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What's not to like...until they're walking around your neighborhood looking for something to do.

Posted by Banna | June 28, 2008 6:34 PM


Perhaps we'll start planning out more proper public spaces. Having other places to hang out besides the KFC parking lot or the mall might keep them off the streets and out of your yard too.

Posted by Sir Learnsalot | June 28, 2008 6:39 PM

Okay, I'll bite.

For starters, mass starvation and societal collapse. Shall I continue?

Imagine you live in a place like Haiti, where average daily income is in the $2 range, and that the cost of a barrel of petroleum has moved from $14 to $140 in the course of a few years. Imagine that food exporting nations in your hemisphere have decided that it's a clever idea to turn food into fuel, even though it yields zero actual payoff. The future don't look too good.

Next, imagine that you live in a country with decades-long trade deficit, a $10 trillion debt, and a built environment that only barely made sense when petroleum was at $14/barrel. The future don't look too good.

Posted by Stinky | June 28, 2008 6:45 PM

Unfortunately, that's not happening in my neighborhood (South end). The people across the street leave their car running and it's thump-thump sound system (whatever - I listen to music loud, too) for 15-20 minutes at a time while they stand around talking. The other day, a Rabanco garbage truck was idling in the alley for over an hour - was the driver taking a break? If so, shut that motor off!

Posted by Pat | June 28, 2008 7:06 PM

What's not to like? My empty pocket book, for starters, you elitist SOB!

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | June 28, 2008 7:24 PM

I meant besides all that, Stinky.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 28, 2008 7:41 PM

I spent many a night in my later high school career in Spokane crusing in a shitty car full of friends while smoking pot and listening to mind-expanding tunes.

I can't help but feel a tinge of nostalgia.

I suppose we spent just as many nights aimlessly walking from park to park meeting up with random groups of people...

I just don't want my kids to have to feel boxed in.

Posted by JR | June 28, 2008 7:45 PM

The best way to keep teens off the street is to give them booze. Kids who are drunk on Fridays and Saturdays don't drive, which is why most people in my high school didn't get driver's licenses until their 20s!

Booze: It's good for the environment!

Posted by Stephen Ebrey | June 28, 2008 8:04 PM

Remarkably enough, people in this region seem to be starting to realize a few things:

  1. That high gas prices are here to stay. Like, "Hey, maybe oil doesn't grow on trees after all."
  2. That biofuels are a disaster.
  3. That climate change is a serious enough problem that we might actually have to do something about it.
  4. That our oil dollars are funding the same dictators and insurgents we claim to be fighting.

You take all these palpable changes in public opinion and you throw in the huge transit-friendly turnout Barack Obama is going to generate in these parts this November, and you gotta figure, Sound Transit just has to put some kind of light-rail-based Sound Transit 2 package on the ballot this year. If they can't agree on what the package is—well, they can't can't agree. Missing this year's ballot is not an option.

I mean, I've come to have spectacularly low expectations of our elected officials, but to miss out on this kind of an opportunity, they might as well all just resign now.

Am I missing something?

Posted by cressona | June 28, 2008 8:35 PM

My parents have already been struggling financially for a few years and they live in a rural area where they have to drive everywhere. They can't afford to buy a car with better gas mileage; they can't even afford the health insurance premiums from my dad's employer. Can I have them call you if their house goes into foreclosure? Cause I got shit for money.

Posted by asteria | June 28, 2008 9:07 PM

Stinky @3, don't you get it?

We'll draft the idle teens and then invade Haiti for the 8th time! Win-win!

Posted by CP | June 28, 2008 9:36 PM

Again with the hate for fat people. Oh Dan, Dan, Dan. Seems to be a hate fetish for you.

Posted by Kristin Bell | June 28, 2008 9:37 PM

Say "YES" to War on Iraq by Dan Savage Oct. 2002

"War may be bad for children and other living things, but there are times when peace is worse for children and other living things, and this is one of those times."

"The War on Iraq will make it clear to our friends and enemies in the Middle East (and elsewhere) that we mean business: Free your people, reform your societies, liberalize, and democratize... or we're going to come over there, remove you from power, free your people, and reform your societies for ourselves."

Washington Post June 27, 2008

"Bomb Kills Marines, Iraqi Tribal Leaders
At Least 40 Die in Two Separate Attacks"

Posted by don'tfeedthetrolls | June 28, 2008 9:38 PM

#3 - What are you talking about, is Haiti a new club/bar? If it's too far to walk to it couldn't you just ride your bike or take a bus?

Posted by strangerstaff | June 28, 2008 10:15 PM

Gas is much, much, much cheaper now than it was in, say, 1962 when "American Graffiti" was set, in relation to young people's incomes.

Basically, any news article you read about how relatively rich Americans are (a) suffering or even (b) significantly changing their behavior because gas is a little higher than it was a year ago are complete bullshit.

Posted by Fnarf | June 28, 2008 11:22 PM

I'm right there with #10. Sure, people who already live and work in metropolitan areas have plenty of options. I mean, yeah, there's a lot of people between Everett and Olympia who have plenty of options and don't have to complain about high gas prices, but Sound Transit only goes so far... If you live anywhere outside of Seattle, you HAVE to drive. More important than a healthy meal a day.

Posted by therepublicofeasternwashington | June 28, 2008 11:44 PM

Where are all these fat teenagers and streets empty of teenagers? The lake beaches in Kirkland were wall to wall buff teens in swimsuits for the last two days, and Lake Washington boulevard was bumper-to-bumper Porsches and Escalades for miles. I'm guessing Alki Beach was the same. I call shenanigans.

Posted by Just Sayin' | June 28, 2008 11:47 PM

Lake Union was wall-to-wall boats today, as well, all chugging along at the usual 3 MPG....

Posted by Fnarf | June 29, 2008 12:27 AM

Here in Richmond, VA, the only 'mass transit' is buses. And they don't go anywhere near the suburbs.

At dinner tonight, one of my friends was thinking of buying a scooter. But in order to get to work - a hospital - there's one section of a major highway he MUST travel - and it doesn't allow scooters.

I agree the unltimate changes we MUST make are good. But the transition period is going to be damn hard on people who do NOT deserve it.

I can't use the bus because I'm in a wheelchair. So far, my solution has been to not leave home more than twice a week.

It sucks...

Posted by Ayden | June 29, 2008 12:31 AM

Well Fnarf, one could argue that there's quite a few things that didn't exist in 1962 that are considered utilities by today's standards. Relatively speaking, going out to the drive in for a milk shake, or the current equivalent, is comparatively more expensive than it was n 1962. I see what you're trying to do: play the role of the old crank. The trouble is, you aren't consistent or complete, so you come off as a cable access version of Andy Rooney.

Posted by pragmatic | June 29, 2008 12:48 AM

welcome to dan savage's world. feel the guilt or assimilate.

Posted by uhnnn | June 29, 2008 12:49 AM

I think the impact of the gas prices is more psychological than real. Let's say your giant old truck gets 15 MPG and you drive 30 miles a day (average US commute), so you're using 2 gallons of gas a day.

The price of gas has gone up from $2 to $4.50, so we're talking $5/day more.

Which, I understand for some people isn't pocket change, but all these articles about the middle-class being crushed by gas prices (and living in their car or having to buy a new car just for commuting), $25/week is hardly a huge sum.

Posted by bob | June 29, 2008 1:14 AM

What's not to like?

How about our US earnings going to Saudi Arabia to fund more terrorist attacks on the US?

But biking to work will probably make us live longer ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 29, 2008 1:38 AM

they will do what any smart kid with a habit does:
steal gas.
not really all that hard, if they wanna move around, they'll figure out the right end of a siphon hose.

Posted by point x point synopsis | June 29, 2008 3:56 AM
To be sure, the number of teenage drivers nationwide was already on a downturn over the past decade, a trend fueled by tighter state laws governing the hours when teenagers can drive, higher insurance costs and a move away from school-sponsored driver’s education programs to more expensive private driving academies.
Posted by elenchos | June 29, 2008 7:47 AM

Gas is bargain priced right now, still.

Travel most anywhere else outside the americas and you'll find that everybody else has been paying alot more than us for a long time. They say travel is good for the soul, but it certainly makes you realise that the price of gas in this country has only one direction it can go: up, up, up.

You guys that planned your life around gas staying the same (the big cheap house way out in the middle of nowhere, the unnecessarily huge car), you're getting what you deserved for not paying attention.

Posted by Sto | June 29, 2008 7:48 AM

I think in the long term the high gas prizes might just be what saves this planet (well, until the sun explodes of course).

In short term? Living in a country where gas is a whole lot more expensive than it is in the US (if I had to pay what you guys pay I'd be overjoyed), working a temp job 35 kms away from home (there's no jobs in my field of work -psychology- anywhere nearer) and needing my car for work (I need to make housecalls, sometimes half an hour - an hour's drive from my office)... it sucks. Big time. It means I have about 150 Euro less to spend each month than I did three-four years ago. And my wages aren't high enough not to feel that.

Posted by Griet | June 29, 2008 7:49 AM

Hilarious. I was roaring at WOT on a North Idaho lake yesterday with all my lake compadres roaring on their waverunners and powerboats at WOT just suckin up the dino juice. We deeply appreciate you smug busriders and bicyclists and Prius and Vespa riders - what you don't use we will.

This great nation, the greatest in the world, was not tamed, settled and forced upon the world by those who walk and ride bikes, it was by the pickup and semi and powerboat drivers willing to push the limits for more and more speed and power.

Wanting less and less is just a prescription for third worldness. They walk plenty in Bangladesh, man. Me, I'm making internal combustion do my work for me. Walking is for hobbits with rings and patchouli heads with gasoline guilt.

Posted by Bob | June 29, 2008 8:33 AM

Fnarf the ratio of min wage to gas was about 4 to 1 in 1962. The ration in 2008 is about 1.75 to 1. Gas is much more expensive today in every way.

Posted by ouch | June 29, 2008 9:06 AM

Bullshit, Ouch. The purchasing power of teens is vastly greater today. Oil is just beginning to approach peak levels when looked at from the angle of what a dollar could buy and how much you had to work for it, and 1962 teens, few of whom worked even for minimum wage, hoarded every gallon of gas they could scrape up coins for. Teens today drive probably 10 or 20 times as much as teens then.

Posted by Fnarf | June 29, 2008 9:16 AM

We're hardly turning food into fuel- the corn that is used for biodiesel is not edible unless it is highly processed into oils and sweeteners. Same said corn is being fed to animals, which are food, but slowly kills them while they live. Corn as biodisel is probably better than as any "food" product it might turn into, not using it for biodisel won't stop starvation, growing real food might be a start.

Posted by Dragan | June 29, 2008 9:23 AM
Corn as biodisel is probably better than as any "food" product it might turn into, not using it for biodisel won't stop starvation, growing real food might be a start.

Too true -- except that the topsoil is all gone...

Posted by shitbrain | June 29, 2008 9:39 AM


Well, we could not grow that useless shit and instead grow something people can eat.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 29, 2008 9:44 AM

As someone who grew up in Oil Country and endured the 1980s Oil Bust, I would suggest that people stop thinking oil prices "can't come down."

Finite resource, peak oil, blah blah blah, but we've been here before in the 1970s. And you know what happened? A barrel of oil lost 75% of its value in 7 years.

Demand is falling. The speculators are getting cagey. New supplies are popping up. The days of filling up for $1.99 are over, but I think we'll see $2.99 again, and a lot sooner than you think.

Tie the need for mass transit to sustainability. Tie the need for higher MPG to global warming. Don't tie it to a commodity that's experiencing a speculative bubble.

After all, people never thought home prices would ever fall....

Posted by dw | June 29, 2008 10:11 AM

Fnarf that's right when the facts aren't with you go to max hyperbole. I worked as a teenager and made minimum wage or higher through high school. Got the jobs myself, no help, just regular for teens back then. I paid way less than a sixth of my hourly pay for a gallon of gas.

Check with regular kids today about the cost of gas, maybe if they don't run away you could learn something.

I'm betting of the few teenagers that work these days very few make over $25 per hour.

Your BS is probably the only thing WiS is right about.

Posted by ouch | June 29, 2008 11:05 AM

You might appreciate this political cartoon:

Posted by mattymatt | June 29, 2008 11:40 AM

dw @34:

Finite resource, peak oil, blah blah blah, but we've been here before in the 1970s. And you know what happened? A barrel of oil lost 75% of its value in 7 years.

Demand is falling. The speculators are getting cagey. New supplies are popping up. The days of filling up for $1.99 are over, but I think we'll see $2.99 again, and a lot sooner than you think

So tell me, dw, are you actually saying oil is not a finite resource? Have you figured out a way to grow more of it that won't take several hundred million years? Do you actually deny we're approaching or have already reached peak oil? Or have you personally discovered another massive Ghawar oil field and you're just keeping it secret from the rest of us?

Yeah, I do think we'll see $2.99 again. And that $2.99 is going to be the bottom of a trough, a minor blip on a relentless upward trend.

All markets have their ups and downs, but market conditions do fundamentally change too. To say the playing field is the same as it was in the '70s is a bit like saying Pelé is just as good a soccer player as he was in the '70s.

Posted by cressona | June 29, 2008 12:30 PM

1. facts are happening.
2. some like it some don't.
3. some like it that some like it, while others like it that some don't.


What counts is
1. facts are happening.

Yes higher gas rpices will cause changes and pain esp. in short term so all you folks driving 40 miles to get milk out in the rural areas: move.

Teenagers: will just have to smoke pot and drink on foot now. Or at home. It's been done before.

Posted by PC | June 29, 2008 12:39 PM

Yo, ouch, your anecdotes are touching, but maybe you should go look up some statistics on the purchasing power of teenagers now versus then.

Posted by Fnarf | June 29, 2008 12:44 PM

When I first read this post I just assumed, given the elitist bent, that it was written by ECB. Because my pal Dan would never say something that ignored such a large segment of the population. What are people who live where there is little or no public transportation? What if you need to heat your home with oil? Fuck those people, I guess?

Posted by Dianna | June 29, 2008 12:52 PM

I hate arriving late to the party.

cressona@9 is right. Therefore, I'm eagerly awaiting some bullshit from Will in Seattle about how she's all wrong because he was having a conversation with his good friend Al Gore the other day and blah blah blah de blahdy blah.

Kristen@12: you are in danger of gaining troll status. I am quite fat, and found nothing remotely fat phobic in Dan's post. "Getting off their fat asses" is about lethargy vs energy, not fat vs. skinny.

Fnarf vs. the world: I don't know if kids in 1962 thought gas was expensive. But articles quoting people who say "well I did activity XYZ when gas was $3 a gallon, but now that it's at $4.50 I just can't afford it" are 100% bullshit. Unless the person in question is a Zairian peasant.

Posted by Big Sven | June 29, 2008 12:56 PM

Sven, Cressona is a guy. And both of you are brilliant to promote raising taxes to provide relief in 20 years. If ST goes for it and loses, that pretty much closes them down by law.

Fnarf - please link to anything that says that teenagers are making so much more money, inflation adjusted, $4 gas is relatively cheaper. Job kids are getting these days are in the $8 to $12 per hour or 2 to 3 times the cost of gas. In 1962 it was at least four but usually more like 6 times.

WiS does have your number.

Posted by ouch | June 29, 2008 1:24 PM

@40. I appreciate that the price of fuel means pain for some -- it's going to be a painful adjustment, as we sort out the mess that cheap gas made of our cities, 'burbs, expectations, and, for some, the choices we've already made. And here, in answer to your question, is what is going to happen (what is already happening): people are going start making other choices. People are going to move from places with little or no public transit to places with good public transit; people are going to buy new furnaces; people are going to buy gas with better gas milage, etc.

And some people won't be able to do these things, and they're going to suffer, and that's going to suck for them, I realize.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 29, 2008 6:40 PM

So tell me, dw, are you actually saying oil is not a finite resource?

No, I'm saying that it's not anywhere near as finite as people keep screaming it is. We keep finding it, for one thing. For another, rising prices make reserves like the offshore Brazil fields profitable. And third, rising price = lower demand.

Every time we've hit "peak oil" in our history, something else comes along. Back in the late 1970s there was lots of talk about how we were running out of oil and we need alternatives ASAP. How we could be out of oil by 2000. And, well, we didn't. Part of it was the North Sea, part of it was the Saudis living in mortal fear of Iran and embracing the arms Reagan was happy to sell them. But either way, all the "peak oil" talked until the Gulf War. Then it went away again until after 9/11.

There's no such thing as peak oil. There is such a thing as peak demand, though, and I think that's where we are right now. Peak oil assumes that demand will always outstrip current supply. The problem is that demand moves as much as supply does. And supply is inelastic. If we cut our consumption by 10%, the oil companies can't cut supply by 10% that fast.

Yeah, I do think we'll see $2.99 again. And that $2.99 is going to be the bottom of a trough, a minor blip on a relentless upward trend.

In the end, inflation and supply will drive prices up. We know that. But here's the thing -- prices have swung wildly for years now. We have a big shock, and then we climb off it. 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. But it's immensely boom-bust. Always has been, always will be.

In the long term, oil is a great financial play... at least until the supply drops too low or demand craters from a shift off oil. But if it really WAS such a great play, wouldn't all of us be dumping our money into BP or Exxon Mobil? I mean, think about it. If the peak oil people are right, we're 20 years from severe trouble, and it's going to take us that long to switch off oil. What we should be doing is pumping money into oil stocks. And yet... the energy sector is down for the year.

All markets have their ups and downs, but market conditions do fundamentally change too. To say the playing field is the same as it was in the '70s is a bit like saying Pelé is just as good a soccer player as he was in the '70s.

Sure -- demand from China, large institutional players like pensions hedging their assets in oil futures, developing world capital seeking to find safe returns while fleeing from real estate throwing their money into commodities, the 10 year wait we have right now before Brazil and Angola come on line, the emergence of Russia as a major player in oil....

But, at the same time, it's still the same market. We're in a speculative bubble in oil right now. It should be bleedin' obvious to everyone that what we're staring at right now is a bubble in spot crude and oil futures. And we all know what happens to bubbles.

In the long term, we must find alternatives to petroleum. It's a detriment to our national security, it's bad for the environment, and it encourages bad development habits, e.g. exurbs. But saying higher prices are the reason to switch? It's like saying because it hit 90F in Seattle today, there must be global warming. It's magical thinking that leaves you vulnerable to people laughing at you and waving you off when there's a reverse.

Gas will go back below $3. We will have a cold snap in Seattle again like we had in November 2006. And all those people you tried to convince of the "right way" will be standing in the sub-freezing weather filling up their cars for $2.79 and wondering why they ever listened to you.

Posted by dw | June 29, 2008 7:16 PM

dw @44: Every time we've hit "peak oil" in our history, something else comes along. Back in the late 1970s there was lots of talk about how we were running out of oil and we need alternatives ASAP.

Actually, we did apparently hit peak oil in the '70s, just the "we" in question was the United States. And ever since, oil production in the United States has declined.

Or dw, are you just trying to pull out random chicken littles from yesteryear to discredit a solid body of evidence about peak oil today? I'm reminded of George Will citing a tiny minority of scientists who in the '80s feared a coming Ice Age to try to do a guilt-by-association on the body of climate change research today. Since most of us citizens don't have the endless amounts of time and expertise to pore through the supposed research George Will cited, it's easy enough for that BS to pass by unchallenged.

Sure, the higher the price of oil, the more viable become certain oil reserves. But each of those reserves becomes successively harder (more expensive, more environmentally questionable) to exploit. Fluctuations aside, oil and gas are just going to get more and more expensive.

I'm not really sure what we're debating, though, at this point. I wouldn't be surprised if gas goes down to $3 before it gets up to $5. Just the fact we're looking at $3 gas as a kind of salvation should tell us the world has changed. And changed forever.

Anyway, I'm sure there'll always be some naysayer out there who'll use every trick in the rhetorical book to cast doubt on climate change, peak oil (however you define it), the limitations of biofuels, the evidence of military threats from certain countries with vast oil reserves, etc., etc., etc..

I'm sure if there were money and some kind of societal change involved, you'd have hacks crawling out of the woodwork casting doubt on whether the earth is really round and whether it really revolves around the sun.

Posted by cressona | June 29, 2008 9:31 PM

@41: I'm not a troll! You almost made me cry!!! With what Dan has said in the past about fat people combined with his get off their fat asses comment, it seemed fat phobic like always to me...that's all. I can't help it if Dan hates fat people! You are just defending him, because he's pretty and skinny and popular and well, Dan! Just because you may be fat doesn't make you an expert about what is fat phobic or not. Of course, I'm not an expert either...I was just saying what it felt like to me. Anyway, some fat people think they deserve to be berated and that people should be called lazy fat asses and stuff like that. I just don't see the point in it.

Posted by Kristin Bell | June 29, 2008 11:17 PM

Dan @43, if you realize that this shift is going to cause such massive pain and suffering and empathize as such, why do you report on it with such seeming glee?

Posted by laterite | June 29, 2008 11:46 PM

Dan, if everyone will move to the cities, raising the demand for a house/flat/room/closet there, how much will a house/flat/room/closet cost in a few years' time and who will be able to afford one?
Plus, as other people pointed out, food prices rise because of the transport involved, so do gas and electricity bills, and so on and so on.

Again, long term, yes, high gas prices will force people to look for alternatives for oil, something we should have started doing thirty years ago. But in the mean time it's not all fun and games. And not just for those idiots who enjoy cruising in their 4x4 just for the hell of it...

Posted by Griet | June 30, 2008 12:45 AM


I didn't say you were a troll... I said your comment was getting dangerously close to troll territory, because you took offense where none was intended.

Look, I get what you are saying- we all respond uniquely, and you found the comment fat phobic. Fair enough. I just find that sometimes when I work up a head of steam, somebody tapping me on the shoulder and saying "dude. Don't worry about it. Seriously." helps. Especially when that person is in the same boat I am.

Dan has at times been harsh on the overweight in the exact same way that he's hard on pit bull owners and HIV educators. And the part that usually bothers me isn't what Dan says, it's the inevitable "just exercise, you fat fucks" commentary that *always* pops up after a post on the subject. And yes, I do happen to think Dan is an awesome guy (though as a straight man, I could care less whether Dan is skinny or not.) But I honestly thinks he comes at the issue of weight from a compassionate perspective, and just thinks people would be happier if they took more ownership of their health.

Posted by Big Sven | June 30, 2008 8:09 AM

@49: Okay Big Sven! That makes sense. I know I shouldn't harp on Dan just for saying fat asses or something. There is a time and place for everything for sure. :) I do think Dan is an awesome guy too...I have a big fag hag crush on him of course, which is why it makes me sad when he says mean stuff about fatties, because I'm a fattie and then I think if I ever met him in person he would hate me just for being a fattie and then I would feel all sad and I couldn't still be his biggest fan even though secretly I would still think he was cool.

Posted by Kristin Bell | June 30, 2008 9:04 PM

I am a Bush fan, but I feel that the government should immediately stop allowing speculation in the oil market. This could and would immediately resolve much of the price gouging. Oil is headed in a similar direction as all of the major debacles of recent history. Big companies will suck in pensions of little people and all of a sudden a price drop will eliminate the profits and the money of the common man - the big corporations - and men who run them - will have already sluffed off what they most wanted and again the economy will reel from their 'mistakes.' Obama recently said that patriotism was sacrifice - this idiot should realize that sacrifice is a last resort. He and many others are giving America away and blaming the poverty of the world on the wealth of America. Patriotism is standing up for the American way of life - and the quality of life that we have developed. I am not ready to throw or give it away to China, India, Africa or the Euro. I do not believe that I digressed from the original conversation about oil - potentially the economic hardships developed by the oil industry and lack of government strength will change major aspects of our American lifestyle - if something is not corrected very soon. Buy American, produce American, think American and ... Americans need to study and use logic will dealing with immigration, education, and trade issues. This has become, "Home of the Free Everything for Everyone who can get here - except for the Americans who are already here."

Posted by BBD | July 1, 2008 8:32 AM

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