America has known that sooner of later we would have to change our lifestyle of total dependence on the automobile. In my entire life I can't ever remember a time when this wasn't something that was being ardently discussed. Granted, we never acted on any of these discussions and Americans generally have changed their driving habits very little in 50 years. So why are people surprised, shocked, and angry that gas prices are at or near $5 a gallon? People are still commuting fantastically long distances to and from work every day. Lots of people are still driving gas-guzzlers. Most people don't even know what public transportation is let alone bother to use it. They want to blame the President, others lash out at the oil producing nations, and some fault the big oil companies. I made the move many, many years ago to limit the intrusion of the automobile in my life. I have probably driven less than 50,000 miles in the last 20 years. In the last five years I haven't driven once. As far as my personal transportation needs I couldn't give a fuck if gas were $100 a cup.
As a nation we're like children who cry about having a mouthful of cavities after being warned since childhood to stay away from candy. Without a doubt, gas prices will miraculously go down again and people will act as if nothing ever happened. Perhaps a few people will have learned their lesson but most folks will never abandon their bad habits. History doesn't repeat itself; it's on a damn loop.