Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Inevitable Rising Gas Prices Makes Our Lives Better!

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.

Related Links:

1) Interview with author Chris Steiner
2) Los Angeles Times
3) YouTube interviews...
4) Newsweek
5) The book $20 A Gallon on Amazon. A great interview here too.


tweetey30 said...

Ok I can see maybe 7.00 dollars a gallon but really 20.00??? OK Ok maybe I am just over looking the obvious.. but still its the thought.. Take a look I have new pix up.. And some more on Saturday evening sometime.

Candy Minx said...

Well. it might take a few years for it to be $20 bucks a gallon Tweetey. The way the book is written is not about a time period, but using the price of gas as a context for each chapter. Each chapter describes what the world will look like at say $10.00 a gallon for gas. Or $14.00 a gallon for gas.

It's a fascinating book.

SME said...

I'm with ya. A world with more walkers and cyclists, people meeting their friends and neighbors in the streets instead of being ensconced in their Hummers with the stereo blasting away all distractions? Living where you work and working where you live, instead of retreating to the burbs every night in rush-hour gridlock to "escape" the life that you actually live every day? Getting together for a movie at the local arthouse theatre to see some student-made films rather than driving to the edge of the city to see a mindless, over-produced summer blockbuster at the nearest multiplex chain?

I can see it. It just might be beautiful. In fact - it IS beautiful. I know because it's the life I live already. It rocks, and I cordially invite the rest of Canada to join me.

Four Dinners said...

Oi!!! I'm about to train as a driving instructor...you just frightened the shit out of me!!!!

Good job I love yer!....;-)

Candy Minx said...

SME, nice to see ya, it's been a while. What is interesting to me about this books observations is that for people we can't really legislate new habits. Economic factors are every bit a part of "punctuated equilibrium" which is a facet of paleontology that says evolution can happen in leaps and bounds. As the cost of gas goes up...people are naturally changing their lives. If you asked someone five years ago to move from the burbs to downtown they would be horrified. As soon as they realize they will save thousands of dollars getting rid of a car...well...

Four Dinners, sorry to frighten you. The $20 gas is probably 10 years away. Besides...it's likely someone will invent a personal vehicle that doesn't use gas and peopel will still need driving lessons for these potential new vehicles.


* (asterisk) said...

But the crazy thing is, oil prices have fallen, but gas/fuel providers aren't passing the cuts on to consumers. We use less fuel because of the higher prices. Obv we need to run our essential work tools (computers, lights, etc) and to cook our meals, but as regards heating, we just put on more clothes. Fuck the Man!

SeƱor Steve said...

I like this and hope I will be around to see it. The gnashing of teeth by the species is great spectator sport.

Candy Minx said...

Asterisk, I'm with you. Hey, in this book one of the other predicitions is that people will move south in big waves in order to avoid the cold weather costs of heating. I find this fascinating. One of the reasons people will also move towards urban communities is because we will share alternative and future energy solutions like massive wind mills and solar generated power. Electricity will probably become carefully measured as well.

About the gas prices falling...I believe there have been some major subsidies made to gas prices in order to avoid people freaking out. The prices are going to rise again there is no choice. I think Suadi Arabia and the govenements of the countries who buy their oil have an arrangement set out to avoid panic. These subsidies and arrangements will be slowly dropped off and gas will rise again. Sweaters is a great idea!

Senor Steve...I think you will be around to see these changes. And I agree with you. The spectator sport of seeing all the world adapt to new tools and ways of making a living has been a huge source of pleasure for me. Who knew within five years so many people would be using home computers in 1991. No one in the domestic realm. Who knew that the annoying contraptions of cell phones would become the norm? Camera companies had no idea that kids would want cameras on their phones...cameras almost went out of business (I think polaroid did!) because the cell phone companies stole camera business based on the demand of children and young people. Amazing!

I believe urban centers are going to be so interesting in the next ten years...it will be a place where vertical farms pop into useage. Homeless people will be our new yardstick for how to live with savvy. People will start having more loal music events with local musicians because the concert tickets for airfare and support will be too expensive. Rock musicians will have to travel by sailboats.

I started thinkign last night...gee do I have to get to Europe by next year? (well we want to anyways ha)...

but I think we'll see somethign like A 65 foot sail boat with an armada of smaller sailboats making European and international travel a very different site. People could learn how to sail...becoem part of the crew and cook...and make their way to Europena vacations for months.

The work place might need to be accomodated to support these new vacations that will take longer.

It's one thing to have a weeks vacation and fly to Purto Rico...but...when planes cost too much...we will need to have more vacation time in order to explore other countries. In order to take a train across North America and visit family...we will need more time allotted by our employers.

It's possibly going to be quite exciting!

Red said...

Great post, Candy. I am one of those people who look forward to the day when oil/petrol will no longer be affordable. We'll all end up using less of it, the world will be a better place (hopefully! Let's all pray we don't turn into Mad Max!) and the gas companies will have shot themselves in the foot. The good guys win!

As for sticking it to the man, Asterisk and I have already adopted that approach. More layers, less heating is definitely the way to go.

Candy Minx said...

Wow, Red, great to hear from you...I love it that there are so many of us out here ready to stick it to the man...the comments here have given my spiritis quite the lift. I've bene laughing and laughing. We've had some rough days around here and it's so good to read the comments and get a little distraction!

Fuck the system...demand orgasm now!!!

Gardenia said...

I think when oil is gone, water will be the new political machine. We'll see. The mindset of most people is reflected in what someone told me the other day, "Don't know why they don't just open drilling full force in the U.S., we have 100 years supply left." Ok, what about our grandkids. There is no push in the U.S. that I know of to expand public transportation. Our road and bridge infrastructures are collapsing one by one. I don't think our cities could stand an influx of all us "suburbanites." For me, it would be a huge paradigm shift to become a city dweller - I like lots of green and trees and plants around me, and a clean unsmogged sky over me and a bit of country quiet. Frivolous? Perhaps. Something about the western mind that constantly moved to look for that space about them.....our future will be interesting to watch transpire.

Candy Minx said...

I have one word for why no more full force drilling in U.S.


We do not know how much the off shore oil drilling may or may not have compromised the ocen floor. Many of the things we have done...like settle in river sides, in the Gulf of Mexico area and cut down trees in order to develop housing or industry...have compromised the lands natural ability to fend off winds and storms. Itis at this time unclear whether the ocean floor has also been compromised. So I say...why drill when we don't know all the long term setbacks and side effects.

Water is already a commodity and scarce resource. There are many countries who do not have any of their own water supplies and depend on importing water.

This resource scarcity offers us a chance to ask ourselves..what kind of people are we? Are we people who would not share water?