Gas prices are rising fairly steadily, as anyone with a vehicle knows only too well. The largest consumers of petroleum are largely dependent on it to maintain their lifestyles, and the other two-thirds of the world rapidly gaining Industrialization are wanting to join the party. This is of course the perfect time for the gas exporters to raise their prices. The West has become dependent on oil, removing their railway lines in favor of transport trailers, sprawling car-centric suburbs, and driving wasteful hulking SUVs.
A paradigm shift isn’t happening overnight, either – but it’s slowly entering Western conciousness. SUVs are being dumped for a fraction of their purchase price by status climbers who realized they can’t afford to fill up the tank daily on these monstrosities any more. Some people are still driving them around, so these prices haven’t hit the pocket books of those with abundant finances yet.
A few more bicycles are on the road now. I’ve not taken the public transportation recently, but I’ll bet the busses are starting to gain new riders as well. This happened last price jump, and it wasn’t this high. It was the test run I think. Push the market value up, get people used to the idea, lower it a bit to regain consumer confidence, then slowly raise it again. It’s like sitting in a pot of water and slowly raising the temperature – eventually the water’s boiling fatally but it was done gradually enough that nobody noticed.
The solution however, is right in front of our noses – and people are starting to consider it. Walk, or ride a bicycle! It works in Europe. Too many people will hop in their cars to drive < 5km to the store for a loaf of bread. That’s easily walkable in 15 minutes, or five on a bicycle – and you’d get some exercise at the same time. I’ve done it in the rain, I’ve done it in a blizzard – I don’t own a car and never have.
However, most of us car-free bicycle riders are still being looked at as the crazy ones. That’s OK. We know you’ll come around eventually if the pricing trends continue. Think of it this way – prices for produce and consumer items will rise due to increased transportation costs – so high gas prices affect drivers twice as much as cyclists. Just some food for thought.