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We made changes in mid-'70s oil crunch

We made changes in mid-'70s oil crunch

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Remember 1974? I do.

We had a young family and quickly outgrew our first house in Bloomington. We soon found what we thought we needed, but it was seven miles west of Bloomington, and America faced a serious national gas shortage.

Our country, however, responded to this threat. New amazing cars with improved mileage appeared - the Pinto, the Chevette and the new eastern imports: Honda and Toyota. Fleet limitations were imposed on Detroit's cars. Bicycle and moped sales flourished. Bloomington-Normal began an efficient transit system, and they built bicycle lanes. President Nixon encouraged the elimination of Christmas lights that year.

Our response was to forego a spacious country home for one that saved us a two-car commute.

In the past 20 years our government has kept mileage requirements for American autos essentially unchanged. Cars and semi-cars - SUVs - became huge. Some are merely half-ton trucks covered with a car's body. The Hummer is an example of this excess.

In June, America's consumption of oil and gas set the all-time record high as prices exceeded $3 per gallon.

"I can afford it, so I can drive it" has become the prevailing attitude.

Exxon-Mobil's $10 billion profit for only one quarter of the year is excessive, and that's only one energy company's profit.

President Bush and the Republican Congress exacerbated such flagrant excess by granting oil companies' tax breaks in the 2006 Energy Bill. Moreover, such profit is immoral in terms of the hardship it causes many in the world.

This waste of nature's diminishing bounty not only makes our country look uncaring and greedy but also emphasizes how easily we Americans can be swayed by the arrogant squandering of the current presidential administration.

Shame on us for being weaklings, and shame on them for being unscrupulous.

James Coe



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