So my wallet told me that in the month of November, gas prices had gone down.
Awesome. Fantastic. Insert Happy/Smiley face emoji here.
This fall gas prices hit their lowest since the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009. On December 3, 2014, Costco gas was reported at $2.71 a gallon (www.fresnogasprices.com) and personally, my aging Honda civic is now filling up at approximately $35 a tank. Now to the casual onlooker, this is good news – more money in our pockets, motivation to travel and do holiday shopping with a little looser budget all sound great, right?
But wait a sec. . .
One must take in the bad in with the good.
According to U.S. News and World Report consumers are beginning to purchase vehicles that were well known prior to the recession as “gas-guzzlers”. You remember, Hummers, Lincoln Navigators and Cadillac Escalades, right? Well those brand items are making a big comeback. To add insult to injury, besides sucking your wallet dry for gas, the emissions of these vehicles are not good for the rest of us. A Cadillac Escalade emits around 9.6 tons per year of CO2 into the atmosphere and it stays there for, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, a few years to thousands of years. 9.6 tons is just one Escalade driving about 15,000 miles a year. As trends have shown in the past the cost of gas will go right back up. Then what? The consumer puts their car in the garage? What about the emissions, they stay in the atmosphere.
As a history of major, I’ve read and experienced enough of the ups, downs, lefts and rights of the federal, state and local governments. Ultimately I believe the power is held by the taxpayer. People really do need to think about the environment – especially in the Central Valley. I absolutely believe that climate change is not a myth. The drought throughout the state and the extreme weather conditions in the Eastern United States prove that our environment is changing and that it is completely up to the people to correct it.
From my perspective we need to start with the gas guzzlers being deeply regulated. Car manufacturers have been putting great technology into their cars, so why not lower an SUV’s emissions to be comparable to that of a Honda Civic? Since the automobile industry isn’t going anywhere, I’m thinking there are plenty of engineers who can make this a reality, it’s just the manufacturers have to make it a top priority.
This is also just a small piece of the pie. Decreasing our gas dependency, realizing climate change and reducing SUV usage are just a few of the contributing factors in the recovering and preserving of our environment.
 “Compare Side-By-Side”, U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, accessed December 5, 2014, http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=33892.
 “Overview of Greenhouse Gases”, Environmental Protection Agency, accessed December 4, 2014, http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases.html.