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As binge drinkers and yo-yo dieters know, making and then breaking resolutions eventually devastates the mind and body. That's the point I've reached with gas prices. Nothing I read on the topic seems believable, and none of the old economic ideas seem applicable. For all I know, when oil truly runs short, the price of fuel will plunge and plunge until there are only 20 gallons left, which no one will want, so they'll pour them on the ground.
Why not be perfectly honest? I'm losing hope. In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush asserted that America is "addicted" to fossil fuel. Because Bush has also been candid about having been hooked on booze once, he surely knew that admission represented only the first step in the classic 12-step program of recovery: "We admitted that we were powerless over gasoline, that our lives had become unmanageable." The next few steps are trickier, however, because they require surrendering the compulsion to an entity greater than the self--a so-called higher power.
But what in heaven would that be? Concern for the environment? A desire for independence from OPEC? We've already appealed to those gods, and many others, but they haven't proved strong enough to help us. We've struck self-serving bargains with all of them. And that's why, tomorrow, I'll be on the road, setting out on an 800-mile drive. It's not a trip I need to take, but it's one that I feel helpless not to take. Even if we choose to drill in the Alaskan wildlife refuge, turn the whole state of Iowa to ethanol and dismantle ExxonMobil into a thousand family-owned companies with names like Ron and Donna's Petroleum, I fear that I might never get the chance again.