Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Publish Day - Ink Blog Launches (!)

It's a great day in my world of words. Today's the day that Ink Blog launches on the London Free Press op-ed page. I first wrote about the feature here.

My contribution is entitled Buck-a-litre gas just what we need. My Canoe home page has been updated with the new content as well, which should make it easy to track no matter where you are.

I'll admit I pulled the paper out of the mailbox at an insanely early hour, then sat at the kitchen table in the quiet darkness and just stared at the page. It was comforting, somehow, to finally see it in its tangible form.

Gee, I hope I don't get under too many people's skin. Then again, maybe that's the entire point.

Your turn: What do you think? About today's gas price piece? About the feature in general? Is this where newspapers will go in the long run?

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Buck-a-litre gas just what we need

Published Tuesday, August 23
The London Free Press

I'll come right out and say it: Buck-a-litre gasoline is a good thing. In fact, we'll all benefit if it goes even higher.

Sure, I hate paying a lot for anything, but we've gotten away with cheap gas for too long.

I know I'm risking egg on my house, but our society has had an entire generation to get its transportation act together. We should have learned from the early 1970s oil crisis that our gluttonous ways would eventually bite us.

But we didn't.

We continued to use our cars for everything -- even one-block trips to get milk -- and continued to crinkle our noses at the granola-crunchers who walked, biked and carpooled to work. Anyone who rode the bus was a loser. The car's position as status symbol reigned supreme.

If high fuel prices force us even once to think about ditching our cars, perhaps they'll be a good thing.

On second thought: Maybe two bucks a litre would be even better.

-30-

18 comments:

patricia said...

You won't get any eggs from me! I agree completely. Don't own a car, and never will. I use transit or I walk. I've been ribbed a lot in my neighbourhood because I walk everywhere. A lot of the old neighbours used to ask me frequently, "When are you gonna get a car?" Never, buddy. Never. I find the addiction to cars to be somewhat similar to the addiction to cigarettes. If you start young, it's that much harder to wean oneself off, let alone quite cold turkey.

patricia said...

Unfortunately though, since our system is so dependent on automobiles, the direct result of more expensive gas is going to be more expensive products, in the long run. Which will have even more negative repurcussions on our economy.

It's a vicious circle which shows very little sign of changing, sadly, because in the end it's all about money. Major changes in how we run automobiles and use energy will probably only be made when it's a crisis situation, and by then, it could be too late.

CanEragon said...

I agree. The car is a status symbol. I haven't had a car oh, since 1997. I learned to live without it, it was just too expensive to keep. And I am well used to living by mass transit. It keeps things fresh.

why have a car - I live in Downtown Montreal, and have to pay for gas, and as well PAY for a parking space??

the gas crisis is a problem and yes we fell into the trap. but will people readily give up the "volvo" I don't think so. Heaven help us if we had to walk, bike or god forbid, as you said, "ride the bus or metro!"

I love mass transit, people watching is excellent here. The one problem is here is that the mass transit infrastructure needs a pick me up, if many more people start riding the rails.

Cars are on their way out, if prices rise any further, i suppose.

Jeremy

Steve said...

Carmi,

Rising gas prices will have the most impact initially on the working poor living in rural areas, and I doubt your piece would get much applause in Huron County because of this.

A rise in the price of oil, in and of itself may be what we need to help us tweak our lifestyles for the better, but why is it rising, and who are the beneficiaries?

If the price rose 30 cents because of a new tax to fund computers for schools, I'd be all for it, but if the extra thirty cents go toward another Filet Mignon to further engorge Dick Cheney's beef-encrusted prostate, I think and good that comes from it is counterbalanced.

Rhodent said...

I ABSOLUTELY agree with you! Maybe now there will be enough political pressure to force more research and development for hydrogen cell cars... or other options. Fuel for heating would possibly be more affordable as well if our usage decreases because of alternative fuels... those that manufacture the fuel for autos might process more for heating fuel thereby keeping costs under control. More supply, less demand = lower prices. Or at least that is the way it is supposed to work!

Plain Jane said...

I would gladly give up my car... if the area I live in didn't require one to get too and from work. It's over 11 miles and no one I work with lives near me, nor is there a bus system that would put me where I need to be...

... I miss living in a smaller community and having the environmental-friendly ability to have choices that didn't require a gas guzzling transport.

kenju said...

I have to vote with Jane. If I lived in a big city, with mass transit and shopping nearby I would agree with you completely. But we live 4 miles from the nearest store and there is no bus service in my section of the county.

Mark A. Rayner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark A. Rayner said...

We need to work on public transit, but in reference to the gas prices, you inspired me to write this Carmi:

Local genius finds solution to energy crisis

(http://www.markarayner.com/blog/archived/132/)

Congrats on the new column, though part of me thinks you're a madman for taking it on. :)

m.

Cylithria™ said...

Hey congrats on the paper Carmi! I stopped by and de-lurked long enough to say thank you to you for allowing me to feature your blog in my 100 Compliments of Summer post. I'm a long time fan of yours and I love your blog! Keep up the great work here Carmi, it is appreciated!

Indigo said...

Congrats on being published! I'll have to go read the articles.

Trillian said...

Carmi - you know I agree with you wholeheartedly. I drive over 40km each way to work, and that's not right. We need to get back to the days where you work near where you live. Not only would it decrease the amount of gas used and smog produced, but it would also limit urban sprawl, which is a huge drain on our environment. The only way people will change their ways is when they feel it in their pocket book.

Let me give a quick example. In my town we have moved to a system where you have to buy $1.50 tags to put on your garbage. If the garbage bag (which must be under 45 lbs) doesn't have a tag it doesn't get picked up. Before the program was instituted my neighbours frequently had 4 or 5 bags of garbage a week and very little in the blue box. Since the program began, people usually only have 1 or 2 bags or garbage and have 2 full blue boxes on the curb. Additionally, many people have invested in composters to reduce their waste. And all because of a $1.50 tag.

lisa said...

seems like here in America, the only way people conserve gas is when they can't afford not to. Sadly with GWB at the helm, that isn't going to change anytime soon. It would have been nice if his big vision a few years ago had been to end our dependency on oil instead of sending us to the moon and to mars. I was suprized that more people didn't see his space agenda as a pay check to the two Nasa states: Texas and Florida.

Heather said...

Oil is the bread and butter of our economy here in West Texas. So, it is good in that way. However, everything is very far away out in these wide spaces and it is hotter than the breath of hell. So walking any distance is not really an option. So that means it is just painful to fill up my car.

L said...

I really wish I could get away with NOT having a car. Unfortunately, that isn't really possible where I live :(

Easy said...

In my job I'm in my car all day, but the City is paying for the gas, and the maintenance on the car.

However, it's still tax dollars paying for it, and as a taxpayer it bothers me.

doug in sask. said...

2 bucks for a litre of gas? How about 6 bucks for a loaf of bread, or a litre of milk? I'm a grain producer in Saskatchewan that is tired of the enviro nazis calling for the price of fuel to be higher. If the price at the pump goes up 20% in one year it costs the average urban car owner an extra $250 a year for gas. On my farm it will cost an extra $2400 in fuel to plant and harvest this year, in addition to the increased cost of family transportation. Unfortunately I have no way of passing my higher costs on to the consumer as the price of wheat is dictated by the Canadian Wheat Board, which is controlled by the federal government and their cheap food policy. If I had my way, the primary food producers would form a cartel and soak it to the consumers the same way the oil companies do, in collusion with the federal government!
My grandfather farmed some of the land I own with horses and a plow. A farmer with a good team of horses could probably handle a 160 acre farm, in contrast to today where one tractor can plant in excess of 6000 acres a season.
Now to take this to the silly level: If we went back to farming with horses the farmers would live longer because we'd be in better shape, and consumers would pay more for food because it would be hard to find in the supermarkets, maybe people could stand in line for it like they used to in the Soviet Union.
Carmi, I agree with you that people drive too much, If I lived in a city with decent public transportation I ‘d use it - I hate driving in the city, there's way too many idiots that don't know how to drive choking the streets. Unfortunately I think you could double the price of gas and it wouldn’t make much difference in urban areas. The problem could be addressed by charging a stiff environmental levy on vehicle license plates in urban areas, which wouldn’t affect the production and transportation of food and other necessities of life.

Anonymous said...

I drive 120 km. for my job each day in what is considered a fairly fuel-efficient car and I also car-pool when I can. Even so it still hurts. What I would like to see is the government reinvesting more of this gas-tax windfall they are making from $1.20 gas and putting it into better commuter service between towns and cities (better train and bus service). I would use this service on more regular basis if it would fit the work-day schedule in a more timely fashion. But in a typical Canadian fashion the situation has to go beyond critical to get any type of response from the Liberal OBC (old boy's club) in Ottawa.