Reflections on Independence Day

News & Updates

It seems fitting that Americans traditionally celebrate Independence day by lighting things on fire.  To me, fireworks dramatically and colorfully represent our hopeless dependence on burning coal, natural gas, and especially OIL to maintain the “American way of life.”

Most of the data pertaining to American oil and production resemble this discouraging chart from the Energy Information Administration.

oil dependence chart

However, our current governement is bragging that foreign oil imports are down since Obama has taken office. Sadly, this is not because we are using less or living more within our means. According to the white house blog:

“We’re relying less on imported oil for a number of reasons, not least that production is up here in the United States. In fact, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. As part of his strategy to increase safe, responsible oil production in the United States, President Obama has opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration and we now have more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world—combined.”

foreign oil chart

Yet we are still importing 45% of the oil we consume, and we are supposed to applaud MORE drilling for MORE oil as progress. Perhaps until the next oil spill??? How quickly we seem to forget the tragic consequences of our irresponsible “exploration” (exploitation?)!

oily blob

And boasting that ONLY 45% of the oil we use is imported misses the point entirely. If a man is dependent on alcohol yet he distills 65% of his own liquor, is he any less of a drunk?

Don’t get me wrong, this is not about politics. Clearly the previous administration wasn’t doing any better. This is not about political leadership or lack thereof. This is about everyday American people desperately flocking to the local gas station for their next fix. And if you don’t think you are DEPENDENT then try to go a month without driving- or even a week. For most Americans this is a laughable proposal: How will I get to work? What about the kids’ school and activities? And never mind the groceries!

US oil use by sector

Let’s face it, we are HOOKED. Not just a little bit either, and not just some of us. Nearly ALL Americans today are totally dependent on burning fossil fuels. So we burn fireworks on the Fourth of July and lie to the kids about independence while we shamelessly pillage their future.

But not ALL of us. There is hope! Practical Cycle works with customers everyday that are making a conscious effort to drive less or not at all. Its what we are here for.

On a personal note, my dad and I are both completely car-free. And guess what, its not a big sacrifice. Our lives are actually better for it. We are more joyful, healthy, and wealthy than ever. Its good to be free!

So what about you? If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem, and you might as well light fireworks ever day of the year. However, if you want to be less dependent on oil then Practical Cycle can help!

We have electric bikes that can get you long distances quickly with getting too sweaty. We have cargo bikes and trikes that can carry all sorts of stuff- even people. We have fully equipped commuter bikes that will get you to work in comfort and style. We even have adult tricycles just to help you get rolling again.