Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Endless Cycle of Oil Dependance

When I was growing up in California, pretty much everyone drove everywhere. When I was 16, I was the odd one out as someone who didn’t have a driver’s license and a car. Ten years later in the U.K., I only know three people who have their own cars. A whole lot of people I know don’t even have a driver’s license. I think a large part of that is to do with public transportation. Brits complain about their bus and train system a lot, but it’s a sight better than what we get in much of the U.S.

However, it’s also due to the cost of oil in Europe versus the U.S. As this article explains, most of Europe is paying at least twice as much per litre than the U.S. And yet, the cost of oil in the U.S. is a much bigger political issue than it is in much of Europe. Part of why it’s a bigger political issue is because the U.S. uses so much more oil than any country in Europe. And part of why the U.S. uses so much oil is because it costs less and because public transportation is lacking. So it turns into something of a cycle. The U.S. uses more oil because it costs less, but now it’s dependent on that oil use and so people want the cost to stay low.

I’m of the opinion that the cycle has to be broken on multiple fronts. Better public transportation would certainly help. The U.S. could also take a step back and realize that the price of oil is actually something it doesn’t have direct control over. And I’m a progressive liberal, so of course I’m all for alternative fuel sources.

This was also published at The Good Men Project.

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