Why Gas Price Conversations Miss The Point

With the war in the Ukraine going on, we’re starting to see gas prices go up here in the United States. Obviously, this has got a lot of people really upset and struggling. Oil is a huge part of our infrastructure and way of life all over the world now, and any fluctuation in the price of this commodity is going to have serious repercussions in every sector of life.

And it absolutely doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve allowed it to happen.

Electric Car charging

As we’re seeing with the rise of companies like Tesla and the work that more established auto companies are putting into zero-emissions vehicles, this is a technology that is totally within our grasp. Unfortunately, up to this point the oil companies and auto companies have colluded for decades to make sure that electric cars and the like have not been an option for consumers. We haven’t even been allowed to see that there’s a better option. (I highly recommend the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car, which as of this writing is free on Amazon Prime).

We could be in a situation now where the price of oil is just about irrelevant to us.

But if we want to get there, we’re going to have to make some serious changes.

  1. We’re going to have to start paying attention to the influence of oil producers in our national governments.
  2. We’re going to have to ask our elected officials to encourage the development and support of zero-emissions vehicles over gasoline- and diesel-powered ones.
  3. We’re going to have to ask our elected officials to stop handing out subsidies to oil producers.
  4. We’re going to have to actually buy zero-emissions cars and support automakers who are actively making and developing better options.

As a historian-type, I see the propping up of the oil industry as somewhat akin to trying to keep coal powered electric plants open. These are industries that should be on the way out, going the way of barrel-makers and horse-and-buggy manufacturers.

We can do better. We just need to demand it.

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