Time for changePublished 10:24am Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Daily Herald editorial
Gasoline price increases over the past few weeks have been a reminder that the United States and most Americans face a major challenge when it comes to dealing with costs and the increasing scarcity of their favorite fuel.
The problem of rising fuel prices is not likely to go away soon, nor are there any easy solutions. But there are things that can be done, starting with the drafting of a coherent national energy plan; that would require striking a balance between replacement fuels and the reality of how difficult it will be to move the world’s largest economy off a gasoline standard without major disruption. It would also require many national leaders to abandon politics as usual by putting the nation’s long-term interests ahead of their usual preoccupation with money and re-election.
At the state and local level, recognition that gasoline — and, possibly, the days when every person meets his or her needs with a private automobile — is not the way of the future needs to underlie decisions about roads and bridges, about community planning and about mass transportation alternatives to the automobile.
And, of course, individual decisions play a role in dealing with gasoline prices. Consolidating errands into single trips, bicycling or walking on occasion, and choosing to live near work are examples of things that each person can address and which, when multiplied by millions of Americans, would drastically reduce demand and cost for gasoline.
When a full tank requires planning and sacrifice, it’s a sign that it’s time to make some changes.