As I was coming home from picking my daughter up from school yesterday, I noticed that regular unleaded gas is creeping up towards $2.00 a gallon again. On one hand, this is good, because increased gas prices forces consumers to think about not only their driving habits, but also their car choices. Smaller cars and better fuel efficiency is better for our environment.
Increasing gas prices also will hopefully smack the car manufacturers getting bailed out into rethinking their horrid choices in "fuel economy" vehicles. I think it's laughable that any car manufacturer can state that their hybrid behemoth, that gets 30 mpg, is "fuel efficient". Hell, my Honda Civic gets better mileage than that, costs $22,000 less and it ain't even a hybrid.
On the other hand, increasing gas prices puts pressure on the pocketbooks of many Americans that are hurting from the flailing economy, many of whom don't have many options with alternative forms of transportation. Of course, farmers are hurt tremendously as well, particularly those who are dependent on petroleum-based fertilizers, but even organic farmers are hard hit as their farm equipment depends on petroleum fuel.
So, should we be rooting for higher gas prices or crying over it? I honestly don't know. The whole issue is a double-edged sword. Either way, we lose something. It would, of course, be ideal for gas prices to be low and have people still choose the most fuel-efficient car or opt for public transportation and/or walking or biking instead of private vehicles.
It also would, of course, be nice if last summer's gas price inflation had struck enough fear into the hearts of consumers that their future choice in vehicles primarily revolved around how many miles per gallon they got instead of how prestigious/cool/big it is.
As an aside, the other day at work I got a chance to fondle one of our fleet hybrid vehicles that was converted to a plug-in electric. It's a Toyota Prius that is now sporting a standard plug on its bumper (see above photo), a set of batteries in the trunk and 100 mpg. Swoooon!
Anyway, what about you? Do you have mixed feelings about gas prices or are you happy about them being low?
Life without oil: Part 1
Who Killed the Electric Car: movie review
Fuel cell: Fool sell
Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that will Recharge America
Build Your Own Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle
Build Your Own Electric Vehicle