5 Reasons to Love $4 Gas
The gang at Foreign Policy wants you to know that, “Sure, it’s ruining the global economy and making everyone miserable, but there’s an underappreciated upside to the high price of oil.”
They’d have to be awfully good to offset ruining the economy and making everyone miserable, no? Well, here they are:
Slightly more people may be taking mass transit. Of course, since people obviously prefer to drive, the collective benefits this provides are offset by individual unhappiness.
People are getting more exercise because they’re being forced to walk or ride bikes more. And they’re losing weight! That’s undeniably a good thing, unless you’re in the health care or mortuary business. Then again, there’s a trade-off in time that otherwise would have been devoted to productivity or leisure. And, depending on the weather, you’re likely to show up for work soaked from rain or sweat if you live far enough away that you would be driving if only gas weren’t so expensive.
Fewer car crashes! If you’re not driving, you can’t get into a car crash, right? Of course, a car might hit you while you’re riding your bike.
Shorter commutes and less traffic. The combination of some people moving closer to work and others taking mass transit or biking means that people are spending less time on the road. (Anecdotally, this doesn’t seem to be the case in the DC area.) Of course, this means that people are either paying more for housing or living in less desirable housing. After all, there’s a reason they were living further from work — which almost nobody wants to do, all other things being equal — to begin with.
We’re switching to biofuels. And thereby raising food prices dramatically, which has been devastating for the world’s poor. But we’re working on some other types of biofuels that won’t do that. It’ll take a few decades, though. (Why is this listed as a reason to love $4 gas, again? Apparently, “Four Reasons to Love $4 Gas” weren’t enough.)
Via Matt Yglesias, who wishes the government rather than the oil companies were getting the extra money.
Photo: Cleveland Plain Dealer