Those High Gas Prices? Maybe They're Good for Us

One mom says it's time to focus on our dysfunctional relationship with gasoline

There’s pain at the pump and I know folks are going to tie this to politics because this is a particularly political year. I saw on Facebook that places like Exxon are reporting record profits, and it’s clear to me that companies like BP are raping the earth. There is no part of me that wants to see these people make more money, but still I think rising fuel prices aren’t all bad.

I know that when gas prices rise, the cost of goods rises. I understand that it’s going to hurt a little bit now, but if it saves us from a ton of hurt later that can only be good.

If you’re a single person hopping into a giant SUV then life should be expensive for you. All of us moms who refuse to carpool are waiting in line with cars idling in the very spots where our children play. We are culpable. My tomatoes come from Mexico, the roses you got for Valentine’s Day came from Colombia and every cheap tchotchke in our houses came from China (not to mention your very expensive shoes). We have abandoned all good sense and chosen cheap over smart.

There’s a huge price to pay when we ship our food from halfway around the world. Your produce came to you with a heaping dose of greenhouse gases, and of course the money you just spent is leaving your neighborhood. I recognize that not everyone lives in a climate that can produce food year round and that it makes sense that some food would be shipped in, but I live in Los Angeles and there’s no good reason that my local grocery store is stocked to the gills with fruit from Chile.

Our economy is in shambles right now because we as a nation listened to leadership that told us that buying skinny jeans and hoodies made us patriots. Bankers told us to buy houses because we’d make more money by the time the loan adjusted. We lease our cars because no one wants a car that’s out of warranty, right?

Cheap gas doesn’t make you a patriot.

Our sense of entitlement has wreaked havoc on our health, our communities and our economy. I’m sorry that food won’t be so cheap. We all waste a lot of food, perhaps we’ll learn to waste less? Maybe it’s time to skip the flash fashion and buy a few good items from close to home instead of batches of poorly constructed items from the slums of another country?

I’m astonished that children simply do not walk to school. The traffic jams surrounding my local elementary school are hideous and in addition to the obscene use of a limited supply of fossil fuels, we have children playing in a yard that’s surrounded by a ring of idling cars. I’d like gasoline to be too expensive for this.

How many kids see a bicycle as a mode of transportation?

We fill up at the pump on cheap gas. Sure, we don’t bankrupt ourselves, but we bankrupt our kids. We fill their lungs with poison, we steal resources from their futures and we offset the incredible expenses of unhealthy living. They’re going to pay and they’re going to pay with cash and with their health.

As we emerge from the Great Recession I cannot help but wonder if we’ve learned anything at all.

Jessica Gottlieb is a Los Angeles blogger. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaGottlieb.

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