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by Dominique Blain

I love the price of gas these days.

Clearly, I don’t drive — to be honest, I only have my G1. Plus, I lost my actual licence card at the Ram in the Rye a couple of weeks ago. And I think it expires soon, come to think of it.

Frankly, were it any other product, I’d be appalled at the 150 per cent price jump in one year.

Not to mention the obvious price gouging — yeah, I’m sure it’s a coincidence that gas prices always seem to go up just before a long weekend.

But the continuously rising price of gas is the only way to get people off their high horsepower and contemplating alternate commuting options.

Events such as Sept. 22’s Car-Free Day are sweet, but only people who already realize the plural nuisance that is the automobile will actually partake in the public commuting festivities, while more car-addicted commuters jump in their SUVs.

It can be tough to explain to someone why they should care about the environment. But it’s never tough for someone to understand money. Sure, environmentalism is always justifiable in monetary terms, but sometimes you just have to go for the kill and hit where it hurts: in the wallet.

I realize that the rising cost of gas affects the “little guy” before any one else, but being the little guy is no excuse for permanently damaging my lungs, ears and limbs and the little guy can still TTC it.

Car-addicted drivers need to learn about their physical environment in more than car-bubble terms. Sure they’re bigger, harder and faster than pedestrians and bikes, but they still have to share the road.

If rising gas prices means a driver learns up close why you should always check the road before opening your door, then that’s a good thing.

If a $2 litre means that people are choosing to walk or bike then that’s also a good thing: blame fast food as much as you like, the obese segment of population can only get to McDonald’s by car.

Also, fewer driving commuters means that one day, maybe, just maybe, all those over-priced parking lots can be turned into affordable living spaces.

Just imagine: the parking garage at 300 Victoria St. turned into an affordable residence.

If Ryerson does plan on increasing enrollment numbers, it’s going to have to start thinking about living arrangements for first years, not just parking spots.

Obviously, there are responsible drivers out there who only drive when they’re out of options and who don’t buy gas-guzzlers. Car pooling commuters get an extra special kudos.

The relatively low price of gas was the bump in the road towards a cleaner environment and healthier commuters. Now rising prices should at least force drivers to think outside the Hummer.

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