Patrick Rule urges you not to drive on Sunday, December 2nd. He says it’s a way to protest rising gas prices — and by parking your car that day, you’re also conserving, and thereby saving some money.

That’s the real bottom line question: will Americans get to the point where they’re willing to make sacrifices in their own lives to help out their own bottom lines? Most of the arguments about gas prices rely on someone else making a change — from asking the government to act somehow, to blaming environmentalists and oil companies for no new refineries coming online, to forcing auto manufacturers to make more fuel-efficient vehicles, and on and on.

Rule insists (and I agree) that it’s much more a matter of personal responsibility. Will one day of no-driving force ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and BPAmoco to their knees? Of course not. But many of my listeners like the symbolism of a no-drive day (which may tell you that not many of them have to work on Sundays!).

Ironically, with gas prices averaging $2.98/gallon in St. Louis (up from $2.09 a year ago today) and oil prices settled in at over $90/barrel, the Secretary-General of OPEC announced this morning that he sees no need to increase oil production. Well, of course he doesn’t! That’s the entire supply and demand concept in action. If they produce more oil, prices would go down, but while prices are high and demand isn’t decreasing, they can clean up. There’s very little incentive for them to act any other way.

I don’t know many people who are doing a lot of excess driving. It’s not like Missourians would wake up that Sunday and decide to “go for a drive,” unless they had a specific destination they had to visit. Still, a message of conservation is one we’re not hearing from our national or state leadership, so it has to be on us, individually, to make that choice to sacrifice. Or not.

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