Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Price of Gas and Public Transit

I just read a post on The Sustainable Backyard about $4.00 Gas. I commented and got a little verbose so I decided to post here since this is something I have been thinking about too as I am sure many of you are as well. It hurts when you go to the pump these days!

My hubby and I have started carpooling to work. Fortunately his work is right on the way to mine. I drive 20 miles each way and his work is about 12 each way. It helps to carpool! We have started noticing how many vehicles large and small that have only one driver in the morning commute. Carpooling is a good alternative to $4.00 gas - but I still feel ripped off by the Oil companies!

It has also made me very aware that our public transportation in Kansas City is way behind. I tried to map out a bus route to my job and found it would take 2.5 hours and 3 - 4 bus changes compared to a 25 minute drive by car. I would have to take a bus north just short of downtown and then take a couple of buses back south, then west to my workplace.

My husband found an article stating that last year the buses were hurting for funds, but today they can’t keep up with the demand with many bus runs packed and standing room only. There is a need for more routes as well. If we could just get some routes going East and West in addition to the routes already going North and South taking people to downtown and back. There is a need on the south business corridor for some bus routes that run East and West and connect to the Metro in KCMO across the state line.

Maybe $4 or $5 gas will create some opportunities for public transit that will outlast the expensive gas. I do believe we will not always pay so much for gas (maybe I am just a hopeless optimist!) and the challenge then will be whether people will still be responsible with petroleum usage when it doesn’t hurt the pocket book so much.


My comments above were limited to transportation alone. Anajz from The Sustainable Backyard furthers the discussion to the reality of the impact of the cost of gas on the rest of life in her post Making Choices with some very realistic observations of how the cost of gas is hurting the average person just trying to get to work, feed their family and pay their mortgage or rent - hard choices for how to split shrinking dollars between the growing costs of everyday life.


Additional Comments:

The cost of petroleum rolls out to everything we must purchase from "nuts to bolts" as they say, and most importantly to the cost of production, delivery and finally purchase of our food.

When I first heard of the food crisis and how expensive food would be getting I had the human survival urge to "hoard" food but I quickly came to the realization that most of us, and my family in particular will not go hungry...we will pay more for food and make serious life-style adjustments.

The less fortunate in our country and in the broader world will pay a much more significant price as costs rise and will have to make impossible choices about daily survival.

Food kitchens in the USA are seeing a growing population of the poor coming for aid at a time when their donations are dropping. In the hungry third world people are literally starving because the cost of food doubling and tripling actually takes food out of already starving mouths. Costs of petroleum on transportation of aid rations along with bio-fuels driving up the costs of food and literally "eating up" the surplus is devastating. Organizations like the World Food Programme, Oxfam, Heifer International and The American Red Cross all need donations to help meet the crisis of the shrinking dollar and rising food costs to help keep the people they serve alive.

As costs rise and dollars shrink, charity needs to abound. Innovations and invention will eventually help us all, but in the short term most of us will suffer the pain of this crisis, some will suffer, some will not survive. (And then some who have profiteered their way to obscene wealth in the economy boom we have experienced since the 1950's with all the excesses that have helped to create this crisis, may actually become even more wealthy. That is probably best left for another post.)

- Joy

Buzz it up


anajz said...

My concern with $5 gasoline is that people will have to choose between buying a gallon of milk or loaf of bread and buying a gallon of gasoline.
the sustainable backyard

The Insane Writer said...

Carpooling is a great idea! It's just too bad that it took the high prices of gasoline to get more people to consider the idea of carpooling.

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