Stop complaining, start walking

With oil prices creeping past $68 a barrel last week, just about everyone in Kent has been whining about paying $2.65 for a gallon of gasoline. It sucks; we know.

Who’s to blame? The war in Iraq? Hurricane Katrina? We don’t care. Whatever the reason for the high prices, it still doesn’t change the fact that gas is so expensive. Figuring out a solution is more important than identifying the gas price problem.

While our country’s dependency on oil could be the long-term problem to begin with, the short-term solution to the high gas prices is simple: Use less, stupid.

Instead of using your car for short distances, take the bus. For college students wanting to get around in Kent, the PARTA system is a free and dependable bus service that can get students around Portage County with little or no hassle. Waiting a couple of minutes for the bus may be a drag, but it won’t cost you a dime. Instead of burning a $2.65 gallon of gas driving over to Target, wait 10 minutes for a PARTA bus and get there for free.

And while the weather is still nice, walking and bike-riding also are strong alternatives to driving. No waiting at all.

Carpooling is another option. Next time you go to the grocery store, be a good Samaritan and ask your friends if they need to shop too. Better yet, use programs like RIDESHARE!, a carpooling service sponsored by various transportation agencies in Northeast Ohio. RIDESHARE! provides free car and van transportation to commuters living in the 14 counties in Northeast Ohio.

Then again, using less gas during this borderline-crisis seems like common sense, but how many people actually adopt these energy-efficient means is a whole other story.

It would be hypocritical for us on the editorial board to say we adopt all these gas-saving strategies, let alone any.

We’re not the only ones, though. Despite the high gas prices, oil consumption in the United States remains high. According to the New York Times, automobiles “account for roughly 40 percent of all U.S. oil consumption, which now amounts to about 20 million barrels a day.” It’s no wonder that the New York Times further stated that automobiles also account for more than one-fifth of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.

It’s only a matter of time until oil prices mirror the prices during the 1979 shortage when oil cost $80 a barrel. At the rate oil prices are jumping now, economists are placing bets over how quickly the barrel prices will reach $100.

Nobody likes paying cheaper prices for gallons of milk than for gallons of gas. But stop complaining because everyone else is paying the prices too. If you don’t want to pay the high gas prices, start walking, biking or riding.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.