Cheap Gas: Good or Bad?
Once again, in America, gasoline is cheaper than bottled water. Is this good or bad?
Let's start with the bad (5 reasons):
1) Thousands of more Americans will perish in car crashes. There is a direct, undisputed correlation between the price of gas and the number of deaths in car accidents each year. This last year, when record breaking gas prices greatly reduced nonessential driving while increasing more conservative driving habits, thousands of lives were saved. In fact, it was the first significant reduction in driving fatalities in decades. 2) Mass transit ridership will decline. When driving becomes cheaper than using more earth-friendly alternatives, regression occurs and vision becomes obscured. 3) The focus will shift from interest and investment in mass transit and efficient autos back to wasteful car dependence and massive infrastructure needed to support it.
4) We will have less incentive to be domestically self sufficient and free from foreign energy dependence with roller coaster prices that are out of our control.
5) Commute times will lengthen. This is opposite of what you may think, but it is true. The average commute time to work in America has more than doubled since cars were invented. The more cars on the road, the more congestion. And the cheaper the gas, the less incentive there is to live close to the workplace (in walking or bicycle distance for example).
Now the good:
Further reading:Election Day A Boon For Mass-Transit While GM and Friends Seek $50 Billion in Public Funds, There is no Mention of Help for Public Transit High Gas Prices Mean Fewer Traffic Fatalities