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Was reading a HuffPo article this morning and choked on my beverage (after reading this article I need something a bit stronger) when I came across the following line ...
"A dollar more per gallon isn't that much – probably about $750 more per year for each motorist, but there's a psychological aspect to gas prices," he said. "People are going to be up in arms about this."
Only $750 more per year? Only? ONLY? Excuse me, but lets see how far $750 could go. $750 could ...
1) Pay my car insurance for the entire year,
2) It's a brand new 42" LCD television (with stand),
3) It's a movie night for two each week of the year (if you lay off the soda and popcorn),
4) It's what I typically set aside for two and a half months of groceries (including food for my two dogs),
5) It's over a year and a half of gym membership dues (for me at my gym at any rate).
Yah, $750 can go a long way ... and I'll readily admit that I'm fairly well off. And lets not forget that thats ON TOP of what we're already paying out for the year on gas as it is. But what about those people who are not as well off as I am, but still need that car to get to work to earn that paycheck that keeps them living from week to week? Since 2008, when gas last reached this high, how much progress has the United States made on building up the public transportation infrastructure? How much progress has the United States made on working up better, sustainable*, alternative fuels? We knew we were on borrowed time, but I don't see any evidence that much progress was made in that two year time frame. This video by Jon Stewart still sums it up best.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|An Energy-Independent Future|
"There's nothing this industry can't survive," Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Fadel Gheit said.
There's a lot of things that some people won't be able to survive ... $4 for a gallon of gas might be one of them.
*Ethanol from corn is not sustainable.
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I'm with you on this 100% TJ. It's ridiculous how people use 'psychological aspect' as if that somehow makes everything ok. Oh, you're just not used to it, so you have trouble grasping it. Not, oh shit, maybe there actually is something really wrong w the way things are run here. *sigh*
I'm not sure how they come up with the price of $720. I live 100 miles away from my partner and if I go up there every week, I need about 8 gallons a week. So a dollar more per gallon would be for me, at most, $480 a year (figuring 10 gallons a week). And I live a pretty ridiculous lifestyle with the driving.
Part of the question is- how much of the 'average' driving is really necessary? People do cut back on vacation type travel if gas goes up abruptly, but it'll sneak back up even if gas doesn't go down. In other words, people adjust. If you want to have any hope of reducing consumption, prices will have to go up, probably rapidly. I don't see how you can do it without rations or without suffering of people at the bottom.
I know people who get 'stuck' at home because they run out of gas because they are out of money. In undergrad, I regularly got to school in the car of a friend who got an ancient Chevy blazer from a family member who was stuck with the gas guzzler because he couldn't afford anything else (I, obviously, couldn't afford any car at all at that time). So I know it will hurt people if prices go up. That's not a good reason to spend billions on stupid wars or pollute the earth beyond recognition.
Dude I did the math for me and its going to cost me at least $1600 more a year if gas goes up to $4. Why not buy another car that's more fuel efficient? Um cars cost money, mine runs, and I don't feel like paying more in car insurance.
The test site I worked at was 60 miles away from where I lived, 70 if I drove there from work. That's 120 miles a day.. 4-5 days a week... months at a time.. granted I was getting reimbursed for it, but shit.. that is a huge expense for the company to incur as well. The site is pretty out of the way, no viable public transport option, plus once you get there, there's some off roading to do, and you need ID badges and permits. My little honda was great on the mileage, but still.. it def added up.
Becca, for at least one person I know it'll translate into an extra $40 a week (two refills of a 20 gallon tank in her SUV that she commutes in). So while you may be at the lower end of the spectrum, there will be a lot of people (especially those unfortunate enough to have to commute) at the higher end. I assume $750 is the mean/median. What is going to suck is all those people who took jobs (any job) in this poor economy and have to travel large distances. They'll be hurt even more because of all of this.
There is no easy fix for this. Yes, you could buy a more fuel efficient car ... but what happens if we do strike on a good alternative that makes your car obsolete*? I suppose we could all make the switch to hybrids/electric ... but that's going to jack up electricity prices over the long haul as well. What we need is better public transportation and an infrastructure in cities that allow for SAFE alternate forms of transportation such as bicycle paths and roads with 35 mph speed limits to allow for electric low speed vehicles (aka suped up golf carts).
*This is why I favor butanol.
last time I filled up it was 1.51€/L and the audi took 57L ... so 86€ or 90€ with an espresso and toilet usage. for those stateside, that's about $120 for 700km (440miles) of highway driving.
True, those in Europe do have it worse off when it comes to fuel prices. However, correct me if I am wrong but ... at least in most parts, your public transportation is much better than what we have here in the United States, no? There is such a big divide between urban and rural (and everyone made their way to the suburbs) here in the US that public transportation languishes here.
Then again, I've never been to Europe ... yet (planning a work trip this year and next) ... so I'm going only on what I've read/heard. I'd love to get your input on this though.
Israel is ridiculously expensive too.. we pay per liter what you pay per gallon in the US. But this country is tiny, so you don't have all that far to drive..
Public transportation is pretty good here, in the cities, not in smaller places, and in between in a mess as well. If there are no direct routes, you're pretty screwed.
How do Americans take to public spending on Public Transport, and what are the general feelings towards using it?
It strikes me there's a general aversion to using it if it can be avoided (at least these are my impressions from tv); and given the outrageous 'healthcare = socialism' I have trouble believing spending on it is accepted widely?
Are my impressions accurate, or have I gotten it all backwards?
Well, in major cities that I have either lived or frequented (New York, Washington DC), public transportation is readily used and supported. In those cities there is no stigma associated with taking public transportation. Now, in smaller cities where I have resided, there is a stigma with public transporation (its for the poor only) - at least this is how I've perceived it - and these cities have struggled to keep their systems up and going. In other cities I've lived in, the public transportation they've had was nice but woefully inadequate, and I'm not sure why it suffered.