I am neither a tree hugger nor an SUV lover. I am part of the “in between” that typically go unmentioned in these issues. Frequently, we are the people most affected because we are the majority.
It has been argued that situations like this gas phenomenon pave a good road toward self-examination. The assumption, of course, is that such contemplations are always a good thing. This may be true, but it is barely one side of the coin.
Although the city of Philadelphia may be able to stop using a certain number of cars, an individual or a family can’t do the same thing with the same ease. What happens to all the SUVs the state gets rid of? Doesn’t somebody have to buy them and maintain them and, if not, how does our city budget make up for the loss?
If it is true that we are just too self-centered, that we pollute the environment and don’t really care unless forced, the assumption is that we will look for alternatives to gas-buying, turning instead to hybrid cars, bicycling or walking.
But wouldn’t other outrageous issues, such as the tripling of the hybrid retail market, or the drastic increase of bicycle prices be just as bad? What if there were sidewalk tolls in every neighborhood? The list of negative consequences goes on and on.
The bottom line is this: things are never simple. Increasing gas prices may not be as good as we think, since it is not a one-facet issue.
While I encourage and applaud the efforts of those who point out the positives of this issue, I also caution against philosophizing without practical facts. It is important to keep a realistic perspective and an open mind to all the shades of color within an issue. After all, there is never just black and white.