Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A bout of bad gas

Plug-in Hybrid Electric VehicleAs I was coming home from picking my daughter up from school yesterday, I noticed that regular unleaded gas is creeping up towards $2.00 a gallon again. On one hand, this is good, because increased gas prices forces consumers to think about not only their driving habits, but also their car choices. Smaller cars and better fuel efficiency is better for our environment.

Increasing gas prices also will hopefully smack the car manufacturers getting bailed out into rethinking their horrid choices in "fuel economy" vehicles. I think it's laughable that any car manufacturer can state that their hybrid behemoth, that gets 30 mpg, is "fuel efficient". Hell, my Honda Civic gets better mileage than that, costs $22,000 less and it ain't even a hybrid.

On the other hand, increasing gas prices puts pressure on the pocketbooks of many Americans that are hurting from the flailing economy, many of whom don't have many options with alternative forms of transportation. Of course, farmers are hurt tremendously as well, particularly those who are dependent on petroleum-based fertilizers, but even organic farmers are hard hit as their farm equipment depends on petroleum fuel.

So, should we be rooting for higher gas prices or crying over it? I honestly don't know. The whole issue is a double-edged sword. Either way, we lose something. It would, of course, be ideal for gas prices to be low and have people still choose the most fuel-efficient car or opt for public transportation and/or walking or biking instead of private vehicles.

It also would, of course, be nice if last summer's gas price inflation had struck enough fear into the hearts of consumers that their future choice in vehicles primarily revolved around how many miles per gallon they got instead of how prestigious/cool/big it is.

As an aside, the other day at work I got a chance to fondle one of our fleet hybrid vehicles that was converted to a plug-in electric. It's a Toyota Prius that is now sporting a standard plug on its bumper (see above photo), a set of batteries in the trunk and 100 mpg. Swoooon!

Anyway, what about you? Do you have mixed feelings about gas prices or are you happy about them being low?

Related posts:
Life without oil: Part 1
Who Killed the Electric Car: movie review
Fuel cell: Fool sell

Related books:
Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that will Recharge America
Build Your Own Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle
Build Your Own Electric Vehicle


Eliane said...

Our petrol prices are low right now. For us that is. 2 dollars a gallon is still to me here in Britain, unbelievably low. We are currently paying the equivalent of nearly 5 dollars per gallon and that is cheap. Earlier on this year it was at least 50% higher. I know everything is relative. Our economy is different, as are the distances we have to travel and our cars (to some extent). And our freight industry has big problems competing with European carriers because of high British fuel duties/taxes. But until we all get used to paying more, will our behaviour change? High prices/taxes for fuel is pushing some companies to consider rail and even canal transport for their goods. Should we expect/ask our governments to load "bad" fuels with tax to push us towards the "good" ones? In London, if you drive an electric car you don't have to pay the congestion charge to enter the centre of the city. Or is that just to European democratic socialist for you in the States?

knittinandnoodlin said...

I recently moved within walking distance of public transportation in part to eliminate my 70-mile round-trip commute. Using a tank of gas every two weeks (instead of twice a week) or so has been a joy...and a much-appreciated financial savings!

I love the idea of a gas "tax" that funds cleaner fuel technology and public transportation initiatives...prices would be artificially inflated enough that people would have to think carefully about their driving habits and development.

We're getting whacked from all sides - in a perfect world industrial farming would see the error of its ways and change over to organic practices, companies that manufacture petrochemical fertilizers (and the seeds that require them to grow) would have to find another line of work, and people would finally start to permanently change their eating/commuting/consuming habits. All at the same time.

Willo said...

I am becoming fonder and fonder of a gas tax. This way people would know how much gas is, period. They could budget for it and expect it to be high, therefore realizing that they don't need a huge vehicle, or maybe even a vehicle at all in some cases. And like knitinandnoodlin mentioned, the money from the tax could go towards things we need anyway, like road maintenance, etc...

I do think that even though gas prices went down, a page has turned in most American's heads and they are beginning to realize that it could go up just as quickly and they need to plan their car purchases accordingly. And I think if there were more energy efficient alternatives out there, people might very well take them. It is becoming less taboo.

Anonymous said...

Okay,here goes. I drive a 2002 Dodge Caravan. I have 4 kids, 2 were in carseats when we purchased the vehicle. Sometimes it gets 22mpg but mostly 19mpg.
I will only buy American made and American owned vehicles. (We try very hard to only buy with countries that we a a good forgion trade policy with)
I only used one tank of gas per week and we live 13 miles from a town where we can shop/ymca etc. and we homeschool. So EVERY thing I do has to be well thought out and planned.
I resent the fact that people complain about what everyone drives. Yeah, were Americans not so smart with their vehicle choices? Definatly. But now we are stuck because of payments or as in my case a Honda civic or an accord won't fit my family. Nor do I like them. Certain people are lining their pockets with our money because of gas prices. They should be stopped and could be stopped but its a trickle effect and we the people suffer.
No I don't think there should be a bailout for automakers. I think the union should be held partly responcible for this mess. Too many people getting paid too much money that aren't worth it. They complain but are making a steady income with health insurance, retirment, 401k, sick days, personal days. Still they complain, it's not good enough. They want more.
So yes I want gas prices to go down but I don't want people to drive more. Where we live if you buy a hybrid you get taxed because you bought it. Someone always had to line their pockets.

Anonymous said...

I live in the countryside, and though I myself live only 3 miles from work, and my husband works halfway between, there is no way to go shopping or work for most people without driving further distances. The road I live on is not safe for bicycling, winding with no shoulders and traffic at 50mph and above. Obviously not everyone can use mass transport in America, there are just too many places that do not have it and that are too rural to make it feasible. So I feel that minivans and SUVs have their place. That said, I also feel that there are way too many huge SUVs on the road where I live, and I know that most people I know who have them do not need them, either for safety or space. That bothers me.

I do feel that it is ridiculous the way gas prices are going up and down. The low prices seem as unreasonable as the high ones did. I think it should be regulated better in the future, while companies are required to build more efficient cars and alternative vehicles. But for those of you who are talking about taxes, I would like to point out that the bulk of oil prices are taxes, at least in many states (including my own).

What it all comes down to, in the end, is the willingness and openness of citizens to allow change, and to look for ways to be positive as they enact this change, rather than being critical and focusing on what they see around them that they don't like. I think if we can all do that, the world will change rather quickly.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

This is such a tough question. We drive a Prius and although we generally love it, it is TERRIBLE in the snow. That's a big consideration living here in New England. Plus, our wonderful gas mileage goes from 52+ MPG in the summer to 38 MPG in the winter. That's a huge difference and something often glossed over by chest-thumping hybrid owners.

Although I cringed when I saw gas go to $4 a gallon, I did feel some relief that it was forcing a lot of people with gas guzzlers off the road. As Crunchy points out, however, it is far more complicated than that.

There is a huge downside to the price of high gas though and that is in places like Vermont, the working rural poor (which is a vast majority of the 'native' population there) are literally unable to get to work. There's no public transportation. The terrible winter weather combined with the fact that many residents are tradespeople who require a pick-up truck make it next to impossible to absorb such a high gas price. It's not the wealthy ski bums parading around town in their Escalades and Hummers that are really getting screwed.

jewishfarmer said...

The problem is that high gas prices due to volatile market elements doesn't really help anyone - consistent high gas prices, perhaps due to a gas tax that was used progressively (ie, that returned wealth not to the highways system but to public infrastructure that serves everyone, particularly low income households) might actually help.


Carmen said...

I think high gas prices are a good thing. It would just be good if they weren't jumping around so much. Look at how creative the world got when the prices went high. Drive less places, carpool, mass transit usage went through the roof. Consistently higher gas taxes could really change people's behavior.

I'd like to see some kind of a variable gas tax. Is it possible to tax gas that excludes transportation of food and mas transit? Could the gas tax be adjusted as oil prices increase to alleviate some of the variability?

I don't know the answers to the tough questions. But, I think we've seen a window into the price threshold that actually makes people change their behavior.

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

I am happy to pay higher gas prices when I think that higher prices help reduce pollution, carbon emissions, and even the deaths and suffering from car accidents (statistically reduced when people drive less).

Gas prices would still be cheap at $5 or $6 - considering the incredible amount of energy that comes out of a gallon of gas. How much would you have to pay someone to push a family of four with their luggage in a car for 25 miles? We are just used to it and take it for granted.

I would like to see a gas tax, preferably offset by a tax decrease somewhere else that would benefit the poor.

Unknown said...

I just got rid of my Dodge minivan. I was so hard to find something fuel efficient that could hold 2 booster seats and a car seat. We ended up with a Mazda 5. It is quite a bit smaller than my old van, everyone fits, and the 3rd row split folds giving me room for groceries and what not. I'm averaging 25 mph, which is better than the 19-20 my old van got, but it isn't great. I have noticed that I am buying less gas though.

I just found it so frustrating when looking for a new car to have so little options if you have more than 2 kids. I was willing to sacrifice some space for better fuel economy. The hybrid options were awful. There are no diesel options. I'm hoping that there are many more options the next time we buy a car.

Anonymous said...

Don't know the specifics, but I doubt it is very green to create those massive batteries that need replacing/recycling in your electric dream-mobile. :P

Kristi said...

This just fries me. Gee, whatever did we do before SUVs? My family took two-week-long vacations, two kids, two cats, and all the accoutrements in a Chevy Impala. We currently do weeklong camping vacations (two kids) in our Camry. We get 33 mpg on the highway, and it's not even a hybrid. SUVs are completely unnecessary and should be outlawed!!!

Anonymous said...

I also assume higher prices make extracting oil in more places and more sensitive places profitable. So I hope for higher prices so we conserve gas and but at the same time I would love to see us extract less.
Irrational hope against hope.....

As usual the only sustainable solution lies in less. Less driving, less gas, less consumption, less kids, less cars, less desires.

Anonymous said...

We looked at buying a Hybrid this last summer when we gave my car to my husband's ex. You couldn't get one. You went onto a waiting list for 3-6 months unless you paid a premium. Well the price of the hybrid was already at the top of our budget without the premium and we needed the car now - not 6 months from now.

We looked at all kinds of cars that were 30MPG or above but couldn't agree on any of them. Either I didn't like them or he didn't like them. We finally settled on a VW Beetle which was rated at 29MPG. Maybe not the best mileage but you do the best you can within your constraints.

Our other vehicle is a small SUV that gets 24MPG (Jeep Patriot). We use this to haul around the kids and his tools for work. For the type of vehicle that it is, we figure we get pretty good gas mileage.

Obviously... we hope for low gas prices. Our driving habits don't change regardless of price of gas. We have to drive to work and we have to pick up the kids. Groceries is bought immediately after work in the same shopping mall that I work in. Almost all my errands are run too and from work and can be found just off my normal path home. I do try to be as fuel efficient as possible.

Anonymous said...

The people who are going to be hurt the most are those who can least afford it. In my area, there is NO public transportation. There is a corner market, but the nearest grocery store is 35 miles away. Even in Phoenix, the bus service is terrible, and has short hours. The light rail is a joke, we call it the homeless person express -- those are the only people it will help, and maybe ASU students. They didn't run it where it needed to go -- any of the outlands, and there are no immediate plans to do so thanks to the tanking economy.

I agree we need a new gas tax, but with the coming volatility in prices, which we've had a taste of already, the amount proposed is excessive and counterproductive.

Since the Treasury seems to be so good at producing money out of thin air, and Obama wants a New Deal style work program, perhaps the Treasury should create some money for enhancing public transport nationwide--railway, bus, light rail, etc.--and invest in sustainable farming practices that involve human labor and skill, not giant farm machines. That in the long run would do more for both fixing infrastructure, and increasing homeland security via food security, than anything else I can think of.

However, since it makes sense, and doesn't put money in someone's pocketbook at taxpayer expense, I doubt it will happen.

Yes, I know, I'm cynical.

LadyCiani said...

In California, our state is almost bankrupt. State employees are going to be forced to take 2 days off work unpaid, which they are calling a furlough. Hello, with a 4 week month, 5 days a week, that would normally be 20 days of work per month. Except a 2 day work furlough means they're losing 10% of their income, meaning they have less money coming in to spend on things like food, shelter, utilities, not to mention luxuries.

Gas prices are higher here than most other places in the US, because in the summer we're forced to use a "summer blend" which supposedly lowers emissions, but costs more and costs gas stations more because it's illegal to mix the two blends - they have to have separate tanks, which each require upkeep and every so often have to be dug up and replaced so they don't leech into the ground water.

So this "summer blend" raises gas prices even more, yet the blends have never been shown to be effective in reducing emissions.

Add gas taxes onto this, and when everyone was talking about $4 gas in 2008, we were looking at more like $4.85, or higher if you wanted premium.

In theory the higher prices mean we have more gas tax money coming into the state. Where does this gas tax money go? It's supposed to fund highway improvements (which would put more people to work, thus bettering our economy), except the state government keeps raiding the fund to cover shortfalls elsewhere in the budget.

The result is an aging infrastructure, and the idea to save money by furloughing state workers (who are also looking at not getting paychecks, but IOUs instead - you can't spend an IOU).

If the "solution" to fixing the economy is to have consumers spend money, tell me what money we're supposed to spend? Our state workers are given a 10% cut in pay, IOUs for paychecks (and everyone is looking at IOUs for state tax refunds), our unemployment fund is drying up, and the money they're taking in on gas taxes is instead going to cover shortages in the budget that go to repay debt - this scenario does not produce jobs that pay people actual cash money.

If there's no money coming in to the households, and a lot of money going out to gas taxes, how are we supposed to turn around the economy, so we can spend on things like green improvements in our infrastructure?

It's a big mess here. Yet I would venture to say it's not the fault of the gas tax - which is still set at 1970 levels, and has not even increased enough to keep up with inflation. The gas tax is extremely low when you consider that. And the theory behind the gas tax is sound - that the money collected comes from people who use gas, and therefore put wear and tear on our roads and highways. This money should be collected, and it should go to pay for the infrastructure.

It's the execution of that plan for gas tax money which has fallen by the wayside. And for that, I blame our state leaders who act without an overseeing body that requires them to be accountable to their people, and does not require them to justify expenditures.

Segwyne said...

It would be very helpful if there were more options for folks who already have more children. My five children cannot fit in a compact car. Well, I suppose they could if there were no adults in it. :) But some folks truly aren't aware that having children impacts the environment (like me until 18 months ago). And some folks have chosen to adopt instead of having their own, but have adopted more than two. There is one family in my church with 5 or 6 kids, most of whom were adopted.

Instead of telling us to have less kids, etc., it would be more helpful to give us other options, since giving up the kids we already have is not one.

I could go on, but I don't know if it would really be constructive. :)

Kristijoy said...

I like seeing them high, it's good to get used to, the prices will continue to rise as gas gets more scarce. I do feel bad for folks how have to use a car because our cities and towns are built to be so car reliant. Hopefully we will see significant shifts in that in the near future.
Farmers farmed without petroleum for millenia, I have faith old methods can be readopted much the way organic farming has been embraced. I suggest looking into plow animals now, breeders will be making bank on them sometime soon.

I have already shifted to a car-free lifestyle. I am selling my car ( a pretty efficient little yellow bug) this spring win the weather gets nicer, because it's such a cute summer color...anyways, going car free too about 5 years for me to do, and I can't wait to get rid of that cash sink sitting in my drive. If we do get a car again because we get rural or somthing (though I'd prefer to continue to bike with electric assist for big hills, no power cords, you generate the electricity), it will be bio-fuel run, veg oil most like. No car is sustainable however so I prefer to not think I'll need one again except for the occasional rental.

Anonymous said...

basically I think the higher gas prices help curb alot of the nonsense driving out for most people. But for those already struggling with finaces it really hurts.

Living in the upper midwest we don't have much for public transportation. Whats there is limited and doesn't go far enough. Hoousing is awful in our area so many folks (like my family ) wouldn't move into town even if we got the house for free. We have loads of crime in areas that we could afford to buy in. So for us we would rather pay for the gas than worry all the time about the crime but have public transportation.

Our DD's 16 year old car gets better mileage than our small SUV. About 24 on the highway and 22 in town. She has to drive to her classes at local Community yellow school bus or public transportation. But she can carpool with an couple instructors on at least 2 days so she can keep her car off the road. The high gas prices are pretty tough on the kids who need to drive. thankfully though she learned real quick that it really hurts the finances to do all the silly nonsense running around.

Around our state the talk of gas tax has been around a long time. It would supposeidly go to repair roads and increasing public transportation..but where it really would stay is right in the metro areas-where there is public transportation(bad as it may be its still there)

It's a tough route either way

Anonymous said...

Carsick, You stated you have definite needs regarding space capacity, a desire to buy American made, and the concern that someone's pockets will get lined no matter what.

I hear you and can relate to where you are coming from. It is good that you posted here even if some others may not agree with you. There are ideas out there that can help you become a little more green while taking into account your other concerns.

First, look at this link to help you manage your budget and economic needs. In it, Trent specifically discusses the cost factors for seating requirements, although his family is not as big as yours, he was choosing to move from smaller seating because of a planned increase in their family size.

Second, consider a Saturn. I am often astonished that people forget this is an American company, and they have several all wheel drive vehicles with better mileage than many of the common SUV's described as "necessary" by people who drive in inclement weather. Several of their minivans have AWD, which can meet your need for better fuel efficiency and large capacity seating.

Third, yes, we as consumers are always getting fleeced. It's a fact of life. What you have to decide is what your priorities are and how to best negotiate the fleecing. For example, if you would rather not be taxed by getting a hybrid, no problem when there are other cars that meet your higher priorities of space and American manufacturing. It is possible to balance these things.

Anonymous said...

I also wanted to link to this article that says that now that gas is under $2 people are going back to buying SUV's and Hummer's.

Here is the line that scared me, "Consumers have a short memory span for fuel prices."

Unknown said...

it's hard for us - as much as we'd like to keep the miles low, my husband is a classical musician and has to travel for a lot of his work. even when he's just working downtown, he's often lugging gear, music, a tux, etc. and since i'm unemployed, low gas prices seemed like a temporary blessing.

then again, low prices made me much more likely to run errands in the car rather than by public transportation, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the whole "consumers have short memories" line a bunch - but business planners, shipping lines, school boards, and other groups that account for most of our gasoline useage do not have that kind of short term memory. You know the spike last year is changing plans in those quarters, even if you can't see it yet - unfortunately it reduced the capital they have to put the plans into action.

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

My grandmother and grandfather never learned to drive. They had EIGHT kids, lived in Jersey City, and went everywhere walking or on public transport.

I find that kind of inspiring. I wish we had that kind of public transport in more places. I think it would be worth a gas tax if it would go towards funding public transport (sensible, low-cost but comfortable systems like the ones found in Curitiba and Brazil).

Greenpa said...

Ok; I'm gonna pull a "Sharon". I'm supposed to be writing something; due yesterday. And I'm procrastinating...

One real possibility; we could, like, pass LAWS that prohibit the production of cars with huge motors. Do you NEED 300 horsepower? Not on this planet. You don't actually NEED more than about 35.

Regulating personal choices is something the old Amuricans claimed was unamurican. But you know what? We already do it/did it; where cars are concerned.

We made it illegal to have a specific gas-saving device on cars. Why? So you'd have to buy more gas, of course, though they pretended it was a safety concern.

First car I ever owned was a 2-cycle Saab. It had a "freewheeling" device on it, as all Swedish made Saabs did, at the time. And - many American cars did, too; until they were outlawed.

My Saab could easily get 35 mpg, in 1960. In fact, once I got over 60 mpg. The freewheeling device basically automatically puts the car in neutral, if the engine isn't pulling; like when you're going downhill, or coasting up to a stop sign.

They were banned because the gas companies didn't like cars getting such good mileage; they claimed it was because the device could be dangerous. Right. I remember tons of stories about cars out of control because of the freewheeling thing- huge problem- (never happened).

We COULD make it illegal to build new gas guzzlers; and allow modern freewheeling devices again... but no. We'd rather fight about gas taxes, prices, and who's holier.


Anonymous said...


I'm split about gas prices as well. I like the low prices for running the farm, but I'm noticing my neighbors driving their SUVs again when the prices are low. GRRR.

I'm afraid that it's endemic of the system. People don't realize that the worst is not over yet. They think that the stock markets are going to get better now. They won't we're in the eye of the storm.

Also in reply to your green confessions...

My confessions are legion right now because I've been sick for so long. Sigh!
Maybe I'll post them on the Little Blog! ;-)

For bread baking. Have you tried the no knead stuff?

GreenPa and I started making it last year due to my shoulder being damaged in an Amish almost-hit-and-run...
We love it and it's really, really, really easy to make. I've been doing about 5 loaves a week!

Greenpa said...

"The freewheeling device basically automatically puts the car in neutral, if the engine isn't pulling;"

oh, yeah; forgot- as soon as you step on the accelerator, it's back in gear again; easy to control.

Kristi said...

JAM, we've been camping with our Camry for five years now. My husband is 6'1, I'm 5'10", my pre-teen boys are 5'7" and 5'3". We are not small. As they get bigger, we pack less. Remember, this is CAMPING. Two coolers full of what? Egads, we pack one small one, and it's only half full. Sounds like you pack too much STUFF. "Stuff for hiking?" You're already wearing boots, someone's daypack gets used for the ten essentials and all the jackets. What more "stuff" do you need?

My point was not that a 1970 Impala was a great fuel-efficient vehicle, but that people don't need all the room most people think they do. Travel light. Only take what you can carry yourself in one trip. Much less hassle, much less mess to deal with, much more time to have fun, much smaller car.

I can't believe what people show up with when we go to campgrounds. Reminds me of the 1800s upper class idea of a picnic. Cloth tent, wooden chairs, crystal, silver, china, gloved servants?

I feel for people with large families, but they are the exception to the rule. Except for the two weeks that we get to go on vacation, what other need is there for so much space?

BTW, my mother's 1980 station wagon still gets 35 mpg.

Anonymous said...

I just keep in mind that the new "low" prices were ones that had us all gasping 2 years ago. All things are relative....

BTW, because I just can't leave this one alone (and I apologize for it!): Toyota does a LOT of their manufacturing in this country. That's right -- American workers building "foreign" cars. Which means that a lot of the price of that car stays right here in the USA, feeding local workers. And the American companies end up importing a LOT of their materials. Stuff to think about.

Anonymous said...

Heh, Crunchy is dragging the Luddites out of the woodwork again.

I don't expect gas prices to stay low, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

If I could have what I really want, I'd have a Vespa. That's not very practical with small children to also transport, so we're sticking with our minivan for at least the next few years.

Greenpa said...

One of the realities we face (I'm done with my writing, not procrastinating any more!) - is that the old dynamic between gas prices and gas guzzlers is now permanently changed.

Gas prices don't have to go back up, for drivers to HAVE to conserve gas. Nobody has any money, anymore, have you noticed?

When the Exxon Raiders just blew up their corporate profits to record levels, over 2006,7, and 8; they drained all our savings- remember? We had to dip into our reserves in order to drive to work.

Nobody has any savings left, now. Ergo all the foreclosures. That's really not going to change in the next several years.

I don't care how cheap you make the gas- I've got no money to buy it with. So. I need to squeeze every mile I can out of every gallon; and a big fat SUV is not anywhere in my future- no matter how much they pay me to take one.

Laura said...

My partner and I are pretty much in agreement on this one, high gas prices are a-ok with us, they are even welcome.
If anyone were really paying the true price for gas, with all the environmental and humanitarian factors accounted for, all the money in the world wouldn't buy a one gallon.

We bus/walk/carpool/carshare-Zipcar in that order. Neither of us owns a (working) car (bf has a used car he is going to sell).

People often talk about the social injustice of the effect of high gas prices on low-income folks. Is it any more socially just to have to live in the suburbs, own a car and drive everywhere? I say no. Our whole system of transportation of goods and people has to change and slow down. It's not going to be perfectly pretty, neat, tidy and infinitely fair.

Calling all loud and proud Luddites! :) I still can't get on board with costly, technology intensive, gotta-buy-the-new-hybrid solutions. When you look at the overall picture it just doesn't make sense!

Lastly: Wasn't biofuel originally dreamed up for farmers? They grow the crop, cook up some biofuel and pour it into their diesel engine farm equipment. Handy!

Sharlene said...

Considering higher fuel prices just put more money in the pockets of big oil, I am never a fan. The last thing they need is to take more money from a suffering American economy

Erika said...

Personally, I hope prices stay reasonable because my husband and I, however much we may want more economical vehicles, are in no situation to make a change. I could deal with 2.25ish - make folks think, but still not completely bar those who might struggle with more.

It's certainly a double edged sword... neither of my reasonings seem to hold water.



Kim said...

Gas never got below $2.30 here in (urban) Alaska...and it's now creeping back up toward $2.50 (much higher in rural Alaska, though I haven't checked the prices much.)

I feel mostly unaffected by it though since an affiliation with the university lets me ride our really crappy bus for free. (It takes me an hour and fifteen minutes and two buses to get to my office, which is about 3 miles away-- I would walk or ride my bike, but it's winter in Alaska people!) Anyway, I digress...

We do still pay for gas, but BF only works a mile away so most of our driving is limited to the weekend...

Ashley said...

It's back at $2.09 at the gas station I use to work at.

I picked up on things like how the loudest complainers were always the people with Hummers and large trucks who would drive three blocks just to get a fountain soda... It irked me a bit.

Then again, I rode a bike to my job at the gas station...

I think I'm ok right now about the price, if only because we've made a lot of changes that reduces our road time significantly.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I just have to post one more time.
I'm not saying that our next vehicle won't be more fuel efficiant. Right now, our vehicle is paid for and to go out and buy something that gets better gas milage and end up with a large car payment isn't the answer.
I am glad that gas has risen, it has made people stop and think. I just don't want it to rise anymore.
I'm very happy I found this site. It's food for thought. Thanks

Lee said...

That's off, because our petrol prices are on the way down here in New Zealand.

We're currently paying NZ$1.23 a litre. I think that works out to NZ$4.55 a gallon.

With the current exchange rate, that works out to...US $2.52 a gallon if I've done my maths right.

The highest petrol ever reached last year was NZ$2.18 a litre, which is US$ 4.47 a gallon (if I've done my maths right).

I think there must be a lot of families hurting when petrol prices go up.

Here in NZ almost everyone buys Japanese cars which are very fuel-efficient, but the fuel price hikes last year still really hurt families a lot.

Anonymous said...

Spice, could you share the no-knead bread info? Email me without the spam part. Thanks!

TDP said...

I am not a fan of gas prices rising as they did last summer, but having them so low also has limited the amount of money taken in from taxes that are supposed to keep up the transportation infrastructure.
There needs to be a way to stablize the prices so we can all be sure of how much to budget and how much road work can be done each year without having our states go in the red.

If we look at the cities in the US that have great public transportation, light rail/subways, etc. they are the cities that were built before the invention of the automobile. Since the arrival of the auto, every city built has been built with the car in mind.
It will take a conserted effort in every city to plan the future development with mass transit in mind. No more ex-urbs, acre lots for each household, sidewalkless streets, etc.

The Phoenix metropolitan area encompasses 512 square miles. And it keeps growing.
There is no mass transit system in the world that can cover all that area, and serve over 3,000,000 people to satisfy the particular needs of each person. Urban planning, and controlled growth are needed in cities across the US and needs to be a player in the quest for solutions about peak oil, and sustainablity.

Gretchen said...

Hey Crunch, just a couple of questions:
Is that Honda Civic the car that replaced the one you wrecked in your auto accident late in 2008? And I would've thought you'd end up buying a hybrid. Why didn't you?

Also, what is your opinion on the tax that will be charged to farmers for each head of cattle they own, with environmental peeps claiming that "cow farts" add to global warming? If you think I'm kidding, I'm not. Google it. (personally I think it's CRAP - pun intended - but I'm interested to hear your thoughts.) I think at some point we all have to draw the line and say, "Okay, yes this is not an ideal situation, but the alternative is worse. So, we'll live with it." Cow fart tax will lead to higher priced dairy products, passed on to the consumers. Next thing you know, Dairy Farmers will need a bailout too.

Anonymous said...


Your link's not working. I'll be happy to give anyone who wants it a recipe for no-knead bread.

Anonymous said...

Young Snowbird, where do you live?

In Minnesota, the gas tax is not a percentage, it's a per-gallon charge. So the state has funding issues for the things the gas tax specifically funds (roads & some other stuff) when the price goes *up*, because people buy fewer gallons.

When I found that out last summer I was really surprised. Why should every other sales tax be a percentage and the gas tax be a flat fee? That seems like it favors the gas retailers, who don't pay more taxes when gas prices rise.

I'm not completely against extra profits for the really big gas companies, if it goes with reducing greenhouse gases - they're not stupid, they see the writing on the wall. Some of the biggest players in alternative energy are oil & electric companies - they are in the energy market already and they have the capital. I'd rather it was done with public spending instead of in corporate interest, but the public's not spending much.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Texan Mama - Our 2000 Honda Civic HX is the same one that was in the wreck in November. The insurance company decided to spackle and tape it back together again rather than total it.

I was happy since it has less than 30,000 miles on it.

TDP said...


Thanks for that clarification. I (used to know that gas tax was a flat tax, not percentage), heh, that shows how important it is for me not to do any public writing when I am in a deep brain fog!

Ruchi over at Arduous just linked to a great mass transit system implemeted in Bogota, Columbia (a city of 7 million people). Awesome example of what can be done to make a city more liveable, safer and democratic. I recommend taking a look at the video.

nemo said...

Gas should be priced at no less than $5 per gallon. I actually think $10 would be better. It is not going to kill anyone and it will force people to conserve and change their ways.

Unfortunately, those wimpy politicians don't have the guts to do something sensible for the environment. Higher prices are the only proven way to force people to conserve energy.

Gretchen said...

Hey crunch.
Glad to hear the car could be fixed up. Usually when a car gets "totalled out" you don't get nearly what it's worth in value or in what it will cost to replace it.

And, hope that question didn't sound snarky. I was thinking you'd get a hybrid replacement - and just was wondering what your thoughts were, if you had a reason not to get one I'd have liked to hear it because I know you don't do those type of decisions lightly. So, okay. That's cleared up. Thanks.

And you never commented on the cow fart tax. I'm serious. It's not a joke. What do you think about it? Enquiring minds want to know.