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BEACHCOMBER - It's a war!

  • By David Barron

So the price of gas has gone down, Huh?

Yes, it is almost a whole dollar less than a few weeks ago. There are a lot of reasons, I am told, but one of the most important is conservation by American drivers. With the price of gas over $4 a gallon, hundreds of thousands of drivers changed their transportation habits.

This is a war and the consumer won the first battle. Many began carpooling. Others are now using public transportation. Many people aren’t driving any more – they are walking on short trips to the market and dry cleaners. A few lucky ones traded in their gas-guzzlers for hybrid or a small engine vehicle.

But now, with the price of gas dropping every day by a few cents, I’m afraid some people will go back to their old ways. All of a sudden we are happy to pay “only” three dollars a gallon. This is despite the fact that we were paying way less a year or so ago.

It is just a matter of economics. When you have a product that sells to millions and millions of consumers, a one- percent drop in sales can have a huge impact. And, that is exactly what has happened. Do you remember a few years ago during a drought year when water districts asked their customers to conserve? The people responded and guess what happened? Water districts revenue dropped.

The reduction wasn’t a whole lot, but enough to put water district budgets in a bind and guess what they did – the raised water prices! That’s not to say that gasoline prices are going up because of conservation, but just to point out how much power, we as consumers have.

My suggestion is that we all continue being careful with our car usage. Continue to drive a little slower on streets and freeways. Yes, check your tire pressure like Barack suggests. Every little bit helps conserve. But the war continues and we must continue to be vigilant. There will be other battles and attacks by those that will have us completely dependent on gasoline and oil.

Each one of us must find away to conserve that fits our lifestyle. The folks in the Inland Empire will have to carpool and commute by rail. Those of us who live in town are going to have to walk when it’s close and take the bus other times.
Remember that the war is not over yet.

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