Rising Gas Prices Will Be a Good Thing

I know, you’re thinking,”That’s easy for the old codger to say. He’s retired with nowhere to go and nobody to see, just sitting on his rear end all day, writing blogs.”

And I can’t dispute that. But hear me out.

First, gas prices are not really high in America. I know — we pay nearly $4 a gallon, and that’s a lot more than we used to. When I was a kid back in Jamaica, I recall reading a story in The Saturday Evening Post that said gas was 10 cents a gallon. And when I migrated to Canada in 1957, I think a gallon of gas was 28 cents (Canadians didn’t know about liters in those days).

But back then I made $55 a week as a reporter at the Timmins Press, and when I got married the editor raised my weekly pay to $65 because I would have “responsibilities.” As gas prices rose over the years, so did my income — as I am sure yours has done, too.

Besides, look at how high gas prices are in most other countries.

The most recent comparison I could find on the web listed a gallon of gas at $7.76 in Norway and $7.52 in the Netherlands. Belgians paid $7.32 and the British shelled out (“Shelled” out – get it?) $7.15. Just about every other country on the chart was listed above the $4 mark. Canada, for example, which disguises its prices by selling gas in liters, came in at $4.10.

And those prices were from a while back. You can bet they’re higher today — and rising.

The countries with gas below $4 included Brazil, which long ago started mandating the use of ethanol made from sugar cane, as well as Russia, Nigeria, Venezuela and a bunch of other oil exporters.

I don’t envy the people living in countries with low (subsidized?) gas prices. I think they might be left behind in the lifestyle revolution that will inevitably result from rising gas prices.

One thing I will welcome is the improved air quality that will come from a reduction in driving. Think of how that will help curb global warming. And I can see a lot of other benefits.

With fewer cars moving about we won’t need to build and maintain so many roads. That could mean more government funding for needed social services (like health care).

With more people riding bicycles (and walking — what a concept!), there will surely be a decline in the obesity epidemic afflicting countries like America. And with a return to the use of mass transit and commuter trains, municipalities will be able to operate those services in the black for a change. That will relieve the pressure on taxpayers who now subsidize mass transit.

More freight will move by train instead of truck, giving the railways the boost they need to thrive and expand. As people cut back on unnecessary air travel, fewer planes will crowd the sky, resulting in a reduction in the number of plane crashes — and cleaner air.

People will move closer to work, giving them more time to spend with their families. Already many companies allow “virtual officing.” That means employees don’t have to go to work every day, they can perform their duties via computer. That trend is bound to escalate — and who wouldn’t welcome that?

Families will live closer together, so the kids can walk over to Grandma’s and it will be a lot easier to get together for a barbecue or go for a dip in Uncle Sam’s swimming pool.

Hey! Don’t let the rising gas prices get you down. Change your lifestyle — and enjoy!

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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