What if gasoline was outlawed in the US?

Okay, I know it has no chance whatsoever of happening. That said, I’ve been thinking about what life would be like without gasoline, given today’s technology. With our current communications networks, manufacturing capacity, and alternative technologies, how would a moratorium on gasoline really affect our lives?

Let me set up some parameters. The US has three years’ notice before going cold turkey. Police and emergency vehicles have ten years to continue running on gasoline. Alternative fuels, such as propane and hydrogen and electricity, are completely legal. Local governments are encouraged to rezone and/or develop public transportation to make individual vehicles less necessary. Roads may be redivided to provide better access to bicycles, horses or (and I cringe at typing this) segways.

Please keep in mind that I’m not advocating this as a possible piece of legislation; it’s more of a thought experiment. I’m just fascinated by the thought of what might happen in these circumstances. For instance, what would the social consequences be, if it was a half a day’s journey to visit your family across town? Or a three-day trip across the state? What if business trips were suddenly weeks-long odysseys, and to be avoided at all costs? Would small town life revive, with each town becoming a concentrated source of all basic human needs, or would urban centers thrive? If telecommuting saved employees several hours of travel per day, would it become the norm? If shipping products became difficult and costly, would manufacturing of most products go local? Would ethanol simply stand in for gasoline, leaving things mostly unchanged, except for the growth of agricultural interests?

Extra points will be awarded for references to Red Barchetta.

Well, if it brought down Wal Mart, then that might be the only positive consequence :wink:

But necessity is the mother of invention. We depend on the ability to travel long distances at need and with ease and convenience. Because we depend upon it, somebody will come up with a way to make it happen, and thus make alot of money for himself and those financing him.

And I don’t think public transportation would be the solution. We Americans are in love with the freedom of movement allowed us by cars. For big-city folk, cars are a hassle often as not, so they don’t use them, it’s all about the convenience and freedom for many people. But I think it goes beyond that. I wouldn’t give up my truck just because something else became more convenient, using my truck as transportation would have to become absolutely impractical before I abandoned it.

Cars are comfortable, they give you a little bubble of privacy in a crowded world, the make the commute to work/school in the morning bearable, they have cupholders for your beverage, they depart whenever you decide rather than according to someone else’s schedule, you control it yourself and so have more control over your fate, and they’re a statement of your personality. It would take alot for myself or others to give up our cars. Heck, I don’t even like to carpool. We love to drive, and we love to hate it, to point out the behaviours of “bad” drivers and exonerate ourselves completely of our own bad habits. It’s what we do, it’s what makes us who we are. We are free, we are mobile, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Knowing that, somebody somewhere would find a way to power the things gasoline or no gasoline.

We Brits had a “petrol strike” a couple of years ago. I put it in inverted commas since “petrol” is what Americans would call “gasoline” and the “strike” was what Americans might call “deliberate drought in order to teach us to treat the oil companies right”.

It began with lorry drivers and farmers protesting outside oil refineries that the tax on fuel was too high (and it is massively high here). The oil companies saw this and refused to send out their tankers “for the safety of their drivers”.

The police arrived, since threat of violence or illegal obstruction would be criminal acts and guess what? There was no evidence of criminal activity whatsoever! The tankers simply weren’t rolling.

So, for a week the UK ground to a halt. Now, I can’t drive so I didn’t find it too problematic but it was a minor irritation not even to be able to get a cab or a bus anywhere. But when you see ambulances having to ration their fuel and plan their schedules accordingly, it started to make me wonder who it was who was actually doing this to us. The government were rabbits caught in the headlights, utterly surprised and impotent (as usual).

It is still referred to here as the “petrol strike”. I am trying to get people to start calling it the “petrol denial”.

… only the outlaws will have gasolibe :smiley:

Prohibition. Drugs. Handguns in gun-free areas.

Nope, not much would change.

It’s not just personal transport that would be affected. Think of all the trucks on the highway, delivering groceries and goods.

If gas were made against the law then our country would roll over, croak then die.

The entire economy of the USA would collapse overnight.

Diesel fuel would become alot more popular…

I didn’t know what it was so I went to the Red Barchetta Home Page and it froze up my computer. :mad:

[ul]:rolleyes: [sup]So, I used the term, so now how many DAMN points do I get?[/sup][/ul]

[li]How many horses would it take to pull a Red Barchetta?[/li][li]Convert your Red Barchetta to propane.[/li][li]Does Opal have a Red Barchetta?[/li][li]Save energy by putting your Red Barchetta in neutral as much as possible.[/li][li]Convert your Red Barchetta to hydrogen and drink the exaust.[/li]
:cool: [sup]I’m on a roll, and the points are spinning upwards like a gas pump’s meter @ $2.00 a gallon![/sup]

The economy would be in shambles, I would agree. Even if you gave us three years, just the shock of such a deadline would cause stock prices to tumble all across the Dow. Gas companies would practically go bankrupt and everyone from oil rig captains to gas station attendants would soon be out of a job. That’s hundreds of thousands now collecting unemployment.

So what are the alternatives? No cars? That’s not feasible at all. When has the human race ever willingly gone backwards in our use for technology.
What about electric/solar/wind/hamster powered cars? Still unfeasible as a full replacement to today’s automobiles. In the future, yes. In three years? Nope. Hydrogen is getting there but it will take a lot more R&D to compete with gas powered cars.

What would you suggest people do with their old cars?
What about their lawnmowers?
I must admit, wind powered chain saws are an intriguing concept.
My uncle has a country place that no one knows about.
He says it used be a farm, before the motor lodge…

readjust the fuel map in B&I for alcohol and let it rip

In twenty years, I’m reasonably confident that we will be well on our way to switching off gasoline in non-industrial use. That’s what the roadmap looks like, right now, at least.

Wonder if you should lose points for misquoting the lyrics - it’s Motor Law. :dubious:

Hmm…you’re right. I just looked at the Moving Pictures booklet and it is Motor Law. I have no idea what that means, though. Not that Motor Lodge makes much more sense, I had just assumed his uncle used to have some sort of plantation before converting it to a roadside inn.