America's Oil Addiction Is Like A Drinking Problem

<p>The Washington Post's car columnist, Warren Brown, writes about the U.S oil addiction using insightful references to alcoholism -- describing the role of the government, the auto and oil industry, and most importantly, consumers.</p>
May 27, 2008, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"Oil fueled our ambitions and dreams. We believed in the eternity of oil, the everlasting cheapness of it...

We built suburbs with mini-mansions miles from urban work centers. We demanded idyllic neighborhoods peopled with clones of ourselves, a human selection afforded by a vast network of roads and the vehicles to drive them, all leading to and from genteel cul-de-sacs untouched by the unpredictable democracy of mass transit.

In all of this, we had enablers, politicians who supported our habit, told us not to worry, that there was more cheap oil to be found somewhere -- in another country, perhaps, if not our own. They said they would fix whatever needed fixing.

They did this in 1975 with approval of the first Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rule mandating efficiency standards for companies selling cars and trucks in America.

The 1975 CAFE rules made driving cheaper. So we drove more, more than doubling the vehicle miles driven in the United States from 1975 through 2006, according to the Transportation Department.

We thanked our enablers for that gift and thanked them all the more because they asked us -- we voters and consumers -- to do absolutely nothing to pay for or otherwise support fuel conservation."

"It's morning after in America. We can't afford another binge. Our bacchanal affair with oil has ended"

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Published on Sunday, May 4, 2008 in The Washington Post
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