As noted in the last post, the problem with gas getting this high is that the US is not, and most likely will not be for a very long time, equipped to handle a huge increase in price due to city structure.
We have focused on autonomy, little on public transportation, and many people live at least 30 minutes out from their jobs. It's quite rare to have a city that can actually move a tremendous amount of people efficiently during the rush hour and all day. I believe a couple cities on the coasts are the best examples, but not much else.
So then, what are we going to do? Mass influx into the crime-ridden and impoverished inner cities? Nope.
Demand our city planners make transportation miraculously affordable, available throughout the day, and easy to use? Not likely in many areas.
Buy motorcycles and scooters? Dangerous and honestly not a good option.
Hybrids? This should have been done years ago, but was constantly being put off by "Big Oil" influence amongst both parties. The cost of purchasing one currently offsets any savings in gas they might provide as many are pricey. For me, having paid off my car, it's completely ridiculous to even consider for many years.
As was pointed out, some Eurpopean countries are paying almost $8-$10 a gallon. Yet, even though they're paying a lot more we should understand that Europeans have paid more for years (I remember my brother telling me that gas was as high as $6 or $7 a gallon in Switzerland when he was there for a year - 9 years ago), are far more accustomed to other methods of transport (like bikes, trains, etc.), and are much smaller than the US. We're huge - some countries across the pond are the size of Maryland or even Rhode Island.
I listened in yesterday to a debate about "the pain at the pump" as two senators from the Dems and Repubs argued how to help out 'our consituents'. Both raised interesting ideas, that are all doomed to fail. Our leadership in this country has no real good idea to help us - they've been sucking up to the oil companies for too long and little has been done to plan for this inevitability.
In my 30 years, I don't recall a worse time. Thankfully, for all the bitching and whining I do about medical training, I have a rather secure job ahead of me. My wife, however, is seeing the impact on her job as hours are cut, people lose jobs, and more is expected to compensate for declining cash flows.
Whomever the next president is, I hope they understand how important these next 4 years will be for our country. It's make or break time and I'm scared that all involved won't have what it takes to turn us around.