Reading time: < 2 minutes
On Wall Street, they say, the fastest way to lose your money is by following the herd. Which suggests the way to gain money is doing the reverse. So let’s see where we can play Contrarian and add some value to our lives.
My favorite time to play Contrarian is when something seems obvious. If everyone agrees on a view, there must be an alternative notion demonstrating the opposite.
Today, I filled my tank with gas at $1.39 a gallon and tried to figure out something wrong with this picture. I’m not an economist – nor do I play one on TV – but there must be some downside to cheap gas.
One consequence jumps out immediately. Cheap gas means more drivers. Fewer carpools. More short trips. The additional traffic decreases productivity across the land as we sit behind the wheel getting fatter and letting our muscles atrophy. Conclusion: Cheap gas is bad for your health.
Worse, more drivers means more driving fatalities. For Americans under age 34, auto accidents are the #1 killer. Way, way, way ahead of serial killers. If that leads you to conclude that we should not fear serial killers, you might have a future as an economist. Conclusion: Cheap gas, in addition to being bad for your health, is more likely to kill you than a serial killer.
My solution, and the reason I’ll never run for public office, is to add a $1 tax on each gallon of gas. My life is worth a dollar a gallon. Isn’t yours? Stay in better shape, strengthen productivity and keep the world safe for democracy. Gas will still be cheaper than it was a year ago.
“Low gas prices are your friend like Brutus was to Caesar.”
As a public service to readers of this blog, I’ll add the following: According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the safest days to drive are Tuesday and Wednesday. The safest hour is 4am to 5 am. Do as you wish, but now you know the facts.