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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Get off the juice

Gas is $3.65/gallon around many parts of the metro, and even higher in other parts of the country. As a result people are starting to combine trips, rethink purchasing that Hummer, and are generally looking for ways to cut their consumption - which is great.

At the same time politicians in DC are doing what they do best which is pretending as if they care about reducing our dependence on foreign oil. $3.59 sounds like a lot, but in reality it is still not high enough to cover the costs of maintaining our beloved road system. State DOTs, across the country, are going bankrupt and the feds are going to be hitting the red very soon.

The rise in prices is simply going to the foreign nations that are providing us the drug that fuels our addiction. At the same time our infrastructure is literally crumbling and we seem to have no backup strategy as to how to deal with modest gas prices (when compared to other developed nations at least).

So what's an average citizen to do with these soaring gas prices and miserable economy? The answer is not pawning off your gold to pay for more gas. I would suggest moving closer to where you work, riding Metro (if possible), or carpool. These are all obvious solutions, but it seems that the location one gets overlooked quite a bit and is the one that can/will make the biggest impact.

Given that most people in this region work either Downtown or Uptown, I would suggest moving into the City of Cincinnati. Crime has been dramatically reduced over the past few years, Cincinnati Public Schools are poised to be ranked as 'Effective' (comparable to most suburban school districts), and there are numerous tax abatements available to avoid property taxes entirely in some cases up to 20 years...and you could save a lot money on your commuting costs.

Transit Options for Cincy:
Cincinnati Streetcar
Light Rail Now


Cincinnati NAMjA said...

Great plug for Downtown!

5chw4r7z said...

The more people who move to the city the less crime there will be. More eyes on the street as it were.
How about all the people on the news complaining about gas prices? Do they think there is actually someone who can make a decision and lower the price?
We're going to see $7 a gallon prices here in the next three years I bet.

columbus exile said...

Here's a fun game for everyone.

How high will gas have to be per gallon for people to start fleeing the suberbs and returning to the city?

How high for a total reversal of the suberban sprawl we have seen for the last 30 years? I think we'll hit that magic number sooner then most think.

Jason said...

Great post! I couldn't agree more. I'd like to think that there are more and more people thinking like this now. This is a big part of the reason my wife and I are moving to OTR. We're hoping to get rid of one of our cars. I plan on using a bicycle and the buses to get to and from my uptown job. Once the streetcars are built we'll be able to get rid of both of our cars.

Anonymous said...

As a streetcar supporter, I love seeing gas prices rise. This might just encourage the nay-sayers to begin to see the value in public transportation. Maybe.

Jimmy_James said...

I agree with everything said here for the most part. If this trend continues, it should reverse the trend of suburban sprawl. I just feel bad for people living in rural areas. One of my uncles owns a farm out in the middle of nowhere. He can't even get reliable delivery of newspapers, it's so remote. So he has to drive into town if he wants a paper, a trip which now costs him $3, not including the paper itself. As he isn't computer savvy, reading online isn't an option. As someone who loves the city, I'm excited for what this means for the future of urban areas. I'm just going to feel bad for people who live in truly rural areas if gas goes up to $7 or $10 a gallon.

Brianne said...

Excellent post!

I read recently that a study showed gas would have to hit $5 and stay there for a few months before the majority of Americans feel compelled to change their ways. Best way to change people's minds in the meantime?

Peer pressure.

It will come as no surprise that most people will do something if someone else they know is doing it. Heck, that's why I joined Jazzercise back in the day. ;)

Tell your friends, talk to your neighbor, start a friendly conversation with the guy in the Rover in your parking garage about gas prices. Maybe that will help the change start rolling.

Quimbob said...

On the news last night, they interviewed people at gas stations about the idea of cutting fuel taxes. The only person who said he would rather pay the taxes and keep the roads (and his car) in good shape was a swarthy, accented foreign devil.
I couldn't get over the sense of entitlement the "True Blue Americans" had.
They seemed clueless as to how things get paid for and how U.S. inflationary monetary policy has a more significant role in rising fuel prices than taxes.
You are absolutely right about the location thing but it has a big snag. People change jobs so often, nowadays, that keeping a home close to your job can be almost like a game of cat and mouse. Add kids in school and it gets even more problematic.

CityKin said...

Quim; The best is to locat near lots of thing you do, not just near your work. I currently must commute, but there are lots of potential new jobs for me nearby.

Also regarding schools: one advantage of the magnet school program at CPS is that no matter where you live in the city, you children can continue at the same school. In fact, you could move out of the city and continue, but then you would have to pay tuition.

Amber said...

I live downtown but work in Forest Park. One thing I have talked to my boss about is telecommuting from home a couple of days a week. Trust me we are all safer if I am not on the roads! :)

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