Craig Isom: Asleep At The Wheel

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With fuel prices at record highs, Craig Isom is paying dearly for a decision to replace his gas guzzler with a gas guzzler.

I admit it. I’m still driving a gas-guzzling SUV and am paying the price - $130 per tank right now. Ouch! But shame on me - much of my predicament stems from the choices I have made. When I bought this car several years back, gasoline prices had moderated for several years, and I still had lingering concerns about electric vehicle prices and range restrictions. So I fell back on old habits and replaced my old gas guzzler with a new gas guzzler.

Unfortunately, my short-sighted and selfish decision making is characteristic of broader American car buying habits. Americans traditionally display a brief interest in fuel efficiency or electric car options when gas prices occasionally spike, but most continue to favor gas guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks, the perennial top sellers over the long term.

I need to do my part to break this long standing selfish behavior. Gasoline prices will inevitably moderate again as market demand and supply factors intervene - don’t pay attention to self-serving politician cries of price gouging. This is a global commodity and every taxpayer funded study of purported gouging instead reconfirms the predominance of classic market supply/demand factors.

But affordability of gasoline should not be the sole driver of our individual transport decisions. The very real impact of climate change we are now witnessing is a compelling reminder of the broader societal impact of burning fossil fuels.


If you are like me, make your pain at the pump a call to action. Revisit the growing array of more fuel efficient options when replacing your vehicle. You might be surprised to find that hybrid and electric vehicles have come a long way in terms of pricing and practicality. Californians already lead the way, buying seven times as many electric vehicles as the next closest state.

I seem to have been asleep at the wheel, but I can assure you this is my last gas guzzler.

With a Perspective, this is Craig Isom.

Craig Isom is a recent East Bay retiree who gets out of his gas guzzler to hike and bike.