Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

The Problem Isn’t Higher Gas Prices, It’s Lack of Choice

Gas prices are a notoriously tricky issue for politicians. That the federal gas tax has remained static since 1993 (and won't be raised this year) is testament to that.

Of course, the hundred-dollar barrel of crude isn't necessarily the end of the world if there's a bus running down your street when you need it, or if you can safely bike to work. So while pundits try to predict how well President Obama will weather the backlash over rising gas prices, the folks at Network blog M-Bike.org point out that there are many more deserving targets of public ire: The decision makers who help ensure that driving is a matter of necessity, not one of choice.

false

Have you seen the price of arugula? It can be a pricey green for salads, but fortunately salad eaters have choices. That old iceberg lettuce is never that much money and the more dedicated can often grow their own.

It’s good to have choices. Unfortunately for many of us in Southeast Michigan, when it comes to high gas prices, we don’t have choices — at least in the short run. Much of Southeast Michigan is urban sprawl and car dependent by design with mediocre to no transit options. Except for the most urbanized areas, Southeast Michigan’s walkability and bike ability is mediocre to poor as well...

So while 9% of those recently surveyed blame President Obama for the high gas prices, it’s surprising that local officials that have promoted sprawl are escaping the blame for this automobile dependence. The area’s main sprawl supporter is [Oakland County Executive] L. Brooks Patterson who says: "I love sprawl. I need it. I promote it. Oakland County can’t get enough of it." Yes, believe it or not, that’s actually his quote. Why is he being given a pass?

Those living in sprawling communities have few options in the face of high gas prices. It’s affecting peoples’ quality of life. We have built much of this region in such a way that residents are more vulnerable to the price of oil — and we’re all paying the price. It’s time we held this area’s politicians and planners more accountable and demanded better transportation choices.

Elsewhere on the Network today: How much does driving a car cost? Try about two hours of every workday. That's the portion of income the average American spends owning and maintaining a car, reports Austin on Two Wheels. Meanwhile, Hard Drive picks up some highlights from Ray LaHood's HuffPo interview: The Secretary of Transportation thinks protecting bikers is important, but doesn't consider himself a hipster (or know what a hipster is). And Cycleicio.us reports that the Chinese government has issued a death sentence for a motorist in a fatal hit-and-run cycling collision.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Wednesday’s Headlines

How should we react to public indifference about the danger cars pose to society? Perhaps a sitcom has something to teach us.

July 24, 2024

Opinion: Is Kamala Harris ‘The Climate President We’ve Been Waiting For’?

Kamala Harris fought hard for a better transportation plan in the San Diego region despite big political risks. If elected president, will she do the same for the country?

July 24, 2024

America is Setting Micromobility Records — But That Boom Could Go Bust Without Public Funding

Shared bike and scooter trips soared 20 percent in a single year. So why are so many U.S. systems shutting down — and what will it take to keep the revolution rolling?

July 24, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Running Hard

More political news: Today's top stories delve into Kamala Harris' record on climate change and Republicans' plans for the Trump administration if he returns to power.

July 23, 2024

Disabled NYer’s are Victims of Gov. Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause

So many New Yorkers can’t use the closest subway station to their homes because they don't have an elevator. And Gov. Hochul just halted funding for 23 new lifts.

July 23, 2024
See all posts