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Gas Prices Making You Cranky?
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Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Gas Prices Making You Cranky? on 02/24/2012 16:32:27 MST Print View

It feels all 2008 again. Blah! Finally I can hike again after being pregnant/having my recent baby and gas prices are going up. Leaves me all crabby feeling. Gas jumped over 25 cents a gallon in one day locally and then jumped another 2 cents overnight. It is $3.77 a gallon here - thankfully I had 20 cents a gallon off that when I filled up today. At least my Town & Country minivan gets reasonable gas mileage. We sold our diesel Benz sedan because it wasn't big enough for us (family of 5 now, it can't fit the car seats) so I have a feeling if gas keeps going my hiking will be limited - or at least only one or two fun trips a month this summer. The Benz got high 30's to 40's and the minivan is nowhere near that.
Oh well, at least the rain is currently not allowing much hiking but methinks I will be making a gas slush fund for the summer just so I can get out in the mountains. Going to miss my mid-week goof off hikes with the kids if it keeps going up :-(

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Gas Prices Making You Cranky? on 02/24/2012 16:48:01 MST Print View

Not a bit. I swore when oil was $9 a barrel I would never complain about gas prices again. I can understand your pain, but we're in a little different situation. Funny, I sold my Benz when faced with 2 car seats and a 3rd child in back.

Edited by skinewmexico on 02/24/2012 16:52:23 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Gas Prices Making You Cranky? on 02/24/2012 17:16:11 MST Print View

I'll at least get exercise walking this spring ;-)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Gas Prices Making You Cranky? on 02/24/2012 17:21:26 MST Print View

$4.59 for Super. I was cranky before. Imagine how I feel now. 18 mpg!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Gas Prices Making You Cranky? on 02/24/2012 17:23:16 MST Print View

I used to drive one of those great Detroit products that gets 20 miles to the gallon. That is, 8 in town and 12 on the road.


Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Gas Prices Making You Cranky? on 02/24/2012 17:48:27 MST Print View

I have a different view on gas prices.

I see gas as a wonderful gift from the past that should be shared with those who will live in the future.

Higher gas prices might help people use less and therefore leave some for those who are to follow us.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
no surprises on 02/24/2012 18:09:53 MST Print View

People here surprised on oil prices? Better get used to it.

For some reason the US media keeps reporting prices for WTI Cushing crude, which runs a bit cheaper, to a lot cheaper, than Brent crude, Brent is pretty close to what oil really costs on the global market, ie, if you buy out there in the real world, the prices will be pegged to current brent prices, or maybe the new saudi sour index, but definitely not cushing, cushing just relates to Oklahoma, landlocked, prices, which don't reflect anywhere outside that zone. Cushing only reflects a relative tiny percent of global oil production, and is low only because there's currently no direct pipeline to the gulf coast, so that market actually gets glutted now and again, dropping the prices. Today for example custhing is at 107, and the us media will loyally report that oil is at 107, when it's actually at 122 as I type this. So american consumers get confused. The oil refined on the coasts trades globally at the higher rates, discounts for lower quality heavy sour crudes, but not huge discounts. One of the drivers of that drop has been canadian tar sand oil which at least in part goes to Cushing now, for those interested in such arcana.

Despite how the media talks about it here, the stuff is really easy to understand, when more people want a commodity that has finite production levels globally than is available for consumption, the price rises until enough people get knocked out of the market, or countries as a whole, to create new equilibrium price, which is currently running around 120 a barrel. A barrel is about 42 gallons if I remember right, and they get something like 1/3 to 2/3 of that as diesel and gasoline. So yeah, the price is going to rise, and keep rising, otherwise the refineries would lose huge money. That's one of hte reason they are closing refineries here now, they know what's up. People who produce the crude of course do well, just check Exxon profits, or Aramco in Saudi Arabia, or Petrobras in Brazil. And that's just what happens now, with global production static at around 75 million barrels a day. Wait until it start to decline in real terms, that's slated for around 2015 according the us military, who did a recent whitepaper on this problem.

If you're math challenged, even assuming that basically all the petroleum in ther barrel is turned to gas / diesel, which never actually happens, some becomes low grade gunk like asphalt and bunker fuel, that 120 a barrel price means wholesale cost of gas now today is 3 a gallon. And that's with no refining costs, no transport, and no retail costs like gas stations added on. Actually a bit more I think, depends of course on what the refiner is actually paying.

Real oil prices:

With China, India, and others, now aggressively expanding consumption, the days of cheap easy to get oil are long past, despite what blatant political panderers like Gingrich pretend, but even he knows better, he's been briefed on this stuff just like everyone else has been who has served in congress.

US gasoline is still absurdly cheap though, should be double what it is, that would create incentive to stop using it, wasting rather.

What stuns me is that I still see people buying large pickups and suvs, as if you can make geology go away with happy thoughts. Strange. Cheap gas is not actually a human right, it's a glitch in history, nothing more, and it can't repeat because it was a one time event, if you got to enjoy it, cool, if not, that's life.

But yes, gas prices make me really cranky, I can't believe they are still low enough to where people can actually consider that living in suburbs and commuting tens or hundreds of miles is actually an acceptable notion of life, ie something that it's a good idea to do in the first place.

Sadly, complaining isn't going to help create more oil, that had to start some millions of years ago, a bit late now to worry on it. And with so many spigots opening, dropping personal use isn't going to make a heck a lot of difference either, it's all getting used today, not really any extra out there. Now changing behaviors.... that would certainly plant some seeds for the future, but don't expect that either, people are stubborn that way. This is why I've decided to only backpack where I can either get to by public transit or by sharing rides, harder to do, but also rewarding in certain ways.

Edited by hhope on 02/24/2012 18:35:51 MST.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: Gas Prices Making You Cranky? on 02/24/2012 18:32:06 MST Print View

But let us remember how expensive it is compared to us in Europe. Selling by the liter.
Had a moped that got 125 mpg back when gas was 98 cents a gallon.
International Harvester Scout 9 mpg when gas was $2.58
Now the 18 mpg in the Vanagon seemed like a huge improvement.
The Civic with it's 30+ mpg has been great. But I hate driving that little thing.
Too bad about those 2 BIG hills,and no non highway between here and work.
Where's that moped?

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
plus one on scooters on 02/24/2012 18:40:51 MST Print View

Scooters are practical, great mileage, easy to park. That's an example of a practical adaptation, a friend of mine in the bay area got one, so now he uses that for most local driving, and uses his truck just for truck things like hauling large objects. That works out pretty nicely all around.

Electric scooters are pretty cool too, I've known people who used them, and see them around now and then, but my guess is you're better off with gas. Bikes of course don't use any gas, and only a few drops of oil/grease a year, making them ideal for most cities where heavy snow is not an issue. Some real bikies reject that last qualification, noting riding in the snow is fine. Can't say firsthand.

My plan is to use either mass transit, public, or to car pool with people to trailheads, makes organization a pain, but that's how it's going to be without a car, I made my decision years ago, and I see little reason so far to change it. But don't think that stops me from laughing out loud when I see big trucks/suvs with 80 to 100 fillup costs per time, that's got to be just about the silliest way to throw money away I'm aware of, that's quite literally the same as buying a new tarptent every month or so (the difference between a car with decent fuel economy and a gas hog, that is, buys you a tarptent every month, or more, depending on miles driven), only you end up with exactly nothing to show for the money. Send that money to Henry, he'll put it to good use, not to some oil company.

Edited by hhope on 02/24/2012 18:46:46 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: plus one on scooters on 02/24/2012 18:46:01 MST Print View

So, if I want a cheap but decent and dependable gas scooter for local commute -- what brand/model should I be looking at?

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 02/24/2012 18:50:28 MST Print View


Edited by rOg_w on 05/28/2012 17:35:20 MDT.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
scooter forum on 02/24/2012 18:51:53 MST Print View

I'd find a scooter forum, like anything now. Join. Ask. Same as we do here, what gear is good, who has used it, is it reliable, etc. You know, like how they have flashlight forums etc?

Hondas used to be good, but I haven't owned one for ages, I had issues with people stealing parts off them, big city life you know... But they are fun.

There's a pretty big range now, I suspect a basic old style moped would have the least issues with theft, but they might not be around anymore, I don't know.

50 mpg is pretty poor for a small engine like that, the old honda crx cars got around 50mpg if I remember right, but now they make the cars so heavy, consumer demand etc, they can't get the fuel economy back to where it was in the 80s on regular cars, except for expensive stuff like prius, and even that doesn't get better mileage than the crx, though it is a better ride.

Edited by hhope on 02/24/2012 18:54:15 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Gas Prices Making You Cranky? on 02/24/2012 18:58:31 MST Print View

Yes, because I have plans to do a lot of driving this summer.

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Gas Prices Making You Cranky? on 02/24/2012 19:03:31 MST Print View

This graqph was published in my local news paper the Canberra Times today, I live in Australia and I would be very happy to pay US prices for gas. The price is in Australian Dollars and is per liter.
World Petrol prices

Edited by tbeasley on 02/24/2012 19:05:30 MST.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: no surprises on 02/24/2012 19:20:48 MST Print View

What stuns me is that I still see people buying large pickups and suvs, as if you can make geology go away with happy thoughts. Strange. Cheap gas is not actually a human right, it's a glitch in history, nothing more, and it can't repeat because it was a one time event, if you got to enjoy it, cool, if not, that's life.

Depends also on how much income a family has. If a family is making in the six figures, gas prices would have to rise significantly to make a dent (interviewed some mid-management types who earn this amount). Whereas the typical American earner is going to take a hit unless they can take alternative transportation, if available. Of course some high earners will take more economical transport while some low earners will be stuck in their low mpg vehicles. Also need to calculate the cost of a fuel efficient vehicle, etc... Also some of these new vehicles are getting better mpg's. There's also hypermiling : )

I'm actually concerned more about the lack of attentive drivers of all ages, so. I'm trying to minimize commuting regardless of gas prices. Maybe the rise in prices will keep the fast and furious, steroid fueled, "speed racer" crowd off the roads. End rant.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: plus one on scooters on 02/24/2012 19:29:52 MST Print View

A scooter wouldn't work for me - not with two kids in car seats :-P Mass transit doesn't work for going to the mountains either. About the only time I can go car free is local errands where I can push my two youngest in their dual stroller.

Don't get me wrong, I can afford gas but I see no reason to burn $30 to 40 to just go hiking - that gets expensive.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
It's like climbing Mt Everest on 02/24/2012 19:47:55 MST Print View

You don't just climb straight up to the top

You go up a few thousand feet, then back down and get used to that for a while

Then you go up a few thousand feet higher than before, then back to previous high elevation and spend a while there getting used to it


Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
discretionary on 02/24/2012 19:48:33 MST Print View

Sarah, that's a good example on a micro level of how the market works when production of a commodity has hit a global maximum and can't be increased, the marginal consumers gets knocked off bit by bit.

In the USA, consumption dropped from about 21 million barrels a day pre 2008 to about 18 or 19 million today, and that happens by countless people making just such decisions to cut back on extra use, based on the price of the commodity. It's even worse in places like Pakistan, so don't feel too bad about having to cut back on easy drives to hike, over there they have rolling blackouts and significant social disorder, and in Africa some countries just can't even buy it at all, no money.

Here's some ways you can adapt, I've been doing this: look for local areas you might have bypassed to hike in, you might be very surprised. I have been, very pleasantly. And within biking distance too. And I live inside a major urban area, turns out the nearest trailhead is only a 20 minute bike ride up the nearest hill. Weird how I'd missed that for so long. And that leads into a network of trails, which means if I want, I can wake up, and be hiking all day, for free. Gas used, zero. Nature is nice too, not overdeveloped park stuff.

I think most of the west coast has a fair amount of park land within very close proximity to urban areas, it's doubtful any of us know it near as well as we might think.

Gas prices aren't going anywhere but up, following a bumpy trajectory, but trending up (that's not a prediction, but an observation, the future is here already), so adapting isn't a bad idea. The upper classes will do what they do, but they really are not a large part of our economy, so they will have to follow along with the rest of us, every trip saved to the mall is one more nail in the coffin of some failing mall store, and so on it ripples out in unpredictable patterns.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: discretionary on 02/24/2012 20:11:53 MST Print View

Spring Break in DC with the family. F250 pulling 10,000 pound RV. 800 miles at 8 mpg. That's going to leave a mark. Glad most of the attractions are free and the campground has a mass transit stop.

Doesn't make me cranky. Only have the kids for a short time and one starts college this year. I'm sure I'll remember the trip forever and the cost of gas will fade quickly.


Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Carless, baby on 02/24/2012 20:16:32 MST Print View

I got rid of my car a year ago, and I haven't missed it. I use my girlfriend's now and then, but mostly I just walk, bike, or take the bus. I'm paying a premium in rent to live in a walkable neighborhood, but living out in the burbs and having a car would cost a lot more.