Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road….
From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute.
– Walt Whitman
Driving, flying, boating, and other transport are necessities, not luxuries, for emotional wellbeing and happiness. Witness the travel boom despite the Green New Deal pricing for gasoline and diesel. The American Automobile Association reports: “The unofficial start to summer will be a busy one this year as AAA predicts 39.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend.”
This is an increase of 8.3% over 2021, bringing travel volumes almost in line with those in 2017. Air travel continues to rebound, up 25% over last year, the second-largest increase since 2010. With volumes closing in on pre-pandemic levels, AAA urges travelers to book now and remember flexibility is key this Memorial Day weekend.
The entire summer is expected to be travel-busy:
“Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what’s to come for summer travel,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months.”
There is a demand destruction from the anti-petroleum policies of the current Administration. But forget predictions of Peak Oil Demand predicted by the (refuted) Peak Oil Supply crowd. The petroleum era is still young.
A return to normalcy, even in the face of artificially high prices, is bad news to the foes of modernity and mechanized movement. “Driving is ruining our lives, and triggering environmental disasters,” wrote George Monbiot several years ago. “Only drastic action will kick our dependency.” He added:
Let’s abandon this disastrous experiment, recognise that this 19th-century technology is now doing more harm than good, and plan our way out of it. Let’s set a target to cut the use of cars by 90% over the next decade…. It is time to drive the car out of our lives.
Fear not. Get your kicks on Route 66 or wherever the open road takes you. What is natural will overwhelm the energy authoritarians. As Daniel Yergin noted in The Prize several decades ago:
Hydrocarbon Man shows little inclination to give up his cars, his suburban home, and what he takes to be not only the conveniences but the essentials of his way of life. The peoples of the developing world give no indication that they want to deny themselves the benefits of an oil-powered economy, whatever the environmental questions. Any notion of scaling back the world’s consumption of oil will be influenced by the extraordinary population growth ahead.
“Happy Motoring,” as the old Exxon commercial used to say. “Let’s Go!” as Shell advertised. “A full tank of freedom,” as Marathon proudly stated. Memorial Day 2022 is on track.