Leaving JFK when we arrived in the States we immediately entered the Kingdom of the Giants. As we hit the road, we were beseiged on all sides by SUVs, People Carriers, even the occasional Hummer. Even the smaller vehicles have engines far bigger than I'm used to. American vehicles are simply huge, with seemingly no thought being given to the cost of petrol.
I realised the reason for this the first time we filled up Aunty's SUV for the princely sum of $31 - less than NIS 150, or about half of what it would have cost in Israel.
I'm going to set the record straight here for all the Americans who constantly complain about the cost of things in Israel. Petrol (that's gas guys) is no more expensive in Israel than anywhere else in the Western World other than North America - it's just that the US has, for whatever reason, taken the totally irresponsible step of keeping gas this cheap. If you are used to American gas prices - you have been spoiled. Stop whining.
Now I'm going to clarify that "irresponsible" statement in easy to follow steps.
1) Burning any kind of fossil fuel (such as petrol or diesel) pollutes the environment.
2) Gas is a finite resource - one day it will run out therefore it makes sense to encourage people to use it sparingly.
3) Responsible environmental policy seeks to reduce burning of gas so as to limit environmental damage.
4) Taxing gas leads to people choosing vehicles which are smaller and use less gas thus causing less pollution and preserving gas stocks.
5) Keeping gas as cheap as it is in the US has lead to larger and larger vehicles which use more gas and cause more pollution. Which is BAD.
And you know what blows my mind? Despite the fact that it costs 1/2 the price here of anywhere else, Americans are complaining about the cost of gas!
I would be more than happy for someone to explain the reasons why gas is so expensive in the US and, whilst I don't believe it will happen, I would also be pleased to see the States taking the lead with a more environmentally friendly energy policy. If by paying a little or even a lot more for our petrol, we are directly or indirectly doing less damage to the environment, it's worth paying the price - as pretty much everyone else around the world does....