The devil is in the details, but in the electronic age rationing should be possible. No matter how inconvenient and unpopular, it is our only hope to quickly and significantly reduce energy output commensurate with the leveling and downward slide of petro-fuel availability. We have no choice.  We waste too much gasoline now for fast frivolous travel in huge vehicles.  The first pass should be easy. Our kids will wonder why we burned up our finite energy endowment and didn’t save some for their survival. 

   The present consumption of about two gallons per day per licensed driver should be halved to one gallon per day very quickly. Perhaps one and one-half gallons per day would be an easier first step. This would still provide about fifty miles per day in an efficient car driven appropriately. 

   Each licensed driver who owns a registered vehicle would receive, monthly, from the state motor vehicle department a book of coupons (in the form of a swipe card) called Tradable Fuel Allocations (TFA’s) or something similar. There would be one coupon per gallon or multiples.  These must be presented at the gas station along with the payment for gas before pumping.

   Each gas station would have a small electronic machine to record usage and ascertain the unused gallons available prior to pumping. Like a phone card, the same machine could count the total coupons used and reconcile the number with the gallons pumped for each day. The TFA’s could be in multiples and the swipe card used similar to a debit transaction

   Unused TFA’s or swipe cards are negotiable and may be sold for cash at any agreed-upon street price like a long-distance phone card. There will be an immediate web-based or local market place to facilitate this need.

   Obvious exceptions to rationing would be all governmental, municipal, emergency, security, and essential needs. In short, gasoline rationing would only affect private consumption. Gasoline required for farming and the food chain and all other commercial gasoline purchases would also be exempt and would be handled on a case-by-case basis to preclude abuse.  This way the only commerce that would be reduced is where discretionary personal travel is involved. City folks who don’t need much gasoline could sell coupons to those who need to drive long distances. This inequity will cause great consternation but reflects the true energy cost and threat to our future survival from profligate gasoline consumption.

   The recreational market segment is in jeopardy as gasoline becomes expensive and the economy collapses. Unfortunately, this already happened leading to the price collapse in late 2008 and can only spike back up when declining  production intersects a new, lower-level resurgence in demand. Is it ethical and wise to accelerate the demise of modern civilization as we use our children’s survival fuel so we can play today? With gasoline rationing, everyone, rich or poor, will have an equal choice to use their fuel allotment for essential needs or consciously save it for pleasure.

NEXT: Summary - Review

Gasoline Rationing . . Are You Kidding?