What If - Gasoline is $5 a gallon in 2010?



  • kernickkernick Member Posts: 4,072
    you: Your take on China does not equate with the facts.

    me: here are the facts 1) on Chinese agriculture http://cigr-ejournal.tamu.edu/submissions/volume7/Invited%20Overview%20Bologna%20Yuan%2023- - - March2005.pdf and 2) China's population http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/LUC/ChinaFood/data/pop/pop_21_m.htm

    China had a population of 410M in 1910 - zero farm mechanization, and a population of 550M when they started mechanization. The U.S. is currently at 300M and we have just as much land. What part of those facts am I missing that without mechanization we would starve?

    you: But the US has a lot of square miles - the Great Plains, the Southwestern Deserts, much of Alaska, where almost no one lives.

    me: well I've lived in the northeast, and if you take a look at state maps you'll see towns every 5 - 10 miles in every direction. Don't just limit yourself to NY, MA, but look at GA , FL ... And most American cities really have most of their population in suburbia. 15M people live in PA, 3M live in the 2 large cities of Phil and Pitt. There are many smaller cities, but most people don't live in cities, though nearby. We live in metropolitan areas which includes suburbs, but not really in the cities.

    Rorr - really agreed with your posts 569 and 570.
  • kernickkernick Member Posts: 4,072
    Not only that I worry about people passing along illnesses and germs on public transportation, and that includes planes.

    Another good reason people don't like public transportation is you have to get to the stop or station and on-average wait. The less frequent the service the more important it is to be on-time. And frankly I rather be in a car listening to music or talk-radio then standing in rain or snow.

    I used to work with a guy who took the bus everyday to work, and he had some good stories of some of the passengers. One regular on his trip, used to trim his toenails to make good use of his time. Enough said right?

    I'm going to take public transportation next month when I go see a Yankee game, and that makes sense as I don't know the roads, and the parking will be expensive. NYC, Chicago, Boston etc. make sense to use public transportation, but that serves only a very small % of the land area. My nearest public transportation is 15 miles away.

    rorr: In short, how does one make it "cool" to use mass transit without "demonizing" the car?
    me: I don't know how you make standing in the rain cool? or ducking toe-nails? ;-)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    A couple of bits from this http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050407/oil_prices.html?.v=18

    Crude Oil Drops Nearly $2 Per Barrel As Gas Futures Fall; Analysts Still Foresee Higher Prices

    Gasoline futures are now 16 cents, or 9 percent, below the record settlement of $1.73 a gallon set last Friday.

    And basically what I've been trying to say all along that has been driving this...

    ...it is the fear of a supply shortage, not an actual supply shortage, that underpins the market psychology.

    Some folks calling the oil market "highly exaggerated" and that if prices followed the market fundamentals, the price would be in the low $40's range.

    Yet, what did I hear all day on the radio news breaks?

    Prices still going up. No end in sight!!!! The sky is falling.
    Enough to drive you up the wall.

    PF Flyer
    News & Views, Wagons, & Hybrid Vehicles

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  • iconoclasticonoclast Member Posts: 67
    Back to the image of mass transit. I agree that the main issue is the perception, both in who rides the train, the conditions inside, and the giving up of independence. I have lived and worked in cities like LA, Houston, Dallas...in fact traveled in sales in all major cities of the US...and literally hated having to drive in all that traffic. But in sales, the car was necessary. With that experience, I cannot even imagine why I would prefer to sit in my car, drive 5-10 mph in rush hour traffic for Lord knows how many hours to get home or to work, knowing the frustration of simply being in traffic congestion, and knowing the wear and tear it takes on my $40,000 vehicle...instead of parking somewhere close to home and riding into and out of town on a train. Since I have done both, I found the train a lot more relaxing than the frustration inside the vehicle. However, since I don't like either option, I gave up that life and pursued a totally different lifestyle that took me away from cities, traffic, congestion, and air planes...and it has made all the difference in the world. Can everyone do it...of course not. So perhaps the only real solution is changing the image of mass transit...maybe Starbucks isn't a bad idea. I live near Denver now and watch people drive into town on out-dated freeways in total congestion for hours and just have to ask why has it taken so long for America to make adequate, clean, and safe rail systems that make more sense than traffic jams...and the only answer I can find is no one wants to give up their automobile for whatever reason...freedom, independence, mass transit perception. And then I watch the news and see the "traffic report"? Now I'm sure that makes sense to someone, but I have to ask "if I'm stuck in traffic I cannot see the report and if I'm home who cares?" So who is that report aimed at in the first place? Oh, yes, $5 a gallon will change some driving habits but not all and it is going to be a loooonnnngggg time before Americans are going to learn or even offer to sacrifice...we have been spoiled too long. 9/11 was a sad wake up call about America's vulnerability. What will the wake up call be about America's dependence on oil and the automobile? $5 a gallon...don't think so! :confuse:
  • li_sailorli_sailor Member Posts: 1,081
    Yet, what did I hear all day on the radio news breaks?

    Prices still going up. No end in sight!!!! The sky is falling.

    Hmmm, you're just listening to the wrong radio stations :=)

    What I've been hearing all day is...oil drops $2, peak is expected in May, then a drop.

    All markets operate largely on expectations...in theory, it knows what's going to happen better than anyone.

    It's a combination of exagerated fear and well-founded reality. You just have to be smart enough to distinguish between the 2.

    I think that, at $5 a gallon, hybrids and smaller cars will gain market share and large/mid SUVs will plummet.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    I didn't hear the late day news. But the oil markets have been declining for about 4 days now. You'd think that breathless and dramatic news personalities would have picked up on that! :)
  • railroadjamesrailroadjames Member Posts: 560
    Seems our "powers that be" are bound and determined to continue our clumsy, same 'ol, same 'ol path to continued patchwork methods for our future. Our super hiways aren't so super any more. All the semi's eating up the road surfaces requiring constant repairs to the point it seems a never-ending story of reduced lanes and clogged routes. In and around Chicago it's a never ending, test of one's nerves to put up with longer drive times day after day.
    What amazes me is all the billions of dollars wasted to find weapons of mass destruction (that weren't there) that could have been spent developing trains & other means of mass transit (or at least develope our oil find'g & process'g). Will we ever get people in office that can solve THESE problems?
    If gas....excuse me....WHEN gas goes up it will be painful most to the average "Joe". Penelties should be in order for those who choose to drive "GAS HOGS" not penelties for those who drive any of the thrifty cars (especially hybrids).
    When it comes to dealing with gas inflation one would hope the best way is to drive smart cars. :shades:
  • etoilebetoileb Member Posts: 34
    They are no quick fixes. Our parents and our generation have grown up with lifestyle that needs gas. Where we buy our homes, where we put pur shopping malls, where we educate our children all pre-suppose that we have freedom of travel.

    What has changed. well a commodity that was priced within are reached is now moving off the radar screen as more people want a bigger share of limited resource.

    Short of "dealing" with the other fingers in the pie - through military actions, the only course of action is changing our lifestyles to deal with high oil prices as there here to stay.

    In truth, moving to hybrids is little more than chipping away at the edges. As far as I can see hybrids only have an incremental change on mileage but have a larger effect of emissions. Where do I see the changes, well that's anyone's guess - and here's my guess for the next 5 years

    - Gas prices will increase as a result of fiscal intervention. Not because the government want to reduce car usage but because their wallet is empty. Sure, it will make more political sense to put the tax increase down to environmental reasons, but whichever you see it the cupboard is bare.

    - People will realise that having 2 or 3 cars parked in their driveway just won't work anymore. If that means, planning journeys, moving nearer public transportation or taking less car journeys (maybe through home-working) so be it. I for one, think that there will be a movement back to urban envirnoments as the baby-boomers see their final offspring leave the nest and want to downsize for convenience. What will happen to their current dwellings, well Ghetto-isation is probably too radical, but I believe that demand will drop for suburban homes.

    The big question in my mind is that will the US ever go for a form of collectivisation. This doesn't mean fully paid up communism but a interventionist government that is willing to undertake large infra-structure projects for its electorate. This is not a matter of political colour as it works for both social democracies (e.g. Sweden which has a lower population density than the US) and right-wing goverments (see Singapore below).

    Taking Singapore, it is a low tax state (albeit with a question mark over its version of democracy) with some of the best public transportation in the world. Only 39% of people own cars, whilst the other 61% probably aspire to own cars, the goverment makes it very very expensive to do so in the form of taxation (quotas, certificate of entitlement and high importation tax of 150%). This is not designed as a revenue raising exercise but as a means of "pointing" people to public transport. Funnily enough it works and works very well. What's more taxis are dirt cheap, clean and heavily regulated.

    Change will happen not so much through individual habits but what we want from our government. Don't bet on it happening this year.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    China in the early 20th century had mass famine and even larger numbers of malnutrition and undernourished people. It was not for nothing that a maniac like Mao was able to rise to power. And China did not have zero mechanization in the turn of the century. The place was backward but no where near as machine deprived as you describe.

    Moreover, in the early part of the 20th century, far more people could make their living directly off the land, sea and rivers. Fishing communities in the 21st century have been largely decimated. There simply are not the natural fisheries in the 21st century that there were in the 20th. Farm fishing is very energy intensive. Russia and the US also were large agricultural exporters to China throughout the 19th and pre-Communist China. Both had mechanized agriculture.

    In any event, I don't quite follow where you are going with this argument. Are you saying this generation should use all the energy and let the following generations revert back to a medieval lifestyle? I don't have children, so I guess it would not be my direct problem. But I would like to think we are going to live the world better for the next bunch than it is now.

    More than 25% of the nation's population live in its top 10 urban areas. More people live in Chicago alone than the whole of states like Wyoming and Montana.

    Sure, most cities have large suburbs around them. But greater New York is no where near the size of largely empty Nebraska.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    I imagine the risk of auto accidents are far greater than disease from mass transit.

    NYC, Boston. LA, etc. make up a small part of the land mass, but make up a major part of the population and accordingly, the majority of the land mass people travel on most of the time.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    As interesting as the history of China and all that is, let's not drift too far off track.

    Getting back to the topic, this morning's national radio news on gas prices was nothng but UP, UP, UP... sort of completely ignoring what happened in the oil and gas markets yesterday. Just leaves you shaking your head if you're trying to pay attention to things.

    PF Flyer
    News & Views, Wagons, & Hybrid Vehicles
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    re: on topic discussion...

    Ever get the feeling you're trying to herd cats?
  • electrictroyelectrictroy Member Posts: 564
    "I used to work with a guy who took the bus everyday to work, and he had some good stories of some of the passengers. One regular on his trip, used to trim his toenails to make good use of his time. Enough said right?"


    Yuck. Other drawbacks are being shoved up against other passengers... a little too personal for me!

    I would rather drive one of these (250mpg car), before I go ride a dirty, annoying train:

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,390
    cars like the Prius and Civic Hybrid really sparked his interest, because he really liked the idea of something that got super-high fuel economy. Unfortunately, the relatively high purchase price turned him off. In the end, he ended up buying a $10,995 used '03 Regal, which I guess is about half, or even less than half, of what a Prius or Civic Hybrid would run? And I think he's only put about 9,000 miles on it in the year and a half that he's had it, so in his case a hybrid would just never be cost-effective.

    That Regal sure beats the heck out of the bus and the train, though! BTW, that VW concept looks pretty cool. I wonder what something like that would cost, if it was ever mass-produced?

    As an aside, does anybody know what kind of fuel economy those old BMW Isettas got?
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    If you want to discuss hybrids, we have the Hybrid Vehicles Message Board and you can use the Search Forums and Browse by Vehicle tools in the left sidebar to find vehicle specific topics.

    Even if we're out of new things to say regarding the what ifs of higher gas prices, there's always our Report Your Local Gas Prices Here topic where you can cheer or groan about developments at the pump in your neck of the woods!
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    I've just taken down a number of posts that simply had nothing to do with the topic. If you want to discuss specific vehicles, those discussion belong on the board for the body type of those vehicles . (sedan, wagon, suv, hybrid, etc)

    Not to be a cat herder about it, but that's why we have topics to help focus the discussions. (No Ford Focus jokes please :) )

    It's also perfectly alright if this discussion has run its course, which I'm getting the feeling it may have. We'll see.
  • electrictroyelectrictroy Member Posts: 564
    It costs $5 to ship a book or video.

    Double the price of gas, and that goes to $10.

    In comparison, the internet costs just a few cents.

  • bigeauxbigeaux Member Posts: 46
    Something I've not seen mentioned here: public transportation is almost invariably supported by taxes to one degree or another. If high gas prices were to cause a high demand for public transportation, many areas would have to raise taxes to fund construction of new systems and expansion of existing ones.

    Most urban centers are suffering from budget shortfalls. The workforces of those cities have been migrating to the suburbs for decades, taking their sales and property taxes with them.

    Some cities have fought this trend by annexing outlying suburban areas. One example is the takeover of Kingwood, TX, by the city of Houston. The city limit was extended up a narrow highway corridor for miles, then wrapped around Kingwood. The reason? Kingwood commuters were heading downtown in massive numbers, but not paying any taxes to the city to maintain and expand the roads.

    My questions to the forum: if gasoline was $5/gallon, would you support a tax increase in your area to expand public transportation? What would be the point if what you saved in gas you spent -or exceeded - on fares and increased taxes? Would you get rid of one or more cars to save money on loans/insurance/maintenance/registration/property tax to offset payment of fares and higher taxes?

    These are not easy questions to answer, I think, because it depends highly on your personal financial situation, the tax and fare structure of the system, and the capability and reliability of the system relative to the places you need to go. But these questions must be answered in order for governments and voters to make sound financial decisions regarding public transportation.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    "Double the price of gas, and that goes to $10. "


    Why do you assume that 100% of the cost to ship is based on the fuel cost? Besides, I wasn't aware that you could download electronic versions of DVD's (legally) in lieu of ordering them through, say Amazon.

    And personally, I like to hold my books in my wittle hands. I look at the computer enough as it is....

    ....whups....here comes sneakers (gotta stay on topic).....ummmm...

    ....though I'll certainly agree that as gas approaches $5/gal, you will probably see more and more on-line shopping in lieu of driving all over town.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    I read a story last week or early this week about grocery stores now offering more and more "buy your groceries online and we will deliver them to you" services.

    Maybe that service will take off if people can save a few bucks a year driving to and from the grocery store, at $5 per gallon. :D
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    If demand is high enough, why shouldn't ridership fees pay for the system? What happened to the concept of privately owned (and properly liscensed of course) bus companies?

    I mean, intracity bus travel (Greyhound) is privately held and paid for by.....the user. Taxi services are privately held and paid for by.....the user. If demand for intercity bus service is high due to WHATEVER factor (traffic conjestion/fuel prices), then wouldn't/shouldn't private enterprise step in to fulfill the demand for service?

    Why is it that, almost reflexively, we anticipate a need for service and assume the government is the best avenue to meet the demand? It seems as though the only discussion always comes down to how to finance it.....

    Personally, I think that whoever USES a service, be it supplied by private industry or the government, should PAY for the service.......grump grump grump
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Especially on getting people to switch ot public transportation. As has been pointed out, public mass transit simply isn't practical in a lot of rural places in the US. Someone pointed out Singapore as an example of country making mass transit work. Might be a good example of a CITY as Singapore is about the same land area as New York City with half the population. Not a lot of "rural" involved in either case I would imagine.

    Right now, with prices moving at the pump, a lot of people are thinking in terms of the price "running up" to $5. Sort of looking and thinking of short term effects. I think prices will eventually reach the $5 level, the same way everything eventually goes up. I'm sure it would have been an interesting message board back in the 60's when gas was 32.9 cents per gallon ( and Dad was wondering if it would ever get back to 25 :( ) if there had been a topic What if Gasoline went to $2/gallon!!
  • electrictroyelectrictroy Member Posts: 564
    TROY: "Double the price of gas, and that goes to $10. "

    ROHR: "Why do you assume that 100% of the cost to ship is based on the fuel cost?"


    It was just a guess-timate.

    And you can't download DVDs now, but by 2010, I bet you can (just as you can now legally download MP3s).

  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    I have no problem with private mass transit.

    But I would point out that the federal, state and local governments heavily subsidize 'private' auto transit in the form of highway maintenance, safety enforcement, use of eniment domain for roads, right of way and parking, etc.

    Illinois has toll highways, as do some East Coast and West Coast states. Much of the nation have free highways. I am not aware of any local street or highway that charges tolls. Licensing and vehicle taxes certainly come no where near covering the costs government spends managing auto use.

    If it is good for the public transit user, it should also be good for the auto user.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    IF higher gas prices tip the scales to get people to use more mass transit, doesn't that take cars off the road, improving the "quality of driving life" for those of us who really can't take the bus??

    You never can ignore the Law of Unitended Consequences!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,390
    even if my tax dollars are helping to subsidize the buses and commuter trains/metros, I'm still benefitting because they're taking SOME cars off the road.

    If you own real estate, you're certainly subsidizing the roads. At least, here in Maryland, everybody pays a "front footage" fee, that varies depending on how much of your property borders the road. If you have two same-sized lots of, say, 100x400 feet, but one has its 100-foot side to the road, versus 400 feet for the other, the one that has the 400 feet pays a higher front footage fee. If you have a flag lot, you make out like a bandit.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Oil Prices Drop More Than $1 a Barrel As Gasoline Futures Take a Tumble

    Oil prices fell for the fifth straight day Friday, dropping more than $1 a barrel as gasoline futures tumbled and brokers said the red-hot market went too high, too fast.
    "This is a long overdue correction," said Mike Fitzpatrick, a broker at Fimat USA Inc. in New York.


    The bad news bears are going to run out of steam one of these days!
  • kernickkernick Member Posts: 4,072
    Having a service, pick and deliver your groceries will always be more expensive than getting them yourselves, unless the buyer could and would work those hours.

    At a minimum, a grocery store has to print the order, get an employee to get a carriage, go through the store or warehouse picking the items (20-30min?) load them and drive them to your place. Their vehicle will need to be refrigerated. The consumer is going to have to pay for that time their people are doing this. Supermarkets have lowest cost when the consumer comes in picks their stuff, bags it, and goes through a Self-checkout.

    And if you're not home when the delivery person comes and it's summer ... no more ice cream!

    It's another example of the car's advantages of going exactly where you want, and when you want, combined with the convenience of music, and cargo capacity.

    Public transportation will not replace the car for many people because it is not flexible enough (time, place). And 1 of the biggest problems is that in order to use public transportation, you have to DRIVE to a train station and find parking. In suburban Boston one of the major problems commuters have is finding parking at the stations in the suburbs.
  • turboshadowturboshadow Member Posts: 338
    In an effort to help pf flyer (loved those shoes when I was a kid BTW), here's what I would do if gas went to five bucks a gallon:

    Nothing. That's right. Not a dang thing. I drive a fairly fuel efficient car, and I have a long (48 mile) commute one way. Public transportation wouldn't work, nor would I choose to take it, even if door to door service were provided.

    OK, I might pack my own lunch to save a few bucks, but that's it.

    As Neil Young once said, "Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive."

  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    I walk half a block to a bus stop. The bus comes every 10 minutes peak time, every 15 minutes off peak, and every 30 minutes owl.

    I see many people on the bus and train with those little Apple ITunes. I see many people walking with them on as well.

    I also walk to the grocer and back. I do not like ice cream. But my frozen vegetables never melt.

    So to PF Flyers point, what will I do when gas hits $5.00 a gallon? What I'm doing now. The price of gas is not an issue for me.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    ...are going into debt to save fuel costs? Are people trading in paid-off cars to plunk down $21K+ to buy a Prius? You'll have a scenario:

    "Yeah! I'm saving $20 a week in fuel costs!"
    "Well, what's the payment on the Prius since you got rid of your old '94 Taurus?"
    "Uh, $430 a month."
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,390
    I'll probably be doing the same thing I do now, although I will gripe and moan about fuel prices. Possibly about the only change I could see myself making was if I had to take a long trip, I might just rent a cheap, fuel-efficient car instead of driving my own car.

    One other area that it would hit me is with home heating oil. Last year I only paid about $500 for the whole winter. This year it was about $830. Part of that was because oil went up ($1.19 per gallon versus $1.74), but this winter was also colder, as a whole, than last winter. Still, for all the gloom and doom, that's only a $330 increase. No doubt it will go higher, and at once gasoline hits $5.00 per gallon, I have no idea what heating oil will run. Still, even here, it probably wouldn't be worthwhile to get a newer, more efficient furnace, at least not until the old one (which is only about 10 years old) needs to be replaced, anyway. I might cut the heat back a little, though!
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    ...of rising fuel costs are the working poor. The middle class person will bite the bullet and pay that extra $330 a year in heating costs, but to somebody like a poor single mother it's a disaster. Many working poor reverse commute from Philly to work at fast food joints, big box stores, and the mall. These people require reliable transportation to get to their jobs and that does not mean SEPTA. I remember a few years ago SEPTA went on strike and one store owner went through the expense of paying for taxi service to get his car-less employees to work. Without them, he couldn't run his store.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,390
    yeah, that's very true. Poorer people really are between a rock and a hard place when fuel prices skyrocket. They can't afford the more expensive fuel, but they can't afford a more fuel-efficient car, either! I'm guessing a lot of older people on fixed incomes get hit pretty hard, too. I found out, too late unfortunately, that my grandmother had never locked into a contract for her heating oil. She'd just pay market price for it, which got as high as $2.30+ per gallon. And now that the heating season is pretty much over in our area, I guess it's too late to do anything about it, except try to lock her in next year!

    Also, anybody who depends on their vehicle, such as delivery drivers, couriers, etc will get hit hard. My grandmother's cousin has a son who works as a courier. He drives a relatively thirsty Ford Ranger with a 3.0 V-6. He doesn't really make a lot of money, so I know these high prices have to be hurting him!

    And if prices this high had hit back in, say, 1996-1998, back in the wake of my divorce when I had a part time job delivering pizzas to get everything paid off, it would've sunk me. I wouldn't have been able to afford a more efficient car at the time, and probably would've quit delivering and gotten a second job waiting tables!
  • iconoclasticonoclast Member Posts: 67
    I have to agree with Turboshadow in that I'm not going to change much about the way I drive. Since we have been discussing mass transit and global issues rather than personal "what ifs", we each have to look at our own personal lives and behavior to answer the question. Since I live in a rural area, drive lots of miles to Utah to drive way back into the wilderness to hike and explore, I need a 4X4 and will always have one...fuel efficient or not. That's what I like doing and will continue to do it until it is no longer affordable in some way. Let's all look at this as a personal issue and realize we all live in different environments and the cost of gas is going to affect each one different. Some can look to conserving because they live in a city and don't venture out. Others live in the country and need to drive long distances in large vehicles (ranchers need trucks and SUVs). While we may all want to do something, a lot of us are going to continue doing what is important in our lives regardless of the price of gas...as long as we can afford it. :)
  • turboshadowturboshadow Member Posts: 338
    That's what I'm getting at, let's see what everyone personally would do. Even in my family, I wouldn't see many of us making any changes.

    Parents, two Lincoln Town Cars and an F-150. They need the truck for the farm, and the Lincolns they got cheap. The Lincolns also get 22 mpg, and are large and they feel safe in them. They are both retired, and I don't see them driving any less than they do now.

    Sister and BIL have a Venture and a late 90s Explorer. They use the Venture for schepping around kids and the Explorer for very short trips to work (less than one mile) and boat towing (generally less that 15 miles).

    Wife, two mile commute in a 4cyl/5spd Beretta. Probably keep it as logn as it runs.

    Me, 48 mile commute in a 2002 5spd Sentra GXE. 31mpg on the 98 mile round trip commute.

    I'd complain about 5 dollar gas, but it wouldn't really hurt any of us. Probably me the most, but I'm looking for a new job anyway....

  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    ...suppose gas does hit $5.00 a gallon but minimum wage stays at $5.15? Suppose your low-paid worker making minimum wage or not much more was driving an old pickup truck that gets 12 MPG but can't afford to buy a more fuel-efficient car and bus service isn't viable? If his one-way commute to the Best Buy, WalMart, etc. is 15 miles, he;s paying over 25% of his pre-tax income just to get to work. He might just find it more cost-effective to quit working and go on the dole. Multiply this scenario many times and commerce might stop.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    Five dollar a gallon gas wouldn't hurt me to the point it would compromise my ability to pay my bills, but I would probably cut down on other luxuries like cable and go out to dinner less frequently. I wouldn't get rid of my two cars, but if it got bad enough, I would look at something like a Cobalt for an everyday beater.
  • bigeauxbigeaux Member Posts: 46
    I'm not saying that taxes are the right way to finance public transportation.

    Historically, fares on public transportation have not been set high enough to cover costs, for purely political reasons. Therefore, I assume that any expansions of existing sytems, or new systems, will be propped up with general tax revenues. That just seems to be the way it is.

    Obviously, private enterprise stepping in to fulfill demand for transportation services is preferable.

    But since lots of people were talking about public transportation, I thought I'd ask the question.
  • bigeauxbigeaux Member Posts: 46

    I'm not saying that the government doesn't subsidize automobile usage with tax dollars. I assure you, I'm accutely aware of that every time I pay my mortgage, or note my local 9% sales tax.

    What I'm talking about are new taxes to pay for large public mass transit systems. Historically, fares have been intentionally kept too low to cover actual costs.

    I mean sure, if road traffic is decreasing as people switch to, say, light rail, maybe some of that road money gets diverted.

    But taxes would have to fund a lengthy and expensive transition period.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,390
    that is a scary scenario, but I don't think it would happen. As it is, there's a bill afloat in Maryland to raise minimum wage to $6.15 per hour. In DC, mimimum wage went from $6.15 per hour to $6.60 in January.

    Also, there probably aren't as many people in minimum wage jobs as one might think. For example, if Maryland raises minimum wage, it'll affect roughly 55,300 people, many in the service industry and more than half younger than 25. As of the 2003 Census, Maryland had 5,508,909 residents. So basically, about 1% of the residents make minimum wage. Remember though, that also includes tipped employees, who, in total, make much more than minimum wage.

    Still, $6.15 or $6.60 per hour is not much to live on. And yeah, it'll hurt these people in a major way. But I don't think commerce would stop. Companies would either have to start paying more, or they'd go out of business for lack of employees.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Let's not veer off into a discussion of the minimum wage please. I understand why it came up, but resist the urge to take the exit ramp!

    Be curious to see how long the price of crude going down takes to affect gasoline markets and prices at the pump. It sure seemed to do so rapidly on the way up!

    At the moment, crude is down about 9% from the high on Monday.
  • electrictroyelectrictroy Member Posts: 564
    "Illinois has toll highways, as do some East Coast and West Coast states. Much of the nation have free highways. I am not aware of any local street or highway that charges tolls."


    Yes, you pay the Road Toll every time you buy gas. That money is used to maintain the roads, erect the signs, and power the traffic lights.

  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    .....what would happen to gas prices if everyone who ownes an SUV or full sized pickup left those vehicles parked, only drove them when they actually needed to, and the rest of the time drove something like a Corolla or Civic instead? We would actually see $1.50 a gallon again.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    US gas taxes do not come anywhere near the amount necessary to pay for road construction, maintenance, etc. It helps, but sure does not cover it.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    Probably because US gas taxes are fixed at a set rate per gallon (14.5 cents/gallon) and don't keep up with inflation. I don't know when the last time the gas taxes were increased but I know everytime it is discussed (even a paltry nickel a gallon), there is usually much wailing and gnashing of teeth. AFAIK, most state gas taxes are similarly fixed at a certain number of cents/gallon.

    Perhaps gas taxes should be charged on a percentage of the sale (ie: sales tax)? I believe some states tax the wholesalers on a percentage but not on the retail price at the pump.

    If we accept the premise of this thread ($5 gas), I'd rather more of that dollar amount be in taxes (where it could be spent to improve roads, relieve conjestion, thereby saving fuel/reducing pollution AND/OR used to help finance mass transit).
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    The only way (short of legislating them out of existence which I would fight tooth and nail) that people would volunteer to drive their less fuel efficient vehicle would be if economics forced them to (ie. fuel costs).

    You can not, and WILL NOT, ever have cheap fuel coexistent with highways full of fuel efficient automobiles. You may as well imagine people wouldn't overload a health care system when the care is 'free'. Or people wouldn't supersize their drivethru meal when it's only $0.39 extra. Or.......face it, if a commodity is cheap, it will be wasted.

    Imagining any different is simply unrealistic and an excercise in frustration.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Back on Jan 1, another automatic increase to the PA state gas tax took us up to 30 cents/gallon putting us in second place behind Rhode Island's 31 cents. I guess we pass them next year!

    Even at our current high gas price, the state taxes here are about 14% of the cost at the pump. Maybe bump up the tax on cellphone calls and earmark the increase for roads. Either we get a lot of funds for repairs or we get fewer folks making calls behind the wheel... a win win...LOL
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    Wow. That's a bit steep (I think we pay around 14 cents/gal in state gas tax here in TX).

    Curious - is all of the gas tax earmarked for road maintenance/construction or does it go into the state's general fund? I would imagine that just as state gas taxes vary substantially across the country, how those funds are spent varies too.
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