The Price of Gas

It seems to me that just about nobody has the right to complain about the price of gasoline.

Particularly people who waste it. I mean, people will complain about the price of fuel while they sit for ten minutes idling in their car while they wait for someone. Or people who choose to drive around in a vehicle that weighs 3 1/2 tons in order to, 90% of the time, move a single person. And then there’s the people who drive barely reasonable vehicles that at least can get over 20mpg without too much trouble, but they drive it like a 16 year old; accelerating towards red lights and stop signs only to have to brake anyway, and taking off from traffic lights like they’re on their way to a fire. I mean, did these people not go to high school? Do they not understand the laws of physics or the conservation of energy? Or how about obese people who choose to drive to a destination, on a beautiful day, that’s less than 2 miles away? If you do any of those things, how could you possibly complain?

I mean, that’s like flushing your toilet with milk, and then complaining about the cost.

If you can afford to waste a resource as amazingly energy dense as gasoline like that, then the price is clearly entirely too LOW. Particularly since its price isn’t adequately reflecting its external costs.

Think of it this way. Take someone who drives around a 10 mpg behemoth versus someone who chooses a 50 mpg, efficiently-driven hatchback. The 10 mpg rich guy is paying 5x as much for fuel per mile of travel. That means, the price of gas could go up 5x, and he could continue to drive just as much as he always does for the same price, he would just have to switch to the 50 mpg car. Which means that some people are so amazingly inefficient in their use of fuel, that they could still afford to drive around if the price of gas was 5x its current price. With gas around $5/gallon right now, that means most people could easily afford $25/gallon gasoline without any changes to their lifestyle other than their choice of car.

Which is why it completely puzzles me when people talk about the dire possibility of $8 or $10/gallon gas. That’s NOTHIN’! Many people could do $25 without a problem. The only people who would really suffer are the ones already doing all they can to be efficient.

Now, if you were driving around in a two-seater ultra-light vehicle that got 100mpg, never idled, and rarely exceeded aerodynamically inefficient speeds, then ok, I’ll buy you a beer and you can complain to me about how hard it is to fill your tank. Until then, be grateful this amazing resource even exists, and stop treating it like it’s as abundant as salt water.


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One Comment

  1. Posted May 7, 2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    last week I was traveling and rented a FIAT 500. Tiny little car, but what a blast to drive. closest thing to a motorcycle on four wheels.

    Plenty of room in the front. The back looked tiny and the trunk was too. Still, for most people in most situations it would be fine.

    Every time I walked up to it I couldn’t get over how small it is. But it handled the road and 80mph just fine and I never felt unsafe.

    maybe the govt. should just buy us all a 500. Oil import problem solved and cheaper than going to war. ;)