Thursday, May 15, 2008

the worst holiday. ever

I was incredibly disappointed by the proposition of and reactions to the bullshit gas tax holiday over the last few weeks. So much so that I've already ranted over at MOMocrats about it but I can't help myself from talking about it here too. I can't believe anyone really thinks this is a good idea. The fact that most Americans would save about $30 all summer long (if indeed, they filled and filled and filled their tanks) while costing the government millions of dollars and will hurt individual states with a loss in revenue for highway and bridge repairs as well as the jobs associated with that work makes this a no-brainer. And yet somehow some folks still think it's a good idea.

Why do we think we are entitled to cheap gas? America pays less for a gallon of gas than many other countries around the world and yet we are still batshit over it. But we are complaining about the wrong thing. We should be complaining that we are not developing strategies to replace oil consumption fast enough. We should complain that car manufacturers are not producing affordable hybrids. We should complain that public transportation is not sufficient in many parts of our nation which forces the highways to be clogged with individual drivers. We should complain that our politicians treat us like infants, tossing spare change at us to shut us up. Time and time again we are watching these bad decisions being made, ideas designed to bandaid a severed leg. The days of low gas prices and clean air are over. It's time to buckle down and find comprehensive solutions for lowering emissions, reducing oil dependency, and lowering our carbon footprint. I know you know this already and it's one of the many reasons we are blog-kin but I'm ranting just the same.

And for the record, we have two cars. But like many others we are changing how we use them. We walk whenever possible. We carpool. It's not enough, and we are working towards a longer term solution that involves only one car and even less driving, but we won't be able to do that for a few more months. Living (and having to leave your house to go to work) in this society generally means you have to transport yourself somehow. I see how we've gotten ourselves into this, but this sort of pandering only adds insult to injury. So I'll pay the gas prices and I'll do so without complaint because I am complicit in this. I am a part of the problem as an oil consumer and I am complicit in this. And I would gladly pay more in taxes instead of less if it meant it was going into a fund to reduce oil consumption nationwide. Now that would be a holiday I could get behind.

So quit insulting us already. We already feel bad enough as it is for falling for all of this bullshit in the first place.

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27 comments:

hele said...

You are my hero for saying all the things bumping around my skull. So few other people seem to care.

F's sister is doing a advertising project about global warming. After we convinced her that while drowning polar bears are sad there are many other relevant issues to consider she decided to structure her ad around the uncomfortableness of rising damp caused by global warming.

Rising damp while thousands are already going hungry because of temprature impacts on food crops around the globe. I know she is trying but a part of me can't help wondering why she can't make the effort to read.

Because she too will feel the impact of running a generator so that she can blow-dry her hair.

qt said...

I can't say anything more than I agree. Cars are not evil, we just have to start seeing their use differently, almost like a "special occasion" type thing. And I for one don't complain about the price of gas, having traveled and seen the prices elsewhere.

Also? It would help a lot if we weren't printing money like its going out of style. Just sayin'

Blog Antagonist said...

I could NOT agree more. Several of your key points why I loathe living in suburban Atlanta. Public transportation is non-existant, urban sprawl has made us completely dependant upon our cars, and the air quality as a result of that is among the worst in the country.

You know, the oil crisis in the seventies should have been a huge wake-up call for us. We squandered THIRTY years that could have been spent developing alternative energy sources and cheaper, cleaner burning fuels.

Sometimes, America can be a real dumbass.

Susanne said...

You know I'm with you on the environmental issue but, um, what is "gas tax holiday"?

Karen said...

and what I find alarming is the notion that a holiday (a temporary fleeting sort of thing) could help us, 3 more months of denial about our energy use will get us nowhere. We are like kids who have climbed higher in a tree then we can safely clamber back down, but we must back down.

Amy Y said...

The gas tax holiday is about as stupid as thinking the month's supply of gas in Alaska is going to make a difference in our "high" gas prices. I hope they go higher so people will stop buying gas guzzling Hummers, Escalades and big ass trucks.

Great post, Mama. I couldn't agree with you more...

mamatulip said...

We should be complaining that we are not developing strategies to replace oil consumption fast enough. We should complain that car manufacturers are not producing affordable hybrids. We should complain that public transportation is not sufficient in many parts of our nation which forces the highways to be clogged with individual drivers. We should complain that our politicians treat us like infants, tossing spare change at us to shut us up.

Very, very, very good points, Jen.

VERY GOOD.

Kyla said...

We're stuck in the 'burbs...nothing is walking distance except the neighborhood park. I have to shuttle kids. Josh has to work. KayTar's docs are about an hour away. I drive a little Civic, but still...gas, gas, gas. And I hate the rising prices, honestly. Hate.

But you're right. Alternate sources of fuel need to be established. Decent public transport. Things to alleviate the crisis, not make it an easier crisis to stomach.

I think we'll be paying 6 a gallon before my area ever gets a public system together. Texans love their gas guzzling SUVs. Ugh.

Defiantmuse said...

I remember back in '98 I spent the summer in Europe. I was shocked by how much it cost to fill my girlfriend's tank. And she had a very typical tiny European car. I came home and listened to people bitch about how much we had to pay (and it was less than $2/gallon). I didn't have much sympathy.

and now? um. well. Maybe people will stop driving their Hummers to drop the kids off at soccer practice. Or maybe they'll just continue on until America is a third world country and people can barely afford food for their family, much less gas to put into ridiculous machinery.

jo! said...

Golly, i love reading your blog! Thank you for saying all of these things. People need to stop focusing on themselves and look at the bigger picture for once!

Kelley said...

Now if only 299,999,999 more people in this country were as sensible as you...

meno said...

I paid $4.30 a gallon to fill up my car yesterday.

We need to think more about where we drive, and about how we drive. Slow down, ease up. You don't have to get there first.

thailandchani said...

I still believe cheap public transportation would solve a lot of the gas/traffic problem - but that's not going to happen.

Ron Davison said...

Well said. And a couple of points.
1. Given that we pay the taxes (sooner or later) this freedom from gas tax just means more future taxes at some point - a forced loan. Madness and delusion wrapped in a proposal.
2. You are not complicit in this. If you want to communicate with your neighbors in CA, you usually speak English; if you want to get somewhere in CA, you drive. The systems we've created (or failed to create) dictate our reasonable options. Are there things that individuals can do? Yes, but its system change (from alternative fuels to public transportation) that need to change.
Thanks for letting me rant. I'll move on now.

crazymumma said...

You know I have a Trans Am earth destroying black stealth bomber angel of death.

That sits and collects dust while I hoof it for the most part. Or bike.

I hate that I love her so much. And I resent a world so bound up in all this.

flutter said...

If we concentrated on finding alternative fuel sources and getting less dependent on fossil fuels none of this would even be an issue.

Magpie said...

Yes, and yes again.

Magpie said...

I feel lucky to live in the NYC metropolitan area. Even though I live about 30 miles away from the city, I can walk to the train station from my house, and I take public transportation the rest of the way to the office. The only reason I have to get in the car most days is to take my child to daycare - and that's only because there's no safe way to walk there (no sidewalks, busy road).

But that there were such good public transit everywhere - it would help enormously.

Z said...

We'd think we were in heaven if we could fill our cars for $5.79 per gallon. That price list is a couple of years out of date; it's $10 now.

Last year I drove 6000 miles, down from 8000 the year before. If it's less than 5 miles and not blowing a gale, I bike it. And I drive slower and accelerate more gently. It's hatred of our government, that takes half the price of petrol in tax and spends it on war that motivates me most though, I must admit.

Anjali said...

Amen. I would also gladly pay more taxes on gas if it meant that that money was going to finding a replacement for oil altogether.

Ally said...

A hearty amen from this corner, sister. This "holiday" idea is total crap and won't do anyone any good.

wheelsonthebus said...

Can I get an amen?

ms chica said...

Amen!

jennifer said...

I lived in italy for 15 years, where a liter of gas ran about 1.70 euros (yes, do the math, that means about $10 a gallon). I still get a mini thrill from filling up my car here in the US for so little money, even today. We installed a liquid propane converter on our car in Italy. Hopefully more options will open up here, as well.
Reality sucks for many after living in fantasyland for so long!

Deezee said...

Pandering for sure. Beyond annoying.

Thomas Friedman wrote a piece for the NY Times quite a while back that said while each of us has responsibility to do what we can for the environment, the most effective means of creating change is electing and supporting officials dedicated to change.

It happens faster and broader when it's policy. (which is why this gas tax thing is even more lame!)

painted maypole said...

i nearly crashed my car when I heard about the proposed gas tax holiday? just how stupid do they think we are? pretty stupid, apparently.

luckyzmom said...

I was thinking about incentives. Incentives like a living close to your job (or visa versa) bonus. Or maybe cash back for high mpg cars like the Energy Star appliances give. Or maybe Hannah Montana could make riding the school bus cool, to help clear out teens who think they have to drive to school (or wouldn't be caught dead riding the bus). How about Oil executives accepting reasonable, generous salaries and passing on the savings to us! Oh, now I'm getting carried away!