I took pictures at a motorcycle rally this weekend in Hardy. There were hundreds of motorcycles there -- all shapes and sizes. Most of these methods of transportation were at their peak passenger capability, two. That's something you seldom see in an automobile, truck or van. Most times it's one or two people per vehicle traveling down the road.
My husband and I have three vehicles - an older Oldsmobile that gets about 27 miles per gallon, a Volkswagen Beetle that averages 30 miles per gallon, and a extended-cab pickup that stays parked most of the time. The truck is simply too expensive for us to drive. Unless we have a grandchild or two with us, our vehicles are driven with only one or two people inside -- everyday. Not much fuel conservation going on at my house.
Some experts are predicting the price of gasoline will rise to $4 a gallon this year. Some experts say, no way.
Regardless, most of us who are living on the same amount of money we had when gas was under $2 a gallon will need to cutback on a lot of needless trips and other luxuries to keep the conveniences we are accustomed to. Gas prices keep increasing, but our wages do not.
So who do we blame? Our employer for not increasing our paycheck each time the price of gas goes up? Oil companies who are in business to make a profit? The government (which means us) for adding taxes to each gallon we consume? The weather for producing natural disasters that wipe-out entire cities and damage oil refineries? Surely, someone is to blame.
Before we start blaming everybody else, we need to take a look at our own driving habits and what we have done to lessen the consumption of gas. Frankly, most of us have done nothing and won't do anything in the future. Our lifestyles depend on the convenience of automobiles and we're not about to give that up.
Every year for the past several years, when gas prices start edging up, someone starts a drive to pick a day when every driver stays away from the pumps. It's not a campaign to use less gasoline -- just get your gas the day before or the day after a specified date. What do we accomplish with that?
What will it take before Americans get honest with themselves and admit that our dependence on gasoline is the real reason for gas prices increasing? We gotta have it and they can charge just as much as they want -- 'cause we're gonna keep on buying it.
We buy cars and trucks with average gas mileages under 20 miles a gallon. We build larger and larger homes and spend a fortune keeping them heated and cooled. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars studying global warming instead of studying alternative energy to keep us warm and fuel our vehicles. Solving one problem could easily solve the other in this case.
Fuel efficient and hybrid cars are on the market but their price tags keep the average buyer from purchasing them.
Our energy production in the states is the same as it was 31 years ago. How much has our consumption increased in 31 years?
We like to whine and moan about the cost of gasoline but until we're willing to change our lifestyle we won't find a solution. If we really want to send a message to the oil companies we wouldn't just skip a day at the pumps, we'd figure out a way to quit buying so much.
I don't have the solution. If I did, I wouldn't have three vehicles sitting in my driveway.