Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Let Them Eat Cake"

I may be just a dumb Okie but often I can be seen reading the Wall Street Journal in our institutional cafeteria. Most of it goes way beyond my comprehension—but now and then there is something that reaches even me. Anyway, the writing is so good that when an article hits home, it really hits home.

Last month I read an interview with the CEO of Exxon. What I got from the questions so rightly asked by the journalist and from the CEO’s frank answers was sobering.

“So what about the public, the average American and the car he drives? You can’t help but hear the complaints and the grumblings about the price of gas?” His response, “Fuck ‘em. If they want to drive their cars, they’ll have to pay. I could give a shit how much the average American has gotta pay at the pump.”

What do we do now?

The answer—drive less. And don’t waste gas on trips you don’t need. I’m not saying ride a bike more, or buy an itty-bitty automobile—although it wouldn’t hurt. Just be more efficient so when you do have to pay high prices for fuel (and it looks like we all will from now on) it won’t be so devastating finically. We waste a lot of gas, the same we waste a lot of food and most of our other resources. We are wasteful. It’s because we are rich and spoiled. I dare say we’re not very intelligent either. We are used to having everything our way, which is the cheap easy fast way.

Those days have passed.

I don’t commute on my bike to save gas; I commute on my bike because I love riding a bike. Paying high prices for fuel less often is the result of that pleasurable experience commuting. And when I do drive, I make the most of the time having to drive. If I have to drive to the office, I bring clothes, food, shoes, and what ever else I need to make it possible to bike to work. I try to get things done while I have the car.

Certainly if more people felt safer on the streets riding their bikes, they would commute to work and take care of business that only required a short trip. Maybe that day will come soon. People are not going to give up on their automobiles—even I know that—and a lot of people will have little or no choice but to drive cars.

People with disposable income will be able to drive the big cars and that’s okay with me—but I will fight them if they think they will have any special privileges in terms of the road. Oil companies are not about to offer any help to you or me. So its time to demand utility and efficiency—waste is no longer acceptable. If you want to have a big car and drive around, you will have to simply pay the price.

Most urgently, we cannot be fooled by those oil company CEO’s or our elected officials when they say we must tap into oil reserves in our Nat’l Parks and Preserves, etc. "So we can lower our dependence of forgien oil." Bloody Hell but they've beat that to death haven't they? It’s just not worth it, mes amis. They will destroy what's left of our environment and happily profit from its demise.

This is what we do—

Be efficient.
Don’t waste.
Be smart.

Just keepin' it Fresh



Ryan said...

Well said, Bruce.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame the oil companies. We buy the gas whatever the price because most of us are too lazy to walk to the end of our driveways to check the mail. It's not the oil companies that have to change. As you rightly point out its the people. Have you ever been inside the Y? Ever notice how many people drove there to walk slowly on a treadmill? Silly isn't it? Why not take a walk around the neighborhood and save both the gas and the time it took to drive to the Y? Is it for the child care? Maybe it would be worth walking the kids too. When I walk my dogs it isn't just cause they haven't figured out how to use a toilet. They need exercise. Oooops! Sorry, I didn't mean to use the E-word. I agree with the Exxon CEO - Fuck em'. When the diabetes and heart disease kills them all you can expect the demand for gas to go down along with the price. Unless of course we get national health care. Hmmmm...maybe we could increase the tax on gas to pay for that? That would keep the oil companies profits up wouldn't it?

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Yeah--the Y... People do drive to the Y just to walk slow on a treadmill. That's right on the mark. Maybe it’s the eye candy?

The place is packed--even in the morning. Packed about 6 when I show up at my car after the commute home. There are no parking spaces except in the snake pit.

I wonder what the demographics are? How close do people live? Could they walk or ride a bike to the Y--I bet they can. That would save enough gas money to pay the monthly auto-deduct from the checking account.

I've only seen a couple of men and women that look like they've come right from the office, as they're carrying a gym bag.

I see a lot of poseurs...

You’re also right--the oil companies are not to blame. We're just used to living high on the hog. We're the hogs now, right?