Oil Prices and Energy Conservation – The problems with America

4th of July Fireworks

Photo by Ianz

This 4th of July got me thinking…

Don’t get me wrong, I love the United States.  I love BBQ, free refills, and I prefer ice in my drinks.  However, I feel the US could take a page out of the books of other countries and regions when it comes to conservation.

To conserve energy, Japan has sensors that turn on escalators as people approach.

Using native or local plants for landscaping.  For instance, using cactus to landscape your desert home or using palm trees to decorate your tropical home.  Although this is beginning to gain popularity, it is not yet the social norm.

Satellite sprinklers are currently gaining popularity even though the technology has been around for many years.  These satellites link to a receiver in your yard to communicate local weather reports to your sprinkler system.  If it is going to rain, your sprinklers say off.

Public transportation and bullet trains are probably the most cost and energy efficient methods of transportation.  How come it has taken us so long to start considering this when Europe has had an extensive rail system for years.

The list goes on…

If I were a political leader, I would visit these countries, write down all of their great ideas, and bring them to the United States to be implemented and offer grants for those willing to research and develop the technologies.

Although, I am suffering too, in a weird way, I am glad gas prices have sky rocketed.  Every-time oil increases in cost, the topic gets 10 more seconds on the evening news and gets 80,000 more people thinking of ways to lessen our dependence on oil.


Shortly after posting this, I received an email from a friend with a link to an article entitled “10 Things you Can Like about $4 Gas.” The article re-emphasizes my point that although we are suffering at the pump, pain is the fastest innovator because it causes necessity and people begin thinking and acting differently.

From the article

But it’s also true that Americans are finding options where there seemed to be none. They’re ready to change — and waiting for their infrastructure to catch up. They are driving to commuter-rail lines only to find there are no parking spots left. They are running fewer errands and dumping their SUVs. Public-transit use is at a 50-year high. Gas purchases are down 2% to 3%. And all those changes bring secondary, hard-earned benefits.

“Nobody wants high prices for oil. But there’s also no faster mechanism to change behavior.” The suffering will go on. But the story, like any good tragedy, is not without redemption.

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Eliot is a software developer by trade and a entrepreneur by spirit. He has built web software for the likes of YMCA, UPS, FedEx, Ford and Harcourt, and helped launch mobile apps like Coupon Policy, TourWrist, and Pocket Legal.

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