I don’t think everything is as bad as I previously thought, when it comes to the world running out of oil.
I went and test drove a Toyota Prius today. Then I went and test rode a completely awesome electric bike. Both of these things are going to be an investment, but both of them will pay for themselves in the long run on several different levels. My reduced consumption of gasoline will add up considerably, but there’s a lot more to the equation besides money.
First let’s talk about the bike. An electric bicycle has always seemed like a cop-out to me, because getting excercise is the primary reason for biking, and if a motor is doing all the work, what would the point be? But I’m wrong. Electric assisted bikes actually have a different effect on the way that you ride. You still have to pedal, but the motor assists you up large hills or any other terrain that would normally kick your ass. Owners of these things report that they actually get MORE excercise because they are no longer afraid to go long distances or into rougher terrain that otherwise may have scared them off. And because they’re so much fun to ride, you use your car less, you improve your health, and you use significantly less oil. This is a beautiful thing, and I encourage you to check it out.
Then there’s the car. I had no idea how far electric hybrid technology had come. They’re safe, quiet, clean, powerful, and fun. They are also a little more expensive, and there’s an 8 month waiting list to get one. Your reduced gasoline consumption will help offset the cost (as will a $2000 Federal Income Tax deduction, if purchased in 2005), but a bigger deal to me is the fact that we really don’t need all this oil. We CAN live without it. It will cost you money up front, but the larger impact is far greater. Our world CAN be cleaner. We CAN cut the cord from OPEC. We CAN reduce pollution, greenhouse effect, and global warming. On an even larger scale, society and politics in general will change immensely once we are not spending all of our income on an oil addiction. This is REALLY REALLY good for the world, and all you have to do is spend about $4000 more on your next car. Think about this for a while, and maybe you’ll start to see what I mean. Or not, I really don’t know.
This has led me to start to look at sustainable energy for the home. This too, is expensive, and for most people, out of reach, but it’s certainly fascinating to see just how close we’re getting to not needing Xcel Energy anymore. As gasoline continues to grow more expensive and less available, the world is going to pour more and more research dollars into making sustainable energy work. And we, as a species, are incredibly good at solving these sorts of problems when we find ourselves getting backed into a corner.
I didn’t realize just how depressed, cynical, and hopeless I had become about the future of this world. It has affected every corner of my life, I think, even without me noticing it, right down to my decision to not breed. I still think that there’s too many people on this planet, but I no longer think that YOUR children are neccesarily doomed to an unlivable hell of a future.
My entire outlook seems to be a little brighter lately, and it has almost everything to do with energy. I think we’ll live. And I chose to share that outlook with you, just in case you were feeling as doomed as I was. Shit really ain’t all that bad.
Go buy an electric bike.