November 28, 2008 - 10:39 PM
On Wednesday, I filled up my gas tank at Costco for $1.75 per gallon. I never thought that I would see the day that a gallon of gas would be a dollar something again. With merely a little more than ten dollars, I was able to fill up my gas tank before leaving town for Thanksgiving. As a broke college student, I was, of course, thrilled. However, as I looked around at all of the other people filling up their tanks, I questioned whether this sudden drop in gas prices was actually a good thing.
The most holiday traffic I ran into was, in fact, at the gas station. Tons and tons of cars were lined up, all the way out of the parking lot of the gas station. They clogged up the streets, as more cars waited for the lights to change from red to green so that they would no longer be trapped in the intersection.
I observed all of these people who were rushing to do the same thing that I was and I noticed that they were all driving alone. Car after car, SUV after SUV, truck after truck, was filled with a sole person. I was in my car with a friend who was going down to Arcata, California with me for the holiday. I thought about how if both of us were driving on our own how we would be another two cars clogging the streets, polluting the air.
I assumed that most of these people were going to the same places as well. A majority of them were probably headed to Portland, Salem, or Bend. Instead of each individual person needing to drive their own self to the same places, why couldn't more of these people be carpooling or using mass transportation? Does everyone really need to lock themselves away in their safe little cars and ignore the rest of the world? Do that many pounds of carbon really need to be released into our earth every holiday season?
Well, gas is so cheap! This is most likely a response from many of my fellow gas-getters on Wednesday. However, this cannot be a continued excuse for our nation's gas abuse. Our nation is using limited resources at an alarming rate and not caring about it at all. When gas prices started to rise, trends were hinting toward change. Sales of SUVs and trucks were down and people were driving less. The demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles and research leading toward alternative forms of energy were increasing.
I loved not spending an exorbitant amount of money at the gas pump this Thanksgiving, but at the same time, I don't believe that it should continue to be as low as it is. People need to wake up and start changing their patterns. Start carpooling. Start using mass transportation. Start investing in fuel-efficient vehicles. Buy a bike. Walk. Do something. Don't just continue to keep filling up your car's gas tank without thinking about the larger picture. One dollar and seventy-five cents is doing a lot more than just putting a gallon of gas into your car. That pocket change is changing our earth, our futures, our lives.