A Radical Idea for Lowering Gasoline Prices
Here in Los Angeles, a gallon of unleaded fuel costs more than $2. The premium stuff, used to power our high-performance, eight-cylinder power fiends (that can travel at more than 125 mph but are required by law to be kept under 65 mph on most roads), costs nearly $2.50. Experts are saying the summer could bring prices in the $3 range — a nefarious fate that less-entitled people, like Europeans, have had to contend with for decades.
We realize that high gas prices aren’t really our fault. Sure, since the 1970s, when we last had a “fuel crisis,” we could have been using our technological know-how and financial might to develop alternative fuels. And, OK, maybe our legislators could have been a wee bit more assiduous and forceful with auto manufacturers by politely suggesting they produce cars that adhered to more rigorous consumption standards. But that’s all in the past. Americans work hard and play harder, and we didn’t really do anything to deserve a bunch of foreigners putting a crimp in our collective style.
Lofty gas prices are particularly galling in our West Hollywood neighborhood, where it’s utterly essential to have a two-ton, 8 miles-per-gallon, converted military vehicle to navigate the city’s congested freeways.
Something must be done.
We’ve received several mass e-mails lately suggesting that “we,” the aggrieved consumer, boycott certain large petrol suppliers in order to get the entire industry to lower prices. The goal, the provocateurs claim, is to return to the heady days of yesteryear, when gas was around $1, where it “ought to be.”
Interesting. But a little clumsy.
Our revolutionary idea is much simpler – albeit slightly blasphemous. We propose buying less gas.
There’s this freaky concept you may have heard of called Supply versus Demand. The more perfectly balanced they are, prices tend to stay static. When one decreases (or increases) unilaterally, prices move. Thus, if consumers exhibit considerably less Demand for a product, like Saudi and Venezuelan oil, and the Supply in the reservoirs begins to grow, prices for gasoline will come down. Comical as it sounds, there are actually cars on the marketplace that get more than 30 mpg. (Admittedly, they don’t take up two parking spaces or one-and-half traffic lanes, but they make up for in cheapness what they lack in coolness.) If we drive these littler fake cars, gas prices will come down. And then we can afford to fill-up our real cars more frequently!
Now, we realize buying less gas will bring unspeakable hardships to the average American, and particularly on the stylish denizens of suburbia, gated communities, and the more civilized sectors of our great urban ghettos, where Escalades, Expeditions, and H2s – not to mention Suburbans, Tahoes, and Navigators – are as essential to transportation needs as four wheels and a cup holder. Owning one of these behemoths conveys the precious imprimatur of status (as well as the impressive ability to mutilate or kill anyone who might collide with you), and Big Truck drivers are understandably loathe to sacrifice something so satisfying. But if it’s lower gas prices we want, then – dare we say it? – we as a nation ought to drive more fuel-efficient cars.
Or take the bus.