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Old 08-30-03, 11:36 AM   #1
BrenHébert
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Quit Whining And Conserve Gasoline

Okay, I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I'm cutting and pasting my latest letter to the editor which was printed in Wednesday's paper (8/27/2003). There were three cuts I didn't like that the editor(s?) did, though -- both mentions of "S.O.V." and the P.S., so I'm cutting and pasting my original letter.

Another note -- in yesterday's paper (8/29/2003) there were two articles about local people and people nationwide whining about the price of gasoline, but both stated that these same people were not cutting down their consumption of gasoline. So, they think their whining is going to get oil barons to lower their prices??? All it's doing is making oil barons laugh. Until there is an organized boycott of gasoline (either nationwide or worldwide), the prices of gasoline is not going to change. But the general public (at least Americans) don't want to actually suffer, they just want to be SOVs and whine about the price of gas. Oh, another lovely article in yesterday's paper was about a guy in Tacoma who sent threatening e-mails to Governor Locke and several Washington State Government officials if they didn't lower the price of gasoline (among other things). And in today's paper (8/30/2003), a AP article stated that in the U.S. there are now MORE vehicles than there are DRIVERS (scary!). (okay, now for the letter I sent to editor. . .)


All I hear anymore (besides grumbling about plans for a new Aberdeen High School) is how high gas prices are. One lady commented that oil was not worth all the deaths in Iraq. Then Mike Branch's letter to the editor on Aug. 24 whined, "How much longer are we going to get gouged at the gas lines?" And then these same people jump into their gas-guzzling vehicles.
The former Soviet Union had nothing on the U.S. car industry in propaganda campaigns. Now Americans are brainwashed into thinking that they cannot survive without a car: not only one car, but they must also have at least one car for each adult in each household in this country so they can each become an SOV (Single Occupant Vehicle).
And then they complain because of the price of gas?
Let's put a little perspective on this situation. According to Runzheimer International, which does an international analysis of gas prices, "Motorists pay over $4.00 per gallon for gasoline in all of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world including Hong Kong, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Seoul." In fact, an analysis of average gas prices in Europe shows that Europeans are paying more than the equivalent of $4.50 per gallon for gasoline. Canadians are paying over $2.00 (U.S.) per gallon. I called the local Texaco and was quoted a price of $1.95 per gallon for Regular Unleaded gasoline.
In the same article Runzheimer consultant, John Wada, stated, “When you view the U.S., and even Canada, from a global perspective, North American fuel prices are still relatively inexpensive.”
You don't like the price of gasoline? Then stop whining about the cost and do something about it. As a consumer you have several options:
* Stop buying gasoline. Instead of jumping into your car; which burns the gasoline you complain about, cut off your dependence on it. This is a lot easier than you think. Forms of transportation that use no gasoline are bicycling, walking, jogging, running, rollerblading, rollerskating, skateboarding and telecommuting.
* Reduce the amount of gasoline you consume and buy. Instead of hopping into your car to go to the corner store, put one foot in front of the other and take a brisk walk. Instead of purchasing large, fuel-inefficient vehicles, get small, fuel-efficient vehicles. The kids need rides all over town? Get them a bike (and helmet); teach them that they don't have to be a slave to the oil-industry. Forms of transportation that use less gasoline: fuel-efficient vehicles, scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, carpools and public transportation.
* Move somewhere where the gasoline prices are lower. According the same Runzheimer International article: "Drivers pay $1.00 or less per gallon in Caracas, Venezuela; Jakarta, Indonesia; Cairo, Egypt; Kuwait City; Kuwait; Manama, Bahrain; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a low of 28 cents per gallon in Caracas." Can you say "Salaam" or "Buenos días"?
You don't like any of those options? Then quit whining. Continue paying the "high" prices and continue supporting the "rich oil and gas company president and CEOs" who do not "care that they are price gouging the very people who put food on their tables".
The better alternative, though, is to stop whining about the price of gasoline and stop putting food on their tables. Stop being a slave to the oil industry, and stop being an SOV.

Brenda Hébert
Aberdeen

P.S. I e-mailed this letter to Mr. Hughes and brought a hardcopy to the office on my Giant Yukon bicycle. Amount of gasoline used: zero gallons.
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Old 08-30-03, 02:28 PM   #2
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Being freshly back from Albertson's with three panniers full of groceries, couldn't agree with you more.
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Old 08-30-03, 02:43 PM   #3
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Went for a ride today. Had the most traffic on my ride in some time. The total was 4 cars with the rest, 20-25 being SUV's or Pickups. No vehicle that I met got 25 MPG. Just the stupid trend. It will change but hopefully it will be sooner than later.
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Old 08-30-03, 05:17 PM   #4
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People that compare us to Europe ALWAYS fail to consider that a lot of the price of gasoline out there has to do with the taxes on the gas- we all pay the same price for the oil, yet their governments tax the gas to pay for their programs.

I don't even pay attention anymore when someone starts blabbing on and on about how the US citizens should be grateful we don't pay what they pay in Europe for gas- we're taxed in the USA in different ways to pay for our programs, that's all.

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Old 08-30-03, 05:56 PM   #5
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Originally posted by Koffee Brown
People that compare us to Europe ALWAYS fail to consider that a lot of the price of gasoline out there has to do with the taxes on the gas- we all pay the same price for the oil, yet their governments tax the gas to pay for their programs.

I don't even pay attention anymore when someone starts blabbing on and on about how the US citizens should be grateful we don't pay what they pay in Europe for gas- we're taxed in the USA in different ways to pay for our programs, that's all.

Koffee
yes and people forget that a big chunk of what we pay here for gas is taxes as well (usually $.50 + per gallon .... often more depending on locale). the taxes theoretically went to support the building and maintenance of roads in many locales

this was a classic use tax....you pay for a share of maintenance if you drive....if you dont buy gas you don't

unfortunately...those taxes now pay for a whole host of programs...often completely unrelated to transportation...and the roads and bridges are neglected...to the hazard of vehicles and bikes alike
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Old 08-30-03, 09:49 PM   #6
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Once a few years ago they said save water.Well we did,over and above what they asked.Ya know what we got?People were layed off and prices for water went up because we saved to much.I try not to waste but i sure am going to use it.Europe is still paying a lot more.Taxes or not,it still comes out of there pockets.Nobody had a problem with suv's until the gov started *****'n about them.Jumb on the bandwagon.They must be the devil.I dont see airplanes conserve,or police,or gov cars,or most city cars and trucks.
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Old 08-30-03, 09:55 PM   #7
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I agree with your comments, Brenda. However, I think the major complaint people have against petrol and the oil companies come from the variability of prices.

For instance, here in Montréal, the price of gas has varied between $0,69 and $0,90 per litre ($0,90/L is $0,64 US/L or $2,45/ U.S. gallon) in the last 2 months. Although some of it depends on world market prices and half of it is taxes, there still is a weird sense that the pricing structure is weird.

For example, Friday August 22, gas was at $0,78/L. Monday August 25 it was at $0,90/L. Friday August 29, gas was at $0,85/L. And all stations have the same prices at the same time. Move 100 km away and you'll get the same highs and lows, but on different dates. No wonder people find that strange and complain.

I'm sure that if the prices were to remain more stable (ex.: at the high level of $0,90/L), people would consider that "normal".
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Old 08-31-03, 02:34 AM   #8
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Salut, Michel!

Montréal, elle est une ville très belle! J'aime Montréal! I hope my French was okay. I've seen the word cité, but I didn't know if it was m. or f., so I played it safe with "ville".

Yeah, the media is reporting that the gas price fluctuations are because of gasline problems in Phoenix, Arizona and a couple other factors causing a shortage. The prices are SUPPOSED to go down, but not until AFTER Labor Day weekend, of course. LOL Oil companies aren't stupid.

I just find it very frustrating and stupid that people just whine about things, but still keep doing the same thing over and over (read my quote below) and stay in the same rut and don't bother to use their brain to figure a way OUT of the rut.

I know I have had to fight that same tendency. I did use to just whine that things are unfair, and stuff like that. Okay, maybe I do, but instead of just whining about it, I try to work out a way to remedy the situation.

i.e.: In November 1998 I bought a 1-way ticket to Montréal, and was expecting to stay with some friends and try to find work there and start anew. I had left my two children in the care of my brother and sister-in-law, rather than drag them across the continent to another country with no permanent home and no job. Well, after I arrived in Montréal, I found out the friend I was to stay with no longer had room for me because some family had moved from England, so I ended up staying at L'Abrie D'Espoir at the Salvation Army. While I was there, I received a call from my sister-in-law saying I had a couple aunts who had called Child Protective Services and were threatening to have my kids taken away. Okay, at first I did the whining, especially because the director of L'Abrie was saying I couldn't do this, and couldn't do that because I didn't belong in Montréal, right? Well, one day when I was at the Barry/UQAM station I saw a concert there with Mario Peluzo and Laurence Jalbert. Mario was very nice, I talked to him after he performed and he told me that when he first came to Montréal he sang in the Métro stations (quaies?) to earn money. That gave me an idea. I went to the Métro office and asked if I had to have a permit or anything to perform in the stations, they explained no, and explained the procedure. For the next five days I woke up early enough to get on the first train to one of three stations that had low ceilings and great acoustics, and I filled out the little cards and performed 4-6 hours each day. The first day I felt embarrassed, but I knew I had to sing to get home (it was either that or doing something that would not have left me with any dignity and probably would have landed me in jail). In five days I earned nearly $300 Canadian and was able to get a ticket home and arrived at home on my son's 10th birthday! And even though I had a sore throat, I still had my dignity and my kids.

~~Bren

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Old 08-31-03, 03:30 AM   #9
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The quickest way to ensure people reduced gasoline use would be to simply stop subsidising it. Of course, any government that ever did that would be dead meat within the next five minutes.
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Old 08-31-03, 12:41 PM   #10
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once the oil reserves in the ground depleats, WE will RULE the world!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
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Old 08-31-03, 01:03 PM   #11
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Hehehe, Mr. Branch responded to my letter today:

SUGGESTIONS TO SAVE FUEL MAY NOT BE PRACTICAL FOR ALL

In response to Brenda Hebert's letter to the editor on Aug. 27 -- thank you for your response but it may be important to know that for those of us who travel to work 30+ minutes one way, walking, jogging, rollerblading, rollerskating skateboarding and telecommunicating are all good but impractical forms of transportation for that distance.
As for fuel-efficient vehicles -- scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, carpools and public transportation -- it would be nice if the funds where available to purchase one of those items when not paying other important bills or if there were other co-workers or public transportation that was running at 5 a.m.
As for moving somewhere else, I have no desire to move elsewhere.

Mike Branch
Montesano

(BTW -- IF anyone here would like to e-mail a response to this thread to the editor of our local paper, feel free! letters@thedailyworld.com )
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Old 08-31-03, 01:06 PM   #12
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Cont'd. I've composed a letter in response to Mr. Branch's letter.

Mr. Branch, thank you for your kind response. I will say that my letter was not full of a lot of hot air, I have been practicing what I preach for approximately 13 years now. Am I rich? Far from it! In fact, it was not until this year that I was off of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF: also called Welfare).

When my son, Garen, was 2 years old, he and I lived in Tacoma. I found myself feeling more and more sorry for myself because I could not get out of the house, I didn't have the money for the bus to get anywhere, and a myriad of other reasons that the mind can come up with when it's in that situation. I knew I needed a way to get around, but didn't have enough money for a car. Well, I went to the Fred Meyer's and bought a $120 mountain bike, a child seat and two helmets. I cannot adequately express the freedom I feel when on a bike with the wind blowing in my face. It cannot be understood until one gets on a bike and rides on the open road (especially at 5 a.m. when there are few cars around).

When Garen was three, I began attending college and I was easily riding 20 miles per day 5 days per week That was just the mileage I put in taking my son to and from daycare and riding to and from Tacoma Community College, and riding around campus to my classes. That didn't even include the trips I made to the grocery store or doing other errands. I know many bicyclists who easily ride 20 miles and more each way to and from work.

In 1993, I packed up my camping gear, strapped Garen into the Burley d'Lite trailer I had bought in the interim, and we spent that summer bicycling from Tacoma, north into Vancouver and Victoria, B.C. then south along Hwy. 101 (and eventually Hwy. 1) into Tijuana, Mexico before finally turning around and pedaling back to Los Angeles. My son still remembers the fun and adventure we had on that 2,500.1-mile journey.

Now, Garen is 14 and he bicycles to do his paper route for The Daily World and will be bicycling to and from Aberdeen High School this year. My daughter, Marin, came along in 1994, and in 2000 I retired the d'Lite as a child carrier, but still used it to haul groceries. I just sold the d'Lite last winter to another family who bicycle and had a real need for a trailer. I started up my own business last month hosting Family Karaoke, and I haul my karaoke equipment in new B.O.B. Yak trailer. And Marin rides her bike everywhere.

You are not the first person to say that what I said in my letter of Aug. 27 is not practical for all, and I understand that. I will tell you that a 30+ minute commute at 5 a.m. would have me and a lot of bicyclists I know drooling with envy.
I have learned (after getting it pounded into my very thick skull) that most obstacles we think are insurmountable are not. It is only after looking at HOW one can do something and not listening to how one canNOT do something that one can move forward and conquer what once seemed inconquerable.

In my letter I should have said "Some forms of transportation . . ." because there are more than likely other options, too.

The point I was trying to make in my letter of Aug. 27, was that just whining about the price of gasoline will do nothing to change the minds of those running the Oil Industry. No matter how much whining Americans do, as long as they do not curb their use of gasoline the Oil Industry will just keep raising the price. The only way to change the minds of those gouging the general public is for the general public to organize and send a clear message to the oil company CEOs, hit them where it hurts the most: in their pocketbook.

Did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just sit there feeling sorry for himself and whine that the African-Americans were being unfairly treated and do nothing about it? No, he took action, he motivated other Americans (white and black) to organize and peacefully protest the treatment of African-Americans until something was done about it.

I have a dream that one day Americans will be able to free themselves from the oppressive chains of gasoline dependence.

Brenda Hébert
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Old 08-31-03, 01:18 PM   #13
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As long as its to be had,americans will not curve the need of gas.They will buy gas friendly cars but thats not the answer.Subways,trains,buses,tons of them will help but that wont happen in our lifetime.US is being more spread out with people growth.Close all borders and let the states deal with growing pains for 10 years and then see where we are.
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Old 08-31-03, 09:48 PM   #14
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Brenda,

I hate to be the one playing Devil's Advocate here, but I have serious doubts that letters to the editor are going to make people change their habits in the near future. The truth is that, somewhat unaccountably perhaps, most people really don't care enough about high fuel prices to actually do anything about it (and those of us that are doing something about it such as myself really don't care if it does go up to $5/litre).

Sure, they'll complain about it forever and a day, but when it comes right down to it, they'll keep paying - even if that requires selling their own children into slavery. It's a lot easier to complain about something than it is to do something about it.

The trouble is the total lack of any kind of marketing/advertising for other options against the advertising propogated by the auto/oil industries. Car advertisements emphasise freedom (even if it's less than true, is this any different to other forms of advertising?), convenience and all sorts of other spanky things.

Compare this to the kinds of "promotion" that most cycling advocates do for example. It generally runs along the lines of "we need separated facilities because what we do is very, very dangerous". Without wishing to make this a debate about the merits of various cycling facilities, how is the "dangerous" line going to get Joe Lardbutt on a bike? Maybe it's time for cycling advocates to try a different form of advertising instead. Most people out there really don't care that much about "cycling benefits the community".

How many people claim to abhor child labour, yet continue to support it with the choice of shoes they wear? If these people aren't going to bother changing shoe brands for that, they sure aren't about to give up their "freedom" so someone else can save a few dollars on fuel.
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Old 09-01-03, 05:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L
Brenda,

I hate to be the one playing Devil's Advocate here, but I have serious doubts that letters to the editor are going to make people change their habits in the near future. The truth is that, somewhat unaccountably perhaps, most people really don't care enough about high fuel prices to actually do anything about it (and those of us that are doing something about it such as myself really don't care if it does go up to $5/litre).
someone else can save a few dollars on fuel.
Not a huge differance, but it is one dent in their armour, one chip in the paint.

Since we do not have the support of the media or much from the govt, we have to do it bit by bit. We all need to do our bit to help. Writing letters to our local paper, helping with bicycle committees in our cities, etc. Bit by bit.

When the price of gas in my city went from 0.799 cents to .879 cents I put a sign on my back that read "THIS is the ONLY solution for the price of gas"

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Old 09-01-03, 06:01 AM   #16
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We had all better complain about fuel costs. Riding a bike, or driving a hybrid automobile, we all suffer the increased cost of fuels. Every time you go to the store, you are absorbing the fuel costs in the products you buy due to the increased costs of shipping the goods. I work in transportation and see fuel surcharges applied every time fuel prices spike. Its the only way the industry can stay afloat. Trucking really takes it in the shorts when the fuel costs increase as they have and they are forced to charge more to haul the goods. The market certainly isnt going to absorb the increases, so they nail the consumer for it. We all have an intrest in it, but I doubt you will see many changes as many of the polititions in this country are indeed oil men/women. I have also spent several years working in, and around oil refineries and let me tell you, they laugh all the way to the bank. If people will pay the prices, they will charge the higher prices. They dont care and lets face it, we need fuel to keep the contry moving. Yes, we can do some things to conserve, but there are still forms of transportation that do require the use of it and will not change. It still has to be moved from its original location to retailers. Its good that people are taking steps to decrease the use of fuels, but when their profits drop, they raise the prices as well. They need to post their record profits. Regulation is whats needed, and we need to have a say in the matter.
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Old 09-01-03, 07:43 AM   #17
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Even if everyone just CUT DOWN on their gas consumption, that would make a dent. This is what I have done. We live out in the country, and I used to be bad about going into town every day. Now it is usually once a week to get groceries and run errands. Takes a little more planning on my part (making lists for example, trying to remember everything I will be needing for the week), but it is worth it.

When I lived in town, I rode a bike everywhere. When my kids were young, I took them with me on my bike. Now I live 15 miles away from town in one direction and 5 miles from the rural school where I teach in the other direction, but commuting is not an option. I would have to travel on a 2-lane major highway, where there is no shoulder, deep ditches on both sides, and many maniac drivers who drive 80 miles an hour and talk on cell phones as they drive. I would fear for my life every time I left the house if I commuted. So I drive 5 miles to work, using very little gas, and only go into town when absolutely necessary. Although the gas may be cheaper elsewhere, I have no desire to move away from family and 100 acres of wonderful family land. Cutting down on fuel consumption seems to be working best for me.

We have a column in our daily paper where readers can call or write in and say pretty much what they want on any subject. I have seen what you mean, Brenda, about the whining. Funny how the ones who whine loudest are the very ones who ride the roads 24/7 in gas-guzzling cars.
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Old 09-01-03, 07:52 AM   #18
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The rich get richer and the poor gets increases in there pay and the working middle class is supporting it all.Problem is the middle class is shrinking and since they have to support more and buy less,all costs have to go up.Its not going away.
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Old 09-01-03, 08:47 AM   #19
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I agree. If you knowinly buy a gas guzzler (with new cars, gas mileage is written really big on the window sticker), you shouldn't whine about the price of gas. If it is that important, cancel your cable television and start eating ramen noodles.

Plus, the way I see it, if gas goes up 50 cents a gallon, and you drive 1,000 miles per month, averaging 20 mpg, you pay an extra 25 dollars a month in gas. For people that can't control their spending, that is a lot. However, for many, that is less than a dinner for two.
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Old 09-01-03, 09:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by MsVicki
Now I live 15 miles away from town in one direction and 5 miles from the rural school where I teach in the other direction, but commuting is not an option. I would have to travel on a 2-lane major highway, where there is no shoulder, deep ditches on both sides, and many maniac drivers who drive 80 miles an hour and talk on cell phones as they drive. I would fear for my life every time I left the house if I commuted.
Could you and your buds ride motorcycles adjacent to the highway for a couple of weeks in order to cut a bike path that you could use to commute via mountain bike?
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Old 09-01-03, 09:19 AM   #21
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Originally posted by danr
I agree. If you knowinly buy a gas guzzler (with new cars, gas mileage is written really big on the window sticker), you shouldn't whine about the price of gas. If it is that important, cancel your cable television and start eating ramen noodles.

Plus, the way I see it, if gas goes up 50 cents a gallon, and you drive 1,000 miles per month, averaging 20 mpg, you pay an extra 25 dollars a month in gas. For people that can't control their spending, that is a lot. However, for many, that is less than a dinner for two.
Yep.Sold my gas eating jeep and got a gas saving altima.Its faster to.
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Old 09-01-03, 11:59 AM   #22
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Salut Brenda! Ça va?

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Originally posted by BrenHébert
The former Soviet Union had nothing on the U.S. car industry in propaganda campaigns. Now Americans are brainwashed into thinking that they cannot survive without a car: not only one car, but they must also have at least one car for each adult in each household in this country so they can each become an SOV (Single Occupant Vehicle).
The propaganda machine has the logic of its own. I remember as in the former Soviet Union one could think that 99.9% support that senile "party line".

I had the impression then that I alone had some reservations about the tyranny's policies. Whomever I tried to share my doubts with usually started to prove to me how wrong I was, with "plausible" arguments and passion.

Now when the propaganda machine is gone, the "former supporters" changed jackets quickly. We can see now as exactly those individuals, who were sending, say, religious people to the labor camps with 70% of one winter survival, pose with candles in the churches during the election campaigns.

This is the way people are. They support the propaganda of the strong. It is exactly like in the Animal Farm. You hear the choir: "Long live sheep!", but do not be fooled by this. Insist on yourself, as you did in your nice letters.
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Old 09-01-03, 12:13 PM   #23
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americans are glutanous. we are consumers. we consume. and when we are done consuming....we throw it out (hopefully into a proper receptacle)

power corrupts. people love the power that a huge SUV or truck gives them out there. many don't need the towing capacity (like buying a mountain bike with the knobbiest tires for sidewalk and road riding)

my accord gets 27 mph. my wifes minivan gets 22mph. i do many errands by bike.
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Old 09-01-03, 01:56 PM   #24
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I used to get worked up like this too... But you know it produces nothing. I just try to do my part to save for myself and my world.

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Old 09-01-03, 03:32 PM   #25
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Free Market Economy. Without it, you either wouldn't have gasoline because no one would have had a reason to invent cars, or it would cost more because the government would have to produce it (we know how that works).

A pipeline in Arizona broke and we're at the time of year when gas normally cost the most. Not to mention instability in the middle East resulting in reduced trade. Looks like demand exceeds projected supply right now and companies to protect their stock of oil until the conditions improve.

Some of these people you have to reply to with, "Who is John Galt?"
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