Saturday, May 7, 2011

Why paying more for gas makes me happy

My time in Montréal reminded me of life pre-car. That city, with the métro and bicycle lanes and Bixi's is just so well set up for non-auto living.

Halifax, (and my job) on the other hand is not.

Recently the price of gas has sky-rocketed here in Nova Scotia. Currently it's a 1.37$ a litre (not sure what that would be in gallons). In Montréal last week it was 1.44$.

As backwards as this may sound, I am so for increase in the price of gas and oil. I'm hoping (as I'm not an official economic oil-gas-environment analyst person) it will mean:

  1. People who really don't give two rats-bums about the environment (who ARE they anyways?) will purchase smaller, more fuel efficient cars because of the price of fuel.
  2. These same people will also hopefully drive less, walk more and consider public transit.
  3. Regular people who DO care about the environment (yay us!) but may have an efficient vehicle will walk more, drive less and take public transit (or bicycle!).
  4. As more people are interested in fuel efficient cars- car companies will promote and invest research in creation and production of zero-emission vehicles.
  5. As more people in Halifax who are business class consider and take public transit, they will demand more efficient transit systems. This will increase investment in public transit making it more convenient than driving and as a result encouraging more people to give it a go.
  6. Cost for food transportation will increase, resulting in companies finding more efficient ways to transport food. The price of food being shipped in from all four corners of the planet will increase.
  7. Food that comes from thousands of miles away will become more comparable in cost to locally produced food (hopefully), as locally produced food won't be paying the same level of shipping costs. 
  8. As cost balances out, more people will consider purchasing locally grown food.
  9. Cost for heating will increase, motivating people to conserve heat, insulate their homes or consider alternative heating options like solar.
  10. Bigger businesses who actually have a huge impact on the environment will consider more environmentally friendly practices as the cost of energy intensive production continues to rise (and not because they really give a poop about the environment).
So there ya have it. My top ten reasons why a rise in price of gas and oil actually makes me happy.

What do you think? Any official oil-gas-environment analysts out there?

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. can i get a hallelujah?! ;) my only wish is that the oil companies would have their subsidies removed in the US because they are making record breaking amounts during all of this and the US helping them do it is asinine!

  2. Right behind ya, girl!!! I agree 10000%. Nothing forces a change of habit quicker than having to pay more for it.

  3. as much as I agree with all these statements and think it can make a difference, I cant help but think of thoes who can already barely afford to put food on their tables, heat their homes or get to a job across city where public transit is not an option.

    i can see if this wass a permanent thing that changes would be made and everyone could benefit, but it wont be and its not the rich guy driving his SUV that will suffer but the poor who are already finding life tough.

  4. @EcoGrrl: ugh- I'm sure that Canada under Mr Harper is also doing our fair share...

    @Green Bean: so true :) Thanks!

    @Anon: YES- i completely agree with you. It's definitely a complicated question. I'm really not for making fuel cheaper- but I am for a society who supports those who need it.

    One issue I have with the Halifax public transit is that it sucks. Honestly. I was strongly reminded of this last week while in Montréal.

    One of my theories is that in Montréal you quickly notice that EVERYONE takes public transit. 1. it's too difficult to own and park a car in the city and 2. it's UBER quick and efficient.

    In Halifax- you quickly notice that those who can afford to, drive their cars and don't take public transit. It's inefficient, dirty and not reliable.

    My theory is that as all classes use public transit in Montréal, then those w money advocate for change and improvements. Here in Halifax, politicians are not interested in changing public transit as the big players and investors in the city don't use it and as a result don't advocate for it.

    I'm hoping the more higher SES people start considering public transit as a reliable and good option, the more money the city will put into making it efficient, reliable and affordable for all.

    but then... i am a bit of an optimist.... :)

  5. I have so many mixed feelings about this. I totally agree, in theory, but we've been here before. A few years ago, we were topping out at $4+ (USD) a gallon, and with 20-gallon gas tanks, that's nearly $100 every time you fill up the tank. I was actually excited when we got to that point, and felt like the public would demand changes - more affordable options for gas-efficient cars, for one thing, and more public transit opportunities.

    Neither happened. I started asking people I knew why they weren't worried about making a change to get off gas, since all of us were struggling so hard to make ends meet already. They said, "It's just a phase. It'll pass. Gas always goes up and down."

    I have been so discouraged by this. Here we are again, around $4/gallon, and though people complain, I NEVER hear anyone say: Hey, let's demand a better bus system. Hey, let's ride our bikes more. Hey, let's complain to the senators that there aren't fuel-efficient cars available to the average middle class citizen.

    Nope. I still hear: "It's just a phase. The price will go down again, just wait it out."


  6. I'm with ya. What we pay at the pump should reflect the real price of gas--not sure about conversions from liters to gallons or Canadian to U.S. dollars, but, down here, at least, most of our tax dollars go, in one way or another, to pay for gas: the wars we fight for it, etc. Maybe if we were paying all of that, people'd get it, instead of buying SUV's and complaining about taxes as if there's no connection between the two...

  7. I am right there with you. I also agree with EcoGrrl about removing subsidies (and tax breaks!)...but not likely to happen with our new and VERY disappointing Conservative majority Gov.!

    I also agree with anonymous about the hardest hit being the poorest. It seems that with our green wishes should also come some contribution to easing the difficulties of the hardest hit.


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