Why is $10/gallon gas a great thing? And what does it have to do with evolution, adaptation, and local economic growth? Everything.

I think I have found the magic number. Every fifth article from Mark Morford is so brilliant, insightful, and articulate that I need to post most, if not all, of it here for my readers. Today is the day for another.

In one fell swoop, Mark has managed to hit on a whole bunch of my favourite subjects: the environment, structure driving behaviour, adaptation, complex system effects, social policy, cultural behaviour, global policy….he has hit it all.

The archive of his writings can be found here. The current article is below:

No wait, not six. To hell with that. Make it 10. Ten bucks a gallon, no matter what the going rate for a barrel of light sweet crude. That would so completely, violently, brilliantly do it. Revolutionize the country. Firebomb our pungent stasis. Change everything. Don’t you agree?

Here’s what we could do: Give gas discounts to cab drivers (at least initially) and metro transit systems and low-income folks, those who have to drive their busted-up ’78 Honda Civics to their jobs scrubbing restaurant toilets and flipping burgers and vacuuming the residual cocaine from the seat cushions of numb SUV owners. Everyone else, 10 bucks a gallon, across the board. Eleven for premium.

It would take some finessing. Maybe also give a price break to some truckers and trucking companies (so vital to the overall economy), but not so much to global delivery companies (FedEx, DSL et al.), because not doing so would force them to raise shipping rates and force you (and me) to reconsider buying everything online and hence will encourage you to shop locally once again, thus reviving a stagnant local economy.


(3) Comments

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    Huh? Weak article. This guy basically says, triple the price of gas, watch everybody squirm, and then everything is going to be cool in the end?

    Let’s be realistic here. The “knowledge workers” (like you, I imagine) would cope just fine with $10/gal because they can just telecommute. How about all the people thrown out of work because they can’t get to their jobs? At $10 a gallon, a ride on the bus would cost approximately $6.

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    His point, and I think it is a good one, is that humans only adapt when forced to. When they ARE forced to, they’re incredibly adaptable and creative. So, rather than wait for the problem to appear on its own time, force the issue by bumping up the price. Now, of course, it’s unrealistic to do because of the complex effects such as the black market that would immediately be created, but it would be nice to pull just a couple of levers to modify behaviour, rather than watch us play out the Hubbert’s Peak scenario in slow motion as we are currently doing.


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    You might also want to consider looking into additional opportunities in the field of ridesharing and car sharing.

    If you’re going to festivals or conferences, SpaceShare builds custom rideshare systems. Encourage festivals, conferences or other events to use their system to share rides at SpaceShare and you’ll get a ride from neighbors who like the same music or go to the same conferences as you. If you ask a conference/festival to have a ride share system, with one call you might help dozens or hundreds of people skip a drive.

    For city-to-city carpooling, sites like craigslist and erideshare.com can also be practical no matter where you live in the world or US.

    You can also look into car sharing programs, if you are a resident, in places like San Francisco with companies and organizations like Flexcar and City carshare. Other major US and European cities have similar schemes.

    It really seems greening up transportation isn’t that hard, especially with ride-share and car-share opportunities…

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