If you haven't already, check out Jim Kunstler's website. If you can get past the slightly offensive title, he has some really interesting things to comment on our society especially as we reach issues of the end of the petroleum era. Of particular note was this quote:
"Of course, one of the reasons that Americans are so anxious to get away on a holiday weekend from the places where they live is because we did such a perfect job the past fifty years turning our home-places into utterly unrewarding, graceless nowheres, where the private realm of the beige houses is saturated in monotony, and the public realm has been reduced to the berm between the WalMart and the strip mall. Now, we barely have the gasoline to run all this stuff, let alone escape from it for a weekend."
Have you seen the ebay and craigslist ads for all of the gasoline powered toys? Boats, RVs, personal watercraft, ATVs, off-road motorcycles. All for sale because we can't afford to keep them running. Where do we go from here?
BTW, I'm not immune to the hypocrisy of this issue. I drive a relatively fuel friendly car (25 to 27 mpg) but I am spending $8.25 a day on gas getting to work and back. There's a guy at my office who is driving 120 milesround trip to work and back. That's $22.00 a day in his truck. He's got 200K miles on it. I'm at 138K. Eventually I might be able to ride the train from a station by my home to the city I work at, then a circular route bus from the train station to within a couple of blocks to work... but the first leg of that isn't going to be available until 2012 and the second train trip and bus...probably not until 2020. By then I'll have been working for the city for fifteen years and a total of 24 years. Somehow, I might be working somewhere else.