Cutting Back on Driving
Dr. Michael L, Ford
25 February 2008
Reading a great article in the Boston Globe about gas prices forcing drivers to cut back inspired me to stop procrastinating and put my own two cents in. And two cents is about all Iíve got since Saudi Arabia and the oil companies have started gouging even more than they were gouging previously. Robert Gavin made a strong case that ďAmericans are finally doing what once seemed unthinkable: driving less.Ē I know I have. I have gone from a tank of gas per week to a tank of gas per month. How do you accomplish that? It is not easy.
Some other people must be managing the cutbacks as well because fuel consumption has fallen in the U.S. In some cases the cut back has been significant and for others the ability to save has been less pronounced. There have been some benefits to the cutbacks. For instance, some people who once dropped their children off at various types of extra-curricular events and picked them up when they were through now stay and watch them practice. A drawback of economizing means I have to use a dentist in my hometown, that takes my insurance, instead of driving the hour each way to see the dentist I would rather use. There is a whole list of things I have to change to be frugal with my gas.
Will people cutting back on their driving help bring prices down? I donít think so. If you can make more money while selling less crude and refining less oil there is not much encouragement there to adjust prices. But cutting back on how much I use my vehicles means I am going to put off replacing them a little longer while I wait for a more fuel-efficient product to come on the market.
People who must commute and cannot find ways to economize effectively have to make cutbacks in other ways. For some this means having to change the way they eat. At the moment these dietary changes might even be healthier but in the long term they could prove bad. I think a lot about the prophecy concerning a time when a loaf of bread will cost a dayís wage. Gas prices are an artificially generated cost, but the cost to the individual is nevertheless real and impacts everyone.
P. O. Box 752
Buchanan, Georgia 30113