I am not shocked at high gas prices but I am delighted. Finally for the first time in over 30 years, the price that our nation is paying for gas is more on par with the rest of the world. Energy cost and especially gas prices have intentionally been kept low by our government. If you look at the economies of other countries you will see that the high price for fuel has fostered an economy where people use more public transportation and seek work closer to where they live. The increased traffic on public transportation creates more money and need for public transportation. This results in more need to build and more jobs in the construction sector.
Oil production is estimated to peak in 2020. As oil production follows the path of a bell curve, this would under normal circumstances allow us roughly 150+ years of oil after this date. Unfortunately with the increased population and heavily increased demand, scientist estimate that after our peak we will roughly have 60 years before our world oil supply is completely depleted. This means that if we keep going at our current rate that the worlds supply of oil will be gone around 2080. Link
Countries that have maintained high energy prices have helped to curb consumption. Let’s face it, the only way to get people to conserve anything is to slap them in the pocket book. If something starts costing someone so much that they actually make life changes regarding its usage then you have made a measurable change in behavior. Link
All of the doomsday theorist, claim that high oil prices will send our economy into a downward spiral. While there will be some “restructuring” in our society and while some people will get “lost” in the mix, (mainly those not crafty enough to make the appropriate changes to their lifestyle) high energy cost will have the incredibly long term benefit of world energy conservation. High energy cost would also foster research for alternative energy sources. You would see more people on foot, bicycles, public transportation, or in energy efficient vehicles. Less expendable income would mean less traffic on our roadways and less leisure time for those that cannot readjust to the changing economic environment. This translates into a cleaner and less crowded social environment, open roadways, less waste on gas guzzling vehicles and even has implications for population control.
I realize that there are downsides to these ideas. As with any social restructuring, people will get lost in the fray. I understand that many people view it as unfair that these oil tycoons are making such massive amounts of money at your expense but there is one thing that needs to be understood. They made a decision to go into a difficult business with a high demand. They are reaping the benefits of their decision. You made a decision to buy a house with a 70 mile commute to work and buy a gas guzzling S.U.V. that gets 10 miles per gallon. You are reaping the benefits of your decision.
I am ready for gas to hit $8 a gallon. At the current price there has been little change in driving habits. Mostly we have just seen a lot of complaining about the pricing structure. I see lots of complaining but no habit changes. This is pretty typical of our American culture. This is a remnant of religious indoctrination in our culture and I am laughing now because it is slapping you. I will not be happy until I see prices that force a change in behavior. I will not be happy until Americans realize the need for change!