The title of this blog was inspired by the Saturday Night Live character done by Christin Whig in which her Aunt Somebody reveiws movies...sometimes resulting in a rating of "whaaaat?"
I find myself saying this all the time because our current society is full of crap. I hear nothing but bad news coming out of Washington and nothing but negativity coming out of anyone who has anything to do with finance.
First, what's the deal with fuel prices? On the one hand, it's good gas has gone up because I'm hoping it will have an effect on those idiots* who don't care about the environment. But on the other hand, I drive a pretty fuel efficient car and live close to work but I'm unable to constantly make adjustments to my budget to accommodate an increase in fuel cost.
We built (and were allowed to build - mostly without a choice or alternative) a society based upon the automobile. In my little corner of Provo, Utah, there is no public transportation alternative for me with regard to traveling to my place of employment (which is only 4 miles which is about the closest you can get since it's in an industrial "park" area with no housing nearby).
Now that this society has been built, and we are all dependent on our cars, the idiots in charge have raised the price of our driving. In any other business, this type of thing would result in government action. But not in this case because Big Oil is a big financier of many a political campaign.
The same crappy advice fills our ears: "Get a tune-up", "check your tires", "carpool", "ride your bike", "buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle", "combine errands".
Okay, as a cheapskate, these are things I've been doing all my life. Besides, it'd be a little difficult to ride my bike to work seeings as how I drop off my daughter at the babysitter's on the way there as well as run errands on the way home, (see "crappy advice" tip above "combine errands"). Furthermore, I'd like to see a family with three or more kids travel around in a Honda Civic. Even the most fuel-efficient minivan is a gas guzzler compared to a rice burning Corolla.
Besides, who's going to go out and spend $20,000 so they can save a couple dollars at the pump? Only the rich who aren't influenced by rising prices anyway. If I were in the market for a new car, which I'm not (still driving an old '99 car with 143k miles to save money) I might consider a more fuel efficient car. But I tend to drive cars for a few years due to their extremely high sunk costs (taxes, depreciation), so a fuel-efficient car today is a gas guzzler tomorrow because technology changes and will need to change rapidly in order to keep pace with this crazy 400% increase in fuel over the past few years. (Back in 2000, I remember gas dropped down to $.95/gal). So a Prius today is nice, but will be a Hummer tomorrow when the new breakthrough car is developed.
So, how does one save money when the answer is to "buy into the latest fuel-efficient trends"?
So is the answer to reduce gas prices? Is it to create a new technology...possibly the eventual development of a vehicle that runs on carbon dioxide and produces oxygen?
I'm already sick of traffic. In my opinion the only thing preventing people from driving is the cost of gas...even when it was cheap. Given a vehicle that is cheap to operate, there won't be two millimeters of free space on any road...ever, anytime day or night.
So the only solution is for society to redesign itself.
Everything in our society encourages the use of a car. "Convenience" stores have higher prices which force you to drive further. That's just one example. Basically, it's nearly impossible to "have it all" today.