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Gas prices change consumer psyche

 

It was pretty funny a few weeks ago when a caller to the John DePetro Show lambasted political officials and questioned why NASA hasn't come up with a more fuel-efficient car engine.

This bright light was apparently unaware that the major car manufacturers could have years ago offered more fuel-efficient cars. Instead, they helped to popularize SUVs for those with disposable cash, sneaking them in under the "light truck" category. But how's that Hummer working out for you now?

Somebody must be expecting gas prices to come down, or else Dodge wouldn't be offering that deal to lock in gas at $2.99 per gallon, as a public service, of course.

But we've already seen stories about how high gas and food prices are leading people to take up bicycles and gardening. Can cannibalism be far behind?

Seriously, we are bound to see more alternative thinking if gas prices remain high:

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 10, 2008)—The World Carfree Network, in collaboration with SHIFT, presents the Towards Carfree Cities conference series in Portland, Ore. on June 16-20, 2008.

Making its North American debut, the conference will bring together activists and professionals from around the world to discuss the creation of sustainable transportation systems and the transformation of cities into human-scaled environments rich in public space and community life.

"This conference is a chance to bring North America to the forefront of the international carfree movement and to empower ordinary people to change their lives, governments, and urban landscapes for the better," said Conference Coordinator Elly Blue.

The conference's fundamental role is to help participants share knowledge and assist in their practical work, whether that work be organizing community events, promoting urban cycling, or building carfree cities of the future. The 2008 conference's theme is "Rethinking Mobility, Rediscovering Proximity." The program includes workshops, lectures, walking, streetcar, and bicycle tours, a film festival, and a public day including an art show hosted by Portland City Hall.  

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