We are hurting. Hurting badly. The price of gasoline has risen precipitously, and the impact of another major hurricane season could drive those costs to the astronomical. The price of oil is just being felt throughout the economy, from air travel to fertilizer to food. Coupled with the economic downturn, and the falling value of our major asset, our homes, the outlook is not pretty.
We are told by the right-wing Republicans that the only way to solve this problem is to forget about the longer-term environmental concerns, throw more megatons of carbon into the atmosphere, and another $17 billion to the oil companies to boot. But, even their irresponsible solutions will take years before an effect on supply will be significant.
Give the Democrats some credit for being more responsible. Their solutions, however, are also future-oriented, and will do nothing in the next few years to ease these economic woes. Politically, there are few themes more appealing than referencing new technology, unleashing the creative energies of our people to build a new energy economy. I agree.
But, in the meantime, the oil companies will continue to exact tribute in ever-increasing amounts. It is a tax in the true sense of the term because the costs of extracting and refining the oil and have remained unchanged. Instead of the revenues going to the government, however, these taxes go to oil company coffers and to the oil cartel countries that fund terrorism.
As I have previously written, when oil seemed outrageously priced at $75 per barrel (!), there is an immediate solution that can stave off the negative impacts until a renewable, home-built, energy infrastructure can be established.
Double-up on our drive to work. That is it. It is a phone call or email to arrange.
Here are the benefits: the price of gasoline will plummet. Moreover, each person will save half of the remaining cost, providing more money in his pockets instead of the oil companies'. The roads will be less crowded, so that time lost in hooking up with one another will be gained in reduced travel time. Half the carbon will be thrown into the atmosphere. With the lower cost of gas, the weekend drive to grandma's will be affordable.
But, this will never work unless "everyone" participates. For that to occur, two elements are necessary. First, we need a "National Screw the Oil Companies and Terrorists Week" to mobilize the country, as if we had been invaded by a foreign foe, to prove to ourselves that indeed such a change in driving habits during the work week can happen, and to experience the benefits.
Second, to enable these arrangements to be made in the first place, a website with the tools to provide people the most convenient schedules needs to be constructed. That is not difficult, but will take a little time. And, a little money.
I write this to ask your advice and support. Believe me, I understand this is a band-aid for a problem that requires major surgery. But, in my profession, we try to stop the bleeding to preserve the opportunity for successful surgical outcomes.
1. Would you support a "National Screw the Oil Companies and Terrorists Week" that would mobilize the country to double-up for the drive to work for a week?
2. If provided the tools to find a convenient driving partner, would you give it a try for a week?
3. If it worked, would you support taking a lane that is not currently HOV and making it so, in order to encourage the doubling-up behavior to continue?
Please respond. I would like to hear from those who do not think this is worthwhile in the short-run as well from those who do.
We do a lot of talking together, and that is good. But, can we act? Together?
(As a corollary, it would be a profound experience if this new medium, the net, could be used not only to elect a president, or shine light on a criminal administration, but actually to act).
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