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View Full Version : The effect of fuel prices

OldRightHander
02-01-2008, 02:12 PM
I hear people complaining all the time about fuel prices but I am seriously beginning to wonder how much it really is effecting people. Here's how I got there.

For me, my profit margin is tied pretty strongly to fuel consumption. I drive on average 10000 miles a month. If I can get one mile per gallon better over the course of a year, I can save a fair amount in that time. Most people driving cars don't log that many miles, but there is still some money to be saved.

Now here's where some basic math comes in. When you drive our car over 70 mph, there is a noticeable drop in fuel mileage, at least 3-4 mpg, sometimes more if you're really punching it. My wife drives about 350 miles a week in our car. If she keeps the speed under 70 and doesn't do too much city driving, she can save between \$5-6 a week in fuel costs. That might not sound like much, but if I offered you a \$300 check at the end of the year, would you turn it down?

In my case, I spoke about a one mile per gallon difference saving me a lot at the end of the year, but in reality, good driving habits can save more than that one mpg. I get 22 mpg at 65 mph, 20 at 70, and when I go over 70 it can drop down to 18. The difference between 65 and 70 mph, while not saving me a lot of time, will save me a lot of money over the long term. With a diesel price hovering around \$3.35, I can save roughly \$1800-2100 a year on fuel, depending on how fast I drive.

Keeping that in mind, most people I observe on the road are driving like fuel consumption isn't really that important. I keep my cruise between 65 and 70, even when I'm driving out west in those 75 zones and I routinely get over 20 mpg. What I notice is that seemingly everyone on the road, with the exception of the rare slowpoke I end up passing, is flying by me like I'm sitting still. I can't count the number of people I see who are driving 80 mph or faster on the interstates. Many of these people have local plates, so it's not like that extra speed is going to save you a lot of time over a short distance. Knowing the drop in mileage that our car experiences when you go over 70, I can't imagine how much gas it would burn going 80 or faster on a consistent basis. Could it be possible that by slowing down to 65 or 70, many people could save \$500 or more a year in fuel costs? Then when I see other commercial drivers like myself going fast, it really boggles my mind, because I know how much money it is costing them.

Bottom line: If you're driving fast and starting out like a jackrabbit when the light turns green, I don't want to hear you complain about gas prices. I'll believe fuel prices are having a serious effect on people when I see it reflected in their driving habits.

RedsManRick
02-01-2008, 02:46 PM
Good post ORH. Consumption of many things, gas included, are more influenced by our behaviors than we'd like to admit.

I would add that while I know people aren't necessarily able or willing to buy a new car today, the next time you are, ask yourself if you really need the trunk room to carry a canoe or if you really need that extra 50 HP when driving down the freeway. There are lots of nice cars out there right which can get 30+ mph. Talk about math, that's going to add up to \$1,000s over the life of the car regardless of what gas prices do.

When I hear people complain about fuel prices and then see an SUV in their suburban driveway, I just shake my head. Some people have their priorities screwed up as they walk the showroom and lot and then want to blame other people 18 months later when gas prices spike for the consequences of their decision.

Dom Heffner
02-01-2008, 02:52 PM
OldRightnader, you are 100&#37; correct. The high cost of gasoline isn't bothering me one bit. I love spending \$280 a month in gas when it used to cost me half that a few years ago. And you know what? The fact that I drive 80 instead of 70 is proof of that, I agree. I could save all that money by just tapping the accelerator a bit lighter, and if you averaged it out, I'll bet my fuel costs would drop to close to \$1.49 a gallon.

Geesh.

In all seriiousness, not sure how well a "It's our fault" post is going to go over here in regards to gas prices.

Bottom line is it costs me \$70 to fill my tank when it used to cost me a lot less.

I don't think how fast I take off from a stop light is the problem, and this sort of "blame the consumer" stuff normally comes from people who are making the money from oil prices being so high and those who are silly enough to buy such an argument. I can think of a certain talk show host who yaks on about this kind of thing all the time. He makes about \$100 million a year, and his office is located in his house, so his commute mileage is 0.

There is no way you can add \$280 more a month to someone's bills and not have it affect them. And then to say well, if you didn't take off so fast from a stop light or if you drive a little slower that means the cost of fuel isn't affecting things.

Personal responsibility is a neat thing, but let's not go overboard in whose fault it is regarding rising fuel prices.

hebroncougar
02-01-2008, 03:21 PM
We could all save a lot of money if the oil companies weren't screwing us like they are. Have you see the annual profits that Exxon just posted? \$40.6 billion. And it's going higher shortly, as miraculously, the additive needed to make "spring and summer" gas is in short supply. And just in time for spring! And guess who makes that addititive? The oil companies. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22919642/

919191
02-01-2008, 05:48 PM
How about the effect of gas prices on the overall economy? Ever buy milk?

Part of where I work is the production of polyethelene film. The price of gas affects people's jobs. If fuel is still high next contract time, I suspect it will take a real organized fight not to get a concessionary contract. I've already seen a reduction in labor force. The price of fuel matters.

westofyou
02-01-2008, 05:52 PM
Meat Production too causes an issue with energy

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

The key is for everything to be in moderation.

RedsManRick
02-01-2008, 06:16 PM
Yup. Evil oil companies who love global warming and hate children are to blame. Last time I checked, Exxon wasn't the one driving the price of oil up to \$100 a barrel. Sure, they reaped the benefits of it and politically support conditions that lead to it, but it's just a touch more complex than that evil, greedy oil executives who want to wipe their bottoms with \$1000 bills instead of \$100 ones.

Like big pharma, the oil industry requires a ton of capital investment that takes decades to pan out (or not).

We all pay for increased oil prices and would benefit from a shift to more cheaper, more stable, and US based energy sources. I hope we're ready to spend the money to invest in the development of those sources as a society the way oil executives started investing in building rigs and drilling holes in to the ground starting 100 years ago. Otherwise, either nobody invests or we'll just end up with the wind tycoons of the 21st century and everybody complaining about them.

pedro
02-01-2008, 06:19 PM
welcome to the unfettered free marketplace.

Dom Heffner
02-01-2008, 06:21 PM
Evil oil companies who love global warming and hate children are to blame.

I said nothing about either. Weird how you are mocking the "for the children" argument, and you're the only one who brought it up. Said talk show host does this all the time.

Last time I checked, Exxon wasn't the one driving the price of oil up to \$100 a barrel.

Never said they were.

Sure, they reaped the benefits of it and support conditions that lead to it, but it's just a touch more complex than that evil, greedy oil executives who want to wipe their bottoms with \$1000 bills instead of \$100 ones.

So they reap the benefits and support conditions that help them reap those benefits but not only are they not to blame, they're less to blame than people taking off fast from stop lights?

durl
02-01-2008, 06:25 PM
Supply and demand.

We refuse to increase our supply although we have ample reserves plus our demand (along with emerging economies in India and China) is going up. That means higher prices.

We could all save a lot of money if the oil companies weren't screwing us like they are. Have you see the annual profits that Exxon just posted? \$40.6 billion. And it's going higher shortly, as miraculously, the additive needed to make "spring and summer" gas is in short supply. And just in time for spring! And guess who makes that addititive? The oil companies. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22919642/

The profit margin on gasoline is small. What oil companies have is a product that is in HIGH demand and lots of people are using it. When billions of people are buying gasoline, you only have to make a few pennies profit on each gallon to have huge profits.

The additive mentioned is mandated by state governments (that make far more profit per gallon than oil companies do) because of the many environmental regulations set up by various states. Shutting down production to change over to the mandated seasonal blends causes prices to go up.

westofyou
02-01-2008, 06:32 PM
Speaking of gas.... the last time the Cubs won the World Series Gasoline production lagged behind Kerosene production... that's how long it's been since the Cubs won the World Series.

Joseph
02-01-2008, 06:42 PM
We could all save a lot of money if the oil companies weren't screwing us like they are. Have you see the annual profits that Exxon just posted? \$40.6 billion. And it's going higher shortly, as miraculously, the additive needed to make "spring and summer" gas is in short supply. And just in time for spring! And guess who makes that addititive? The oil companies. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22919642/

I don't mean to defend the big bad oil companies, but their percentage of profits is actually smaller than what most companies in the world realize on their investments and efforts.

46 billion is a huge number yes, but its a small percentage RE: ROI overall.

joshnky
02-01-2008, 06:48 PM
This thread is destined for a short life.

pedro
02-01-2008, 06:59 PM
I don't mean to defend the big bad oil companies, but their percentage of profits is actually smaller than what most companies in the world realize on their investments and efforts.

46 billion is a huge number yes, but its a small percentage RE: ROI overall.

This is true.

*BaseClogger*
02-01-2008, 07:05 PM
American is smart.

Americans are stupid.

American cares about energy consumption and the environment.

Americans don't.

Unassisted
02-01-2008, 07:11 PM
ORH, I think your view makes sense. The higher that fuel costs get, the easier your argument is to make. Right now, whether it's justified or not, I suspect that most of the people who drive too fast place a higher value on their time than their money. And it's likely that showing them the amount of money they could save each year wouldn't be enough to convince them to change their habits.

Reds Freak
02-01-2008, 07:45 PM
Outside of a few economic classes in college, I have little economic knowledge. But, in my mind, rising gas prices is turning out to be a good thing. Rising gas prices is causing people and industry to change their habits. If gas prices would stay at \$1.50/gal forever, we would see the problems we are having now continue to escalate: environmental issues, increased road congestion, and increased sprawl away from the city core.

Without high gas prices, we wouldn't have cities and states considering multi-modal methods of transportation (light rail, inter-city rail, streetcar), we wouldn't have car companies investing in new and cleaner technologies, and we wouldn't have the population moving back into the core of cities.

So the way I see it, high gas prices has or will decrease environmental problems, decrease traffic congestion, decrease suburban sprawl, and help save some beautiful, undeveloped green space and open land.

They really dropped the ball dozens of years ago investing so much into highways and roadways and not into public transportation. If public transportation continues to improve, I would love to get rid of the car I drive and the payments, gas, parking, hassle that goes along with it. I would save a fortune...

RedsManRick
02-01-2008, 09:59 PM
So they reap the benefits and support conditions that help them reap those benefits but not only are they not to blame, they're less to blame than people taking off fast from stop lights?

I guess my point was drown out by my sarcasm -- my fault. It was directed at you.

The price of oil is the price it is as the result of the market system. By in large, the market is a good thing. It's just that oil is a scarce natural resource, controlled by counties whose economies are largely dependent on its high price. It's not about placing blame; It's about making the best of that reality as a consumer.

Many people want to have their free market cake and eat it too. There are people who choose consume oil liberally and then complain about the price. There are consumption choices, be it the vehicles we drive or the way in which we drive we can help minimize the impact of the price fluctuations. Many people are simply too busy finding somebody to blame for the price to change their own consumption behavior.

Supply and demand.

We refuse to increase our supply although we have ample reserves plus our demand (along with emerging economies in India and China) is going up. That means higher prices.

My understand is that while the crude supply is fine, the refining capacity is the choke point. There isn't much money to be made in refining and it's an incredibly unpopular business politically, so that's the hangup.

I agree that in the long run, the high price of oil is a good thing for the world.

OldRightHander
02-01-2008, 10:04 PM
ORH, I think your view makes sense. The higher that fuel costs get, the easier your argument is to make. Right now, whether it's justified or not, I suspect that most of the people who drive too fast place a higher value on their time than their money. And it's likely that showing them the amount of money they could save each year wouldn't be enough to convince them to change their habits.

That really was my point, aside from why the prices are as high as they are. I'm really feeling the pinch myself. When I started driving for a career (in April it will be 2 years) gas was under \$2.00 and diesel was even cheaper. Then in July I went to doing long distance over the road driving and bought a diesel van and at the time diesel was around \$2.50-2.75 depending on where in the country I bought it. Now I'm happy as can be if I can find it under \$3.30. I was downright giddy a couple hours ago when I did a short local run down to Frankfort and found it for \$3.10 near Lexington. I've seen diesel up around \$3.80 on the east coast and over \$4.00 in California. Through all that time have the shipping rates gone up? Not one bit. In fact, many shippers and brokers are trying to lower the rates. With the economy slowing down shippers are trying to keep their costs down and shipping is one are they're looking to cut costs. So now I'm faced with rising fuel costs and declining rates, forcing me to look at every way I can keep my expenses lower and still make a decent profit. Recently I have been adjusting my driving habits in order to save as much as possible and then when I see other folks driving like they do, I just shake my head.

Right now I don't care where the blame lies for the high prices, but I don't think we're ever going to see the price go back down where it used to be. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever see diesel under \$3 again. With that in mind, it comes down to all of us to look at how we can save a little here and a little there. Regardless of your political views or how you see environmental issues, there are so many little things we can do to keep our costs lower, and with the prices where they are, having better driving habits can put a lot of money back in your pocket.

LoganBuck
02-01-2008, 10:44 PM
Get ready it is going to get ugly this summer again. My milk truck driver told me his fuel supplier told him gas will be around \$4 and diesel WILL be over \$4. Complicating this for him, is that Kroger and our milk coop Dairy Farmers of America, have reached a deal to sell milk produced exclusively without bovine growth hormone. Because of this the Kroger bottler in Kentucky will now be receiving milk produced in western/west central Ohio. Dannon Yogurt whose factory is in Minster, OH, had been receiving all the milk produced in our area. They will now be receiving milk possibly produced with bovine growth hormone from Michigan. So I used to ship my milk 25 miles to market, now I ship it 125 miles. I am guessing that when the fuel price goes up this summer, either the price of milk will go up in the stores, or fuel surcharges will be paid by me. I am not happy either way.

Falls City Beer
02-01-2008, 11:05 PM
I know that alternative fuel sources are already possible and developable. I just think it's sad that people's livelihoods have to be endangered or ruined (and not just in this country) before cheaper, safer, renewable fuel sources are developed. In no way do I think that high gas prices are "in the long run a good thing." I see high gas prices as the symptom that signals the sickness.

BuckeyeRedleg
02-02-2008, 10:51 AM
For every \$50 dollars spent at Giant Eagle, you can get \$.20 off per gallon (up to 30 gallons) at their Get Go pumps. My wife and I spend nearly \$1000 a month on groceries for our three (soon to be four) children and ourselves. At \$250 per week, we are earning up to \$2.00 off per gallon up to 30 gallons (\$60.00) value every two weeks .

My car only holds 20 gallons, so once we have a pretty decent discount (\$2.00-\$3.00 off per gallon), I wait until I'm practically on fumes and fill up. You can't take two cars through, but you can fill up gas cans. So, I invested in a couple 5-gallon gas cans and fill those up as well to get as near my 30 gallons as possible. I go home and fill up my wife's minivan and whatever's left over I use when I need it. I understand most people don't wait 2-3 weeks between fill-ups but if you are spending a bunch on groceries, you might as well get some benefits at the pump.

Another way to take advantage of this is to buy gift cards from Giant Eagle. If you are going out to dinner, stop by first and buy a gift card for the restaurant you are going to. That goes towards your fuel perks. Obviously Giant Eagle doesn't have everything we need, so if we have to go to Target or someplace like it, we'll pick up a gift card first, so that it goes towards our fuel perks.

With rising gas prices, this was a resolution my wife and I made for 2008. We are going to track it and at the end of the year figure what we saved. Lucky for us, we don't put a lot of miles on our cars. My commute to work is a short one, but it's mostly city miles. I do feel bad for anyone that has no choice but to drive a ton of miles, but as ORH said and I have shown, there are ways to minimize the damage and hunker down during these trying times.

macro
02-02-2008, 11:03 AM
Not to deprive anyone of buying whatever they want with their money, and gas prices scare and frustrate me as much as anyone, but I shake my head when I see people complaining about gas prices with a \$5.00 cup of Starbucks in their hand.

Unassisted
02-02-2008, 11:25 AM
Get ready it is going to get ugly this summer again. My milk truck driver told me his fuel supplier told him gas will be around \$4 and diesel WILL be over \$4.
Every couple of months for the last few years it seems like some analyst has been predicting that massive increases in fuel prices to some value we've never seen before are coming in the next few months. Rarely have those predictions come true, so I've stopped believing them. Fuel prices seem to be beyond anyone's ability to predict accurately.

OldRightHander
02-02-2008, 11:29 AM
Every couple of months for the last few years it seems like some analyst has been predicting that massive increases in fuel prices to some value we've never seen before are coming in the next few months. Rarely have those predictions come true, so I've stopped believing them. Fuel prices seem to be beyond anyone's ability to predict accurately.

The only thing I can usually predict is that I pay less for diesel whenever I'm in your neck of the woods. That and I can usually find a good steak.

BoxingRed
02-02-2008, 11:56 AM
Not to deprive anyone of buying whatever they want with their money, and gas prices scare and frustrate me as much as anyone, but I shake my head when I see people complaining about gas prices with a \$5.00 cup of Starbucks in their hand.

Not to mention the joke that is bottled water. Tough to get angry about \$4 gas when people are willing to pay more than that for water that most people can get for a few pennies a gallon from a tap.
Supply/demand and marketing.

Dom Heffner
02-02-2008, 12:17 PM
Tough to get angry about \$4 gas when people are willing to pay more than that for water that most people can get for a few pennies a gallon from a tap.

Come down to Tampa sometime and have a drink out of my tap, and you'll see why people purchase bottled water.

It may not be any better for me, but at least it tastes good.

Falls City Beer
02-02-2008, 12:23 PM
But what about those folks whose livelihoods depend on fuel prices? You know, blue collar folks who don't have the big ole honking SUVs, the five dollar Starbucks, and the Perrier?

Sure, for middle/upper middle class folks, times aren't great, but they aren't bad either; for the working class, times are hard. And fuel prices are just one component of that.

I don't disagree that folks can hunker down and make it through difficult straits, but as 919191 pointed out, this goes well beyond just fueling up your own automobile at the pump.

westofyou
02-02-2008, 12:29 PM
this goes well beyond just fueling up your own automobile at the pump.

Heating oil was \$1.15 6 years ago, now it's \$3.09

Now go and fill up my 500 gallon tank.

Falls City Beer
02-02-2008, 12:35 PM
Heating oil was \$1.15 6 years ago, now it's \$3.09

Now go and fill up my 500 gallon tank.

It's really frustrating; one of the hallmarks of capitalism is supposed to be choice, not monopoly. But when alternative fuel source research gets 1 penny of federal money to big oil's getting \$1000 in tax relief, the consumer's just clawing himself out of his grave.

westofyou
02-02-2008, 12:37 PM
It's really frustrating; one of the hallmarks of capitalism is supposed to be choice, not monopoly. But when alternative fuel source research gets 1 penny of federal money to big oil's getting \$1000 in tax relief, the consumer's just clawing himself out of his grave.
Yep... and in the end BIO Diesel is more expensive to buy than Crude

OldRightHander
02-02-2008, 01:00 PM
Yep... and in the end BIO Diesel is more expensive to buy than Crude

I stopped in for fuel in Detroit not long ago and the place only had bio. The stuff was \$3.80 a gallon. I went somewhere else.

BoxingRed
02-02-2008, 01:22 PM
Come down to Tampa sometime and have a drink out of my tap, and you'll see why people purchase bottled water.

It may not be any better for me, but at least it tastes good.

That's why I said most people. Nearly all bottled water comes from municipal sources which almost everyone can get for almost nothing.

macro
02-03-2008, 02:31 AM
But what about those folks whose livelihoods depend on fuel prices? You know, blue collar folks who don't have the big ole honking SUVs, the five dollar Starbucks, and the Perrier?

Sure, for middle/upper middle class folks, times aren't great, but they aren't bad either; for the working class, times are hard. And fuel prices are just one component of that.

I don't disagree that folks can hunker down and make it through difficult straits, but as 919191 pointed out, this goes well beyond just fueling up your own automobile at the pump.

Oh, I don't disagree with you, FCB. My comment was directed mainly at those many who still have LOTS of (dare I say "too much"?) disposable income.

pedro
02-03-2008, 03:14 AM
Yep... and in the end BIO Diesel is more expensive to buy than Crude

I found this interesting

Crop kg oil/ha litres oil/ha lbs oil/acre US gal/acre
corn (maize) 145 172 129 18
cashew nut 148 176 132 19
oats 183 217 163 23
lupine 195 232 175 25
kenaf 230 273 205 29
calendula 256 305 229 33
cotton 273 325 244 35
hemp 305 363 272 39
soybean 375 446 335 48
coffee 386 459 345 49
linseed (flax) 402 478 359 51
hazelnuts 405 482 362 51
euphorbia 440 524 393 56
pumpkin seed 449 534 401 57
coriander 450 536 402 57
mustard seed 481 572 430 61
camelina 490 583 438 62
sesame 585 696 522 74
safflower 655 779 585 83
rice 696 828 622 88
tung oil tree 790 940 705 100
sunflowers 800 952 714 102
cocoa (cacao) 863 1,026 771 110
peanuts 890 1,059 795 113
opium poppy 978 1,163 873 124
rapeseed(Canola) 1,000 1,190 893 127
olives 1,019 1,212 910 129
castor beans 1,188 1,413 1,061 151
pecan nuts 1,505 1,791 1,344 191
jojoba 1,528 1,818 1,365 194
jatropha 1,590 1,892 1,420 202
Brazil nuts 2,010 2,392 1,795 255
coconut 2,260 2,689 2,018 287
oil palm 5,000 5,950 4,465 635
Chinese tallow 5,500 6,545 4,912 699
Algae (actual yield)*
6,894 7,660 6,151 819
Algae (theoretical yield)**
39,916 47,500 35,613 5,000

WebScorpion
02-05-2008, 10:35 AM
This is an interesting discussion and I'm heartened to see it hasn't gone political. :thumbup:

ORH made a comment that I thought was sort of funny in the initial post. He said everyone was driving faster than him except a few 'slow pokes'. To me, that is a part of the problem. Americans are all about their cars, freedom, and speed...we think faster is better and winning the race is more important than how you race. It's just part of the mentality. Have you ever tried to pass someone using cruise control? Most people as you begin passing them will speed up a few MPH, and after you've completely passed them will resume their original speed.

Also, I'm not convinced that the average American really knows how much difference speed makes in their fuel consumption. they hear it, but it doesn't really sink in. For me, I didn't really get it until I got a car that keeps track of my current mileage and average mileage for the current tank of fuel. It's amazing! Not only does slowing down increase my gas mileage, but using cruise control makes a 2-5mpg difference as well. My car is optimized (I think most American cars are) for 55-60mph. That is where I get my best gas mileage. So this slow poke is saving money, fuel, and hopefully making a difference in the planet I live on.

What about all the news reports about people who make a minor adjustment to their diesel engines, buy some filtration gear, and run on recycled deep-fryer oil supplied to them for free? I'm guessing that's not feasible for a big trucking organization, but couldn't a small organization pioneer an agreement with a fast food chain?

I saw that Caddilac is coming out with a Hybrid Escalade. Personally, I find that comical, but I guess every little bit helps. The whole idea of an economical SUV is sort of silly, they're the least aerodynamic vehicles on the road. They're designed to waste fuel. If you just lower the ground clearance to normal levels they'd get a 5-10mpg boost in mileage...but then they'd be minivans and nobody wants to drive those. :eek: I understand that many people actually need the ground clearance and 4WD, but that's probably less than 30% of the SUV owners.

Then there's this little tidbit. Even if all the vehicles ran on solar power and we were all thrilled with their performance, we would still be dependent on the petroleum industry. Plastic is a petroleum product. Try eliminating plastic from your life. ;)

Reds Freak
02-05-2008, 03:35 PM
I saw that Caddilac is coming out with a Hybrid Escalade. Personally, I find that comical, but I guess every little bit helps. The whole idea of an economical SUV is sort of silly, they're the least aerodynamic vehicles on the road. They're designed to waste fuel. If you just lower the ground clearance to normal levels they'd get a 5-10mpg boost in mileage...but then they'd be minivans and nobody wants to drive those. :eek: I understand that many people actually need the ground clearance and 4WD, but that's probably less than 30% of the SUV owners.

Then there's this little tidbit. Even if all the vehicles ran on solar power and we were all thrilled with their performance, we would still be dependent on the petroleum industry. Plastic is a petroleum product. Try eliminating plastic from your life. ;)

While I think the Hybrids are nothing more than a band aid to the problem, I guess it's a good start. However, I hope that folks and city and state officials don't think that cleaner fuel technologies are the only thing that needs to be done and will solve all of our problems. Even if we all have hybrid or hydrogen vehicles it doesn't solve the problem of traffic congestion. I live my life at a slower pace than most folks but I cannot stand traffic, it wastes time, it's unhealthy, I don't have the patience for it, and it's not getting any better. I'm a big proponent of public transportation like light rail, inner city rail, streetcars, etc. It drives me bonkers when our only solutions to traffic congestion consist of expanding highways, it doesn't solve the problem, its twice as expensive as installing and maintaining good public transportation systems, and we lose some of our great land and green space to asphalt. I really hope our cities and country begin to embrace and support public transportation not only for environmental and reducing oil dependence but for the health of our cities and towns...

durl
02-05-2008, 04:21 PM
The way I see it is that we have artificially created the problem. Oil supplies are in good shape but we could have MUCH more if we drilled for it. (The US won't drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico so Cuba will instead...) A more plentiful supply would mean lower prices. And as someone pointed out earlier, there is a refinery shortage. We haven't built a new refinery in the US since the 1970s because of strict environmental regulations and public outcry. People/politicians (sorry...had to use it here) want \$1.50/gallon gas but they don't want the refinery necessary to provide it.

Anyway, we have the potential to meet our oil needs with no problem. The higher prices are what we must endure as long as we continue to stifle supply.

*BaseClogger*
02-05-2008, 04:32 PM
The way I see it is that we have artificially created the problem. Oil supplies are in good shape but we could have MUCH more if we drilled for it. (The US won't drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico so Cuba will instead...) A more plentiful supply would mean lower prices. And as someone pointed out earlier, there is a refinery shortage. We haven't built a new refinery in the US since the 1970s because of strict environmental regulations and public outcry. People/politicians (sorry...had to use it here) want \$1.50/gallon gas but they don't want the refinery necessary to provide it.

Anyway, we have the potential to meet our oil needs with no problem. The higher prices are what we must endure as long as we continue to stifle supply.

great post! :thumbup:

Ltlabner
02-05-2008, 05:42 PM
The 'solution' is likely to be a painfull process. We're transfering from an energy source that has been huge for 50 to 75 years to a serries of great big question marks. It wasn't easy when whale oil went by the wayside and it isn't going to be easy to jump from oil based products to any other source over night.

The solution is also likely to come in the form of many different solutions. Some hybrids here, some hyrdogen there, some ethenol here, some super effeciency gas powered cars there. Hell, all electric might become feasible. Toss in some additional drilling for oil in easily accessed areas for good measure.

Whatever the direction the market takes, there's not likely to be one magic bullet solution at first. There is no such thing as a free lunch and anyone who touts an energy source that claims to have zero environmental impact clearly has little understanding of the physics, chemistry and how energy is converted from one source to another. The trick will be finding a source(s) that has the least impact possible.

Also, for a problem this large the solution is likely to come from a combination of ideas from various sectors. Some governement, some free market, some from education, etc. It's silly (IMO) to say "governement has all the answers" just as it's silly to say that all the answers will come from a university lab. All parties will have an important role to play.

It's a big task, but it can be done. Problem is, are Americans really ready to pay the price to make a switch to another fuel sorce for autos? Frankly, when they freak out over \$1 ATM fees, I'm not so sure they can stomach the real costs of converting a fleet of millions and millions and millions of autos, vans, SUVs, trucks, RV's, motorcycles and tractor-trailers to new energy sources.

paintmered
02-05-2008, 06:33 PM
The way I see it is that we have artificially created the problem. Oil supplies are in good shape but we could have MUCH more if we drilled for it. (The US won't drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico so Cuba will instead...) A more plentiful supply would mean lower prices. And as someone pointed out earlier, there is a refinery shortage. We haven't built a new refinery in the US since the 1970s because of strict environmental regulations and public outcry. People/politicians (sorry...had to use it here) want \$1.50/gallon gas but they don't want the refinery necessary to provide it.

I think the truth is a little more complicated than that. The crude futures price as I type this is \$88.27/barrel. At that price, there's a heck of a lot of money to be made for anyone pumping new oil out of the ground. Politics may be holding up ANWAR drilling, but it's not holding up drilling everywhere else. I contend that oil is becoming increasingly difficult to find, more expensive to find it, and thus less profitable for companies to search for it.

It doesn't matter how much oil is out there, if the oil companies can't make a profit from drilling it, no oil is coming out of the ground.