Dancers Anonymous > The Gas Crunch Has Begun

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by Larinda McRaven, May 13, 2008.

  1. chado

    chado New Member

    $170 to fill up my truck this morning. I just bought the truck a few months ago, can't say I enjoy paying that much for gas...but I enjoy having the truck more than not. I'm self employed and it really helps to have a truck. My next vehicle will probably be a truck as well.

    That said I just put my motorcycle back on the road after not riding at all last year...$13 to fill it :) I'm going to try and ride that whenever it's just me getting myself around with my laptop(s) and not any equipment.

    It's funny because when I bought the truck (2008 F-150 FX2 SCAB) it was a toss up between it and a smart car...I got some awfully funny looks when talking to the sales people comparing them...utility won out in the end though.
     
  2. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I always thought smart car should offer trucks under their easy short term rental scheme. Of course now that I'm dancing and doing the occasional sewing project rather than hammering metal into musical instruments, it's less of an issue.
     
  3. chado

    chado New Member

    The rental thing would be interesting...I don't 'need' the truck everyday, but the days I do it really is terrible not having it. Especially when I wake up not thinking I'm going to 'need' it and then being on site and not having any issues...because I do.

    If I was in a position to have two cars I'd pick one up to compliment my truck...but I'm not...so I won't ;)

    The new bluetec jetta looks interesting as well, if circumstances change and I decide to buy a second company car then it will be between the smart car and the bluetec vw for sure.
     
  4. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I agree that it's unlikely to result in a substantial increase in public transportation use. Many American cities are so spread out that it's difficult or impossible to make public transportation more efficient than automobile transport. I also think physically smaller cars are questionable, though I'd like to see them. One issue there is that it would take a significant relaxation in safety standards to let cars get much smaller, barring single person cars.

    I would note, though, that the Arab Oil Embargo did result in a permanent increase in fuel efficiency for automobiles of the same size. I'm hopeful that the current price increase will do something similar. In particular, I think that in ten years, new nonhybrid automobile designs will be the exception rather than the rule.

    It's also true that the inflation adusted price increase during the embargo was temporary. Peak oil may make the current increase more permanent. There will be a lot of ups and downs, though. The peak will be quite broad; it will last for a couple of decades at least before we get to the really difficult decline stage.
     
  5. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    One thing I found interesting yesterday is that the disparity between on-land gasoline and marine fuel has decreased. Used to be, it was about $1 to $1.50 more per gallon for marine fuel, now it's only about $.50 more per gallon. Interesting...

    Could definitely tell, though, that gas prices are hitting people hard. There was almost no one out on the water yesterday, despite it being an absolutely gorgeous and perfect day for boating. It was kind of bizarre with that few people out.
     
  7. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    We might say a substantial increase in ridership, but not a substantial increase in use.

    In other words, the systems that exist are seeing a lot more utilization. The systems that don't exist aren't being built yet, though there's perhaps starting to be more talk about the idea of building one sometime.
     
  8. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I consider a 4% year over year increase, such as Joe's article mentions, to be "substantial". I agree that I'm looking at this mostly from the standpoint of the overall commuting picture - a 4% increase in public transport use in the DC area probably corresponds to less than a 1% decrease in automobile use.

    I also think that, while today's gasoline prices increase the cost of operating a current generation automobile, in the long run, adoption and development of hybrid and battery technologies will make automobiles more fuel efficient, bringing fuel costs right back to where they are today. Laura's Insight already gets twice the mileage of my comparably sized S2000. It would probably take another doubling of real gasoline prices to substantially change the average person's habits.

    I note that while Joe's article does open with a mention of a 10% increase in the first quarter, given that April was only 4% higher than a year earlier, the first quarter increase does not seem to be a long term effect. I think it's likely it was only seasonal variation - especially if the baseline was December, when mass transit use might be expected to be depressed due to vacations and such.
     
  9. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Factor in the largest fare hike in Metro history...
     
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    And the fact that, AFAIK, Metro was close to capacity to begin with, and they're equipment and system is badly in need of repair...
     
  11. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    A huge number of abandoned RR right of ways have been converted to other uses like bike trails. Trying to reacquire the land is going to be ridiculously expensive if not impossible. The freight RRs are seeing huge traffic increases and even though they're expanding capacity, they are not thinking in terms of passenger / commuter service.

    I'll wager it's going to take road gridlock and / or incredibly high gas prices to get things out of the blue skies planning stages.
     
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    gosh darnit!. Can't go back and edit my post. Um..."their" instead of "they're." Ah, the dangers of rewording several times and not keeping track of things. Moo-moo.
     
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I was never really comfortable with the rail trails idea for precisely that reason. Or at least, I thought it should be done in a way that preserved the possibility of going back.

    It may well be true that a lot of the converted trackage is not of interest for moving people, having been there as local spurs to serve industry that no longer exists rather than as mainline. On the other hand, some of those area are getting residential development that maybe could benefit from light rail.

    I tend to be very anti-bus and pro-rail, but perhaps irrationally. I just tend to feel like by the time I've bothered to adapt myself to waiting for something and going where it goes, I want to be immune to traffic congestion. I've often felt that if I just walked rather than waiting for the bus, it wouldn't pass me until I was within site of where I was going anyway. Of course, that's not as ready on option on longer trips, or trying to get out of the city in the middle of the night, or when it's raining hard.
     
  14. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    On at least two occasions, I've walked down Michigan Avenue during rush hour and been faster walking than a CTA 157 bus I was pacing. Once they got to a less congested east-west street and turned off, they were gone but the first 10 blocks was like the opening of the movie "Office Space".
     
  15. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    Yeah my two anecdotes (singular form of data, right ;) )
    1) For summer jobs while in college, I had a 20 mile commute. There was a shuttle one could take on the even hours leaving where I live, on the odd hours coming back. During rush hour, I could easily beat the bus on my bike. During mid-day of course the bus could win.

    2) The central office for my employer is just over 2 miles from my house. It takes about 25 minutes to walk. The bus runs every 10, and takes about 15... So if I walk out my door, and can't see a bus coming, I commit to walking. In about 3 months of collecting data I was passed 25% of the time by one bus, 5% of the time by two. And I beat the bus 70%.... pretty good odds, for a decent length bus ride.
     
  16. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Not just boats. Riding lawn mowers too. My mom waits an extra few days between each mowing now because it takes her about 3 gallons to mow each time.
     
  17. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I wait (more than) an extra few days just because I'm lazy. :D
     
  18. tj

    tj New Member

    Interesting. Apparently there was some sort of 500 mile road test comparing the Prius to a diesel BMW over in Europe, and the BMW had a higher MPG. I guess the Prius only gets it's fuel savings when you're in a lot of <40 MPH traffic conditions?
     
  19. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Plus BMW is engineering their engines so they can be easily converted to hydrogen as fuel if it ever comes to that. Solar cells => electricity + water => hydrogen. But is it really cost effective?
     
  20. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Considering that the Prius cuts over to 100% electric drive when its speed drops below 35, I'd say the Prius is optimized for sub-40mph traffic conditions.
     

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