Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blame OPEC, Blame Exxon; Blame Bush, Blame Pelosi; Blame Iraq, Blame Iran; Just Don't Blame Me

Americans are fed up with high gas prices, but they aren't prepared to do anything about it.

According to a Washington Post survey ("Tipping Point Shock"), gas prices would have to rise another buck, to $4.38 ($5.12 out West) before a majority of motorists would change their driving habits.

Instead, Americans prefer the blame game, ascribing "fault" for high gas prices to oil companies, the Iraq war, politics, OPEC, etc.

Only two percent of drivers in the Post survey blamed "market forces."

In other words, blame anyone else, just don't blame me.

Yet the fault lies at home. Americans love their big SUV's, complete with the smug little "support the troops" yellow ribbon. They love their exurban homes. They love their summer driving vacations.

They don't love mass transit. They don't love trains. They don't love hybrid cars. They say they want good mileage, but what they really mean is they want a vehicle that will defy physics--a monster truck that will get 50 mpg.

The fact of the matter is that despite the higher gas prices, consumption of gasoline in the U.S. was about 2 percent higher last week than the same week a year ago. That's supply and demand.

Until people begin to change, expect prices to continue to rise. And don't expect change to come quickly--the blame game is much easier to play.

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