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It really annoys me how there are so many people in this country that are quick to react to high gas prices, and how they feel "something has to be done about the price of gas!". They all think it's the governments duty to lower the price of gasoline, while they drive around in their hummers and chevy tahoes. I really think people need to wake up, and realize that this is the end of cheap oil! Honestly... I would welcome $4 or $5 a gallon gas prices. Europe has been dealing with prices like these for years, and it has led them to drive smaller, more efficient vehicles. It's time for us Americans to wake up and realize that oil is in fact non-renewable, and we as a society need to be proactive in our own behavior, and not rely on someone else. I commend you, my fellow drivers, for having the forethought and resposibility of buying a fuel efficient vehicle. Long live the Insight driver! :D
 

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foxfire235 said:
I really think people need to wake up, and realize that this is the end of cheap oil! Honestly... I would welcome $4 or $5 a gallon gas prices.
I understand what you are saying but, when you look at the reasons why oil has gone up to high you would see it's not the end of cheap oil. They talk about supply and demand, like they are saving oil for the future. If this were really true then they would put more efforts into new technology to prepare for the future. But as all us already know the oil and auto industry are moving very slowly in this area. There is just no reason why North America should be depending so much of foreign oil. Our past leaders put us in this position. We shouldn't have drive smaller vehicles, more efficient yes but not smaller.
 

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Resist, I'm pretty sure that North America being dependent on foreign oil has a lot to do with our rate & volume of oil consumption here .. and that the consumption rate depends a lot of on the 200million-plus automobile fleet on the road here in North America.

Someone more clever than me could surely make a scatter chart showing vehicle size/weight on one axis and mpg's on the other axis. Plug in the values for enough vehicles, as determined by their real-world fuel consumption, and you'll see a rough curve showing that bigger, heavier vehicles consume more energy to move themselves around. At that point it's just physics .. no amount of engineering will ever make a boxy 8,000lb SUV get 50mpg under real world usage conditions.

That being said, there's a lot that car manufacturers could have been doing for many years to improve the fleet mileage, but somehow didn't.

I'd have to vote with Foxfire on this .. and I think that higher fuel prices are the only thing that will ever bring about the type of energy conservation we desperately need here in North America. And on a personal note, I'd gladly pay a little more at the pump if it means no more SUV deathmobiles bullying everyone else on the roads.

Europe uses less oil now than it did in the 1970s, despite having higher populations and more industry now. They did it by getting more efficient in their usage of the stuff, and there's no reason why we can't do the same.
 

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I second that notion on the bullying SUV drivers. In fact, I will share a story about one such driver concerning my father and his Insight:

My father was at a gas station one day about a month ago and was filling up his blue Insight. At the pump next to him, he noticed a man filling up A Ford Excursion(ouch!!!). He noticed the man staring at the Insight and asked him if he a question about the car. The man sneered at him and said that "people like you driving these cars are the real reason gas prices are going up." My father laughed, told him that the government places no restrictions on what type of vehicle that a person drives (free choice), and then left.

Personally, I think he still had the last laugh.
 

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kmiller7779 said:
The man sneered at him and said that "people like you driving these cars are the real reason gas prices are going up."
The conversation probably did not get this far, but how did he justify this statement? To me, it makes no sense.
 

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$4-$5 a a gallon?.....I'm ready....That's when people will really take notice.
I'll just drive the 4Runner even less than I do now.
 

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Aaron Cake said:
kmiller7779 said:
The man sneered at him and said that "people like you driving these cars are the real reason gas prices are going up."
The conversation probably did not get this far, but how did he justify this statement? To me, it makes no sense.
Its the old conspiracy theory. :/ Much easier to "believe" in than trying to look at the complexities that we've gotten ourselves into. Or "magical" thinking.

And I hope _my_ thinking is not "magical" in my hopes that this thread _STAYS_ as civil and resaonably off topic as it has. We'll not solve the serious energy issues than most of the industrialized world will face this century in here. Better to save that "energy" for the real world.

As the conversation above demonstrates its gonna take a _LOT_ of one-on-one.

Sincerely,
 

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Let's see how this works. We go to Wal-Mart to buy cheap imported goods, fueling record growth in China and India. Labor is cheap in those countries, so they can pay whatever it takes to get oil, as their increased production costs are offset by cheap labor. This drives up the world price of oil. That means it costs more to drive to Wal-Mart to buy cheap imported goods.

A side effect is that American manufacturing jobs are exported to those countries, suppressing wage rates for unskilled and semiskilled labor in the U.S. This puts economic pressure on the least affluent 20% of our population. The rest of the country grumbles and continues to drive economically obsolete gas guzzlers.

My personal view is it will take $8 to 10 a gallon gas to break this habit.
 

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I think you've got the economics reversed there. It's the money from those "exported" jobs that (in part) is making some of people in China and India prosperous enough to afford cars. As for suppressing wages for unskilled labor here, I see fast-food places offering $10/hour for counter help (and not in the classified ads, in big banner ads in their windows). And that's not getting into how it is that so many illegal immigrants can find work, support themselves, and send money home :)

Anyway, I do get so tired of listening to some of my neighbors whining about gas prices, while still hauling a trailer full of dirt bikes and quads out to the desert so they can spend the weekend burning more gas!

And if it's conspiracy theories they want, why blame the oil companies? It's the automakers who should be blamed.
 

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James,

With all due respect, I think my economics is right on. Take an average manufacturing wage of $15.00 per hour with another $5.00 in benefits. We export that $20.00 an hour job to China. Meanwhile, we let into the U.S. 15 million illegals who work for $8-10 an hour or less. If those 15 million folks went away the jobs they currently fill would need a market clearing rate that is much higher. American workers not willing to do difficult jobs for low wages might well do that work for much higher wages.

While automobile ownership in China and India is expanding rapidly from a very small base, the bigger problem is inefficient manufacturing processes, which are being masked by super cheap labor.
 

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I think gas prices have to go up to AT LEAST $5/gal for people to reevaluate their lives and habits. I walk to work, one better than the Insight :) Seriously. Car pool. Plan your errands better. Don't drive a huge gas guzzler. Simple things. How about the expanding sizes of houses? It takes a lot more oil to heat a 5500sq ft house than a 1700sq foot house. The bulk of Americans are hung up on big things- look at their waist lines, the big burgers, big cars, big houses, big motorcycles, etc.

If gas goes up high enough maybe our stinky public transportation system will be forced to improve.
 

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It might not take $8/gallon for usage patterns to change enough to start affecting the demand. That's the $64K question: what's the point at which demand patterns change because of the price, and these things in turn feed back into the price? It might take only $4.50/gallon to force the switch.

Agreed on the waste inherent in the current big-houses big-vehicles supersized-everything meme that's taken over America. I've been trying to find a small house (under 700sf) for years now .. they just don't make them anymore.

The only negative thing said to me by a SUV driver by was one of the ladies at work who drives a Tahoe. We were getting into our cars at the same time and she said the Insight was a toy car. But I get tailgated madly all the time by SUVs .. so maybe if the gas prices get cranked high enough, people will switch to smaller vehicles and then drive them more sensibly. Here's hoping anyway!
 

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I will say the big advertisements on TV right now are for the Honda Fit, the Toyota Camry and Camry hybrid, the TDI, Jetta, and Civic. All small cars. There have been a few SUV ads, but the majority have been smaller cars. Sweeet! :)
 

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Part of my commute is on a 3 lane highway at 55mph, the posted speed limit. Nearly everyone passes me. Perhaps it's time for another "educational" window/bumper sticker:

55mpg at 80mph / 80 mpg at 55 mph :)

Aside from seeing a person on an electric scooter (I passed while on my electric-assist bike the other day), I haven't seen any change in driving behavior. However, we're all no doubt hearing the complaints about the price of gasoline.

'Still seeing lots of TV commercials about "more horsepower".

My opinion is that in the USA, fuel prices alone won't effect change in driving habits. However, I believe fuel shortages (such as those of the early 70's) could have an impact.
 
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