Gas prices have been the talk around the water cooler, at dinner parties, and even the presidential campaign. We're all steamed about it, and we feel we must blame it on someone. I have been hearing a lot of talk about how the current President of the United States is to blame because the current average cost is about double what it was when he took office.
I did not vote for the current President, but does that mean I should blame him? I am no economists but I still fail to see how all this could entirely be about his failures.
"Like most of the things you buy, oil prices are affected by supply and demand. However, oil prices are also affected by oil price futures, which are traded on the commodities futures exchange. These prices fluctuate daily, depending on what investors think the price of oil will be in the future. When traders think oil will be high, they bid it up even higher. This soon causes rising gas prices." http://useconomy.about.com/od/commoditiesmarketfaq/p/high_gas_price...
My question is this, What are you as a citizen doing to reduce the amount of fuel you use?
According to Nation Master.com the US uses more oil than any other country. In fact, the US uses more than China, Japan, and India combined, and they are industrialized nations as well.
I have been giving a lot of thought to possible answers to the posed question and have made some disappointing observations.
First, I have in the past attempted to make car pool arrangements with people I worked with. They could never work out a regular arrangement because they didn't want to go straight home after work.
"Gotta run by the store, then Junior has little league practice and Sissy has to go to dance class, and then........"
We are just too busy. Why must we do it all? That is another topic for future, but in the meantime I think if we put more effort into it we could work it out. Does every parent need to go to every practice? How about taking turns toting the kids around? When I was growing up I remember the little league coach driving around the neighborhood before practice. The guys would jump in the back of the pick up and off they'd go. Others would ride their bikes to practice.
Second, does Junior and Sissy really need to go to every social function they're invited to? In some cases that could be two 15 mile round trips. I have noticed a lot of parents, for whatever reason, have no problem toting their children here, there, and yonder at the drop of a hat.
Another observation I have made is that many people, simply because they can afford it, tend to make multiple trips a year to a favorite vacation spot. Just because you have the money to pay for it doesn't mean you should do it during times of stress. Maybe you should just move there if you love it that much.
A forth reason is sort of a pet peeve of mine, and I am sure will get someone's panties in a bunch, but it's my blog, right? I refuse to drive my kids to and from school as long as I pay taxes and the school has a bus service. Why pay the bus driver, bus maintenance and fuel for the bus only to turn around and drive your kids to school? That is like paying double.
There are many other things that we all can do if we care enough to do it. They all range from proper auto maintenance, to walking more, to coordinating trips to town with other necessary trips. Like anything new it will take time, practice, research, and desire. It can be done though!
Instead of stomping your foot and screaming because you have to pay more to do what you've always done, ask yourself what you can do differently to reduce your out of pocket cost. If we all use/demand less oil then the supply will go up and the price will go down. It is a tried and true act. Take some responsibility as a US citizen.... go ahead, I Triple Dog Dare You!