Dealing With the Energy Crisis by Driving Trucks

A gallon of self-serve unleaded regular gasoline in Los Angeles costs an average of $3.20. In a weird, painful way, the high cost is a blessing, because (theoretically) it reduces demand, and when we drive our automobiles less we pollute our environment less. Our new Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, declared last month in his State of the City speech that he envisioned the Los Angeles of the future to be the “greenest and cleanest” of America’s big cities.

He strongly suggested we cut our greenhouse gas emissions — the ones that cause atmospheric warming — in order to be better global citizens.

How inspiring a notion! If only people would take the Mayor’s words to heart. People like his deputy mayor in charge of transportation and mass transit policy. Jaime de la Vega toodles around town in a 5,900 pound Hummer H3. On the EPA’s air 10-point pollution scale, this vehicle scored a 2. One is the worst.

Turns out Mr. Mayor himself often navigates the city’s torrential snowstorms and boulder-strewn avenues in a city-owned GMC Yukon. So does City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. Other city-owned gas guzzlers are driven by city council members — the ones who are helping usher our fair burg into Greentown, USA. Four members drive hybrids; and one, the Council President, does the unthinkable: He drives a city-owned electric car.

When it comes to our gasoline, we Americans are accomplished whiners. Perhaps only when gasoline costs $4 or $5 a gallon will we — and our elected leaders — stop blaming producers and refiners and start examining the role of the consumer. And perhaps when the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions become to horrific to ignore — like, say, now — we’ll accept our role in befouling the world we inhabit.

Or we can keep making nice sounding speeches from the running board of our Chevy Tahoe.

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