How are we going to deal with gas prices? Pennsylvanians are paying about $3.70 per gallon and a recent Rasmussen Poll found that 72 percent of Americans think gas might cost $5 per gallon before long.
High gas prices depress other sectors of the economy, push up the cost of food and shake consumer confidence. This isn’t a new problem; it is one we faced as recently as 2008 and at various times since the 1970s. Will we finally demand real solutions?
It is time to get off the gas-price roller coaster. Calls for domestic drilling and other quick fixes to increase supply have dominated the conversation, but we know that ever-increasing global consumption of oil will quickly outstrip our capacity and continue to drive up prices. Alternative fuels have a long way to go. Real, long-term solutions must address our individual and national dependence on finite fossil fuels, which means we need to invest in infrastructure that gives communities better transportation choices.
AAA estimates the cost of owning and operating a car this year at $8,776. The average American household is now spending approximately 20 percent of its after-tax income on transportation. It would be a logical time for budget-conscious households to turn to public transportation, but here in Allegheny County, the Port Authority just cut service hours by 15 percent and many routes are overcrowded.