Fill'er Up

Angie Schmitt writes that Americans are getting squeezed by high gasoline prices again, just as it looks like there might be light at the end of the recessionary tunnel.

(from mtsofan on Flickr)

It's now 2011. We've been through this before. It's hard to say with a straight face that $4 per gallon is really all that surprising. There's something about fuel price inflation that seems to get under people's skin more than other types of inflation. I think I may have an idea of what it is...

High gasoline prices shatter the illusion that cars offer the ultimate freedom of mobility. In fact, it proves exactly the opposite - that too many people now have no choice but to drive everywhere, and that driving comes at the cost of feeding themselves and their families. People usually say that they choose to live in car-dependent places for one reason or another, so when the prices of getting around those places becomes prohibitive, their hands are tied.

Cars really do offer unlimited freedom, in an imaginary world of no congestion and fuel made of magic dust. Reality is just so very different.

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