain about high gas prices. Since people are continuing to drive as they did when gas was cheaper, apparently the price of gasoline is still not high enough.

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