Some 40 percent of Americans would curb their driving habits if retail gasoline prices shot up to $3.50 a gallon, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.
Did Reuters go back in time to 1997 so they could write this story? In case you’ve forgotten, America, gas already costs that much in some states — and has for a while. Across the board, almost every region of the country is within 50 cents of that mark right now. I’ve been paying near that price for premium unleaded for as long as I can remember. And even at $3.50, gasoline is still a bigger bargain for us than it is anywhere else in the world.
But more than anything else, you know those 40 percent of Americans are also full of bullcrap — because saying “Yeah, I’d do that” takes far, far less effort than actually doing it. When gas hits $3.50, they’ll still be driving. When it hits $4.00, they’ll still be driving. And when it hits $5.00 — yep, you guessed it, they’ll still be driving (although they might be driving compacts instead of SUVs, by that point). And why? Here’s why:
- As a nation, we love freedom. Driving = freedom.
- Unless you live in a major city center, the United States has practically zero public transportation. What are you going to do — stop going to work?
- Where public transportation exists, its efficiency cannot be relied upon for the schedules by which business people need to run. Unlike in Japan, where if the train’s 10 minutes late, everyone on it gets a written excuse to give to their boss.
- Most Americans will start to cut many, many other conveniences out of their lives before they stop exercising their freedom to move about their own country.
My point: Collecting and reporting statistics like this helps no one. Decide for yourself how to live your own life, and stop telling me what everybody else is doing in your worthless attempts to scare and worry me. I quit caring a long time ago.