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Old 12-04-2007, 03:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Living with Expensive Gasoline

Today it's December 4th, 2007 and while this should be the time of year where gasoline prices are at their lowest, a litre of the stuff here in Winnipeg Canada sells for $1.069 ($4.06/gallon) at many locations.

Last summer in Regina, a city just 590 kilometres west from Winnipeg, gasoline reached a new record of $1.279 per litre ($4.86/gallon). One can only imagine what it will be like this summer.

With prices like these, driving any automobile, whether big or small is truly a luxury experience. Yet I still see SUVs roaming the streets and there appears to be even more vehicular traffic on the road, more than ever.

Do you believe that people will always maintain the commuting way of life, no matter how expensive it becomes? Why is living without an oil-consuming automobile become such a difficult experience for a modern city dweller?


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Old 12-04-2007, 08:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Why is living without an oil-consuming automobile become such a difficult experience for a modern city dweller?
A big reason is because of our "modern cities" (North American) are designed for vehicles, not people. The resulting scale is wrong for people who want to walk / bicycle.

Suburban sprawl... big box retail districts... urban planners typically make decisions that accomodate the car first, human beings second.

I live in a very small city, yet even here this is happening.

A real example: in the past few years, this city set up its "big box" district (*Mart, *Depot etc.). They demolished & rebuilt (widened, straightened) a highway overpass to get traffic into the "power center". In doing so, they neglected to rebuild the sidewalk (!) on the new bridge, so the only safe way to get to these stores was by car!

Some objection was made by local residents. The city retrofitted a sidewalk at great extra cost. A foolish mistake, and utterly symbolic of the problem.

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With prices like these, driving any automobile, whether big or small is truly a luxury experience. Yet I still see SUVs roaming the streets and there appears to be even more vehicular traffic on the road, more than ever.
Unfortunately, "luxury" is a relative term. There will still be people driving solo-occupant SUV's to work when gas is $3 a litre.
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think also that since the price slowly climbs people don't get the full affect. They just get used to paying a lot for gas. Remember the first time gas went to $1.90/g politicans were going to hold congressonal hearing. Until gas starts eating away at disposible income I'm afraid it will be the same old thing.

On a positive note my neighbors recently trading in there 2 SUV's for 2 KIA's one a 4 door the other a Min van. There goes one of my blind test vechiles. So I think the tide is turning it will just be a slow process.
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Good point L - it's the "toad in the pot of water" situation. Turn up the heat slowly and it'll just sit in the pot of water, acclimating...
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good point L - it's the "toad in the pot of water" situation. Turn up the heat slowly and it'll just sit in the pot of water, acclimating...
Add this to the equation. Consumption is up over last year even those it's more expensive.

If you look at the spikes consumption goes down but it's short lived.
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Old 12-04-2007, 04:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It's looking like the mentality of most North Americans is "We have to drive, no-matter what the cost". It could be quite fanatical to see people gripping onto their driving ways and living poorer because of it. I'm personally starting to believe that from now until the end of our lifetimes, gasoline will hit new record highs every summer.
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Old 12-04-2007, 11:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think gas and oil prices will start to level off eventually, but only once we have diversified our transport systems away from using primarily oil and gas.

Oil is just an energy resource, the same as the sun or the wind. Unfortunately for us oil contains a HUGE amount of energy for it's low cost of extraction. Oil prices will only get so high that they become uncompetitive with solar/wind/hydro.
Unfortunately for our economies, that price is orders of magnitude higher than todays prices.

Every time I get down about the current energy situation, I just have to remember that in 1941 over half the population of Miami used solar hot water heaters, and the only reason that they don't today is that the price of fossil fuels went down drastically after WWII.
The change from solar power to fossil fuels in Miami only took about a decade with the proper economic incentives (cheap natural gas and oil)

Given the proper incentives the return to solar power should take no longer.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I currently spend more than twice the money on a monthly rail pass than I would on gas. The city into which I commute deliberately (not kidding) limits the amount of non-resident parking in an attempt to reduce traffic. I figure that half the traffic they do have is circling the block looking for a place to park.

I think the whole price-at-the-pump begs the question: "how much would it cost for gas if we weren't giving scores of $Billions in subsidies to oil companies, and paying hundreds of $Billions for worldwide military security for the oil machine."

My answer: "None, we'd have alternatives."
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Old 01-06-2008, 08:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peakster View Post
I'm personally starting to believe that from now until the end of our lifetimes, gasoline will hit new record highs every summer.
That is definitly looking like a possibility. Over the past 5 years (usa average/ gallon):

August 2003- $1.75
June 2004- $2.05
August 2005- $3.05 (extra high spike because of hurricane katrina)
August 2006-$3.00
May 2007- $3.25
January 2008 - $3.10 (and rising in the summer).

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Old 01-07-2008, 02:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't know about you people, but I'm kind of excited about riding a bike again this spring. I don't think I've ever used a bicycle since high-school.

Make me feel young!

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