Since we own a 45 mpg (in real life) 2004 Toyota Prius, we’ve been taking a smug, holier-than-thou attitude toward rising gas prices and the anguished cries of those who get 15 mpg in their way-over-sized SUV.
Every time I drive back home from the store with my four bags of groceries neatly stowed away in the back compartment of the Prius, and pull alongside someone in an Expedition with their own four bags of groceries rattling around in the cavernous interior, I look over with a smile that hopefully communicates, “Now, don’t you feel silly in all that unnecessary metal?” Of course, they probably are looking (down) at me thinking, “I sure am glad I’m not driving around in that weenie-looking deathtrap.”
OK, I’d be happy to say “each to their own” and leave it at that if the SUV owner wasn’t wastefully burning up nonrenewable fossil fuel that my grandchildren (not to mention me) are going to need. I wonder how many people, which includes our esteemed president, really understand that nature isn’t making any more oil. The dinosaurs are dead (although I just learned that almost all of the oil we use comes from plants and animals that lived before the dinosaurs).
Given the amazing scientific illiteracy of Americans, I bet that just about as many people in this country believe that the global oil supply is limitless as believe that the Earth was created in just a few days several thousand years ago. Which means, a lot of people. Here’s a sample of how the oil-isn’t-millions-of-years-old Bible freaks think.
Maybe this is why both Bush and Kerry are side-stepping the most obvious and biggest reason for long-term increases in the price of gasoline: the supply is steadily declining, and the demand is steadily rising. Duh… You’d think a Harvard MBA would understand something about supply and demand—and that no free market magic is going to make more oil appear, since it takes many millions of years for nature to conjure it up.
So, as we read in the paper today, Bush is all concerned that people will drive less to buy stuff, so he wants to relax environmental standards for refineries. And Kerry is all worried about making gas prices into a campaign issue, so he’s calling for a drawdown of the national strategic reserve (which you’d think should be used only in an emergency, which $2 a gallon isn’t.)
I can see why 4 or 5 percent of voters favor Nader, as destructive as this may be come November, if Bush squeaks through again because of the Nader vote. When it comes to sustainability and the environment, there isn’t as much difference between the parties as there should be. However, Laurel reminded me today that Kerry is also calling for higher mileage standards and increased development of alternative energy sources.
So the Greenies should suck it up and vote for Kerry, absolutely. I just wish he didn’t own that big SUV he was reluctant to admit sat in his garage. A Kerry campaign caravan of Prius’s would go a long way toward solidifying his Green base.