Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fringe Benefits

No one will argue that high gas prices aren't causing Americans grief, but that isn't to say they aren't without some good aspects. Time Magazine recently released a list of 10 Things You Can Like About $4 Gas. It's definitely worth a read.

As they point out in their opening paragraph, one reason that Amercians seemed so unrepentant when it came to driving is the lack of alternatives:

"We truthfully didn't have lots of options. Unlike Europeans, we didn't have
jobs we could bike to or convenient public transit."

But we did at one time. And we could have it now. Imagine what America would look like today if all of the monies spent on the Interstate Highway System had been instead invested in public transit. Places like Rochester wouldn't have sacrificed their subway (Light Rail) to build a freeway right-of-way, and perhaps places like Los Angeles would have had a Metro long before theirs finally opened in 1993 (currently America's newest).

The writers of the article point out that transit ridership is at a 50 year high. If we subtract 50 from 2008, we get 1958. Two years after the passage of the Interstate Highway Act, and already transit use was being affected. Now, after a half-century, we are starting to put the right foot forward and if Time is correct, we might just come out of this oil crisis ahead.

That, however, will depend on how good we are at adapting to a new reality, one where $4 gas looks like a bargain. It's time to move into the 21st Century, and I applaud Time for not sinking to the gloom-and-doom stories most of the Media are putting out about petrochemicals these days.

Here's the list:
  1. Globalized jobs return home
  2. Sprawl stalls
  3. Four-day workweeks
  4. Less polution
  5. More frugality
  6. Fewer traffic deaths
  7. Cheaper insurance
  8. Less traffic
  9. More cops on the beat
  10. Less obesity

Can you think of others?

1 comment:

Dave Murphy said...

I've got a few:

-Transit improvements
-The discover of the fact that oil exploration will not pay off for 40 years (way too little, way too late)
-We're a step ahead of China
-Drinking closer to home = no designated driver needed
-Hybrid taxis
-the growing prominence of our blogs.