General Question

Jasohhh's avatar

Should I feel bad about liking high gas prices?

Asked by Jasohhh (19points) August 18th, 2008

I am pleased to see people suffering at the pumps, especially when I’m riding past on my bicycle. I realize that people have places to go, but I get a twisted sense of satisfaction to know people are feeling the consequences of poor decision making like living too far from work (urban sprawl), driving too large vehicles (SUVs), and putting to many eggs in one basket (undiversified energy sources). Should I feel bad about this?

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20 Answers

Scrumpulator's avatar

You know what? Its fine to want to watch people cringe at the pumps, but I think that you are forgetting the fact that there is a global economy. It’s not just Americans, and the whole thing is, the poor people in developing nations. they don’t have good jobs, and their food is raising in price just as much as yours. what this means is that because of the cost of oil, kids are going hungrey while you ride your bike a few miles to work, where you make money to spend on food. some of them don’t have the money for bikes, and they walk for twenty miles to get aid food, food that there is less of because the budgets of these groups have to cope with the rising cost of fuel to get the aid to the people who need it. SO STOP BEING SUCH A GREEDY FUCK. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF. I DONT HAVE A CAR. SO I DONT BUY GAS. THAT MEANS I GIVE MORE MONEY TO THESE GROUPS, LIKE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL. SO GROW UP.

Harp's avatar

If it’s any comfort, I feel bad about hating the high prices. Environmentalists have long said that the only thing that would wean Americans away from their cavalier use of fossil fuels would be to price oil and gas in a way that reflects its true cost. As painful as that is for so many, including me, I think the truth of that will be born out.

All of the suffering that’s hitting us now is the penalty we’re paying for not having dealt with the energy supply issues we’ve seen coming for decades.

Still… OUCH!

Scrumpulator's avatar

So, instead of watching people in pain over the cost of oil while the economy is crashing because people don’t have the extra money for star bucks that you have, give some of it to people that could really use it.

syz's avatar

While I recognize the hardship on some segments of society and feel bad about the effect on the working poor, I also rather liked the more realistic prices (especially in the early days). I consider it a tax on stupid, giant, inefficient SUV drivers and other conspicuous consumers. (I get 40mpg and car pool.)

Skyrail's avatar

I’ve heard of people who like much worse things. Or aren’t bothered about things at all. Don’t let it phase you so much. Sure you should consider the things said above but we’re not all perfect eh? Maybe you should re-consider your stance on the whole situation, but yeh, I think you should feel happy that you use your bicycle and that the petrol doesn’t affect you directly. But don’t just brush off the whole thing with a wink and a smile, do consider the damage it is doing, because all in all it will affect you, one way or another.

benseven's avatar

Scrumpulator was putting together a pretty solid argument until he went ape at the end there. What’s the deal with that? You managed to make yourself look like a well informed, well rounded… jerk.

I can understand Jasonhhh’s point but I also get the impression it was a little tongue in cheek. If he’s cycling to work good for him, no need to tear his head off if you think he should additionally be giving money to good causes. How do you know he isn’t?

The irony is that your post was meant to make him look ignorant, not you…

kevbo's avatar

In an urban environment, no. The problem is that people in rural areas (in the US) are truly getting shafted. Their prices are higher, they have further to drive, they are more likely to have less fuel efficient vehicles to cope with less improved roads, and they are more likely to be making less money.

On the other hand, here are ten things to like about high gas prices:

Incentivizes greener long term solutions
Brings globalized jobs back home
Curbs sprawl (fewer people moving to suburbs)
Four day work week
Less pollution
More frugal driving
Fewer traffic deaths (hopefully fewer bicyclists, too)
Cheaper insurance (for those who are driving less)
Less traffic
More cops on foot and bike patrol (better community policing)
Less obesity

@scrump, you need to take a chill pill. There are lots of reasons why kids in developing nations go hungry that have nothing to do with the price of oil, namely power wielded by developed nations and multinational corporations, which systematically undercut self-sufficiency in these countries.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t quite get it. In most of the rest of the world, gas prices are $8 per gallon or higher, and we’re whining about $3.75? Really, I’m with Jasohhh. The only way to get Americans to conserve is through pricing information. And it worked amazingly quickly.

While I sympathize with poor people and rural people, I still don’t think we should subsidize their unwise choices. People who lived in rural areas used to be much more self-sufficient. I guess they had to be. As cheap oil has brought the world closer together, they’ve gotten used to cheaply travelling long distances to stores and for other reasons. They didn’t protest, and got used to it.

I see no reason to feel any more sorry for rural folk than for suburban folk. It’s not like any of this hasn’t been obvious for more than 40 years. At least I grew up being taught about the coming energy crisis. Then again, I may have grown up in the most liberal town in the US. We’re nuts! Thinking about the future as if it might come true.

As a liberal, I believe in helping folks out of poverty. I don’t believe in helping them do destructive things like overconsume energy, though. But in a way, I too take a perverse pleasure in seeing people suffer at the pump. Everyone could have gotten the message decades ago, and done something about it. Instead we all continued to elect business-as-usual Presidents, and here we are. They made their beds. Now they can lie in them. If they want to do something constructive, I’m all for working together on that.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

More so than gas price pain, I am almost enjoying some of the pain being felt by communities who have over-built and do not have enough water to satisfy the thirst in the these communities. The flight from the cities to suburbia has caused untold problems. Hopefully, the pain of having no water will force people to re-think the move to suburbia and return to the cities.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Not especially, but they are going down, pretty much as I predicted a while back. The supply of oil did not get any tighter than it was before the runup in prices, and the speculative bubble that was driving it is bursting. Europeans have been living with high fuel prices for decades, and the result for them has been good public transit, small, fuel-efficient cars, and preservation of green space. What’s not to like about that?

However, decades of mismanagement in the years since WWII have given us a society that is addicted to driving, and we can’t build an infrastucture similar to Europe’s here without condemning trillions of dollars in property. The best we can hope for is for the auto makers to stop dragging their feet on hybrids and other fuel-efficient designs. When the last Yukon Denali goes into the crusher, I will not shed a tear.

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t feel bad about Hummers having to pay over $100 to fill up their gas tanks. But I do feel bad for my parents, who live on a fixed income, and have to schlep my mother 30 miles to the hospital 3 times a week, in an older, not very fuel-efficient vehicle.

We cannot judge the suffering of others, and admit to our own ignorance, simultaneously.

BirdlegLeft's avatar

I’m going on forty this year and for that entire tIme we as country have ignored the fact that oil will eventually have to be replaced with something sustainable. During that same time the move from family farms to corporate farms were going to solve world hunger. Hasn’t happened. Americans manage to pay less for much of their food, but for little good. Our food distribution is now a weakness and can also be used against us in the right hands. Look what happens if there is bad spinach, or god forbid, tainted meat. I realize much of what happens is out of our control, but riding a bike is well within the means of many people. Populations are still condessed in urban areas after all. So, if a guy wants to laugh at the people putting money in their tanks I say let him.

BirdlegLeft's avatar

@Rex, Ken Burns film that chronicles New York City shows how building highways leads to building more and more highways growing ever more dependent on cars and an oil economy.

Poser's avatar

Should you feel bad? No more than anyone else who acts smug and superior.

wundayatta's avatar

Hey Poser! How bad should smug and superior acting people feel?

Poser's avatar

Oh. I forgot self-righteous.

And who am I to judge how other people should feel? I just know how they make me feel.

emilyrose's avatar

One thing to note at least where I live, SF, gas is the most expensive, but we have the ability to take public transport pretty much anywhere. I wish gas was MORE expensive. People will get more creative, find new ways to carpool, etc. Oil is highly subsidized in our country and it shouldn’t be. I live on a very busy street that is full of morning commuters heading to the east bay. Almost all of them are alone, and they could easily share a ride through a casual carpool system that so many people use. I don’t feel bad for them at all.

I ride a bike too, so I’m biased, but there are plenty of car free options out there, people just have to get used to using them. In rural areas I realize this is different but even in the burbs people can be carpooling.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Bird, I’m older than you. I remember growing up in a one-car family until my mom went to work and needed her own car. We used to walk down to the corner and take the bus downtown to go to the movies or the big department store. The Interstate Highway System was yet to be built, and most goods were shipped by rail.

Diesel is $5.00 a gallon. The bus doesn’t run any more. And nobody goes downtown to see a show.

wundayatta's avatar

My kids are growing up in a one-car family, too. But we live in an urban area, and most days, the car sits on the street all day long. We have trolleys and subways and regional rail lines, and I have my bicycle, which I’ve been riding (same bike) since 1972. I bike commute, on average 3 days a week. 12 miles, round trip. Year round.

I used to feel macho when people would see me coming in with my bike on 20 degree days, but now I’m just a twee bit annoyed that they think I’m crazy to do that.

kevbo's avatar

@scrump- here’s another example of what I mean…

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