My wife is currently doing a clinical rotation for physician assistant school in Orlando. She has to drive 30 miles each way from her parent’s house to the hospital. We budgeted out $150 dollars for her to get through two weeks, but now I am starting to rethink that budget amount. She is going through stop-and-go traffic and she’s driving an SUV. The price of gas in Jacksonville is currently right at the national average of about $3.25 a gallon. I get paid for all company mileage that I accrue each month, so it typically pays for my car, gas, and maintenance. So, this is probably the first month in a long time that we will start feeling the squeeze of rising gas prices that could get to $4.00 a gallon.
I ran across this article from Wealth Boy, and he gave a different perspective of the rising gas prices. In the mainstream media, all we hear about is how we are suffering from rising gas prices, when in reality, the prices in many other highly industrialized countries are much higher than here in the United States. He shows that we still have some of the lowest gas prices as compared to Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. I believe these figures, because I observed it first hand when I was traveling in Europe a few years back. The prices were in the $2 to $3 a LITER, not a gallon. Granted, many European countries and Asian countries drive scooters and compact cars, but this is the reason.
What’s the Solution?
I think that the only short term answer is considering travel alternatives like Europe has done. Driving more compact cars and developing more public transportation may be the only short-term solution. The train systems in Japan and Western Europe are great. Here in the United States, AmTrak is the laughing stock of public transportation. If you live in Florida or California, you don’t have good public transportation options. We only focus on downtown metro areas, but we tend to forget about the metro areas that span across hundreds of miles such as Southeast Florida and Southern California.
The long-term solution is energy independence. Why do we continue to allow The Middle East to dictate our oil consumption? Why do we continue to allow them to dominate and stronghold the oil market? The answer is never easy. There are plenty of places to drill for oil in North America, but then the environment is a concern. There is a much stronger environmentalist movement over here than there is abroad. Energy alternatives such as solar, wind, and non-fossil fuels just don’t seem like viable solutions to me. It will cost a great deal to produce the energy, and how many wind mills would it take to power New York City? Sheesh!
So, what is your take about this issue? How is the price of gasoline affecting you and your family? What do you think the solution is?