Editorial for April 12: Rethink your driving habits

Gasoline prices are skyrocketing.

It should come as no surprise because there have been plenty of warnings that this would happen.

What’s more, most experts think the prices will continue to rise as summer approaches and demand increases in the United States. This could cause gasoline to surpass $7 a gallon here in Cayman by July.

A caycompass.com online poll conducted last week indicated that 18 per cent of the respondents would leave the Cayman Islands if gasoline prices topped $7 per gallon here. We don’t believe that – it doesn’t make much sense to move when pretty much everywhere is feeling the oil price pinch – but we do know that the high gasoline prices are likely to have a significant effect on Cayman residents. This is not only because it will cost more to drive, but electricity costs will go up as will the cost of food and other goods.

People will likely call on the government to roll back gasoline duty increases imposed last year, but that will only help a little and the government would likely just have to make up the lost revenue with some other tax increase.

Although there’s nothing residents can do about the gas prices, that doesn’t mean we are powerless.  There are many things we can all do to use less gasoline. It starts with maintaining vehicles, making sure tyres are inflated to the proper pressures and that they are tuned up on schedule.  

People can change their driving habits, planning their trips so they don’t drive unnecessarily. Residents can also use their car air conditioning less, especially when it’s cooler, and avoid fast accelerations and excessive speed. Carpooling when possible is also another idea.

Looking longer term, people can choose to downsize their big gas-guzzlers, opting instead for a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Then there is walking and cycling when possible, which has the added benefit of better health.

All of these measures can add up to significant savings if done consistently. Hopefully those who choose to do nothing to change their driving habits can afford to pay the higher costs.