Why I don’t–and won’t–love $5 gasoline

I caught bits of Rush this morning while cleaning. I heard this mid-stride and thought it was a joke. I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s not.

Via MSN Money, why liberals think $5 gas is “good for” me and “good for America,” as a result of people refusing to fork over $50 to partially fill up a tank. First, the usual arguments:

Fewer people will die on the road. The less you drive, the more likely you will survive, if the events of 2008, the year of the most recent gas price surge, are correct. In 2007, 30,527 died in automobile (including truck) accidents in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2008, that number dropped 12%, to 26,791.

This mainly was attributed to a decrease in highway speed. Also contributing was a 2% drop in miles driven, from 3.03 trillion to 2.97 trillion, despite a 1.7% increase in the number of registered vehicles. On the negative side, with many turning to more economical modes of transportation, motorcycle deaths rose 2.6% in 2008 and bicycle deaths 1%.

Demand for high-mileage cars may grow. The key word here is “may.” Hybrid sales rose quickly in 2007 as gas prices climbed, then dropped noticeably in the second half of 2008 as gas prices plummeted from over $4 to $1.60. This time around, despite gas prices climbing steadily over the past year, hybrid cars shrunk from 2.9% of new vehicle sales in 2009 to 2.4% in 2010, according to Ward’s Auto. Meanwhile, sales of trucks, SUVs, crossovers and minivans rose from 48% of the market to 51% from 2009 to 2010. In addition, the average fuel economy rating of new vehicles sold in 2010 was 22.2 mpg, down from 22.3 mpg in 2009.

May I point out that more of the second on the road will automatically negate the first?  Smaller cars are death traps.

A recent study shows no amount of airbags, electronic stability control or roll cages can defeat the laws of physics.

Exactly. I’ll keep my mid-size SUV thankyouverymuch, even if it costs me $100 to fill it.

Moving right along:

Shorter security lines. Airlines fares are extremely fuel-price reactive. Soon, hardly anyone will be able to afford to fly willy-nilly around the country or globe. You will breeze through the maze of airport checkpoints.

Less pollution. Less driving means cleaner air. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “pollution from vehicles causes two of our worst air pollution problems, smog and carbon monoxide.” There are no solid figures on how many Americans die annually from car-produced pollution, but a 2008 study by Great Britain’s University of Birmingham linked pneumonia deaths to pollution from motor vehicles.

Less congestion. Ever notice how well rush-hour freeway traffic flows on the minor holidays when most of the rest of us are working? A 2% drop in miles driven can make a big difference, allowing you to drive faster, although you now won’t want to. According to the Department of Energy, on average every 5 mph you drive over 60 is like paying an extra 24 cents per gallon (based on a $3.79 price).

Heh. The great equalizer, that Obama. He made air travel too expensive for everyone! But no worries, folks, we’ll have cleaner air and less congestion as our unused vehicles rust.

More exercise. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that by 2020, three out of four Americans will be categorized as overweight or obese. So, it can’t hurt to walk the three blocks to the grocery or bike to school or work.

Local businesses may profit. If you can’t afford to drive out to the Wal-Mart or The Home Depot, you may be buying instead at the local supermarket or neighborhood hardware store. In addition, as the cost of transporting, say, grapes from Chile, goes out of sight, you may turn to regional farmers for your produce.

I will admit there are two grocery stores within a mile, both of which are more expensive than my usual store of choice a whopping 10 minutes away. Unfortunately, I have a small child. A small child who wouldn’t be able to handle the hike back from either store given the 500-plus feet of elevation gain within a short distance. Said small child won’t stay in a stroller. And I couldn’t fit a gallon of milk in the stroller basket if I tried. So beyond the fact that both options are more expensive, what to do? Hire a babysitter to walk to the store? Not so much.

High prices lead to lower prices. Mackubin Thomas Owens, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and editor of Orbis, the journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, theorizes that if gas prices rise enough, the government will open up areas now closed to oil production, and oil companies will be able to invest in more-expensive methods of extracting oil. Soon we will be drowning in the stuff, and prices will drop again.

That usually holds true. Except our POTUS would rather see $10 gas before he opened up ANWR to drilling. So no drowning in oil production for us!

What say you? Are you waiting with bated breath for $5 gasoline? Can’t wait to walk to the store on a daily basis because you can’t carry more than two bags home?

UPDATE: linked as a Featured Blog AND a “Recommended Read” at Pundit & Pundette. Thanks!

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4 Responses

  1. […] Political Junkie Mom is not loving $5 gasoline. […]

  2. Screw them. That really irks me. How dare them want us to pay that. I have a compact car with a relatively small gas tank and I still paid almost $35 to fill up yesterday. Didn’t Obama want higher gas prices? The answer to that is yes. He is in sympathy with those lame brain liberals.

  3. I live on the thinly populated Iowa-Nebraska border. A walk to the store would be a 32 mile round trip.

    The current discussion of rising gas prices illustrates the hyprocracy of the main -stream media. During the Bush era we heard tales of personal hardship and conspiracy theories about oil and the administration.

    Why stop at $5.00? The higher the cost, the more likely the left will be to divorce us from our freedom to travel at will.

    • Well, James, you know what the Obami would say to your predicament: move to the city, brother, where we can shuttle you to where we want you to go! You bitter land clinger, you. ; )

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