I'm sick and tired of reading sites in the US complaining about how expensive 'Gas' is. Just over 3.50USD per US gallon is cheap by the standards of basically everyone else in the non-OPEC world. Crikey, even their pumps are wearing out! I wonder what will happen when the petrol price approaches that which I'm used to, maybe they won't be able to afford the bun for their burger? Update: As if to make my point about the zeitgeist in the US at the moment, in sweeps the excellent Yehuda.
In the UK, the price is about 1.20UKP per litre (it's changing right now), that's 9.7 USD per US gallon. When I started driving (mid nineties), the price then was 4.50USD per US Gallon (at today's currency rate).
Granted, much of that is tax - which (alledgedly) is a green tax designed to try and shift people onto public transport. I might believe it if public transport was more ubiquitous and less expensive (if you're in London, fine... but otherwise...)
If people in the US didn't seem to put such a premium on driving cars that do 12miles per gallon, then they might have a point. I get about 40 miles per imperial gallon (about 35 miles per US gallon), and there are several cars out there that do better. We do see vehicles with such SUV-like poor fuel economy this side of the atlantic, but they tend to either be the exception (people with more money than sense). Alternatively they are used in particular circumstances - e.g. for driving around a farm, not nipping to the shops.
Stop whinging, yanks - your prices may look high to you, but they're still cheaper than I've ever had to pay (except when I visited the US in 2002). Your country is the biggest producer of CO2 per capita in the world (both per capita and in total) - from the point of view of everyone else, something which improves your fuel economy could well be a good thing.
The oil may look pricey, but oil is a finite resource - you ain't seen nuthin' yet. That's even if you decide to take the short term fix of drilling in new areas, like Alaska (or using the increased price to make it economical to extract that 'hard to reach' last drop from an existing field).
What we really need is serious research and serious funding for technologies which are oil free. If we wait until we need these, it's too late, and that's world war three right there. (I remember saying this back in the 1980s, when I was a teenager - that's twenty years of research down the pan right there).
In the meantime: 'High' petrol prices? Drive less. Swap to a motorbike. Use public transport. Ride a bicycle. Walk. Don't take pride that your car does 12miles per gallon - that's just moronic.
For Governments, we need public transport that's cheaper than cars, and certainly trains that are cheaper than planes (especially when travelling as a couple or as a small family). In the UK, we need a more connected system - e.g. train routes that bypass London (an M25 for trains), if you will.
At least some folks over the pond 'get it'.
In short. Higher oil prices are something we will all have to get used to - it's a fact of life. In the UK we've recently had protests on the matter - and I can understand this, livelihoods are at stake. The French fisherman have been protesting too. Whilst accepting that, do realise, USA, that your prices are not high by the standards of everybody else.
The sad thing is that the electorate over there (and to be fair, in most places) respond to short term thinking. A recent example was people talking about 'tax holidays' on fuel, this is one area where Obama gained lots of credibility with me, and Clinton (in particular) lost all credibility by totally ignoring all expert opinion.
What we really need is the new President to 'do a Kennedy'. JFK stood up and said that by the end of the decade Man would be on the Moon. They went all out, and they did it. Admittedly, they then dropped the ball (where is my space elevator?) - but they did it.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the new president, be it McCain, Clinton or Obama, said 'By the end of the next decade we will have developed technology to remove our dependence on oil.'?
They could cite reasons including energy security ('The Arabs have the Oil'), the environment ('Save the Planet'), and sheer economics (rising prices). As long as the first reason didn't become 'The Arabs have OUR Oil'....