cars-driving-at-sunset.jpgWe all want to scream about the miseries of high gas prices… But, are there any “silver linings” in which we can find solace? In fact, there are five silver linings brightening the black clouds of high oil prices. Instead of feeling totally stressed at the pump, learn about the ways that life is already improving thanks to $138-per-barrel oil.

Maybe you wouldn’t choose them over a savings of two bucks per gallon, but they are worth dwelling on if depression and anger regularly sour your mood at the pump. This small bit of peace and satisfaction actually provides some relief as you drive away, $75.00 less in your pocket.

1) Global Warming is Slowed – Cars are a major contributor to Global Warming, and we will see a reduction of CO2 as people consciously make smart choices to consolidate errands and start car pools. (Remember that rising seawater from melting glaciers will drastically change some of our favorite shorelines around the world.)

2) Our Health is Improved – Instead of circling the mall to find a closer parking spot, you may walk the distance. More people may be exercising, riding their bikes rather than turning the key in the ignition.

3) Sales of Hybrid and Electric Car are Soaring – Hybrid car sales during the year 2000 numbered fewer than 10,000. In 2007, sales climbed to 330,000 vehicles. The recent run on hybrids will push auto manufacturers to bring these green cars to market more quickly.

4) Money Will Flow to Bio-Ethanol, Turning Algae, Fryer Oil, and Garbage into Fuel for Cars – There are already companies doing this. All we need is a major public tantrum to focus R&D dollars into mega-plants for producing bio-fuel from unending sources like used cooking oil, algae, trash or manure.

5) People are Moving Closer to Town Giving Urban Areas a Needed Boost – From March 2007 to March 2008 driving has decreased by 11 billion miles overall mostly due to gas prices. More people are weighing transportation costs when they decide where to live, which is giving urban areas a needed boost. Mass transit systems have experienced a dramatic boost in ridership, which is good news for the environment. Housing choices are changing giving a shot in the arm to neighborhoods that need it.

Mass transit, energy alternatives, vehicle efficiency and changing driving habits are all interwoven, says Rob Puentes, of the Brookings Institute. “The good news is that Infrastructure and transportation has been elevated to a national level and now there’s no way that congress can avoid a substanative conversation on these issues (like they have in past years)… The conversation has already begun.”

Take some of the stress off your next visit to the pump by remembering these precious silver linings. (Count 6 silver linings if your family includes pesky relatives that will not visit as often!) 


  1. Change is often for the better. It also helps us to become better at accepting change rather than rejecting it. We don’t need to think the negative way many are being programmed to from the news. If we find we are spending me – then it gives us a change to re-think how to save. We may end of saving more in other areas. And getting more exercise too. Don’t be told to be scared of change, we can embrace it.

  2. Hey, I think you’ve come up with another silver lining, and one that I can use as I go on the interview shows over the next days… If we find ourselves spending more, then it gives us a chance to re-think how to save — and that can have a great effect over a nation!

  3. Some very good points! As a New Yorker I think that there are pros and cons to having more people on the subway. The pros – more funding for transit, as you stated. The cons – more people on already jampacked train cars. Oh well – happy face for global warming slowing down! Heh 🙂

  4. Oh, Chrissie, GOOD point!

    On that issue, I finally got a call-back from the transportation expert at Brookings Institute, and it made me alter my fifth silver lining to the one above,
    5) People are Moving Closer to Town Giving Urban Areas a Needed Boost.


  5. First, thanks for your site! I am a new subscriber and will highlight GNN on my own website, InSpiritry. The best silver lining of higher gas prices is that it has made us stop and recognize the real cost of our American lifestyle. Maybe accepting our role in resource stewardship is our first step forward in being better world citizens. Maybe we really embrace other choices that allow us to live for the Greater Good.

  6. The handwriting has been on the wall since the ’70s but its Human nature to wait for a crisis to act. We each have to change as individuals, the Energy Monopolies never will until we force the matter. The Industrial Revolutionaries of the 1800’s solved immense problems without the easy energy we are addicted to. There are 6 billion more brains on the planet today, so my money is on the Human Race.

  7. Great comments from everyone! Just want to add my thoughts … challenges like climbing gas prices are actually showing us how resilient and creative we really are. We’re managing, we’re changing our habits, we’re coming up with new solutions, and we’re keeping upbeat and unified in the process. All these reaffirm our strength and our abilities!

  8. There is no motivater like shortages and fear to FINALLY get humanity to figure out energy sources that are good for our planet. They are out there, we just need to be motivated to find them. And we get to see that happen in our lifetimes – isn’t that wonderful? Yay us! Yay Earth!

  9. Perhaps now as we are forced to stay at home we might start enjoying the homes we work so much for instead of trying to get away to some overcrowded RV park that resembles a small city in the woods. Perhaps families will reconsider dinners out and actually eat at home together. Home gardens might just become a family project. Perhaps families will once again flourish. Naw let’s just continue the rush rush lives of stress and illness. Silly me.

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