I gotta admit; I’m a bit ambivalent about skyrocketing oil prices.
Of course, I can’t deny I didn’t enjoy it when my receipt rang up at almost twenty bucks today after I filled the Corolla I drive. And I loath the idea of these corporate fatcats blissfully raking in the money on the backs of the families who are struggling to make ends meet and who are having to somehow come up with a little more gas money to get to work each day.
But a part of me feels a little bit of glee. A small, mean part of me to be sure. A bit of sinful schadenfreude, perhaps. And also a hopeful part of me.
I can’t help feeling it serves America right. And maybe it will get us to think about our actions.
Maybe it will get us to reconsider purchasing those behemoth SUVs which get a couple miles-per-gallon. Maybe we will pause before hopping into those vehicles several times a day to drive all over town. Maybe we’ll start planning our time and trips more efficiently. Maybe we will start looking to carpool rather than driving alone 80% of the time in a vehicle with a 10-occupant capacity. Maybe we will think about using public transportation. Or—heaven forbid!—maybe we’ll try biking or walking to get around. Get some fresh air, get the heart rate up, see the world around you without an isolation bubble. You might be surprised at how much you like it!
Of course, what we pay at the pump is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to petroleum. Oil is a huge input in the harvesting of food (fuel for tractors, etc), and so grocery prices will rise. Many of the clothes we buy are made of synthetic fibers, and plastics are key components in perhaps the majority of consumer goods. As oil plays a key part in the manufacturing of those materials, expect an impact on the prices of those goods. And all of these things must be transported from the producer to the retailer or consumer—bringing up vehicle fuel again. The rise in transportation expenses will show up at the register.
Maybe we’ll have to think more about what we purchase. Maybe we will take this as an opportunity to evaluate our need for “stuff.” Maybe we can do without. And for those things we still feel justified in having, perhaps we will be more conscious of the source. If we buy locally produced products, we reduce the transportation requirements, with the consequent impact on our environment—and our wallet. Plus we are keeping the money in circulation in our community, rather than shipping it across the states or even the globe. When money stays in a community, its impact on the community multiplies greatly.
Maybe, just maybe, the rising oil prices will make us stop our cultural epidemic of conspicuous consumption, lead us to more thoughtful, conservative choices in what we do, and lead us to be the good stewards of this planet and of our bodies that the Lord intends for us to be.