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Posted By Bakari

As you may have heard, an oil rig has exploded off the Southern Coast of the US, causing a spill almost certain to be the worst in human history, with a potentially devastating impact on the local environment and everything that lives in it (which would be everyone that is alive).

In the news, and in political emails, and among people's conversations, there is talk about what BP did wrong, how they might have prevented it, whether the government response was quick enough, how consumers should react....

But the truth; which almost no one wants to admit is:

This is OUR fault.
If you drive a car, ever, for any reason, you are personally responsible for the spill.

If you don't own a car, but sometimes you borrow one, or get a ride with a friend, or take the bus, or take a long-distance train, if you fly or travel by ship, that oil was being drilled for you.
If you are a hard-core oil abstainer, never travel long distances, do all short trips by bicycle, nearly everything you buy, food, clothes, books, paper, your bicycle, the computer you are reading this on right now, was both produced and transported with the help of oil.

We don't get to blame oil corporations, or government, or BP executives, and the capitalist economy.  It is US.  All of us. 
Instead of writing angry letters or boycotting a particular company, how about taking this opportunity to use a little less oil yourself.  However much that is, make at least a little change, and use a little less.

Buy something used which you would normally have bought new.
Ride public transit, a bicycle, or walk, when you don't have that far to go.
When you do drive, drive a little slower.
And stop accelerating toward red lights - it won't get you where you are going any faster anyway.

Posted By Bakari

I have been requested to post something positive.

While I am generally good at pointing out problems and at complaining, I don't generally offer much by way of solutions.
This time I have a very concrete solution, which is within easy reach of ordinary Americans, with no risk, no cost, and a negligible amount of inconvenience.
It is something you, the reader, can do.

But first, a short history lesson:
In October of 1973 a group of nations got sick of the US foreign policy of military intervention, and, knowing we had developed a lifestyle totally dependent on oil, they agreed not to sell us any.
This caused massive and immediate effects throughout the US economy. Buying fuel, at any price, meant waiting in long lines - on those days you were even allowed to buy gas at all (hmm, so maybe Soviet era lines for goods were not caused by the distribution system of communism, but by a plain lack of resources...)

The government took steps to encourage conservation, which (unlike sourcing new oil) could be done immediately, such as banning Christmas lights.

Another major step they took was to enact a national speed limit of 55mph.

The reason for this is that at higher speeds air resistance increases exponentially* relative to speed. Going twice as fast requires 4 times the energy. This is as true of modern vehicles as it was in 1973. All vehicles, small or large, gas or alternative fuel, use more energy at speeds above 60mph. In fact, going from 55 to 70mph typically uses between 20% and 25% more fuel to go the same distance.**

Next, a physics lesson:
Similar to the relationship between wind resistance and speed, momentum varies with the square of speed.
This means that if you are going twice as fast, it will take 4 times as much force to stop - and 4 times the braking distance in an emergency.
It also means that if you do end up in a crash, at twice the speed you will have 4 times the impact. At 4 times the impact, crumple zones and airbags can't stop your organs from hitting your ribs hard enough to explode.

Most people actually believe they are safe when they are driving a car.
The number one cause of death of youth in the US in car crashes. It causes more deaths among young people than murder, suicide, cancer, and heart disease combined. It is the number one cause of death up until age 40, at which point it is still in the top 3.
We don't hear about it much in the news precisely because it is so common. There are roughly 16,500 accidents significant enough to be reported in the U.S. EVERY DAY. Of these, roughly 1/3 result in permanent injuries. Every 12 minutes, an American dies in a car crash. Every time you get into a car, you may die.

The number one factor in causing all of these deaths and injuries? It isn't alcohol. It isn't teen drivers or cell phones. Its speeding. Speeding is the single largest factor in injury and fatality collisions. Contrary to popular belief, driving slower is safer even when other cars around you are speeding.****

Note a couple studies on the issue:
"risk of involvement in a casualty crash, relative to the risk for a car traveling at 60 km/h, increased at an exponential rate for free traveling speeds above 60 km/h [37mph]"**

“... summarized in a general rule of thumb: When travel speed increases by 1%, the injury crash rate increases by about 2%, the serious injury crash rate increases by about 3%, and the fatal crash rate increases by about 4% ”**

(continued here, due to character limit)

Posted By Bakari

Back when I began I set a totally baseless "goal" of 25mpg.

That would make my (CAFE exempt) 2.5-ton full-size commercial truck more fuel efficient than the average passenger car on the road today.

The changes since I last posted:

-Replaced mechanical vacuum pump with an electric one (from the wrecking yard - they don't have a list of cars, and most of the insignias have been pulled off, so I had to check each one.  I found it in the very last row, after having gone through probably 200 or so)  This allowed me to remove the alternator belt altogether.

-Replaced belt driven radiator cooling fan with an electric one.  It has a thermostat, so it only goes on when its actually needed.  It also weighs about 1/10th as much, so it doesn't require as much energy to turn.


-Added an underbelly pan from the front bumper to around 1/2 back to smooth out airflow beneath the vehicle, along with little spoilers in front of the front tires (they were big spoilers at first, but they rubbed the wheels at highway speeds and wore away) 

-Removed the windshield wipers to make it a little more aerodynamic.  They, along with the alternator belt, live inside the cab now just in case I need them unexpectedly.  They de/reattach with no tools in just a couple seconds.

-Replaced the grill tape with a sheet of coroplast (same stuff the belly pan is made from) so it can be removed easily in hot weather. The engine runs better warm in general, but the new fan isn't quite as powerful, and between that, the grill blocking, and driving (faster than usual, 65mph) in the hills during the brief hot weather we had last week, it did overheat once, so I thought it better to make something that could quickly and easily be removed and replaced later.

-Removed power steering pump and replaced steering gear with a manual steering gear.

I've also added a solar panel, changed my aux driving lights to 5w LEDs and moved them to inside the grill.

The average brand new passenger vehicle (inc. cars and light trucks) gets 26.7mpg.

On my last fill up my 1983 commercial (heavy) truck got 26.85mpg

Posted By Bakari

I would much appreciate it if you voted for my instructable.

I don't so much want the prize, but I would love the exposure.

Unfortunately you have to sign up, but fortunately it's free, and doesn't take very long.

Thanks in advance.

Posted By Bakari

My friend/co-worker, upon hearing about my truck project, encouraged me (repeatedly) to do a write up for the do-it-yourself website
As it happened, I was working on consolidating my blog posts on the topic for the hypermiling websites from which I had originally gotten most of the ideas I've been implementing.
So I followed the link he sent, signed up, and reformatted the posts to be appropriate for the popular how-to site.

The site was new to me, so it took basically all day figuring out the features and making changes to the content and pictures and tweaking various things.  Comments started coming in, and I responded to the comments, and then a site administrator must have seen it and liked it because before the first day was over I was promoted to a "featured" item, which meant my post was put on the site's homepage.

And the views took off.  By day two there had been over 4000 views, and it was moved to the "popular" section of the homepage.
Right now (3 and half days since I published) its up to 6415 views and over 50 comments.
One of which was: "I think I might play the aero game on my car now!"

That's the best compliment I could get. If I encourage just one person to drive a little slower, or even do some mods, writing all this up will have all been worth the effort.

It's one thing writing on my own blog, or on a hypermiling website, but introducing these ideas to the general population, that is gratifying.

Posted By Bakari

If I really wanted to accurately determine how much difference any particular change made, I would make upgrades immediately after filling the tank, and then do only change at a time, going the entire tank and calculating mileage before doing another.
I don't have that kind of patience.

When I wrote last about it (the post with the pictures) I had begun those mods several days into a new tank of gas.

I looked up what was typical for the same model and year of truck online (there are no EPA estimates for it) and found people reporting anywhere from 10mpg to 18mpg.
Myself, loading it to it's max for work, but being a generally gentle driver, before I had ever heard of hypermileing I was getting between 15 and 17mpg.

By changing just my driving habits, driving slow, accelerating gently, coasting when coming to a stop, I raised it to 19.7mpg.

After the first stage of changes to the truck (the tank I was on when I wrote about them March 21) I ended up getting 21.75 miles with a gallon of gas.

Once again, I filled up, and then several trips into the new tank, got around to starting my next series of upgrades.
I still have yet to go to the salvage yard to try to find a manual steering gear and electric vacuum pump (so the brakes work when the engine is off). I was planning to go today, but the rain had me change my mind.

I did make it down to Al Lasher's last week for some switches.

Nobody makes a wiring diagram for this year for the diesel engine.
I spent many hours over several days upside down under the steering wheel, trying to trace and test various wires.

-If you happen to own a 7th generation (80s) Diesel F-250, and you want to wire in a kill switch or remote starter: The thick red wire with a green stripe goes to the injector pump (for a kill). The thin red wire with a blue stripe goes to the ignition relay (for a start).

The switches are dual purpose: wire them one way and they are momentary open, wire them the other and they are momentary closed. I used one each way, so that one stops fuel to the engine, the other triggers the starter. I mounted them side-by-side in a block of scrap wood, attached to the gear shift with a strip cut out of a steel can lid (mandarin oranges, of course).
As I had hoped, they definitely make the pulse and glide (coasting, etc) much faster, simpler, more precise, and safer, then using the key each time (especially since the ignition on this truck has been very finicky as long as I have had it) which encourages me to do it a lot more often.

-The orange wire running from the external voltage regulator to the alternator controls whether the alternator is charging or idle. If you open the circuit the alternator stops charging. Even though it is still being turned, there is no resistance, it just freewheels.
If anyone is inspired to do a similar project (with any vehicle), DO NOT just disconnect the alternator from the battery w/o disconnecting the smaller wires.  It will continue to produce current, but since that charge has nowhere to go, the alternator will self-destruct...

(Due to character limit, click here for the rest)

Posted By Bakari

After being pulled over for driving too slow, I looked up a couple hypermileing websites in order to post the story among people who might find it entertaining, and possibly offer some advice as to how to avoid/deal with the situation should it happen again.  While there I found all sorts of ideas and suggestions I hadn't thought of and decided to attempt to make the truck itself more efficient to compliment my new driving style.  This number is totally arbitrary and baseless, but my "goal" is 25mpg.
The average fuel economy of all US passenger cars on the road (not trucks, SUVs, or vans) is only 22.
The overall mileage for all US passenger vehicles on the road is only 17 - less than I am getting currently.
(And that's "passenger" vehicles.  Technically my 5500lb diesel is classified as a commercial vehicle, even if I didn't use it for work)

Of course this whole exercise is more just for the principal than it is to save money, considering how much I spent on the project so far.

Completed so far:

-I built some homemade wheel "skirts" (wheel-well covers) to improve aerodynamics.  The current ones, intended just as a test (though I may keep them as is if they work well enough and hold up) is made of cardboard (the box my new computer came in), coated in layers of aluminum tape, and then painted and edged with velcro.  I lined the wheel well with velcro, and stuck 'em together, then taped over the seams with clear tape to cover the gaps of a less than perfect measuring and cutting job.

-I taped over about half of the grill (the engine runs too cold as it is) and the front turn signals to improve the aerodynamics of the front which stock basically looks like a multifaceted scoop designed to catch as much air as possible.

-The headlights come in a little scoop too, but since it's vital that the light not be interfered with, instead of tape I had covers custom cut out of thin Lexan plastic, which is totally clear, scratch resistant, flexible, and nearly indestructible (the same stuff my custom motorcycle windshield is made from).  I traced the headlights and brought the tracing to Tap plastics who were able to cut them for me in about 5 minutes.  I drilled holes in the corners and screwed them onto the grill so I can easily remove them if a headlight burns out.

-I ordered extra bright LED bulbs for the taillights and tun signals. They are brighter than stock but draw less power. The parking/brake/signal lights together use more power than the headlights, at 63 watts (parking) to 177 watts (brake) stock. The LEDs total 5.5 to 20 watts.  This power is generated by the alternator, which is powered by the engine, so any reduction in electric draw ultimately reduces drain on the engine.

(blog entry continued HERE)

Posted By Bakari

I've been driving around 50-55 on the freeway for the past few months, managed to get my '83 diesel f-250 work truck from and average of 15mpg, up to 19.5mpg (this is with various loads of furniture, boxes, dirt, appliances, etc in the back)

Last night on my way home, going 50mph, some cars merged very slow, and instead of accelerating to pass them, I slowed even more to let them in, but they were going SO slow I just moved to the left instead.

As I accelerated gently back up to speed I noticed a cop behind me, and just as I put on my signal to move back to the right, he moved to the right without signaling.
So I stayed where I was, and waited for him to pass on the right, still not having accelerated up to speed yet.

After a couple seconds, instead of passing, he pulled back in behind me.

And lit up the red and blues.

After answering a bunch of questions (last thing I ate was ice cream, 2 strawberries, and 2 almond cookies, I am not under the care of a doctor or dentist) I did a balance test, and when I passed that, took my first ever breathalyzer.

In an area where everyone goes 75, why would anyone drive slow unless they were drunk?

I told him I drive slow in order to save gas (and I was going particularly slow while I waited for him to pass - I didn't point out that he hadn't used his turn signal).
He said that I was going 20 under the limit.
I wasn't sure how pointing out that the "limit" was a MAXIMUM limit, not a minimum, would be taken, so I was just mostly quiet and agreeable.

No ticket. 
I actually found the whole ordeal rather amusing, but I hope this doesn't become a pattern.

Posted By Bakari

I tend to spend time around certain type of people.  I feel fortunate to live in a place where there are so many like-minded people to be drawn to, and to have attracted to me.
They work in education, or in jobs with a direct environmental benefit.
They are socially aware, concerned with the world outside of just their own personal lives.
As such they tend to buy local food, used clothes and furniture, they are vegetarian, vote regularly.  They bicycle and take transit, or if they drive its a sub-compact shared with other people, a hybrid, or powered by veggie oil.
They value things like education, cultural understanding, and tolerance.
They see that the way we do things here is not always necessarily the "best" way to do them.  And a part of valuing what other cultures has to offer entails traveling to other places and experiencing them first hand.

Driving that most-visible-of-all-symbols-of-American-consumption, the H2 (the Hummer luxury model) across the country with a couple of passengers, along the 3000 miles of Highway 80 from SF to NY, uses less fuel and causes less pollution (per person) than doing the same journey in a full loaded commercial passenger plane.

A single round-trip intercontinental flight more than negates an entire years worth of commuting by bicycle.

We are able to get away with travel because it is so grossly subsidized; from our military (which is larger than the entire rest of the world combined) being assigned to guard pipelines to the fact that airports are paid for by taxes, not by the airlines, combined with the fact that we simply have way too much money (the world average income is $7000, but the less developed world averages only $700 per year) and so don't think twice about spending it frivolously, from household doo-dahs to vacations.

When a person travels for education, or humanitarian reasons, with the peace corp perhaps, the plane ticket alone is likely to cost several times more than what the local residents make, and do more environmental destruction than the residents would have done, in an entire year.

And this segues me nicely into my next topic.


[Due to character limit, the rest of this essay can be read by clicking the following link]:

MySpace Blog

Posted By Bakari

I've been driving more conscientiously ever since I read the article on hypermiling, which I posted about in November of last year ("Some more stuff other people wrote")

I didn't quite take it to the extent of the guy profiles in the original article (he drives on the edge of the road to avoid the extra friction from the tire grooves, and knows exactly how far from home to coast to a stop exactly in his driveway without touching the brakes) but I did slow down, accelerate gently, shut the engine at long stop lights and coast down hills.  There is even a 2.3 mile stretch of highway 13 (which I take on the way back from Bike Patrols) where I can put it in neutral, shut the engine, coast down one hill, up the next, back down, off the off ramp, around a tight curve, through a yield sign, back on to the freeway entrance for 580, off at the next exit, and down to MacArthur before starting it back up again.

In the past, on the motorcycle I have generally accelerated fast, just because its so easy, and so much fun, and because as hard as I drive on it, I've never gotten less than 50mpg.  I stopped zipping about at 100mph+ after a couple accidents and a whole bunch of tickets, but I still would top 75 at times.
Since reading the article I kept the speed down between 50 and 55 on the highway, and stayed ducked down behind my big aftermarket windshield, out of the wind.  It took a long time to find out the results, because it went so much farther on a full tank.
Where I used to average around 55mpg, on the most recent tank I got 70.2mpg, an increase of 28%.

In the truck I wasn't expecting to find a big difference.  I can't as easily coast around since it uses loses both power brakes and power steering without the engine running.  I was already driving at 55mph as it was, so reducing my speed to 50 didn't seem likely to have much effect.  I already kept the windows up on the highway to reduce drag, and it doesn't have an AC to shut off. 
Even so, from my usual 15-16mpg, it went up to 19.7 on the most recent tank, an increase of 25%.
Its hard to say how much its related to driving habits, because some days I am moving 3 tons of dirt, other days there may be a queen size boxspring sticking straight up into the wind, and others I am just moving a single 2-person love seat, but after almost a month and over 300 miles its likely to have balanced out.

So there you have it.  In both the smallest most efficient vehicle you can find or a big old work truck that can haul several tons, you can save 25-30% on fuel by just making small changes to driving habits.  If this gets out, it could just spell the death of the hybrid.

Posted By Bakari

I'll write something of my own soon, promise.
Until then, here are two articles, with some steps you can take in your own daily life which will ultimately benefit everyone (not to mention your wallet and health!)

Because every time you buy gas, the terrorists win:

"Wayne's driving obsession began after 9/11. Before then, he drove "75 miles per hour in the left-hand lane," but in the wake of the attacks he vowed to minimize his personal consumption of Mideast oil. As he sees it, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda received their operating funds from all the U.S. consumers who bought Saudi oil... There was a direct relationship between our addiction to oil and the World Trade Center coming down."

Less consumption of Mideast oil would also make our economy less susceptible to spikes in the price of opec oil, which have triggered U.S. recessions. More than half the gas we pour into our vehicles in America is imported, and we send more than $4 billion a week abroad to buy oil. If we all got a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy (far less than the 50 percent improvement that Wayne and his hypermilers routinely get), we could reduce by half the oil we import from the Mideast for our cars. And then there's global warming. "I'm not just doing this for myself," Wayne told me before we met. "I'm doing this for my country and the world."


"guys in Priuses were bragging about 44 mpg, and I was doing better in a Corolla."

... As he drove, he began to see how little things—slight movements of his foot, accelerations up hills, even a cold day—influenced his fuel efficiency. He learned to wring as many as 638 miles from a single 19-gallon tank in the [Acura] mdx [SUV]; he rarely gets less than 30 mpg when he drives it. "Most people get 18 in them," he says."

(Summary: You don't need a hybrid. Just slow down.)

But wait, there's more:

Our collective diet uses as much energy as our driving. Eating vegetarian, local, and organic, isn't just about health or the poor little animals. Its also about our environment and energy independence. Eating low on the food chain needs to be a priority for everyone.
Excerpted from:

"Since America is responsible for 22 percent of annual emissions, I suggest we set a target of shrinking our personal carbon footprint by 22 percent, or 9,606 pounds...

So what would a 22 percent diet look like? Step Two is all about losing weight.

Seriously. Body fat. My personal flab is not just a private matter between me and my coronary arteries. Nineteen percent of US energy usage—about as much as is used to fuel our cars—is spent growing and delivering food to the average American who consumes 2,200 pounds of food a year. That's a whopping 3,747 calories a day—or 1,200 to 1,700 more than needed for personal or planetary health. The skinny truth is that as much as 7.6 percent of total energy in the United States today is used to grow human fat, fat that translates to 3,300 pounds of carbon per person.

For starters, half of our food energy use comes from producing and delivering meat and dairy. If we gave up just meat, we could maintain that hefty 3,747-calorie intake but consume 33 percent less in fossil fuels doing it."

(Entire Blog at MySpace)

Posted By Bakari

I say "have a good night"

They respond "enjoy your weekend"

It sounds pretty stupid, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I always feel like maybe they are trying to show me up with a superior salutation (wait, does that mean greeting? what is the term for goodbyes?)
Like I should say "on yeah, well enjoy your whole week! Have a good month!!!! I hope your whole life is filled with meaning, pleasure, and goodness - motherfucker!"

These thoughts would not occur to normal people would they?

Here is an unrelated question.
I have asked it before, but no one ever answered it.

I have 7 readers (one of the 8 is really me)
This blog has supposedly been read 16 times today, and 95 this week, although there have only been 2 posts.
Who are you? Where did you find me? Why don't you ever comment? Or are the same 7 people refreshing the page over and over and over, 13.5 times each, (or is it all Beth, who mentioned doing something like that once, refreshing the page 83 times this week?)
On average each post has had 26 views. Maybe thats normal. Someone must be reading this and knows the answer and refuses to tell me. You, whoever you are, are just so weird.

See my new profile picture? One of the earliest cars with the Tango. It probably won't be the car of the future, but it should be. 2 Passenger electric car, powerful, fast, full steel racing style roll cage, thin enough t lane split or park between 2 regular parking spaces facing the curb. The traffic jam would go the way of the model T.
Unfortunately, the reasonably affordable models are only concept cars until they get more funding.

George Cloony bought one of the first of their top of the line sports models.

hour and a half till I get to go home...

Posted By Bakari

after listing off fancy techonlogical off road features, the voice over says:

"despite the probability that you won't, the LR2 is designed for the possibility that you will"

American consumer mindset, right there.

Our homes, our cars, the self-storage industry (which has only exsisted since the 1970s and has doubled in the past few years) all guided by that principal.

Lets all take what we can grab before it runs out...
(and try to forget that it wouldn't be running out if we weren't all grabbing)

Posted By Bakari

Auto ads today would have you believe that 30-35 mpg is amazingly good.

35 is awful!
We have the technology to have affordable passenger vehicles that get 100mpg.
I'll avoid the technical details, but the potential is absolutely there. Without being a hybrid. Seriously. Trust me.

A small part of it is the industry's refusal to do it.
But the primary reason they don't exist is us.

You and I, my friend.

I just read an article in Mother Jones about this guy who volunteered with Habitat for Humanity - that is, until they wanted to put a couple of affordable homes in HIS neighborhood! Then he began to protest and look for legal recourse against his former organization's work.

We look down on him, but we are all him. We are happy to help, as long as the cost to ourselves is negligible.

We are unhappy with a car that takes 20 seconds to go 0-60, maxes out at 85, has room for only 1 passenger, a small trunk, seats with minimal padding, no A/C or heat, manual transmission, manual steering, no power brakes, no power anything.

And so I look at how popular the Prius is; even though the Insight was available years earlier, and gets nearly twice the average mileage (35-40 vs 70); even though 90% of or trips have one or no passengers, even though the speed limit is 65 and we rarely exceed it by more than 15mph or so - we want to know that we could carry 4 passengers at 95mph, and so the Insight doesn't sell, and is discontinued, while the Prius, with its pathetic 35-40 has a waiting list.



And what I realized is:
I drive. My (motor)bike gets 55-60mpg; good, about as good as available for a freeway speed capable machine sold today. That's still a lot of gas getting burned, a lot of pollutants in the air. Just to save me an hour of travel time here and there. Yes, my truck runs on 100% vegetable oil - but it has its own form of pollution, and it still has to come from somewhere, it has to get transported. I ride my bike to work...most days. Which means sometimes I don't. Yes, I have an ultra-efficient home - but it saves me money, plus I enjoy it.
So what, really, am I sacrificing?

And so, in my self-righteousness, I am exactly like the Prius owner.
I work for a non-profit and split my tips with the Coalition; but I don't volunteer (and I have no intention of starting to).
I am vegetarian, but mainly because the thought of eating flesh is sickening.

I guess it is a part of the human mind to despise most those people whose faults match our own most closely.


The people who abhor welfare usually inherited wealth or at least education and connections.
The anti-sex are secretly perverted, and the strongest homophobes are often as not gay. Narcs steal from the evidence room, and the woman who sent hate mail to the guy from the example above who stopped volunteering for Habitat, her home is just as expensive as his.
The deeply religious feel guilt for all their own sins (Christianity's appeal is that all sins are forgiven, as long as you have faith).

I always found the religious to be the most hypocritical and disturbing of all.
To apply the trend I have found, that must mean I am secretly religious myself...


... ... ...


Not even a little.

So, I guess that destroys my whole theory about indignant hypocrisy. Sometimes we just dislike something because its stupid; it doesn't have to be projection. That's good. I feel better now. Damn Priuses.

Posted By Bakari

I have to disagree with you on this one.

Gas prices need to go up; way up.

Americans drive frivolously.
Air pollution, oil wars, and possibly global warming, are not due to politician evil as much as they are due to consumer habits.
Oil companies - like most American corporations, make way too much money, but the people do not have a "right" to cheap gas.

If the oil companies are gouging, ride a bicycle, or take the train, or at least buy a smaller car.

We should not be encouraging move-on members to be on the wrong side of this issue.
Gas prices need to go up, the sooner the better. That is the ONLY thing which will drive alternative technology, efficiency, energy independence, and individual conservation.