Petrol prices have just hit $4 per gallon in the US. For us Brits, that’s £2.52. I only vaguely remember the heady days when it was that cheap. It was 1994, I had a full head of hair and that other expense – offspring was but a twinkle in my then wandering eye.
So do I feel sorry for the Americans? Not really. I admit they have greater distances to cover than we do. But the argument they don’t have viable public transport doesn’t really stack up. We don’t either; at least none that’s affordable without remortgaging.
The main reason I have little sympathy is that whenever I go to the US, there are the same monster pick-ups and big sedans with one person in them stationary in jams.
So, fuel costing 4 bucks obviously isn’t getting Americans to change their driving habits. And why should it? It didn’t over here. In fact, the trend towards downsizing our cars only really took off a couple of years ago when petrol broke through the magic £5 ($7.94) per gallon mark.
It’s a bitter pill. I HATE having politicians dictate that a big car is economically unsustainable for me. But actually there’s much to be said for driving a smaller car. It’s easier to park and manoeuvre round town. The VW Polo I’ve got is comfortable and full of the kind of kit you get on bigger motors. It just doesn’t cost as much to run.
Of course it’s impossible to argue all the pros and cons in a couple of hundred words. But I fear it’ll take US fuel prices to double before the Americans get much sympathy from this side of the Atlantic.