What Europe Can Teach Us About Gas

Dense, connected Berlin, not car-centric Atlanta, is better model
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2008 2:04 PM CDT
An unfinished development at a master planned community in suburban Las Vegas is pictured Wednesday, March 12, 2008.    (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
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(Newser) – Gas costs more than $8 a gallon in Germany—a sum that might cause riots in the US but hardly ruffles most Europeans. Their secret is simple, Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times: They drive fuel-efficient cars, and they don’t drive very often. America can easily imitate the first part, but the second part will be tough.

The problem is that many Americans are literally “stranded in suburbia,” Krugman observes. Europeans drive less because they live in more concentrated communities with better public transportation. It will be hard to get sprawled-out suburbia into such a mold, but unless gas prices come down, America will have to change “soon, and for the rest of our lives.”