Addiction to oil is a slippery slope


I found out something this past week that sort of has me stumped. I am addicted to oil.
Now, I am trying to figure out how this happened. It turns out it’s not just me. It’s you, too. It’s probably all of your family, that is, if they are Americans.
In giving this tremendous consideration, I am pretty sure it’s not your fault, and I honestly don’t think it is mine either.
Who is at fault? Can we blame it on our ancestors? Can we blame it on weird genetics that give us a strong propensity for all sorts of oil?
Saw it coming. I was still pretty much an ignorant youngster when the oil crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s hit, but even I knew something had to change. I wondered then what the next 20 years would bring.
It turned out it brought not a whole lot of shifting tides, just more of the same. We collectively put blinders on and said, “Hey, life is good! Turn up the thermostat! Hand me the car keys! I need to go fill up the gas cans!”
I’m old enough to remember the shock of rising gasoline prices, way back in the olden days, that first time around.
I was riding with an older woman friend of mine when she refused – flatly, absolutely refused – to pay 60 cents for a gallon of gas. We kept on driving. We nearly ran out of gas. We laugh about it now.
I can remember shuddering the first time I paid 80 cents for a gallon of gas. But, we Americans kept sitting on our hands in our luxury sedans.
Hybrid cars. My friend Cindy is not only economic minded, but she is extremely tuned in to our ecology. She decided a few months ago to go in search of a new car, hopefully a hybrid that could save on our natural resources.
What she learned is there are very, very few of these cars available, but the demand is high, making the price so exorbitant it was completely out of her range. The cost of the vehicle would far outweigh any possible savings.
Not many Americans are solvent enough to go out on a limb in this way. It needs to add up to something that at least makes economic sense.
I have been ribbed a bit for my own ecologic-minded ways. In spite of the fact that we have free natural gas in our home, I often hang loads of laundry on the clothesline. I turn the thermostat down. I watch the usage like a hawk. It is the way we are wired from birth, I guess.
Kick the habit. But, this addiction to oil is now being brought to our attention. We must find a way to kick the habit.
Year after year, we go to the polls and cast our votes. I wish somewhere along the line, the politicians we put in power had given this a little more thought. I wish the oil crisis of a few decades back would have prompted ongoing, front and center attention. I wish there were basement meeting rooms in every small town in America to help us through our addiction.
Maybe in another 20 years there will be. Maybe I’ll see you there.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.