Gas prices have hit record highs, and realistic solutions are in short supply. (President Bush raising gas taxes? People trading in their Escalades for corn-powered Civics? Good luck.) So it falls to us, the citizen-guzzlers, to generate the bold, creative, 'out-of-the-tank' ideas we'll need to get through this crisis. Here are a few I've come up with:
Reduce "Drive-Time" Radio Window
Let's remove one of the main reasons people drive: The pleasure of radiophonic entertainment custom-designed for a listener surrounded by cupholders. Forty-five seconds maximum per day should suffice: for morning FM listeners, that's one prank call to a sex toy shop; for the NPR crowd, 1/8th of an essay on an underfunded Somali orphanage.
Institute "Half-Service" Gas Pumps
Enjoy getting half your windshield squeegeed? How about having a surly attendant kick your tires and mutter, "Eh, I've seen flatter." Maybe you'll think twice about filling up when not receiving the pampering to which you've become accustomed.
Convert to the Metric System - Now
$3.00 a gallon seem steep to you? What would you say to $1.26 a liter? I'm betting it's "Thank you, Rob!"
No Women Drivers
Not literally, of course. Rather, women should be required to fully disguise themselves as men before hitting the road. This will have two benefits: 1) Making them take longer to get out the door, thereby lessening the total amount of time spent driving; 2) Giving our Saudi friends a show of good faith (ie: theirs). As as an added social bonus, kids in single-mother households would gain a positive, if creepily familiar, male role model.
Outsource Petroleum Industry to Wal-Mart
We don't know (or care to know) how they do it. We just know they have the power to make anything low low priced. After all, they're already unloading Tootsie Rolls for 1 ½ cents a barrel -- and those are basically pure petroleum in "fun-size" form.
Elect a Good Oilman President
ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond just stepped down with a $400 million retirement package. He's got free time, and clearly knows how to acquire and move the stuff at minimal cost. Let's turn the exploiter into an in-ploiter. With his help, we could be back to idling our stretch Hummers by the pump, enjoying the decadent Full Service of our glory days.