Monday, March 21, 2011

Instability – the Antithesis of Sustainability

We continue our focus on the price of oil in these exceptionally volatile times. Oil’s cost is reflected in virtually everything in Hawaii, and that certainly will be the case when Honolulu rail is up and running years from now as an alternative to driving.

The threat of a “long, drawn-out war” in North Africa is credited with a sharp rise in oil’s price today, the first day of Spring. The International Energy Agency predicts a shutdown of Libya’s oil exports due to the bombing campaign that began over the weekend.

That could turn on a dime if hostilities end abruptly. Nobody knows how long this will last, but with a big up-side potential for oil’s price, chances are we’ll see higher prices before they retreat below $4/gallon any time soon.

Hawaii remains the only state where the average price of regular gas is above that mark. Both California and Hawaii saw a slight drop in their average prices over the weekend, but that’s already changing according to post-bombing reports.

Sustainability and Rail

High oil prices inevitably result in higher gas prices and the cost of maintaining a car. Those higher costs will become an issue for most island families in the long run, and that’s why a rail transit system becomes an essential component of community sustainability.

Honolulu rail will be a reliable transportation mode, providing fast and frequent travel through the urban core and thereby restoring mobility to residents while lessening oil’s influence on their cost of living.

That indeed will be be the beginning of a “green Spring” for Hawaii.

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