Monday, March 12, 2007

Evidence That Gas Prices Are Too Low

Today was one of those sunny and fresh spring days, where it finally reached 60 degrees, giving one the slim hope that, just perhaps, we are not doomed after all.

That is, until I picked up my daughter from swimming practice at school. I parked in the lot, to avoid the 15 or so enormous SUVs and minivans waiting in line next to the gym doors. As I walked in, I noted that there were about 20 or so additional enormous SUVs and minivans in the parking lot, many with people in them, with their engines running while they waited. As I passed the enormous SUVs in line, I then noticed that every last of them had their engines running as well.

I understand that there will always be one or two knuckleheads who seem to enjoy unnecessarily pumping CO in the atmosphere for no good reason. But how is it possible that everyone can just sit there with their windows rolled up, presumably running both the heat and A/C together, in an attempt to match the inside of the car with the perfect conditions outside? It is no wonder the planet is dying, with people pooping in their own soup like this. Except that it isn't just their soup, it is mine too, and yours.

I'm wondering what thought processes take place in these kinds of situations. Perhaps it is thought to be too much time and energy to turn the ignition off, only to have to turn it on again 10 minutes later when it is time to go. Perhaps there was concern that the battery would go dead from playing the radio too loud. Perhaps they are making sure that our effort in Iraq will not be in vain, that our right to burn gasoline for no good reason not be impeded, and there is no better time to make this statement than on a fine spring day.

Gas is obviously not nearly expensive enough. That, or perhaps we need new controls in cars that simply dumps all the gasoline in the tank on the ground when it has been idling in park for more than 5 seconds. Sure, it would waste gas the first few times, but I think people would learn pretty quickly. Hopefully.


dw said...

If I get there too late, I have to wait in the street for my daughter, so I sometimes keep the engine going so that I can drive when necessary. If I arrive early enough, I can pull into the lot, in which case I turn off the car. Either way, next yr, we are within walking distance of her school. Now, at my son's daycare, I regularly see SUVs and other vehicles sitting in the lot, running, with NO ONE inside. That drives me nuts.


p. s. enjoyed talking tonight. wanna grade the rest of these mid term exams?

Fingtree said...

Dan, Why do you hate freedom soooo much?!

snarkbutt said...

Dan, you give people too much credit for thinking. Most of the things people do is not out of some intricate thought process, it's just something they do out of habit. The CO levels in the atmosphere is not on their thought radar.

The other complication is how you define "perfect" weather conditions. I'm sure there are disagreements, even within your own family, as to what constitutes the "perfect" temperature in the house.

It drives me totally freaking nuts when I come home on what I consider to be the most gorgeous day in creation, and the wife has all the windows shut and the house is stifling with stale air. Having grown up in the South in a culture of closed windows, it just never occurs to her to open a window. It's not a conscious thing, she just never thinks about it.

Personally, I agree that gas isn't expensive enough (and I commute 50 miles a day.) High gas prices seem to be the only way that Americans will get serious about conservation: Hit them in their wallets.

snarkbutt said...

Hey, I was expecting to see your commentary on Bush's visit to Guatemala this week. Apparently, some Mayan priests were planning a ritual to clean out the "evil" that he left behind when he visited a sacred site. That seems like a perfect post for this blog.

Dan S said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan S said...

Maybe there needs to be a postsecret site dedicated to ways in which we each waste energy in irresponsible ways...

> commentary on Bush's visit to Guatemala this week

Shoot, I remember seeing that and also thinking it would make a great post, but forgot about it. Maybe the next few days.

folk notions said...


I have read some of your posts and really enjoy your blog. I invite you to come read mine as well:

I'm an AmeriCorps Volunteer and a Mennonite, so I sometimes touch on similar issues that you do.

peace be with you,

Dan S said...

Thanks for the link devan, and the comments. I am actually curious what happens in the life of Americorp volunteers, so this might be a good way to find out.

brownie said...

I imagine that at least one of, if not all of, those SUV's were diesels. Diesel engines are not meant to be turned off/on in short periods of time, because they burn even more fuel, than if left running.

Either that, or they're just a bunch of gas hogs.