Gasoline prices continue to climb, and the Republican presidential candidates would have us believe that this is the direct result of President Barack Obama’s energy policies.They say that if only he would get out of the way of the oil companies and stop dreaming up ever more environmental regulations, we’d all be paying $2.50 a gallon.They are wrong, of course.Gasoline prices are high because demand is high. And while the unquenchable thirst for petroleum in India and China has a place in all of this, it is mostly my fault.The president is not single-handedly driving up gas prices as point man in a liberal plot to save the environment by making driving unaffordable.No — it’s me. I am driving up gas prices.As the digits at the pump spin higher and faster, I have found a dozen little economies, but none of them involve driving. I still get in the car and go. Whenever and wherever I please.It is not only that I drive when I could easily walk. Or that I make too many trips. Or that I do not plan a fuel-efficient route for my errands. It is that I drive without thinking.I can’t economize on the number of miles I commute to work, but I could stop all this random driving. And I don’t.I have cut back on groceries, and my husband has taken to wearing a hoodie around the house because I keep the thermostat so low. But if the spirit moves me, I grab the car keys and go. I pay more attention to the battery life in my cellphone than I do to the gas gauge in my car.The summer driving season is upon us, and there is a regular spot on a Delaware beach waiting for me — and the price of gas isn’t going to curtail my sun-seeking any more than Bay Bridge tolls would.Conservative commentator George Will has made the case that driving is a gas-powered manifestation of American individualism. It is not only part of our lives; it is our way of life. That’s why we’ve never made the investment we should have in public transportation and why nobody but Dagwood Bumstead rides in a carpool.We want to come and go as we please.Oil production in this country is actually at its highest levels since the 1980s. And our consumption is down. We are importing less than half of our daily supply of petroleum (down from 60 percent). And we are getting almost 30 miles to the gallon.But still, gasoline prices could hit $5 a gallon this summer.Experts keep trying to educate us on the dynamics of the world oil market and how small a role America’s production and consumption play in the rise and fall of global prices, and that we are at the mercy of production in the most turbulent parts of the world.But we would rather believe in a conspiracy theory. An Obama conspiracy. An oil company conspiracy.This is apparently easier than trying to understand supply and demand, which is something I kind of expected of my presidential candidates. All I know is, I am not voting for somebody who believes he can personally control oil prices any more than I would vote for somebody who thinks he can bend spoons with his mind.In the meantime, I will continue to get in my car and drive. I should probably buy a more fuel-efficient one. But who can afford a new car when gas prices are so high?Contact Susan Reimer at: email@example.com.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.