March 8, 2022

(3 Reasons to) Stop Complaining about Gas Prices!

Some folks think that expensive gas is the worst thing that could happen—well, think again.

Did you also see all these people on social media crying about gas prices lately?

To be honest, I am super mad at them. I am also mad at Republicans who demand sanctions on Russian oil while blaming Democrats for expensive gas.

I am not surprised but upset.

If Republicans really want sanctions on Russian oil, I want them to sign an agreement that they won’t use higher prices as a talking point in the midterms.

At the same time, it feels weird that we (Europe and the United States) talk about heavy sanctions while sending billions of dollars to Russia.

I think it’s weird that there are talks about replacing Russian oil by entering business with Iran and Venezuela.

And don’t even get me started on the idea of destroying nature reserves for oil.

It’s pretty obvious that our thirst for oil makes us dependent. We depend on Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, and many other questionable non-democracies. As I have written many times before, the only way out of this are renewable energies and more mindfulness on energy consumption.

But instead, there are still people who want to get better at dealing with dictators. They want to exchange one questionable partner to depend on for another. Really?

And then, I see these dudes in front of their trucks crying about gas prices. I would love to send these folks to Ukraine and have them share their worries with those who lost their homes and seek shelter in a subway station.

It’s almost as everyone wants to sanction the sh*t out of Russia—unless it slightly affects them. And that needs to stop!

We need to talk about how to deal with the dramatic situation in Ukraine that could cause World War III—not about Jim, Bob, and Joe fueling their truck.

I live in Germany. I am well aware that energy prices are going to rise. But I am okay with that, even though I might have to make some adjustments.

But if someone really thinks that human rights don’t matter because of gas prices, I have bad news for them: that way of thinking is what got us into this situation!

We need to take action. Immediately.

Here are three suggestions on what to do instead:

1. Renewables instead of weapons. 

How about starting the biggest investment of all time? Why don’t we put all our efforts into subsidizing solar panels for private homes? Every dollar spent on that makes us more independent from dictators. Every house that is not consuming external energy helps to lower the demand on local power grids.

But of course, we could also buy weapons and try to partner up with different dictators.

2. Public transportation. 

I understand that public transportation in the United States mostly sucks, but that could be changed easily. Why not subsidize public transportation instead of throwing money at the car industry?

As a German, I know about the gravity of this statement, but it’s the only way out. And if someone really needs a car to get to work, we should take a look at the type of car used for that.

Nobody, really nobody, needs an SUV to drive their kids to school. Nobody needs a truck to shop for groceries.

If you insist on having a car, please make sure it doesn’t use more gas than a tank.

3. Check your privilege.  

As painful as higher prices at the gas station might be, let’s not forget that there is a war. There are children sitting in bunkers, families lost their homes, and men without any military training have to participate in a war to defend their home country.

On top of that, do you have any idea what gas costs outside the United States? A gallon is around 3.8 liters. A liter of gas in Germany costs around two Euros right now. That means a gallon of gas costs almost 10 U.S. dollars in Germany.

I am really sorry if my words upset anyone, but let’s be real. We can’t sanction Russia without consequences for ourselves.

And that’s the bottom line of this; we have to change the way our economy works. We have to invest in renewables. And yes, we will have to pay more for gas and use less.

But maybe it helps to look at it the other way around. The main reason our gas used to be cheaper was that we had better deals with dictators.

If standing up for human rights, democracy, and freedom causes higher gas prices, let’s do this.

As Annalena Baerbock, German Secretary of Foreign Affairs, said, “Peace and freedom in Europe have no price tag.”

I would like to add, “There is no price tag on human rights.”



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