The Wasatch Behind: the high cost of gas
"Holy Cow," I said as I checked the ashtray and glove compartment for nickels and pennies to help buy gas. "Utah has the highest gas prices in the nation. We average $2.60 at the pump while the rest of the county is down to around $2.30. That means a full tank of gas costs us $6.00 more."
Uncle Spud smiled as he scraped bugs off the windshield.
"It's never going to change until people wise up," he said.
"What do you mean?" I asked as I fished for a dime that had fallen into a defrost vent in the dashboard.
"Well," he began, "we need to take a different approach to the energy situation in this country. What we're doing doesn't work."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"It's simple. Conservation is the wrong approach," he said. "We need to burn more gas."
"Are you out of your mind?" I questioned. "We've got to conserve or we'll run out of gas and then we'll really be in big trouble."
"Running out of gas is the best thing we could do," he said.
"You're crazy," I offered. "The government, green people, Big Bird on Sesame Street, and Al Gore all tell us to ride the bus, carpool, buy sub-compact cars, and conserve as much as possible."
"That's entirely the wrong approach," he said. "We need a national policy to use as much gas as possible."
"Your hat is too tight." I said. "Better take it off and give your brains some air."
"I'm serious," he insisted. "The faster we burn gas the better. We're never going to get an alternative source of energy until all of the fossil fuels have been consumed."
"Hmmm," I pondered. "Maybe you do have a point."
"Of course I do," he smiled. "As long as there is plenty of gasoline, nothing is ever going to change but the price at the pump. We've got to make it our patriotic duty to burn as much gas as possible and get rid of the reserves. When the well finally runs dry we can get serious about other forms of energy."
"But what if we can't find another energy source?" I asked.
"It's all in the want-to," he insisted. "We found our way to the moon in less than 10 years. We should be able to find another way to get to work."
"But what about global warming?" I asked. "If we use more gas, the air pollution will cause global warming."
"So what," he said. "Global warming might be the key to our energy future. When we finally dissolve the ozone layer around the planet, the sun will hit the earth much brighter and that should help with solar energy. And, more sunshine means a longer growing season so we can grow more weeds to make methanol and bio-diesel if we don't have solar cars by then. I think we should make a concerted effort to get rid of that stupid ozone layer."
"You can't be serious," I said.
"And then too," he offered. "Global warming will help us cut down on winter heating costs. With ultra-violent rays hitting the earth without an ozone filter, no one should ever be cold again."
"It's ultra-violet rays," I giggled, "not ultra-violent rays."
"Are you kidding me?" he said. "Get rid of the ozone layer and they'll be ultra-violent rays. Nobody will care what color they are."
"Your logic is impeccable," I smiled. "So what do you suggest we do?"
"We've got to burn up all the gas as quickly as possible, cause global warming, and live happily ever after," he smiled. "Everyone should buy a big SUV with a huge boat or RV trailer to tow around. We should all do our part to use as much gas as possible and make our future happen. It's the American way and the patriotic thing to do."
"Sort of chokes me up," I muttered as the little bell on the gas pump dinged again and again as it counted the gallons pouring into my big old sport utility wagon. "Nobody can say I'm not doing my part."
"Atta-boy," Uncle Spud smiled proudly.