Columbia DSA’s Eco-socialist Working Group’s Statement Regarding the Rise in Gas Prices in the Midlands of SC

Columbia DSA’s Eco-socialist Working Group’s Statement Regarding the Rise in Gas Prices in the Midlands of SC

Gas prices in the United States are rising at an alarming rate with the average price of gas in South Carolina cresting $4 a gallon this week, matching the previous highest gas prices ever recorded in September 2008. The media is attributing this rise in prices to the continuing war of invasion by Russia in Ukraine, and concerns on how this will affect the oil market.

While Columbia DSA stands in solidarity with the people in Ukraine and in staunch opposition to Russia’s illegal invasion of this sovereign nation, these prices at the pump are hurting the working people of the United States the most. In a labor market where wages are already significantly depressed, where people are having to work multiple jobs to stay afloat, and where urban sprawl has created the need for South Carolinians to commute to work an average of 24.6 minutes one way, this increase of more than 40 cents per gallon since last week is a severe hardship for the working class of the Midlands.

Unfortunately, the oil and gas industry is getting their message out fast. According to pundits on certain news networks, the only way to solve this issue is to open up the Keystone XL pipeline, open up federal lands to drilling, and put green energy initiatives on hold until the gas prices come down. The nuclear industry is also jumping in, touting itself as a green energy solution.

Let’s be clear - this gas price crisis should be the canary in the coal mine that we need to break our dependency on fossil fuels and the private automobile, not an excuse to double down on fossil fuels, which are a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, a driver of rising global temperatures, and a lynchpin in the climate crisis we are facing.

As Ecosocialists, we commit to fighting the fossil fuel industry’s narrative of “drill more” by presenting viable alternatives to our car dependence like improved public transportation, multimodal transportation design to encourage walking and cycling, and municipal design that fights urban sprawl.

The fragility of our transportation sector and supply chain is another card falling in the house of cards that is capitalism. Truly resilient communities are those where people live, work, and play locally, and where having a car is not a requirement to be a productive member of society.