In his book The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler paints a picture of what he sees as our societal future post peak-oil. One of his themes is the potential unravelling of the social structure as the have-nots are priced out the gasoline market and now truly face a future on the economic fringes. He believes mob violence is a possibility.
It's funny but because Kunstler offers this vision he is sometimes criticized as an alarmist and a wacko. Well, it was with interest that I read this story this morning in the NY Times Rural U.S. Takes Worst Hit as Gas Tops $4 Average :
"Here in the Mississippi Delta, some farm workers are borrowing money from their bosses so they can fill their tanks and get to work. Some are switching jobs for shorter commutes.
People are giving up meat so they can buy fuel. Gasoline theft is rising. And drivers are running out of gas more often, leaving their cars by the side of the road until they can scrape together gas money.
The disparity between rural America and the rest of the country is a matter of simple home economics. Nationwide, Americans are now spending about 4 percent of their take-home income on gasoline. By contrast, in some counties in the Mississippi Delta, that figure has surpassed 13 percent.
As a result, gasoline expenses are rivaling what families spend on food and housing."
I don't want to be unsympathetic to the economic pain being felt right now, but this is happening at $4 a gallon. What's the story at $5 or $6?