Last night I filled up my car tank and it was only $24.81; I know, I know, I have a very small tank. Even when gas prices were well above $1 per litre, it was still in the low $30’s to fill up my tank. This Acura has been just about the most fuel efficient car I’ve owned and oddly enough it’s also probably the quickest car I’ve owned.
Gas prices are as cheap as they have been in what seems a very long time as a result of the Gulf of Mexico refineries being safe from hurricanes as well as the Middle East conflicts easing up for now.
But I’m reluctant to rejoice at the news of gas prices being sub-80 cents per litre. Part of the reason is because it doesn’t make too much of a difference to me; I have a fuel efficient car and I seldom use my car other than for vacations or driving to hockey.
The other reason is that high gas prices are encouragement for people to walk, bike, or ride transit, which helps increase the quality of our air; especially on those smog days in the summer when it feels like someone in the sky is smoking a big huge cigarette and blowing it in all our faces. I know when I owned a Jeep I tried to use my motorcycle as often as I could because of the high cost of gas. (Remembering the time I rode my motorcycle to hockey in Hamilton wearing half of my equipment while riding)
It would be nice if there was a way to increase taxes on gas for people who don’t drive for a living. The government should tax those people who decide to live 2 hours away from their work just so they can live in a big huge house with a bunch of empty rooms that they probably never use anyway. They should take that tax money and pump it into bicycle lanes and public transportation so that someday it will be cool to take the bus or subway to work, and the guy who drives a car to work is a sucker. York Region has made it cool to take the bus with their new Viva system. It’s a model that other cities will follow where there are real-time clocks telling you when the next bus is coming, dedicated bus lanes and right of way traffic lights for buses. It’s basically the future of public transportation.
That is my dream. It may be a dream right now, but I hope some day it will be a reality. I will try to do my part by lobbying politicians to see this dream through. In Toronto there are council members who have this same dream, but there are also many who oppose it.
I’ll give my rare 2 cents — Not everyone wants to live in the city, and if someone chooses to waste 4 hours of their day in the car, that’s up to them…and I would guess that they already pay enough in gas. To me that drive is crazy, but I wouldn’t want to live in the city and take transit every day either…we’re all different, and extra tax doesn’t make sense.
I’m not even talking about just living in a bit city city. I’m talking about having reliable public transit anywhere, in smaller cities as well.
Also, the biggest polluters are those who live in the smaller towns outside of the city, but drive in to work in the city every day. That’s another place where there needs to be improvements. Getting into and out of the city every day and making it worth people’s while to take public transit as an alternative to driving.
I agree that making transit better everywhere is a good idea, but it won’t change anything for those living in one city and driving to another. I just don’t think taxing people who choose to drive with the already high gas prices is the answer…that’s their choice & problem. (Unfortunately they’re always the ones on tv complaining about the prices…go figure!!)
Sis: I guess it depends on what city they live in and what city they work in. People that live in Burlington and work in Toronto have a pretty good train system linking the cities (GO Transit), so in that context it’s always good to encourage those people to use the available transit. But of course if someone lives in Hamilton and works in Dunnville, there aren’t many alternative options. But then again, why would someone live in Hamilton and work in Dunville?
Anyway, going back to where you state “that’s their choice and their problem”, I don’t totally agree with this. Because we have to breathe the air in that these people have chosen to contribute pollution to. Gridlock is another problem that these people contribute to which also contributes to pollution, but I think Gridlock is also encouragement for people to use alternative means of transportation.
Most of my concern is more around people living in the suburbs and working in the city. I know your situation is different and the car is the way to go. If you had to sit in traffic for an hour just to drive what should be a 15 minute drive, then I would say we have a problem (Unnecessary pollution). But since it takes you 15 minutes to drive to work, your city doesn’t have the same problems. (YET). Some day the Niagara region will be as overpopulated as the GTA and will have the same issues.
Planning for city and regional growth is key to avoiding the problem that the GTA has run into, but you still have 10-20 years before you will start to see major issues of a similar nature.