You know, people are funny. We can discuss how driving is bad for the environment...and is a waste of our money...but people will still keep driving.
But...a savvy armchair anthropologist will know that all human activity, including rituals, are directly a response to economic and earthly factors.
When gas costs too much humans will stop driving.
People drove 1 billion less miles in 2008 compared to 2007.
Your bathroom cabinets are made from oil. Your wind protective jacket is made from oil. Your digital camera is made from oil. Your computer keyboard is made from oil.
$4.00 a gallon was the stick that broke the American carmakers.
$6.00 a gallon over 4000 lives will be saved. That is more people saved than died in the World Trade Center bombing. These lives will be saved because less people will be driving and less vehicle accidents will occur.
$7.00 a gallon people will abandon the suburbs. 10,000 lives will be saved from less car crashes and less air pollution. We'll save 30 billion on obesity related diseases. People will lose weight.
$8.00 a gallon gas will crush the airline industry.
$9.00 outsourced jobs market will disolve. The job economy in U.S. will expand for green jobs and it will be cheaper to make a computer in America than ship it from China. Jobs will return to home soils.
$14.00 a gallon Walmart will be abandoned "ghost boxes".
$18.00 a gallon high-speed railroads will serve our travel needs.
$20.00 a gallon we just don't do oil anymore. People who will do the least amount of adjusting in the future are those who already live more sustainable lives. Where you live largely determines how you live. Buying solar panels for a house at the far edge of the suburbs, for instance, won't alter how the future affects you. Moving to a walkable neighborhood where groceries, your kids' schools, your office or a train are all within several blocks-that's a change you'll profit from and a place where the future will be kinder.
The mounting cost of gas will dictate cultural changes, housing changes, civic changes, education changes--it will leave nary a spot on the globe, or how we live, unchanged. Not all of the change we face is gloomy. In fact, many people's lives, including many Americans' lives, will be improved across a panoply of facets. We will get more exercise, breathe fewer toxins, eat better food and make a smaller impact on our earth. Giant businesses will rise as entrepreneurs' intrepid minds elegantly solve our society's mounting challenges as gasoline prices inevitably rise, changing the world economy and our lives forever. The world's next Google or Microsoft , the next great disrupter and megacompany, could well be conceived in this saga. It could be a battery company, a breakthrough solar outfit or a radically innovative vehicle manufacturer. This revolution will be so widespread and affect so many that it will evoke the Internet's rise in the late 1990s.
But this revolution will be even bigger than that. The Internet allowed us to buy a book online, to peruse information at will and with speed. The rising price of gasoline, however, will reshape your house, your car, your town, your stores, your job, your life. America has never seen so great an innovation spur as escalating petroleum prices. This tale will bring with it all the global impact of a World War and its inherent technology evolutions--minus all the death. Some people even welcome oil's coming paucity and expense as one of humankind's grand experiments. And, in fact, it will be so. The future will be exhilarating.
1) Interview with author Chris Steiner
2) Los Angeles Times
3) YouTube interviews...
5) The book $20 A Gallon on Amazon. A great interview here too.