The 4% Solution

So, I have been thinking about this Prudhoe Bay pipeline thing again, it's all over the news, what are you gonna do, right? So, according to The News Hour, the oil carried by the pipeline represents 2% of US oil consumption, so the pipelines closeing means a 2% deficit. What if we were to harken back to Good Old American Know-How, our great national Can-do Spirit, and our legendary ability to make-do and make our own? What if we were to rise to the occasion and live within our means, as it were, by reducing our oil consumption accordingly?

The US Department of Transportation estimates that the average American drives 300 miles per week: So, say thats you, and say you replaced 12 of those miles with some other means of transportation: bus, bike, trolley, subway, skateboard, roller skates, what have you. Say you and your friends, family and co-workers joined forces to carpool to work, school and other events; and even occasionally skiped a trip all together. Stay home and have a game night with the family; garden; talk to your neighbors over the fence, rather than going out to be 'entertained'. Not every day, just enough to shave 12 or so miles off your drive time? That would be an approximate 4% reduction from a 300 mile week.

The vast majority of car trips are under 10 miles, so for someone who adds 300 miles to their odometer each week, replacing two, maybe three car trips with some alternative transportation would doubtless do it. You might bike or bus to work one day each week, or run a few fewer errands; you might plan and combine trips to eleminate mileage.

The Boy and I have started doing one big shopping trip, in a car, each month. We buy all our staples and non-perishable foods, filling a couple 2 or 3 of shopping carts to the point of overflowing, this allows us to eliminate several small shopping trips during the month. Our fresh produce comes either from the garden, or from the local farmers market, neither of which require a car. The round trip to the store takes the same amount of gas whether we are buying 1 item or 100 items. By filling a car to capacity with all our non-perishable food stuffs in one well planned trip we get it over with and don't have to do it again for a month. I know for a fact that doing this has reduced our car mileage by far more than 12 miles a week (though we were never a 300 mile a week family).

What if everybody did their own version of this, in a way that made sense for their life? What if all of us reduced our car mileage by 4%? That would compensate for two pipeline closures! Or compensate for the one pipeline and those few folks who cant be bothered. What if we didnt let the fact that some few folks could not be bothered deter us from doing the right and responsible thing?
Now that would be great American Know-how! That would be an epic example of what truely makes this country great. That would give our country a long over-due reason to be proud.
Are you up to the challenge. patriot?


Tuco said...

Hey nice blog. As far as the Alaska shut down goes, apparently Saudia Arabia has taken it upon themselves to increase their production and make up the shortfall. WHICH, if you read "Twilight in the Desert" pushes Saudia Arabia closer to peak oil. So much fun all this stuff.
Good luck with the biking! Check out my blog at http://tucorides.blogspot.com for a canadian cycling blog.

griffin said...

hey there, thanks for checking out my blog.
Sure, the oil companies will up output, but what if no one bought it? What if we showed them uo by not needing that 2%? I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

I'm going to go check out your blog now, and that book!