Saturday, April 16, 2011

How do higher gasoline prices affect our environment?


What seems to be true in our country is that no amount of information on how pollution and atmospheric warming is given to the public or public officials will move folks out of their gas guzzlers to alternative modes of travel, like mass transit, bicycles, or even walking for short distances—except a rise in gas prices. 

I’m wondering if anyone is tracking the use of alternative transportation in our area as the gas prices rise.  We do all sorts of studies that get in our newspapers that aren’t the result of more investigations—just more data mining of information we have lying around.  But what about conducting studies that determine what it will take people to reduce greenhouse gases and deter Climate Change? 

One would think in this time of a Climate Change crisis that that kind of information would be the information most important to public officials desperate to make our way of life sustainable.  What might one find in such a study? Of course, there must be a gas price threshold for everyone.  We’ll do less impulse shopping, less cruising around, and less of those non-important traveling before we forgo the car. 

And also low income folks will move away from vehicles before higher income folks, and I suspect the vehicles with better gas mileage will sell better than those than those whose gas guzzling carburetors (I know, referencing this device dates me) that look like someone flushing a toilet. 

However, rather than guess, it would be a good idea to track people’s transportation choices as the gasoline prices and oil company profits climb higher.

Gas averages $4 in five states; N.Y. getting close | Democrat and Chronicle | "NEW YORK — The average price of gasoline is now above $4 a gallon in five states, and it could rise to that level in New York and Washington, D.C., this weekend. In New York, the statewide average for regular was $3.98 on Friday. The $4 threshold already has been crossed in New York City ($4.05) and Long Island ($4.02), while upstate's prices are closing in on the mark. "  (April 16, 2011) Democrat and Chronicle | Rochester news, community, entertainment, yellow pages and classifieds. Serving Rochester, New York |

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