Hummer put on the Endangered Species List While Gas Prices Slam Rural America

Interesting times.

  • Today, the price of oil opened at $138 a barrel (the national average is over $4 a gallon)
  • Last week, GM announced that they are looking to unload it’s Hummer brand.
  • GM also announced that it was closing four plants which produced trucks and SUVs

As a clean energy advocate you’d think it would be a time to celebrate, less cars on the road, climate unfriendly SUVs taking sales hits and literally shutting down production.

But that’s not the case. The rising cost of gas on America’s oil addicted society is having unintended consequences.

The NY Times just posted an article about the impacts on rural America. The American South, the Upper Mid-West and the Southwest have much lower median incomes than the Northeast and the West Coast and are finding that gas prices are literally causing those on the economic margins to chose between food, housing and transportation.

And the long term impact is and will be further felt in the Global South. Ecuadorians, Nigerians and Iraqis already have suffered displacement, environmental injustice and war as a result of the United States’ addiction to oil. Who’s next? How long before our government decides to further extend our petroleum based society with more extraction and conflict? We’re already seeing moves to cement hegemony in the Middle East with further wars with Iran. Tensions remain high with Chavez in Venezuela. And oil companies are in a mad rush to develop extraction operations in the Canadian Tar Sands.

Last thing to thing about is who is profiting from this? Scumbag oil companies like Exxon and Chevron. They ARE essentially our government. I have been reading John Perkin’s book “The Secret History of the American Empire” where he details his career as an “Economic Hit Man.” In it he talks about how his work as an “EHM” benefited America’s oil companies. They are extremely powerful and they are seeing historic profits from the price of oil. I may want SUVs off the road, but I don’t want them becoming billionaires and more powerful in the meantime.

1 Response to “Hummer put on the Endangered Species List While Gas Prices Slam Rural America”

  1. 1 gooseberry Jun 11th, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Doesn’t rural America have to be sustainable as well?

    Hasn’t America in total developed an infrastructure that is dependent on low oil prices in the first place, that is, communities are spread out and isolated, thus requiring low fuel prices to operate?

    Surely high fuel prices are intentionally positive for future sustainable development?
    If it costs a lot to travel then that implies people need to live in community pockets rather than affording the luxury of being spread out and being isolated.
    If you want to live in isolation then you need to learn how to live that way without the need to drive in an SUV to the nearest supermarket. eg. live off the land.

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Scott Parkin is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network and organizes with Rising Tide North America. He has worked on a variety of campaigns around climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, labor issues and anti-corporate globalization. Originally from Texas, he now lives in San Francisco.

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