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May 7th, 2001

Gas Prices Give Me Gas

Gas prices continue to rise, making our complaints last year look like childish whining. In fact, prices are the highest (by far) they’ve been in the last decade. While they’re also higher than during the 1981 crisis, when inflation is accounted for, the price in 1981 is equivalent to about $2.76. But, from the looks of it, we may well surpass that this summer, possibly hitting up to $3/gallon. Fortunately my car’s fuel efficiency has been incredible recently (I’ve been getting 30-35 mpg even with stop-and-go driving), but these increases are still pretty painful.

The bright side: at least we can laugh harder at soccer moms that own gas-guzzling SUVs. -ram

Posted in Cars

FROM: Matt
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 3:00:35AM
Yes Ryan, but then those same soccer moms can laugh back at us while sipping Capri Suns



FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 7:49:57AM
And laugh at soccer moms I do. The lowest price I've seen in Chicagoland recently is $1.93/gal for 87. I've been paying $1.95/gal... the very highest I've seen is $2.25 for 93 octane. It's going to be $3/gal very very soon.



FROM: Robert
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 8:43:27AM
To make matters worse, I probably won't be going to Fredericksburg, where gas can be about $.20/gallon cheaper than NoVA, as much as I was before.



FROM: Terry M.
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 8:44:27AM
We can't laugh at soccer moms because whatever extra they will spend on gas, means that they spend that much less on other goods (such as computers). Additionally, it might be incentive for people to drive around less, which means they will shop less. Finally, if the cost to ship goods around the world increases, the prices of goods will increase. In short this is very bad for the economy, and we should all be panicking and losing sleep over this, beyond the negligible impact to our own finances.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 9:09:22AM
So my question now is: who/what do you blame? Placing blame is fun... come on in and join the game...



FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 9:32:09AM
For the soccer moms, I blame in part the marketing folks at the automakers and the soccer moms themselves. Come on, guys, you can't tell me that they need SUVs. Minivans do the same necessary people-moving duties, cost less, and get better gas mileage.

But, of course, minis aren't cool or trendy. The car companies know this, so they try to position them differently. SUVs, on the other hand, are taking the position minis used to - they're the all-purpose vehicle. The gas mileage sucks, but apparently few people care.

I also blame the soccer moms for believing the hype. Tell me why Porsche needs an SUV? Mercedes? Anyone?

Anyway, once gas does hit $3/gallon, I hope that people who made questionable automobile purchases will rethink their motives. Terry brings up a valid point, but I think it's a tad extreme.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 10:39:52AM
Does Porsche really have an SUV? Wow...



FROM: Vinny
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 11:49:05AM
Glad I moved to San Fran and sold the car. Of course, the money I was dumping into the car is more than displaced by the increase in rent (Cleveland vs. SF)... but that's a different story.



FROM: Patrick
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 2:43:31PM
Gas in Fredericksburg is about $1.47-1.50 for 87 and rising a few cents (3-5)a week.



FROM: Terry M.
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 3:17:22PM
Who to place blame for the energy crisis? Unequivocally, I blame the US government for breaking up the Standard Oil monopoly. Had this action not been taken, significant innovation would have been undertaken to develop alternative energy sources. Since the US government mandated that anybody should be able to make money from oil, people simply went into the oil business instead of developing new technologies (which they would have been forced to do, had the Standard Oil monopoly survived).

As far as gas prices go, it's probably a supply and demand issue. The SUV explosion occured in the late '90's when gas was very cheap (sub-$1). With the low price people were not conscious about fuel efficiency, so they didn't mind buying SUV's. Enough people bought them, that it increased demand for fuel, and thus increased prices. If gas reaches $3 a gallon, people will start buying fuel efficient cars, and then demand will decrease, and prices will go back down.

SUV's are a sign of prosperity (thus, they're good). If someone wants to pay $60 a week for fuel, it's OK with me! However, I expect that increased fuel prices will weed out a lot of would-be SUV buyers. They pretty much got a free ride the last few years, but now they'll have to pay.



FROM: Matt
DATE: Monday May 7, 2001 -- 4:06:22PM
I blame the Trilateralist comission and bacially every ruling govt. on the planet Earth. It's all a plan to enslave the masses anyway.



FROM: Tom C
DATE: Friday May 18, 2001 -- 1:21:05PM
I have an Email that's going around asking everyone to Boycott to largest Oil companies, like Mobil, in an effort to drive down the sales of these few companies who hold a large percent of the market. In turn, they would have to lower their prices, and others would follow...anyone else think this is a good idea? I don't know about you, but I have more than just my car ( boat ) that sucks gas as if it was free, and the thought of paying $3/Gal. makes me have gas. ;( In a very bad way



FROM: Robert
DATE: Friday May 18, 2001 -- 2:13:22PM
Tom--Really, a gas hedonist like you doesn't have as much room to complain like the more efficient among us do. If you want to reduce your gas prices, cut down on the number of gas-powered engines you own.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday May 18, 2001 -- 2:39:10PM
Tom -- Any "movement" that starts by e-mail being forwarded (especially calls for boycotts) is bound for failure. True grassroots activism takes a lot more than sending an e-mail.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday May 18, 2001 -- 3:00:48PM
Heh, a co-worker told me about a very similar "movement" last week when the issue of gas prices came up. It went like this: ExxonMobil is evil and does (insert environmentally damaging thing here), so boycott 'em. That way, gas prices will go down.



FROM: Tom C
DATE: Friday May 18, 2001 -- 7:15:25PM
I do own a few Gas Powered Devices, like many of us......But I didn't think that made me a "Gas Hedonist" , but okay....I used to take flack when I drove a Honda Civic. I bought it mainly because it got about 40+ MPG, but it was not "american" and was basically a "Plastic Car". So when necessary I got a new American Made SUV,( smaller one ) It's not a moving Living Room or anything, heck it even has a 6 Cyl and not an big hungry V8....what more can we do?........I also know the "Movement" will take much more than an E-mail or two ( milion ) ......I just think it's wrong for our troubled economy to be further impacted by the "Artificaly" high price of fuel.

I agree with many environmental issues, i.e. - when these looser oil companies use a 100 year old ship to carry oil and leak all over the Galopagos islands, the CEO should have to go out there and use paper towels to clean it up.......then surrender his company for carelessness.



FROM: Terry M.
DATE: Friday May 18, 2001 -- 10:05:50PM
ExxonMobil is one of the most impressive corporations on earth. Last quarter, they made $5 billion in profit, which is more than any other company has ever made in one quarter in the history of mankind. That just demands respect. Anyways, I don't see why boycotting the largest oil companies and patronizing the smallest ones would drive prices down. It's a capacity issue; the largest companies control most of the oil reserves, and the smallest companies do not have the capacity to supply more than just a small portion of the demand.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Saturday May 19, 2001 -- 12:40:41AM
Terry: Last quarter, they made $5 billion in profit, which is more than any other company has ever made in one quarter in the history of mankind. That just demands respect.

No, I don't think that demands anything. Might it bring about respect? Perhaps. It doesn't bring about respect in me; it makes me question how they got so big in the first place, and if they're using that size responsibly. It does make me wonder, it does make my eyes wide. But I don't respect it.



FROM: Logic 3:16
DATE: Sunday October 13, 2002 -- 12:42:14 am
Gas prices aren't as high as we think - it amazes me that a gallon of gas costs far less than a gallon of bottled water. WATER, for pete's sake!



FROM: Marc
DATE: Sunday November 16, 2003 -- 12:36:15 am
In a free economy, which is good, we all must vote with our pocket books. There is a great car that will send a loud message to the SUV producers- the Toyota Prius. I am getting 40+ MPG. We must vote with our pocket books concerning all new tech.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday November 16, 2003 -- 10:14:43 am
I will continue to applaud people who buy a Prius (or an Insight, or a Civic Hybrid) so, Marc, I applaud you.



FROM: jk
DATE: Sunday November 16, 2003 -- 3:38:47 pm
The Honda Insight looks like an ice skate with a cover on it....have you ever seen a skater who wants their skate boots to match their outfit? They stretch these cloth covers over the boot....am I the only one who visualizes this? I do however applaud them for their efforts.

Is it really necessary for VW to have an SUV? I can't even pronounce it....and I think I passed the same one twice today in my travels. There certainly can't be more than one in my county! ha



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday November 16, 2003 -- 4:24:35 pm
THe VW SUV is called the Toureg (Pronounced Tour-REG). I havent seen anyone driving them yet, either. THe only reason I know how to pronounce it is because they advertise on my radio stations, so I read the script quite often.

I still swear the ugliest vehicle alive is the Honda Element. No thank you, I'm not interested in driving a cardboard box with wheels that gets 5 MPG...



FROM: jk
DATE: Sunday November 16, 2003 -- 9:09:06 pm
Thank you for the pronunciation of Toureg. When I had a Passat, people would ask me "How do you like your Passeo?" Speaking of gas mileage, the Passat despite its heavy weight gets great mileage, even in the automatic because it's a 5-speed automatic.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday November 17, 2003 -- 9:27:38 am
You know, Dave, when I first saw the ads for the Honda Element, I thought it was an eco-friendly vehicle. The ads were very granola-crunchy with people in the woods or on the beach, enjoying nature, plus the name... "Element"... it just sounds Greenpeace-y!

Of course, I later learned it has nothing to do with any of that. Instead, it's just an ass-ugly car.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday November 17, 2003 -- 10:40:33 am
jk: Is it really necessary for VW to have an SUV?

This is even less necessary.



FROM: jk
DATE: Monday November 17, 2003 -- 9:41:04 pm
Oh I know, believe me. In my neighborhood of over-achievers, I am known as the "girl who has neither a dog nor an SUV." My nextdoor neighbors work IN the neighborhood, I mean they could literally walk to work, yet have TWO Ford product SUVs. And they park one of them in front of my house almost all the time. It's ok, it makes it look like I'm home AND wealthy.

I am trying so very hard to not make a comment about the Element and Nazis.



FROM: Marcus Mackey
DATE: Tuesday November 18, 2003 -- 8:37:43 am
Terry M. writes

Who to place blame for the energy crisis? Unequivocally, I blame the US government for breaking up the Standard Oil monopoly. Had this action not been taken, significant innovation would have been undertaken to develop alternative energy sources. Since the US government mandated that anybody should be able to make money from oil, people simply went into the oil business instead of developing new technologies (which they would have been forced to do, had the Standard Oil monopoly survived).

The reason Standard Oil was broken up was because they were a monopoly and they violated Federal Trade Commission rulings on how a business is allowed to leverage a monopoly. It has "NOTHING" to do with any source of implication as to the profitability of getting into the oil business. In essence, Standard was broken up into a handful of separate companies with Amoco being the remainder. It's the same thing that happened to Bell Telephone (AT&T as the remainder). I don't blame the government for breaking them up, I blame them for letting them get to that point in the first place via the tactics they used. When you're on equal footing with your competition, under Federal Trade rulings, you're allowed to be as ruthless as you want. Once you become a monopoly, you're expected to not spread Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (F.U.D.) nor are you allowed to leverage your monopoly in unfair tactics by undercutting your competition's line of profit. That is considered illegal, and that's grounds to be disbanded.

The same goes for Microsoft, who was found guilty 2x's in 2 separate trials on the same fashion. The penalty? They were allowed to give $ to education, a field they lack any strength in in comparison to their nearest competitor, and as a result can make inroads on a competitor as a form of penalty. In other words... our government isn't doing us any favors, but in the case of Standard Oil, it was the right decision. They almost did the same to IBM but IBM took the ethical path and restructured themselves and spun off many of their divisions and licensed their technology to open the field for competition.

As far as gas prices go, it's probably a supply and demand issue. The SUV explosion occured in the late '90's when gas was very cheap (sub-$1). With the low price people were not conscious about fuel efficiency, so they didn't mind buying SUV's. Enough people bought them, that it increased demand for fuel, and thus increased prices. If gas reaches $3 a gallon, people will start buying fuel efficient cars, and then demand will decrease, and prices will go back down.

To a degree you're correct, but the SUV craze really started in the mid-90's, not the 80's. The I-H Scout and Travelall were still in production during the 1980's (I know, my dad worked for I-H)... had the boom hit then, International Harvester would still likely be building SUV's. The 1980's were mostly people driving downsized economy cars leftover from the 1970's gas crisis, and underpowered Camaro's and Mustang's and Firebird's that still drank fuel.

The real reason I think most people went to trucks, and SUV's... is that the big 3 quit building cars that appealed to the general public, and when the economic times boomed, they went and spent $ hand over fist to find a vehicle that was iconic with their youth and what they knew, and that was "bigger is better". America has always had a romance for big RWD cars with V8's. With more and more cars being downsized, I-4 or V6 powered, and FWD... many people began opting for SUV's which are a closer appeal to what American's romanticize over, those great big sedans and coupes from the 1950's and 1960's and early 1970's. They're bigger, they're roomy, they have a V8, they have RWD or AWD, and... they have a masochistic sense of "muscle" to them as a result. They're truly the muscle cars of their era (today)... and eventually when our government wakes up from snoozing and starts throwing CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations and taxes on light trucks and makes their lack of mileage count significantly against gas guzzler taxes, will we "FINALLY" see people looking to more fuel efficient cars. That is, of course, if they do that before another gas crisis hits, which... is always a possibility with OPEC. Especially when you start taking over countries in the heart of oil land... I'm sure they'll cut their output as a reaction to that, for fear that they're next.

Hopefully... GM is serious about their goals with Fuel Cell vehicles (they want them on the road in 10 years, and they're gunning to use the power source as their bread and butter [selling to others to use in cars, generators, forklifts, etc.], as much as selling the power source in their "OWN" vehicles). If we can have a cheap, environmentally clean form of propulsion via Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, much to the nature of how hard GM is pushing for it, it could be the thing that cripples the demand for gas powered vehicles and cuts the prices for the few that retain them when a cheaper to run alternative is there. I know personally, with Hydrogen reported to cost less than 1/2-3/4 as much as gas per kilogram in the one article I read, even with less mileage... there's no pollution involved (just produces water in the reaction) and for that cheap... I'd stop more often if necessary if it was that painless. I mean... no emissions? Great! Might cause another muscle car craze with a truly limitless resource that is plentiful, and cheap. I'm all for it!!

SUV's are a sign of prosperity (thus, they're good). If someone wants to pay $60 a week for fuel, it's OK with me! However, I expect that increased fuel prices will weed out a lot of would-be SUV buyers. They pretty much got a free ride the last few years, but now they'll have to pay.

Well that is unless the government makes them pay at the dealership (gas guzzler tax, most light trucks are exempt from), as well as at the pump. The problem is CAFE regulations have been less on industrial and light trucks because there are people that can actually "use" their power and utility, and we don't genuinely wish to penalize them for it. The shame is... for the "few" that could actually use them, it's hit a stage where the majority need to pay, and the "few" that don't or shouldn't have to will suffer. I do agree though, it does need to be included more in the gas guzzler tax. At least light trucks... I can leave semi trucks and other industrial equipment out of this, but SUV's need to be hit... and the crossover mentality needs to stop. I don't care if it's a car driveline with a big motor... don't call it a truck to get away with it. Chrysler was very shrewd with the PT Cruizer in this fashion... they regulated it as a truck in one pretense so it didn't have to pass as stringent a safety requirements, but certified it as a car so it's great mileage would help their bottomline so it boosts the average mileage of their cars so they get hit with less taxes overall for every Viper they sold. That's sort of how CAFE works for each company... the more efficient vehicles you have, the more you can go crazy at the top end with gas guzzlers and not be penalized near as much.



FROM:
DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:19:50 pm



FROM: No Body Knows
DATE: Tuesday April 19, 2005 -- 8:01:54 am
I dont give a care because i dont drive until this summer so stop wining like baby.



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday April 19, 2005 -- 9:30:16 am
I don't think you need gas for your Malibu Barbie Power Wheels, anyways.



FROM: brandee
DATE: Wednesday February 22, 2006 -- 3:33:48 pm
well i spend about 85 dollars on my jeep rubicone



FROM: J.R-Star
DATE: Tuesday May 9, 2006 -- 10:24:45 am
Hmm...I haven't seen anyone touch on the topic of global warming. Gas, the greenhouse effect and the gas prices themselves seem to go hand in hand. Would anyone like to throw some theories out there that they might have?



FROM: Leo
DATE: Sunday May 14, 2006 -- 10:52:05 pm
Yes, well at least those mom's are paying around $3.00 per gallon or lower. I live in Hawaii, so imagine me paying around $3.50 per gallon. I could see those mom's sipping their Caprisun's and feeling sad for me. Now, thats a laugh. ~lol~



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