Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Three Buck Gas

I’m inclined to agree with Maureen Dowd: What’s wrong with three buck gas? Of course I understand that three bucks imposes a real hardship on some folks. If you have been forced to buy or rent a home out in the boonies because local rents and costs have skyrocketed in town, then three buck gas to drive to your entry level job in the city is very bad news indeed.

On the other hand for the rest of us this can be an honest-to-God wake up call. Geez! maybe the Hummer was a mistake after all.

My guess is that more than a few of the big cars I see around Tucson are never driven out of town. It seems to me that we should develop a small car with a 750 cc engine just for urban transportation.

In the mean time, consider what other folks pay for a gallon of gas:

Amsterdam 6.48
Oslo $6.27
Milan $5.96
Copenhagen $5.93
Brussels $5.91
Stockholm $5.80
London $5.79
Frankfurt $5.57
Paris $5.54
Lisbon $5.35
Budapest $4.94
Zagreb $4.81
Dublin $4.78
Geneva $4.74
Madrid $4.55
Tokyo $4.24
Prague $4.19

My “truck” is a motorcycle/sidecar outfit…36 mpg around town. My wife’s motorcycle gets 65 mpg in town. My own scoot gets 47 mpg.Yes, we do have a car, and we do use it…Toyota Corolla..31 mpg, although we use it a lot less and carefully plan our trips.

Maybe we in Tucson should vote for the transportation bonds.


Kralmajales said...
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SonoranDesertRat said...

I ride a motorcycle as well... love the 70mpg. I have a 4.5 mile ride each way to work, so a $9 tank of gas can get me around for almost a month. But I've always realized that gas costs money, even if it was only 89 cents a gallon at one point. So I planned accordingly, and have always bought cars that get good mileage.

My wife drives a small car, and gets good mileage. She is required to use a car on her job by her contract. (She inquired with her boss about using a scooter, and the boss said no can do.) Her work is wherever in the city she has a client (house sitting service) and so she can't exactly choose where she's going to go work. So the $3 a gallon gas is hurting right now, even with good mileage. What annoys me is that a lot of it is because people just couldn't resist getting these gigantic vehicles when gas was cheap. Because people just couldn't make plans to stop at the store while they were on the way to work or home. Because a total lack of urban planning placed people dozens of miles along congested routes from their jobs and with little or no mass transit options. Because workplaces that have the ability to have workers telecommute refuse to allow it. So we consume tons and tons of gas, driving demand up.

Now we're hostage to these prices, and it never had to be this way. While prices are higher in other nations, we live in a country that has its economy and way of life built around cheap oil. We fight wars and enter into defense agreements that endanger our national security so that we can continue to have this cheap oil. The reflex reaction is that the higher oil prices should be a wake up call... but we got our wake up call in 1973. People will drive a bit less; some people will get smaller cars. A few others will actually hop on a bus. But then gas will drop down to $2.30 and people - forgetting that it was once much cheaper - will think it's cheap again, and go back into their old habits.

Oh, and as for a car that's got a little engine and is intended as a commuter - the Smart car would be great if they brought it to the US in some meaningful numbers. It's little - but it is built to run efficiently and survive major impacts.

Art Jacobson said...

I saw lots of Smart Cars in Lisbon. They looked to be the perfect solution, but in order to get them certified in the US they have to pass so many safety rules and regs that the prices baloon up to 15 or 16 grand.

Note to Kral: Hope you enjoyed "your day" yesterday. (grins)


Art Jacobson said...


May 1st should be a special day for the Kral Majales, the King of May. Sorry to blow your cover. (grin)


Kralmajales said...
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George Tuttle said...

If you take a look at the price of gas and add in the inflation factor, the price of petrol should be a little lower than it is now.

There has been one candidate in the CD-8 race that has addressed the issue of the U.S. and oil imports. Jeff Latas has made energy independence a cornerstone of his campaign. I urge you to read his stance on the issue on his website: www.jefflatas.com

It's fortnuate we have an engineer in this race that understands the major complexity of this issue.

Kralmajales said...
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