Okay, before taking this the wrong way, hear me out.
For so long, gas prices in the US have been exceptionally low, kept down by government subsidies and protection of oil interests. Check out this table comparing prices around the world. We’ve been lucky to get along with such cheap fuel costs but when things get easy, people get lazy. If it’s cheap to drive an hour to work every day, people have no reason to live closer, or invest in a bus or train route to fit the bill. If it’s glamorous and profitable to push huge vehicles to consumers, there’s no incentive to develop efficient and sensible alternatives.
When times are easy, individuals and companies have no reason to invent and innovate and lead the world in developing new technologies. We slip behind other countries because we’ve collectively forgotten what it means to strive desperately for the best.
High gas prices have forced us economically to do what we should have been doing on our own. We’re facing the short-term shock that comes with a forced change in perspective. Soon, though, the country will shift into gear and do what we do best. The country should embrace this opportunity step it up and rediscover its place as a center of innovation and discovery. I just hope we don’t forget the lesson when prices drop again. SUV sales should never recover.