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Gas Prices Changing Anything?


Jordan_E
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Just heard on the news that gas prices went up another .06 from last week.

 

We're starting to rethink our shopping plans, driving to the mall, etc. And I think we're just on the cusp of bad times with summer around the corner and the usual higher gas prices that brings.

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Yes, I despise gas prices and having to buy it. I avoid driving as much as possible. I think my next car will have to be a hybrid or something that doesnt use as much gas.

 

I think the most shocking part of the whole thing was I was watching a documentary from around 2003 and they drove past a gas station in my area with prices in the $1.xx range!! It's unbelievable how high the prices have gone in just the last 5 years.

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I started doing a lot more shopping online in the past few years. All things equal, I preferred getting something in person rather than waiting for it to show up in the mail, even if it meant I was paying a little in gas money and taxes.

 

Now I prefer to order online, and wait for the cheapy shipping.

 

I do a lot more shopping at the "local" rural stores - a few dollar stores about 7 miles away, and the corner gas station/grocery store about 3 miles away.

 

A drive into town for formula though (Target brand) for the baby is a 22+ mile roundtrip for me which means about a gallon of premium gas in my supercharged Grand Prix. Around here lately that's $3.60 or so. So I make sure to grab it on the way home from class or work at night if I can. Because it sucks to spend $4 just to run into town.

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Meh. My wife and I already live fairly central in the middle of Austin so we have minimal driving to get to our work/school commitments and the store and such. We are pretty good about not making frivolous trips around town as well.

 

Not like some of the poor bastards I work with that drive 30+ miles each way. I have never understood why people will live that far out just so they can afford more house that they don't really need.

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Not like some of the poor bastards I work with that drive 30+ miles each way. I have never understood why people will live that far out just so they can afford more house that they don't really need.

 

Well, both my wife and I are about 56 km from work, but in opposite directions. We both like our jobs, so we just bought a house half way between. Yeah, the commute sucks, but if that's what the work situation is, then that's what you deal with.

 

Gas is hovering around 1.07/L though, which is still below the 1.29 I saw last year. They're saying we could see 1.50 this summer though, which will really impact things. I know I've tried to find more reasons to work from home, since not going to work saves me something like 10 bucks in gas, so being able to telecommute is a lot cheaper. Besides, I find I get more done at home anyway :) When work is your major driving expense though, there's not a whole lot more you can do that doesn't involve changing jobs. Public transit is completely inappropriate in a lot of cases.

 

As bad as it is over here though, I feel bad for the people in the UK. What is it-something like 4 bucks a litre over there?

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I carpool to work. I drive about 10 miles in my beater of a saturn, picking up one dude on the way. Then another dude drives and we each pay him $30/month.

 

Next quarter, my job is supposed to move downtown and I'll definitely be riding the bus. I can't wait for Shure E2C induced solitude all the way to work and back.

 

Check out http://www.nuride.com It's a pretty cool solution for helping you find carpoolers, and you earn reward points per ride that you cash in for stuff. It's only available in a few areas now, but forward it to your employer's HR dept to see if they'll look into joining up.

 

 

For pleasure cruising, I just closed on a new Saturn Outlook. While it's an SUV, it still gets reasonably decent 16/24 mpg. We're supposed to pick it up today.

 

 

Carlos.

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This isn't intended to be political, but if it is deemed so for the mods then it is deemed so.

 

Gas really hasn't risen all that much in price, actually the dollar has fallen so much in value whereas our (real) wages have not risen to compensate. You might prefer to call this inflation, with commodities that have inflexible prices (oil, metals, gas) rising in price because of a weak dollar.

 

Oil was $65 a barrel and 60 Euros a barrel a few years ago. Today? $105/brl vs. 65-70 euros/brl. So you'll note that the price of oil in euros is virtually the same, but the price in dollars has almost doubled. What this tells us is that it takes the same amount of euros to buy oil, but it takes a lot more dollars. Consequently, the dollar to euro ratio is around 1.55:1.00, or one euro is worth 50% more than one dollar.

 

So you see, this gas price "hike" has nothing to do with supply problems, but everything to do with dollar problems. Typically dollar gluts can be caused by two main issues: relaxing (lowering) the FED interest rates, and deficit spending by the federal govt. To keep this from being political, I won't comment on those two issues, but if you follow the news you know what's been going on there.

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I listen to newsradio all day long, but I think I simply tune out various items.

 

Now, my wife's sister takes a day trip to Canada (from south of Seattle) just for the hell of it, and yet she also whines about her bills all the time. Argh. I wouldn't care, except I have to hear about it every other day. And I'm cutting back on my 10 mile trip to the mall to save a few bucks here and there.

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I am 6 miles from downtown San Antonio (where I work) so this really is not affecting me too too much (I usually fill once per week-and-a-half with my 2005 Ford Explorer).

 

I wouldn't mind some more government subsidization of corn ethanol production as my suv can run on that too. It is available here at H-E-B supermarkets for generally 50c less than petrol, but because it is less efficient mpg-wise I still fill with gasoline. (12mg w/ ethanol city vs. 18-20 with gasoline for me)

 

Highly recommend Ford if you travel long distances with gasoline though... I can get about 26-28mpg on the highway during long distances (most recently between Orlando and San Antonio when I moved... about 1000 miles and I only had to fill up twice). Being a Toyota fanatic for many years it sort of impressed me.

 

Another manager I work with that lives 30 miles out of the city (which is waaay out in BFE if you know how Texas is outside of the big cities) is certainly singing the gas crisis woes though.

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This isn't intended to be political, but if it is deemed so for the mods then it is deemed so.

 

Gas really hasn't risen all that much in price, actually the dollar has fallen so much in value whereas our (real) wages have not risen to compensate. You might prefer to call this inflation, with commodities that have inflexible prices (oil, metals, gas) rising in price because of a weak dollar.

 

Oil was $65 a barrel and 60 Euros a barrel a few years ago. Today? $105/brl vs. 65-70 euros/brl. So you'll note that the price of oil in euros is virtually the same, but the price in dollars has almost doubled. What this tells us is that it takes the same amount of euros to buy oil, but it takes a lot more dollars. Consequently, the dollar to euro ratio is around 1.55:1.00, or one euro is worth 50% more than one dollar.

 

So you see, this gas price "hike" has nothing to do with supply problems, but everything to do with dollar problems. Typically dollar gluts can be caused by two main issues: relaxing (lowering) the FED interest rates, and deficit spending by the federal govt. To keep this from being political, I won't comment on those two issues, but if you follow the news you know what's been going on there.

 

I think this is important to keep in mind. The dollar has been sliding for a while now and it doesn't seem to be bottoming out yet.

 

But, there is the curiosity of more than one oil company (I don't remember which ones right now) recording record profits in 2007. I'm no economist, so I'm not sure how the dollar factors into that, but it would appear that it's not all about the value of the dollar.

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I moved within 3 miles of my office last fall, which has really helped my fuel bills. Fortunately for me, all the grocery stores and whatnot that I shop at are within a mile of my office as well, so my change has been to go shopping after work instead of on weekends, and to walk when I can. I was hoping to start riding the bus/walking when the weather got better but the bus system around here (east of Seattle) canceled the route that ran from where I live to my office, but I'm hoping they add it back soon.

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I'd like to see a thread about GREEN power here. People putting treadmills, solar panels, and other power saving features on their property to help bring down their electric bills, gas bills, etc... hybrid cars. I'm not a save the planet guy, I'm a cheap ass frugal guy.

 

If you wanna have an interesting discussion about this stuff, I'd like to hear about what's going on with alternative energies in our country in response to this issue. I just listed to an NPR podcast which talked about huge solar farms in our deserts that could be competitive with natural gas soon. What's happening with cars? What's happening with alternative energies? I'm really interested in that stuff, but people just continue to complain about gas prices but not talk about alternatives, viable alternatives. When is there going to be a movement toward alternative energy sources in our country? Again, I'm just being a cheapy here,

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When is there going to be a movement toward alternative energy sources in our country?

 

When the cost of installing alternative energy sources isn't so expensive. Right now the price of installation vs savings means the break even point is too far in the future to make it worthwhile for most people.

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I get so pissed off when I see hydrogen-powered cars in auto shows ... because there's the solution right there and our country could make it happen by merely a month of 'redirecting' their deficit spending, to sound as politically sterile as possible.

 

I'm going to laugh when we start running out of fresh water though and bottles of water start going up in price.

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I wouldn't mind some more government subsidization of corn ethanol production as my suv can run on that too. It is available here at H-E-B supermarkets for generally 50c less than petrol, but because it is less efficient mpg-wise I still fill with gasoline. (12mg w/ ethanol city vs. 18-20 with gasoline for me)

I am of the opinion that biofuels are a HORRIBLE trend as are any additional subsidies for corn and soy (in fact, I would love to see those subsidies repealed). As more farmers are changing all of their land over to grow corn, it is driving the price of tons of other food way up. Not to mention that with the amount of fossil fuels and other resources needed to grow corn, they are awful when it comes to efficiency as a source of "renewable" energy. I highly recommend "The Omnivore's Dilemma" for a commentary on what decades of overproduction of corn (as encouraged by our government for the past 50 years) is doing to our country in so many ways. And far beyond just what you eat.

 

Well, both my wife and I are about 56 km from work, but in opposite directions. We both like our jobs, so we just bought a house half way between. Yeah, the commute sucks, but if that's what the work situation is, then that's what you deal with.

Well, that's pretty understandable. I was more referring to a lot of people in TX who keep suburban sprawling-out our large cities (Houston, Dallas, etc.) and living way out from work just so they can have some monstrosity to heat and cool (because society says they need a ginormous house). Then BOTH spouses are commuting into the city...in the same direction. So what do we get? Massive inefficiency in the form of lots of traffic, pollution, wasted gas, and a whole bunch of neighborhoods that look absolutely identical and utterly boring. Sorry, rant over.

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I get so pissed off when I see hydrogen-powered cars in auto shows

 

Hydrogen really is the answer, but there are two problems at the moment: technical and political ones. The technical issues really center around infrastructure-we can make hydrogen safe or useful (for long distances), but not both yet. The political issue revolves around nuclear power, and the fact that people are just now starting to realize that it's a good idea again.

 

Something that I never really thought of though until I heard David Scott mention it was why hydrogen isn't being used in more controlled environments (instead of standard passenger vehicles). We've been using liquid hydrogen for things like spacecraft for years now-why hasn't anyone adapted the technology for things like Commercial planes, Trains, and Ships? Rather than running these large engines on diesel or aircraft fuel, you could convert them to liquid hydrogen and save oil that way. It wouldn't involve the infrastructure change that offering hydrogen at any corner gas station would, and I'd think it'd be a fairly large impact on costs.

 

Of course, the third issue with hydrogen is financial, and that's where it ties back to Oil. The reason that places like Alberta are doing so well now is that it finally became viable to extract oil from the oilsands, which is going to cost significantly more than a traditional oil well. This is also why you're seeing more projects like the offshore drilling in Newfoundland, and the proposals for accessing arctic oil in both Canada and Alaska. I'm not really sure about the costs at the moment for Hydrogen, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's still cheaper to pay for oil than to produce mass quantities of hydrogen fuel.

 

Oil was $65 a barrel and 60 Euros a barrel a few years ago. Today? $105/brl vs. 65-70 euros/brl. So you'll note that the price of oil in euros is virtually the same, but the price in dollars has almost doubled. What this tells us is that it takes the same amount of euros to buy oil, but it takes a lot more dollars. Consequently, the dollar to euro ratio is around 1.55:1.00, or one euro is worth 50% more than one dollar.

 

Another good point. I'm pretty sure if you adjust for inflation, gas/oil are still slightly cheaper than they were in the 70s. That doesn't help much, but it does put things into perspective.

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Another good point. I'm pretty sure if you adjust for inflation, gas/oil are still slightly cheaper than they were in the 70s. That doesn't help much, but it does put things into perspective.

 

Actually, from what I heard, the price of gas has actually just topped inflation-adjusted 1970s oil. And we're not under artificial price controls which helped screw up the oil prices in the 70s.

 

NPR was talking about this the other day. They did point out that a very large portion of the oil prices rising was actually a result of the falling value of the dollar. Gas prices would be a lot less if it wasn't for the dollar fallout.

 

I think government should subsidize only to assist the long-term and short-term goal of reducing energy consumption. I don't really think that artificially dropping the price of another fuel (like ethanol) is really the solution.

 

Thus I think tax credits for solar panels and energy efficiency and things are a good idea - they promote people doing things that otherwise wouldn't break even for a few decades...and in the long run, that helps reduce our energy needs and reliance on imported oil, coal, etc. Ditto for hybrid vehicles. The break-even on a hybrid is more years than most people own vehicles for these days.

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I get so pissed off when I see hydrogen-powered cars in auto shows ... because there's the solution right there and our country could make it happen by merely a month of 'redirecting' their deficit spending, to sound as politically sterile as possible.

 

I don't know how much you have read about it Rob, but the problem there is that hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy carrier. Meaning you have to spend a certain amount of energy to get the hydrogen to separate from whatever it is attached to (usually oxygen in water) and that requires equal or more power than you get back burning the hydrogen! If we could suck hydrogen out of a gas giant in space that would be an energy source. Here on Earth it is a sucky solution.

 

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I would really like to have either: an electric car, or best would be an electric motorcycle. 100 mile limit is fine and then power it up overnight. This would be excellent as it would be zero emissions and it doesn't really care where the electricity comes from. Then we could concentrate on how to generate cleaner, better power from new sources or better power plants (without stressing over CAFE standards or the like.)

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