In the July 14 issue of Time, Amanda Ripley puts into words something I have been feeling. This is that the recent increase in gasoline prices in the United States is not all bad. In an article titled "Ten Things You Can Like About $4 Gas," she points out some of the good results. These are that higher gas prices:
1. Cause globalized jobs to return home;
2. Stall urban and suburban sprawls;
3. Encourage four-day workweeks;
4. Produce less pollution;
5. Encourage more fuel frugality;
6. Cause fewer traffic deaths;
7. Make cheaper automobile insurance possible;
8. Reduce traffic;
9. Increase the number of neighborhood police on foot or bicycle; and
10. Decrease obesity by encourage people to walk more.
I would like to add two more. Higher gas prices:
11. Encourage the development of other fuels; and
12. Help Americans join the "real world."
The last of these is especially important to me. I am embarrassed by all the whimpering and whining we Americans are exuding because we are now paying four dollars and more a gallon when in many parts of the world the price is somewhere between twice and three times this much.
What are we, a bunch of cry babies? Don't we live in the land of the free and the brave? What happened to our courage and ingenuity in the face of adversity? A lot less groaning would become us.
True, much of the greater cost of gasoline in other countries is due to more to taxes than to the cost of crude oil. But even there, they might be on to something. Our roads, bridges, tunnels and ports are crumbling. Why not increase our taxes on gasoline a big bunch more and use the money to fix things?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/863