The BP oil spill last year was a huge reminder of the perilous problems oil has been causing in the Gulf Coast and elsewhere. The fact that even this catastrophe is only part of the ongoing problem is graphically brought home in the maps and data offered by the National Response Center Incident Reports for Louisiana in 2009 available at http://www.southernstudies.org/2011/04/chronic-exposure.html.
So what does an individual do? Well, one step my husband and I have been striving to take is to reduce our gas consumption in cars. Unfortunately, we’re finding that even that meager step is not easy as residents of the greater New Orleans area. Our shopping revealed that the available choices offered us either gas efficiency or space and clearance:
Space–there was an appealing car that would decrease our consumption by 37% and its interior was relatively spacious considering the gas-efficient cars. Unfortunately, the trunk is rather small in order to accommodate the hybrid’s battery and cooling system. Why the emphasis on space? Have you evacuated since Hurricane Katrina? Since that event we even think about space in the car when we consider adopting a pet—would we have room to take it and its food, et. al.?
Clearance–we also noticed that the fuel-efficient cars are all low to the ground. If you read my blog An Ironic Confirmation of Water Vulnerability you know this photo of our Subaru and the water surrounding it was taken after an everyday storm in New Orleans.
For so many reasons, I remain a strong advocate against expanded oil drilling. I also know that this car shopping reflects only a minute example of the complexity of our nation’s dependency on oil.