Article Written by Kodi Senga
Illustration by Paolo Paramio
Posted 30 March 2020
When gas prices rise, groans and disappointment follow. Many hurry to the nearest gas station to fill up before the hike; some open up their spreadsheets to adjust the monthly budget, and understandably so. Gasoline is essential to the country since many rely on transportation as their source of income. However, I believe that high gas prices can benefit the environment and society in the long-run despite its disadvantages.
The first advantage of growing gas prices is that alternative energy options are highlighted and pushed into the limelight. Due to the increasing demand for accessible energy, substitutes for fossil fuel power can penetrate the market. An increase in gasoline price affects more than just the general populace, but also the industrial sector. Sustainable power would push the biggest contributors to global emissions towards renewable sources. Usually, only social pressure urges them to do so, but this would make it profitable for them, the usual deterrent to going green.
Second, expensive gas paves way for viable substitutes in the transportation industry since the public is discouraged from buying petrol. This can be seen in the rapid popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles in recent years, even gaining more traction last year by 43% despite the global car market as a whole falling by 20% . Moreover, we know that pricey gas urges public behavior towards utilizing public transport more. It provides an avenue for people to circumvent the hit on their budgets brought about by gas prices . These two factors naturally lead to a more sustainable future due to reduced pollution, saved time from traffic, healthy competition in the markets, and pressure for governance to provide good services.
Third, in the wavering of a seemingly unchangeable aspect of society, the widespread use of gasoline prompts innovations and technologies to be developed or discovered. As a result of the beaming opportunity to inspire change, more companies and individuals innovate and create solutions either for profit or advocacy, ultimately leading to the upliftment of everyone. An example of this is the sprawling expansion of e-jeep services around the Philippines. The small-scale projects such as the Ateneo campus and larger city-scale operations of BGC, e-jeep services, which started from seizing the opportunity of solving problems, make many lives easier. Another illustration from the side of technology in logistics would be the invention and implementation of electric trucks or “eTrucks” which seek to invade the truck space just as electric cars do in the private vehicle sector .
Finally, the aspect that most people are not aware of about expensive gas is the fact that the prices increase due to taxation. Taxing gas means that the money will circulate and return to the consumers and the public as services. Therefore, these factors create a clear path to a more sustainable future despite the short-term downsides of high gasoline prices. Favorable circumstances to make sustainable alternatives a viable competitor to the fossil fuel giants via an upscaled price tag on petrol is a bigger priority than making private commutes lucrative. The best part is, behind all the action towards creating solutions, the return to the consumers from higher-quality government facilities would be an immediate offset to steeper gas costs.
At the end of the day, gas prices dictate the flow of our society’s blood that is transportation, consumption, and industry. The immediate effects of expensive gas are real, but it’s not all doom and gloom. The hindrances that we may face due to rising prices spark innovations to enable alternative energy to grow and flourish. However, I will admit that much of it relies on good governance, resolute initiative, and effective utilization of the resources and time that expensive gas buys us. So, when you feel like groaning whenever you see another gas price hike on the news, remember that there is hope on the other side of the gas pump.
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