Streetsblog is reporting on Chrysler's plan to defuel America. If you plan on driving a lot, you should just go ahead and sign up for a brand new Aspen and get their Pricelock program. By locking the price at $2.99/gallon for 3 years, Chrysler will encourage its owners to drive more, thereby making fuel more expensive for everyone else.
It will also deplete America's energy resources at a faster rate than it would if Chrysler owners just let the market decide. I wrote at length about the supply and demand issues involved last month just after Senator Clinton urged a suspension of the gas tax.
One of the phrases which I did not use was moral imperative. Throughout that post, I talked about the value of each gallon of gasoline. Since oil is a finite resource, we will run out of the recoverable bits of it one day (although it will stop being cheap long before then). Therefore, I think it is appropriate to say that we have a moral imperative to use alternatives every chance we get.
As I have pointed out many times on this blog, everyone in America benefits when transit wins a new convert. Senator Coburn, one of Oklahoma's Republican Senators, is blocking a bill that will fund the Metro, even though the local jurisdictions have proposed a match of funding. According to Mr. Coburn, funding the Metro is the same as "stealing from our children."
On the contrary Mr. Coburn, transit funding is not stealing from our children, it is crazy gimmicks like Chrysler's and the proposed suspension of the federal gas tax that really steal from our children. Every time someone here in Washington choses the Metro over their car, they leave several gallons of gasoline for the rest of America to use, and that includes Oklahoma's children. They have a particularly raw deal--after all, Oklahoma doesn't have any rail transit alternatives, so they have to drive all the more.
And the good news is that we've finally managed to get people to ride transit. Seats are filling up and oil consumption is going down. Remember America, every time you choose an alternative mode of transportation over your car, you extend the deadline before which we must either come up with alternative fuels and/or redesign our society.
You also reduce the price of oil. I'm sure you've all seen the chain email that goes around encouraging Americans not to buy gas on a certain day in order to drive down oil prices. It doesn't work. At least it doesn't work if you still buy the same amount of oil. It does, however, work if you choose not to drive on a given day. So America, do you really want to stick it to the oil companies? Do you really want to hurt the terrorists? Do you really want to drive down oil prices?
Then take the train or bus.
Do your part to help ensure America's energy future. I know that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have assured you that there is no need to sacrifice, but the truth is Americans are already sacrificing. They are cutting back on charity, they are cutting back on driving, and they are cutting back on spending. Go on, help out your fellow Americans--it's easy. I'm not asking you to give up your car, just give it a try and take the subway to work one day.
And Chrysler, if you really want to refuel America, you'll hand out transit passes with your new SUVs.