By John Dodge
Posting in Cities
Fear not a world with little or no oil for it will spawn innovation and opportunity. That's not to say there won't be pain as we wean ourselves off oil. Author Chris Steiner puts what I have been thinking in his new book "$20 Per Gallon." by John Dodge
Author Chris Steiner has taken the glass half fuel view of impossibly high gasoline prices and I like what he has to say.
Steiner whose book "$20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives" came out July 15, has resisted the bunker mentality where an oil-less world forces us to retreat into hovels and bring along the guns. Steiner is a civil engineer turned Forbes magazine reporter.
Rather, he sees opportunity in a world weaned off oil. I happened to catch the tail end of his pitch on Boston public radio station WBUR this morning.
"We're talking about cleaner environments, more walkable lives, better public transportation and more vibrant cities. There is little to be scared of. The rising price of gas will unlock countless doors to innovation, opportunity and change," he says in a Q&A on Amazon. Beyond that, fewer miles driven and slower speeds means thousands of lives not snuffed out on America's roadways.
I agree with his progressive vision and wrote a post two years with the headline "Green Engineering Repellent: Cheap Energy" except I got only as far as $5 a gallon gasoline. Bring it on!
But a world with expensive and scarce oil will be painful.
"At $8 a gallon, the airlines close down (now you know why airplane makers like Boeing and Airbus are aggressively pursuing biofuels such as algae). At $10 a gallon, Disney World goes dark. At $14 a gallon, Wal-Mart is done. It can’t afford to ship products," says the WBUR teaser for Steiner's airing on WBUR's On Point show.
Indeed, oil is in everything. The audio book excerpt for his book lays it out in no uncertain terms (I have not read the book, but will...it's available on the Kindle for $9.99).
"It's in bricks in walls, plastics (which can be made from corn in the burgeoning field of bioplastics), asphalt in roads and the synthetic rubber in your ball. Stop what you are doing and look around..at your shoes, shirt, windows and your kitchen. The U.S. imports 67 per cent of its oil, but only 40 per cent goes into our vehicles' fuel tanks. The rest is used to make, shape and fortify just about anything you can imagine," he says.
Folks who lead sustainable lives now will be the most prepared for the era of scarce and expensive oil although he doesn't think $20 a gallon gasoline is imminent. One of my points in yesterday's post about the auto industry's heavy and sudden emphasis on electric vehicles was that I refuse to buy a new car with solely gasoline propulsion. The car piece of the oil-less equation is quickly being resolved although electrics have yet to become mainstream or plentiful.
"People who will do the least amount of adjusting in the future are those who already live more sustainable lives. 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," he says in the Q&A.
It's back to the future.
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Sep 17, 2009
never have i read so much rubbish most of these people have thier heads buried in the sand and are speaking from the highest orrifice.they need to get out of the office and look at the real world.
ecbo @54 jrlambert AND --- Soviet-style controls? We've had that for a hundred years, ramping up more since WW2. It's called corporate welfare and the military-industrial complex ... now the military-industrial-security-communications-networking-infotainment etc. complex.
@ #69 aeschylus What you wrote on ICE and oil futures is on target. Wm. Engdahl has written some heavy analysis on it. One futures trading company opened up an office in London, after lobbying for the right of London-based brokers to trade on energy in NY ... bypassing the US financial regulatory system. But the company is based in Chicago and Atlanta. What do you call that sleight of hand but fraud? It is like in the 1800s when some corporate owners convinced some legislatures to permit "holding companies" so they could (virtually) set up shop by re-incorporating in New Jersey or Delaware to jump over the state laws where they were located --- making corporations more powerful than States, and therefore above democracy. Corporate Globalization is phase 2 of that, corporations already more powerful than nation-states, including America. Banking bailout?
reading the moron hater comments, I had to re-watch the vid. the guy says the price of gas *WILL* go up. He does not say "make it go up" by padding it with an additional $17 of taxes. He says "it's coming". Then he talks about two aspects, coping and benefiting. A lot of pain, some gain. Giant corporations have benefitted by FREE government subsidies on transportation for infrastructure and fuel (including free military services to protect Exxon's freighters and various pipelines), creating an anti-Market disadvantage for smaller competitors --- read book entitled "Molloch" by Kevin Carson on the inefficiencies of "Sloanism" and government subsidies. I cannot comprehend how this many people are so functionallly illiterate so as to confuse analysis and prediction of a fuel crisis (and his assertion that "it might not be so bad as most people think, but very different") with him ADVOCATING a fuel crisis gas --- as if he has the POWER to do so. I'm not reading "science" responses --- this must have been Drudged or some such with everyone told to go and comment.
Jeff Rubin a former CIBC economist has a book - Why your world is about to get a whole lot smaller. Like this fellow he flags how dependant we are on oil - There will be I believe a peak price for oil also. There are advantages to high oil - called local economies - When it becomes more expensive to ship long distances buying local becomes the economical choice. Something both these fellows miss is the wealth of resources we have locked away in our landfills. With all the government debt in the world a carbon tax INMHO is what we need now - better the extra price go to paying down debt - adding services then lining oil companies pockets.
I don't understand why nobody has addressed the issue of the inevitability of the rise to 20. Gas price per gallon didn't rise more than two dollars up or down per barrel until the new millennium. The price per gallon all through the eighties and nineties fluctuated around 22-25 dollars per gallon. Has anybody asked the question how the price of gas is determined? If you think it is a supply and demand equation your wrong. There is a couple of financial institutions that trade futures on oil as well as a couple of foreign agencies (ICE) who are now allowed to operate in the US. This has allowed the amount of options and the set price to spiral out of control. Pure speculation that has nothing to do with the Oil companies nor the supply of oil. If you really want to fix the issue ask why these processes are allowed to occur unchecked. Global warming has more to do with the tilt of the planet and water temperature then PPM of carbon. This is the easiest thing in the world. Limit the amount of options traded and the price they trade at and this all goes away. The annual per capita income 100 years from now is estimated at 90k. Today it is 8K globally. You think we will have a little more money and resources to deal with this issue then? Why are we breaking the bank now and forcing the Green Tech Crap era? Good luck!!
...and is not a ?moving target?. The only thing that moves are the tactics that are used (by all parties) by those who see the Constitution as a barrier to their statist goals. Nobody will or can state where the Constitution authorizes a socialist health care system because it simply does not exist. The idea would have been simply abhorrent to the founders. Of course, taking care of people would be ?a good thing?. But then again, since when has the federal government demonstrated its ability to do so without grave and disastrous consequences. In case you?ve already forgotten, federal efforts over the last 30 years to make home ownership affordable to poor people nearly collapsed the entire banking system. Our Ethanol policy has been exposed for the economically and environmentally disastrous program that it is; and yet instead of killing it they?re working to expand it. The ?stimulus? was nothing more than a pork-spending orgy. The ?cap-and-trade? bill is over 1400 pages of special interest exemptions and give-aways. Just this morning I read that as we print and borrow trillions from the Chinese Communists to fund our spending orgy, we?re lending over half-a-billion dollars build $90k sports cars. And you expect the same people behind these corrupt, disastrous, and bankrupting agendas to do better with your health care? The idea ?that we could probably do it more efficiently w healthcare reform? would be simply laughable, if it weren?t so tragic. So basically, what you are saying is that because 10% of Americans are unable to take responsibility for themselves, we need to flush the system for the 90% that do, and literally become slaves to the government in the process? Well, that?s socialism for you! It?s never elevated the masses, but it does tend to spread misery around equally. Well, equally except for those who will be exempt. (Of all the Marxists I knew when I was in school, I was always amused by how absolutely none of them saw themselves as becoming one of the ?workers?)
Oil is both a precious resource and a damaging one. It is currently priced based on supply and demand, not the value of it benefits or the cost of its pollution. But a dramatic rise in price is way too disruptive. For the last 20 years I have be advocating a $0.25 yearly increase in the tax applied to gasoline to allow society to adjust and bring us on a par with Europe. If the gasoline cost falls, I would increase the tax so that the consumer price holds steady and we build long lasting preferences for alternatives and reduced consumption. $20 per gallon, I am not sure about that, but reaching $6-10 gradually would help us conserve oil for the long term future needs of the planet while reducing pollution.
I'm all for sustainability and innovation but hoping that gasoline prices rise is madder than a bag of wet cats! I'm largely replying to enjoy the novelty of being on the same side as the global warming deniers... By the way, current UK price of a US gallon of petrol is roughly $6. It's very amusing to hear someone referring to $5 / gallon as some nightmarish post-apocalyptic scenario! But then, I don't have a car; that might help me see the lighter side.
That we take care of those who cannot fend for themselves is a good thing except that we could probably do it more efficiently w healthcare reform. And I am not talking about Soviet style central planning that lead to biggest famine in recorded history. No one is, but I do think government looks out for people who can't do it themselves. We are the only major industrial nation wo a public healthcare plan of some sort. I'm am completely for personal responsibility and let's face it, such a proposition applies to 90 per cent of us..... The constitution and what the founding fathers meant is so wide open to interpretation, it's a bit of moving target. The Supreme Court is still trying to figure it out.
Mr. McGrew and wbranch are by far the best replies to this blog. I wholeheartedly agree with them. People have forgotten how to take care of themselves and apparently now need an almost communist form of government to do it for them. The sadder part is that most even have no shame.
You said: "Some people are simply unable to fend for themselves and role of government is to take care of them at a very basic level." Can you cite any constitutional reference for that? In fact, I would even argue that people are already taken care of "at a very basic level" in this country. Contrary to popular myth, nobody is denied care in this country. In fact, that's part of the reason the bills for those of us who do pay are so high. What "really gauls me" are people who honestly believe that we can implement Soviet-style central planning controls to solve these problems, especially given the transparently corrupt nature of business in Washington. You'd think that after the complete fraud that is the Ethenol fiasco, we'd all be over this. But clearly not.
wbranch...I agree and disagree. Some people are simply unable to fend for themselves and role of government is to take care of them at a very basic level. That includes those who cannot afford commodities such a healthcare and oil as you put it. What really gauls me is your comment "asinine healthcare debate." What planet do you spend most of your time on? That comment is beyond the pale. Our healthcare system is careening out of control. I guess we should just shut up and let that happen. C'mon...you've said some intelligent things here, but that is not one of them.
Heating your home is not a right, it is your responsibility to yourself. Heating, whether it is oil or some other source, is a commodity, just like with this asinine healthcare debate. Healthcare is a commodity, whether you like it or not. You can not simply ignore market realities because you want everyone to have their basic needs taken care of. You have the right to pursue happiness, not the right to automatic happiness.
Here's a crazy thought. Instead of making oil more expense so 'alternative' energies can 'compete', why don't the alternative energy companies focus on making their products' costs come down to meet oil? Then we'll have real innovation. Henry Ford didn't demand that horses cost $5000 dollars a pop to make his product competitive, instead he developed this thing called an assembly line that meant he could sell to the common man and compete with the existing technology on ITS price level, not an artificial one. Oh, and lets not forget, you want solar panel, until you actually have to build them, then they take up too much land and destroy ecosystems. You want wind farms, except when it comes time to build them, then they chop up birds and are an eyesore. You want biofuels, except, oh yeah, they require gasoline to produce and are more environmentally devastating than oil itself (fertilizer required, land used, etc.) and cause farmers to plow under wheat and other food crops. If and when these technologies are ready for prime time, then I'll be happy to adopt them, but never in the history of man has there been a need to force people to adopt a technology, technology gets adopted because it is better. People chose bronze over iron because it was lighter and more durable, not because of a government mandate. People chose cars over horses because they made their lives better and easier not because they were forced by artificial market conditions.
Oil depletion is not going to get us where we need to go in terms of climate change and cutting GHG emissions - well before the price gets to $20, we'll see another big recession and substitutes (natural gas) - and the oil price will have little impact on power emissions. Read more about oil-running out and other disaster scenarios on my blog http://climateinc.org especially http://climateinc.org/2009/09/the-age-of-wisdom/ and http://climateinc.org/2009/08/a-tale-of-two-meltdowns/
Ok, ok...do I want to pay $20 a gallon for gas? No, of course not. I was taking license with the headline, but it got your attention. My primary point is when the price of gas goes down, we get complacent and throttle back on innovation and committment to oil alternatives. Fortunately this time around thanks to a new team in Washington, we're continuing to forge ahead on renew-ables even with low gas prices. A secondary point was a world with less oil can be a good thing, not the end of civilization as we know it. A future without oil could be better than one with it. A few of you who commented got that. Many of you went off the deep end, got mad and said drill some more...that simply is not the answer to anything. What kills me is that many of the fools who want to drill, drill and drill also think Obama is hijacking our children's future with debt. But the money he is spending on the smart grid and renewables is investing in our children's future (he also helped save the global economy, BTW). To those who really struggle economically, I have great sympathy. Heating your home should be a right, not a privilege. The sooner we figure our a non oil way to that, the better off we'll all be.
OK, you're going to read it on your *Kindle* (which cost more than most people in my country would see in several years) which is made of plastic, uses batteries (probably Lithium-Ion, several times more toxic than lead, but for some reason no one seems to care...) that recharge from electricity probably generated from coal, which also powers the computer you use to browse Amazon to buy the Kindle and download books. And you're worried about excessive energy use and sustainability?
Where do I begin, where do I end!? ..... I'll just throw a couple things out: 1) Gas went to $4.50 a gallon, and the economy all but collapsed. 2) OK, OK, I know it was about the housing collapse, and all the bad loans. - Well if gas is $20/gallon it'll cost me $2,500 a month to heat my house and $50 a day to drive to work, I'll either quit my job, get fired, or live in a box outside of my office, I'll just abandon my house (along with all my neighbors out in the high-tax, big-mortgage, expansive burbs) The banks will go broke along with the entire federal, state and local government.
Apparently a lot of people did not read the book or watch the interview... While I think the author's premise for his book is not likely in the near term ......... I remember getting gas for $0.18 gal in 1970.. and if someone said I would be paying $2 gal... it would have gotten a response similar to those stated above. The conversations created with "$20/gal" are similar to : - population control ( population grows to match resources available) - "fallacy of the commons".. resource control vs common good - HOW MANY PEOPLE ON PLANET vs freedom of individual? (More people alive today than ALL people of recorded history combined ....Last 10,000 years vs today) - present population level cannot survive without Oil. And as fast as technology can change.. we can make people faster. His point .. as this resource becomes more expensive (for what ever reason )... life styles (everything) will change... Duh The only real questions ... how fast the change? how much the change? Change is inevitable... the interesting part is the details.
I want some of that ZDNET Koolaid ! WOW. Now the facts. CO2 is not even a pollutant. The world is cooling and will be for the next 3 decades. Scientist after scientist is coming out and speaking against "global warming". We have tremendous reserves of natural gas and oil here in the US. What a powerhouse we would be if we drilled for it instead of shipping it in. There are eco-friendly ways to drill for oil. If gas was that expensive no one would go to work. Great. May be we could all get bail-outs ! This article is probably the worst piece of journalism I have ever seen...but then there isn't much good journalism these days. It will take time to go to newer technologies but nothing comes without a price. Batteries need metal. Wind and solar farms need a lot of land to build. There is no magic carpet out there although I suspect some of these writers are on one now......
I say drill as much as possible and use it all up as quickly as possible. Need is the mother of invention and until we HAVE to do something else we simply won't do anything else.
Someone needs to take this guy out back and smack him around a bit. Calling for the destruction of our way of life is nuts. Instead, let's migrate to new sources of energy over the next 30-40 years. I don't feel bad about enjoying my vehicle. I don't feel bad about running a boat. I don't feel bad about taking airplanes to faraway places. I do NOT feel bad about chasing the American dream. I refuse to feel bad for living life.
The ultimate effect of higher prices of oil is not how much it costs for soccer moms to run their kids to practice, it's how much does it cost to harvest an acre of wheat, to transport cattle to market, or to deliver your groceries to the store. Of course, in your magic world that all just happens, right? Farmers don't need to make money, truckers don't need to make money, as long as mother Gaia is ok. Hooey! Nobody is talking about the major infrastructure changes that need to happen, they just say things like; "$20/gal gas is fine....pass the potatoes, oh there are no potatoes?"
We're on the verge of converting cellulose into ethanol on a mass production scale, and should be able to do so by 12/2010. Pilot plants are already successfully doing so. There are enough wood chips, grass clippings, and saltgrass available locally to supply all our needs. $3/gallon is more than enough to tip the scales in terms of economic viability. Steiner needs to take the blinders off, stop ignoring evidence that says he's wrong, and recognize reality for what it is before it runs him over.
This is not going to happen. There are already thirteen million vehicles in the world using LP gas. The U.S. has plenty of natural gas. If gasoline goes up so much, vehicles can be retrofitted relatively cheaply to run on LP gas.
moron. Make all lefty nucases like you pay all the taxes since you love screwing the taxpayer so much. You want higher taxes then YOU PAY EM!.
Sustainability can be easily obtained along with health care affordability by simply creating a hybrid industry which mines "crude oil" from the fat found in an obese population of people and pigs. The food industry could go back to producing more "twinkies", and the like. We could all sit around eating "happy meals" all day long and accomplish little else, the way we currently do. No one would ever be compelled to walk or go to the gym; in fact, the government could redistribute the wealth of lean people by taxing them to fund fat farms. You could get a "job" at one of these farms by becoming a domestic oil producer. Exxon/Mobile could open "service stations" where individuals who aren't "employed" by fat farms could get liposucked on their way to their civilian jobs. There could even be a an exchange discount when filling your vehicle if you have made a deposit of fat. Far more feasible, profitable by design, as rediculous as anything written here, and oh yeah, Americans will find obesity stylish. Every thing will run on "Clean Diesel", that close relative of "Clean Coal". Are all the brain damaged people in the world living in the USA??
1. Hemp. It was vilified back in the day by JP Getty, Rockefeller etc because it was the most efficient source of energy there is. They wanted us hooked on what was at the time their biggest waste product: gasoline. They had been kerosene manufacturers and were basically dumping gasoline into the waterways. BTW they also paid for the pro-prohibition movement because alcohol also competed with gasoline. Nice huh? Our problems today all stem from pure greed, and stupid headed manipulation of markets that occurred over 100 years ago. Mind you prohibition had zero to do with drinking alcohol. Read the law, drinking wasn't illegal, manufacturing was. 2. I think if you check your facts we're not about to run out of conventional oil any time soon. They haven't tapped 1/10 of what's available on Alaska's north slope. Not that alternatives are undesirable, and burning and otherwise using crude oil should be obviated as soon as practicable, but there's no reason to panic. I have to chuckle every time I see someone use the term "fossil fuels." One of the biggest wool-over-the-eyes hoaxes of a term ever.
The only good greenie is the one you can clear from your throat and nasal passages! Funny as it seems most replies are from people embracing computer technology but care little for your so called progressive thought. It's time you guys take a hint!!!
...that it will mean the extinction of the brainless "progressives" who contribute little more to our economy than sitting around computers writing about how great $20 oil would be. Subsistence cultures have absolutely no margin for people who don't contribute hard assets to the economy.
Cleaner coal and oil burning technology should be explored now. These resources are still available (even in this country) and can be drilled and mined by American workers.Cap and traders wish to eliminate these valuable resources and all the employment which can be created under the guise of clean air. This is flawed due to foreign competition not adhering to the clean air mandates American companies have to adhere to (also a reason so many people are unemployed) and because the rest of the world pollutes we breathe the same dirty air that they produce. These greenies only promote unemployment and government subsistence. What a life!!!???
Take precautions before owning hybrid technology as well. Batteries can cost in excess of 3,0000 dollars to replace. I wish eveyone had the incomes of these dreamers as well. Something to be said for all the technology we have now, it sure has helped the employment and the economy...... NOT!!!!! How could anyon possibly want more???
Watching video reminds me that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. He is the poster boy for a mind on drugs. Injecting an engineer joke because I am one (ChE.) What is the difference between a mechanical engineer and a civil engineer (Like this idiot)? A mechanical engineer builds weapons, a civil engineer builds targets. This idiot is looking to bring us down to the level of the Taliban et al. I wouldn't shake his left hand if he is already practicing what he preaches.
What an idiot. It is cheap, plentiful energy that drives growth and prosperity. Look at history. high cost energy, simply stifles growth. If he wants to go back to the middle ages fine he has the freedom to live that lifestyle. There were people in the late 60's and 70's that predicted that the world could not sustain todays population. They were wrong too. Even the commie Chinese are embracing capitalism, to some extent and building new energy sources to sustain them. I say build more nuclear now, achieve energy independence on the electric front, then maybe electric cars for some, not all will be feasible. (Limitations on electric car range does not fit with some peoples driving needs.) If energy was cheaper right now, and gasolinge prices were cut, the recession/depression would end practically overnight. Now that would be a real stimulus.
Like the rest of the facist "environmental" socialists this wacko DOES want us back in caves. Alternate fuel tomorrow but for NOW DRILL BABY DRILL
If this kind of hokum is typical of the thinking by smartplanet contributors, please cancel my membership. I don't have time for for such banality.
I'm going to agree with and back up the Englishman here. I'm an expat living in Germany for the last 20 years. Since I've lived here, everything has been at least 2-4 times the cost of living in America, including electricity, water, and gas. You adapt quickly to this, and learn to live with less, and be more energy and resource conscious and efficient. Efficiency is the keyword here, and needs to be at the forefront of any discussion. As this discussion centers around the statement or wish of $20/gal gas, my opinion is that it's doable without the "pain" that some of the people here subscribe to. The secret is squeezing as much efficiency from gas, it's byproducts, manufacturing, delivery and usage as much as possible. Forget about the environmental benefits and "green" BS. Concentrate on the technology advances, research, and business/job opportunities that will arise from finding solutions to creating products and gas from miniscule amounts of the resource, that being oil. Regarding personal lifestyle changes and adaptation, no one should claim, that jumping into a car and driving 10, 6 or even 1 mile to a 7-11 to buy chips, a six-pack, and a DVD, should EVER be equated with "freedom". Freedom is a far more important concept and liberty, than to be degraded by such frivolous wasteful behavior, and making a claim to the right to do so in the name of "freedom".
Some of the best science fiction was/is written by people with great science backgrounds. But, the key word in the writing is "sci-fi". In other words, not real. So, using you "sci-fi" logic, tell me, how soon do you think before we are able to travel at faster than the speed of light? How soon before we can construct the "wormholes" and shoot our way into the past?
In Post #8, Starman said: "modern cities require LOTs and LOTs of fuel to be "vibrant"...large vibrant cities would necessarily die." If you need any more proof of that, just look at the cities of the Incas, the Mayans, the Anasazi, or the "Mound Builders" of the central U.S. And that's only in the Western Hemisphere! One of the "Big 3" sci-fi writers (Asimov, Clarke, or Heinlein) wrote many years ago that there would be three final wars. The first would be over energy, the second over arable land, and the final over potable water. We have had the start of the first (but not the end), so how far off are the others?
It's not very hard to believe that when it comes to the topic at hand that the intended audience is much smarter and has much more common sense and has a lot more and better ideas than the author of the stupid book referenced above. Likewise, the audience has also taken the author of the article above to school. Stupidity deserves to be called exactly what it is. Asinine ideas such as the ones in the book mentioned above belong only in the minds of those who have the same kind of brain capacity as a worm.
This is old school thinking. And has been scientifically proven not to work. Read the brilliant book, "Predictably Irrational" which shows clearly how price increases only influence people for a very short time, and then it's back to normal. Your science, in other words, needs updating.
Who is going to do what with the additional $17/gal. The government start another war? The politicians buy more votes? The clergy help those who will not help themselves? The oil companies do good works? 1 Billion dollar bonus anyone. Third world countries buy more armaments? Duh, the answer seems to elude me.
One of the writers above state: "affect our environment. Even if we drill more, we are well past the peak oil point (for you wikipedians, see the subjects Hubbert Peak and peak oil). The whole point of the article and the interview is that the reality of rising oil prices will drive innovation. That is as all-American as it gets. We are a nation of inventors and innovators." Do you even *KNOW* what the Hubbert Peak is? It is *NOT* the point where the quantity of oil in the ground peaks. It is the point where the easiest to gather oil in the ground peaks. So the Hubbert Peak is the point where we begin to run out of the "low hanging fruit" of oil. There's more oil in the ground...in fact more than we could possibly use...it's just going to get harder to get to it! As for the English dude above who claims that England is making due with $10/gallon gasoline...Of course England can make it on $10/gal gasoline...the entirety of the british isles can fit in the state of Texas! In the United States, it's not unusual for vacationers to drive several thousand miles, or workers to cross several states to get to work (where I live, this happens frequently...people living in West Virginia, crossing Virginia, Maryland to work in Pennsylvania, or people living in Pennsylvania crossing maryland to work in virginia) these twice daily commutes are 100-150 miles each way! Try *THAT* on $10/gal gasoline! Ed
Dave Tracer: Awesome points on French/Nuclear... I totally agree nuclear is our best option for cleaner energy. Wind/Solar are never gonna give us what we want, let alone what we need. Mike106: Life is USA is pretty different from life in Europe - yes I have spent some time in Europe; my wife was from Romania and I have traveled abroad. Here in USA, _everything_ is totally spread out; schools, library, home, work, food, hardware, you name it. My nearest grocer is 6 miles from my house. I go about 4x/week for fresh foods - I have bad knee no way can I practically walk that distance that often. Most ppl drive 30, 45, even 60 minutes 1-way to work everyday. Sorry but our country was built up around the assumption of cheap energy for the past 6+ decades! It could take 6+decades for us to reverse our infrastructure, not 6 years!