Our Fragile System Runs on Cheap Oil

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The cost of gas has been rising rapidly for the past couple of months, and a recent VICE article reminds us that this is something that has happened before. The author, Aaron Gordon, posits that this happens once every decade or so, and Americans panic over it, but never commit to any kind of change that would impact the fundamental dynamics that make this such a problem, to begin with.

What are those dynamics? One is that we rely heavily on foreign sources of oil and gasoline—and we require that oil and gasoline to be cheap and readily available. When they are suddenly not cheap nor readily available, that impacts not only individuals in their daily travel, but also the entire nation’s ability to move goods around and produce food.

Our country is literally run on cheap oil, though these are not new revelations. These are talking points every time we have a crisis like this, yet once gas prices go back down, everything goes back to business as usual.

Today on Upzoned, host Abby Kinney and regular co-host Chuck Marohn “upzone” this story, discussing how these crises and our responses to them highlight the fragility of our transportation system and built environment. And why it needs to change.

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