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Good News, Bad News: The Positive And Negative Effects Of Gas Prices On Our Lives

Gas Station

This is absolutely not what I sat down to write about today. But I starting reading the news, and following links, and reading a backlog of articles I’ve been meaning to read, and lo and behold, I noticed a pattern. Our society is changing. We rely so much on oil, that as the price skyrockets, we have no choice but to change. Are you noticing a shift?

Articles About Oil Costs

Here are some of the articles I’ve been reading, so that you can read along with me:

Effects Of Oil Prices

In my own microcosm, certainly in our neighborhood it is becoming more difficult to park: not only are people leaving their cars at home, but they’re only driving to the bus stops and then taking the bus into downtown. And I certainly think twice before getting into the car, and make sure I’m consolidating trips when I do go out. Food prices are also incredibly high, which certainly eats into our budget.

But the change is more fundamental than that. As food costs rise and the economy plummets, more and more people are beginning to grow their own food. I’ve noticed this even walking around my own neighborhood: where ornamental flowers once bloomed alone, now herbs and vegetables grow between them.

I’ve also noticed an influx of articles about solar and wind power, and other potential power sources, an increase in popularity for the local food movement, dining at home, staycations, closing public streets to cars, phasing out plastic bags and containers, and, occasionally, how to rebuild our world in a more sustainable way.

Since we are focused on these solutions at One Green Generation, I’m hoping to begin seeing more of these fundamental shifts: from a “this really sucks” mode, to a “let’s find what really works” mode. We can live without cheap oil, but we must adapt, alter our our lifestyles, redefine what is normal. Are you with me?

Inspiring Articles

Here are some articles that have inspired me this week:

What Do You Think?

What have you read this week? Has your world shifted due to high gas prices? Do you see positive changes happening? What are you doing to shift your reliance on oil?

Similar Posts:

12 comments to Good News, Bad News: The Positive And Negative Effects Of Gas Prices On Our Lives

  • I have noticed more people biking. I’m hoping that will also encourage better bike paths in town, since I’m too scared to take my daughter biking with me in a trailer.
    I’ve also noticed that used car dealers are chalked full on SUVs and trucks and hardly any fuel efficient vehicles. Hopefully it’s affecting new car sales as well. We have so much capacity for great fuel efficiency, but until now no real motivation. In the 80′s when a law was passed to improved fuel efficiency it was quickly done, but not much since. I hope this really does change our society and (don’t shoot me) the price of gas continues to go up.

  • Ooooooooooh

    Thanks for all the links!! I look forward to reading all these posts!!

  • I have noticed more and more people not laughing at my honda scooter, especially when I fill it up and the bill comes to $3.99. And they are not laughing at my suzuki swift anymore. The car gets almost 40 mpg. 1/2 tank of gas is under $25 Finally after all these years, folks are jealous of my vehicles. At the gas pumps :P

  • The biking is the obvious thing. I live on a busy four-lane main-drag type street, and I’m seeing lots of adults commuting by bike. We have also noticed just less traffic in general, and I speculate that people are dovetailing their errands and doing more car-pooling, thus putting fewer cars on the street. I know my daughter and her friends are car-pooling for evening outings, which they were not doing last year. I also know of two families who have traded their SUVs for very small cars.
    I like to read the Bike Commute Tips blog. He gathers stories from all over the country about how the commuting culture is shifting.

  • I love this post Melinda.

    This is exactly the kind of thinking that we need long term – how to we adapt, make the best out of this situation, maybe even find a better life. Isn’t that the famed American spirit???? I definitely see a lot more people on bikes. Arduous and I took that train last week and it was pretty full. Six months ago, I’d take it at the same time of day and find only a couple people per car. Too people seem to be buying less, making do with the excess we all have.

    Things are moving in a positive direction lead by the high price of gas, the poor economy, increasing food prices. I do, however, get discouraged when I hear politicians (even my previously beloved Obama) talk about offshore drilling or other short term solutions for bringing down the price of gas. The price of gas is doing what 20 years worth of environmental ads and studies could not. Why do we want to change a good thing??

  • Great post – I can’t wait to hit all these links! It really pissed me off this week when I learned one of the big oil companies made 12 billion dollars in profit the past 3 months!

  • I haven’t really noticed much difference in people’s habits (not that I go out very often, which isn’t very ‘green’ of me, sigh), but since the price of gas has gone down $0.25 in the last two weeks, I worry that demand has fell–and that it’ll go back up now that gas is at $4.19 and dropping. I would rather people did move toward a more sustainable lifestyle than just react to gas prices and drive more again because it’s going down.

    Also, people are panicking and taking their money out of banks, which, hello, I wish the newspapers would print this in large bold letters: that’s how the Depression really got started. So I guess people don’t learn from stuff like that. And if they go back to guzzling gas, I will be disheartened.

    I hope for the more sustainable change, though.

  • ALANA, Regarding better bike paths: There may be a bicycle plan in your city – lots of cities and towns are starting to create them. You should let them know how you feel! If you can’t find the right people to talk to via the Department of Transportation site, try the City Council.

    I believe SUV sales are down 55%, and last time I checked scooter sales are up by 25%. I hope it changes our society for the better, too. And unfortunately, higher gas prices may be the only way. We can all do our part to mitigate it’s ill effects on low-income people, though, by donating to the food bank, volunteering in our neighborhoods, and doing whatever else we can.

    ARDUOUS, Enjoy!

    ROB, Wow – $3.99! People are starting to understand more why we don’t drive much and take public transportation. This is good!

    JOYCE, When I was in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, I was amazed at the number of bicycles and scooters. And very rarely did I see only one person in the car. I hope this becomes our norm. Someday. I looked up the Bike Commute Tips blog. There’s an interesting article: “Bicycle Commuting Hot, SUV’s Not.” Thanks for letting me know about the site!

    GREEN BEAN, Glad you like the post! It is amazing how effective the gas prices are. In general Europeans have a very different relationship to gas, in part because their prices are higher. So yeah, I agree that it’s disappointing that Obama suggested drilling.

    At the same time, he’s trying to get elected in a conservative country where the trends aren’t going his way. I wouldn’t hold it against him too much unless he gets elected and actually tries to drill.

    GREENE ONION, Oof, indeed. I’m guessing the oil companies are well aware that the amount of oil in the world has peaked, and they are working hard to get all they can out of it. I hope we can shift our own direction so that we don’t give them all that money!

    STEPHANIE, Interesting point. I don’t think that gas prices are ever going to go back down to what they were not long ago. Remember when it was a big deal for gas to go above $1? Or above $2? That wasn’t very long ago. And it never went back down to those levels. Once it gets past that point – eg, when a barrel of oil got over $100/barrel – it doesn’t go back. It dips, sure. But then it sort of normalizes for a while, hovering at that new higher level. And then it goes up again. While I wish that people would just see the light and change their lifestyles, time and time again it has been proven that money changes everything – while very little else provokes change. But with the gas prices always trending upward, I think these changes people are making will sustain themselves, and will change what people see as normal.

    So don’t get too disheartened. I suspect it will be a continual process of two steps forward and one step back.

  • [...] week, I came across a wrap-up for my wrap-up. Take a look at One Green Generation’s post on the pros and cons coming from high oil prices, and browse the articles that interest [...]

  • I know that more and more of my acquaintances are taking growing their own food more seriously. I also get comments all the time when I ride my scooter from people about how economical it must be to ride one. ALL THE TIME. I’ve had it for almost four years and never heard so many people make comments or ask about the gas mileage.

    I think the bottom line is that high oil prices are one of the few things that may actually shake people up enough to make change.

    We save gas by working and living locally. We only drive to visit friends who don’t live in town or to run errands we can’t do on my scooter or on our bikes. We only fill up our tank about once a month now.

  • ANGELINA, A once-a-month fill-up is a great goal – we’re pretty much there, too. It feels good. I like that people are beginning to take food gardening more seriously – it’s an easy way to mitigate some extra costs. And the scooter – scooter sales are huge right now. I think you’re right – it’s too bad, but as a society we generally only change when we have to imminently.

  • harrison

    hey, my name is harrison and im 13, i was reading this blog and found it very helpful, im doing a project for my class and i have gasoline. so i thank all the people who posted something

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