Will higher gas prices help the environment?

"I was beginning to think I was alone in welcoming higher gas prices"

By Salon Staff

Published June 26, 2000 7:55PM (EDT)

We want our SUVs BY JACQUES LESLIE (06/21/00)

I was beginning to think I was alone in welcoming higher gas prices. Even though it hurts my wallet (though not as bad as an SUV captain's), I welcome anything that will decrease the number of road-hogging, view-obscuring and gas-guzzling behemoths. I especially enjoy the SUVs that sport environmentally-conscious bumper stickers! Who are these people kidding?

-- Wendy Welch

I agree with everything that Jacques Leslie says in the article. We Americans are self-centered, hedonistic consumers of everything, including oil.

One possible solution not mentioned in his article is reliable, inexpensive public transportation. I am not talking about privatized, slow, expensive, exhaust-spewing busses, but efficient, reliable, clean subways. Here in Indianapolis, the 12th largest city in the U.S., we have a lame, unsafe bus mess. What we really need is the model of efficiency and clean travel I witnessed when I traveled the subway in Washington, D.C.

I'll gladly hang up my car keys when an option like that is available.

-- Elaine Benken

I've been following the gas price hikes fairly closely and almost nowhere have I found a call for finding a new source of energy. I think it's high time we started putting our money where the hyperbole over environmentalism is currently festering and start actively and aggressively searching for a viable alternative for oil. Even if you discount the environmental impacts, there is the minor fact that it's a FINITE resource with 40 years until depletion given as the most pessimistic projection. And global consumption continues to rise! If the laws of capitalism were released from the energy monopoly fossil fuel enjoys, we'd have some Einstein rolling out the hydrogen fuel cell car with affordable conversions available for all models currently on the streets. The Honda hybrid is a mere conciliatory gesture. We need immediate action.

-- Matthew Kern

SUV owners are not the ones whose gas usage is being affected by the rising gas prices. I've yet to hear the driver of one of these "light trucks" say, "I'm going to have to stay home this weekend and car pool next week, because of gas prices." I have, however, heard my college-aged friends say, "I'm not sure how I am going to afford driving to work next week; I've already spent everything I could afford on gas to get to school."

While SUVs are a gross phenomenon, particularly in suburban/urban areas where their numbers far out-weigh the number of people who have conceivable reason (construction work, rough terrain) to drive a monstrosity of that size and wastefulness, I doubt seriously that rising gas prices are going to dent the driving habits of the type who put out the extra money to tower over the rest of the world in the first place.

-- Avonelle Wing

In your article, you say: "The biggest cost, however, is environmental. Global warming is a fact: The only argument left is to what degree humans have caused it, and right now most evidence points directly at us."

The last I heard, global warming was still a theory, with no irrefutable evidence. So far, claims that emissions of carbon dioxide are causing a catastrophic warming of the planet are fraudulent, at best.

I agree that we should reduce our use of fossil fuels as much as possible, but without halting the growth of industry and reversing 10 years of economic expansion.

-- Andrew J. Small

Salon Staff

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