CNN recently published an article following the fall in ‘drivership’ due to rising gas prices. Over Memorial Day weekend, people drove less than in the previous year, many opting for a ‘staycation’ or a cookout in the back yard rather than an hours-long trek to someplace else. Even more people were opting for public transportation to combat rising gas prices. At long last, people are being reasonable and actually thinking through their driving. Of course, it’s only because not thinking is hitting them where it hurts most – their wallets – but I’m willing to take what I can get.
The cultural mindset we have about driving can best be seen in one woman’s change of plans – she comments on the ridiculousness of her new habits of catching rides with friends and only going into town once a day, which she calls crazy. Maybe I’m cheap and/or don’t currently own a car, but I always like to catch rides with friends. And most weeks, since I work outside the city, I don’t go in more than once a week.
We expect, as Americans, to be able to drive. We expect to own at least one car, and possibly more than one. We expect to someday own our own homes – and look where that’s got us. We expect to be able to afford and be justified in cross-country trips to see family and friends or just to tour famous sites. We expect to drive our cars to and from work every day, and to every little errand, whether two blocks or two miles away. Personally I hope gas prices stay high until we know our expectations are unrealistic. It may take a long time.