Yes, gas prices are much higher than they used to be.

And yes, the cost of fuel is impacting the cost of groceries and everything else we buy.

But maybe the news isn’t all that bad.

For starters, most of Europe has always paid WAY more than we do, even with the latest jump in U.S. gas prices.

For example, drivers in Paris pay $5.54 per gallon. In London it’s $5.79 per gallon. And in Amsterdam they pay a whopping $6.48 per gallon.

Which could explain why so many people ride bikes in Amsterdam.

Which brings me to my point: we’ve had it too easy for too long.

An unending supply of cheap gas is the reason we ripped up all of our efficient electric street cars and interurban railroads and replaced them with roads.

But it looks like the rising cost of fuel might actually help solve the mess of poorly planned and unsustainable suburban sprawl that resulted when we abandoned our urban public transport systems.

As Nick at BSB points out, higher gas prices seem to be the reason that recent USDOT stats show Americans are finally driving less and taking public transit more.

High gas prices have caused “the largest drop in miles driven by Americans ever in the 66 year history of [DOT records]” as well as “the highest usage of public transportation in 50 years”.

In addition, high fuel prices have driven investment in alternative energy companies and pushed lawmakers to offer big tax breaks for renewable energy.

Isn’t this what we’ve been working toward for years? Getting people to drive less and use more renewable energy?

It sounds to me like higher fuel prices might actually be the best thing to happen to the environment in a long, long time.

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