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  1. #31
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    Sep 2010
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    Whitmore Lake, Michigan
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    930

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    Gas prices = grrrrrrrrrr!

    I drive a car that gets good mileage but it's a poke up the road to visit my family. I can bike to work if the weather cooperates but these gas prices still get my goat!
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  2. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Jacksonville area of NC
    Posts
    847
    I like many others can't commute for work. After the last time gas went up rediculously high I cut out as much driving as possible and have tried to stick to that as best I can. With my work I can do some of my shopping after I'm finished working since I do do some work in grocery stores, drug stores, and dollar stores. So that does help. We just bought a home and are in the process of moving in. I don't think we'll get much out of a graden this year, but are planning on one for next year. I did get my blueberry bushes planted inthe ground instead of keeping them in pots, so hopefully by next summer we'll have some blueberries. We also bought two strawberry bushes (on sale at Lowe's for half price) which are also planted. Hopefully that will be a good start.
    Also I'm considering after we get some debt (credit card) paid off, looking into getting solar pannels installed on our new home. No HOA to worry about, and there are about a dozen homes in the neighborhood with solar pannels.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    Koronin, solar panels are all well and good, but you'll get alot more bang for your buck if you spend your money on really good insulation. Get a blower door test and find a really good insulating contractor who will look at everything and install it properly.

    * * *

    I filled up my little car today for $47. Since I usually fill up once a month or so, it's not a hardship for me, but if I had to do it every few days, I would have a problem.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Jacksonville area of NC
    Posts
    847
    tulip, thanks for the tip. One of my thoughts on the solar panels is that eventually getting an electric car that I can use for around town trips and merchandising and by having solar panels that I won't be paying the electric company to charge my car. (Yes I'm sure it's a crazy idea, but it something I've thought about). The only real problem with that is my trips to Wilmington for work and my once a month route of stores out of town may be a bit too far for an electric car at least at this point. I know the trips to Wilmington are out of range for all electric cars except the Tesla electric sports car that I can't afford anyway. We're talking around 60 miles each way, plus whatever driving I have to do there and the electric cars are way too small (no storage space) for everything I'd need to lug with me. But for my regular jobs they could definitely work.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Big City
    Posts
    444
    I have mixed feelings about the rise in gas prices. My father is an engineer for a large oil company and rising prices means he keeps his job (or his benefits once he retires). In three weeks I'm moving to a town that is heavily dependent on oil for its economy - so right now it's booming so bad there's a housing shortage. So really, so far in my life, rising gas and oil prices have always signaled better times for me and my family.

    One thing I have noticed is that many whom have commented so far on this thread that commute to work frequently or run errands on their bikes with regularity, live in a place where the climate can support that kind of thing. Where I am moving it's already averaging temperature in the upper 90s and they've even had a day that was 102 (admittedly, my whole state is literally on fire right now, so that doesn't help). Where I am now it's in the low 90s to upper 80s but the humidity is typically 90%+. My new town is the dry desert (thank goodness). Even so, I will live ~3 miles from my job and I am hesitant about commuting. I can't even do it here. It's not because of traffic and it's not because there are unsafe routes, but rather it's so hot here that I would be a sweaty, disgusting mess when I arrived. And I work with people all day in a highly professional setting, so this would not be okay (and no shower option at work). So I typically drive the very short distance to work and to all my errands close by because I simply cannot live without a/c! I am so glad that I am fortunate enough that I will have a career that pays better than average and I will be able to support my love of hot weather and still afford the fuel I need to stay comfortable.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,101
    westtexas, I understand the weather issues, as I used to live in AZ. And now that I live in a 4 season climate, I don't ride once the snow is on the ground. But, a lot of people do. Everyone has different tolerance for riding in weather. But, you can commute without showers, if you want to. I did, and I also was expected to look "professional" on the job. It just takes planning. I would bring all of my clothes to work for the 2 days I commuted on Monday. I had all of my hygiene supplies at work. I took a shower before leaving and rode slower than usual (heck, it was 5:45 in the AM). When I got to work, I would check email and get my stuff out while I cooled down. Then, I would go into the rest room, wash my face and totally wet my hair, which is very short. The important parts would get washed with either a facecloth and soap, or a bath cloth, which is like a giant baby wipe and is heated in the microwave. Then I would get dressed, put gel in my hair and do my make up. I don't think anyone would say I looked unprofessional.
    I also think there's much more of a car culture in the sun belt states. People tend to live far away from services and don't walk anywhere. When I first graduated from college, I lived near downtown Tempe; I used to ride my bike to do errands and walk places, despite the temperatures. I did it early in the AM or evening. And that was when no one rode bikes anywhere!
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  7. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Blessed to be all over the place!
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    3,434
    Westtexas, you shouldn't feel a need to apologize or explain. In fact, that's why many cities and employers are moving toward installation of commuter hubs with showers, lockers, etc.

    But, consider how hot your car is when you get in it. When i lived in Memphis, i would be a hot sweaty mess before the A/C cooled off in my 200 degree car. While i wouldn't be sweaty when i arrived, i often smelled like I was ... And everyone else did too

    When I think of commuting, I think in the same context as a roadie...fast, hot, sweaty, dirty, etc...Commuters don't necessarily think that way...

    Having said all this, I haven't worked out a way to consistently commute yet, but I think I'm close and it still involves me working in my characteristic grey suit, starched shirts, and stripped ties

    ETA: high prices are ultimately a win/win: high prices bring stable employment to the oil economy, but also enhance the viability of alternatives. If we look at this in terms of decades, I do believe high prices are ultimately beneficial even if the short term pain is extreme in the transition...
    Last edited by Mr. Bloom; 04-22-2011 at 04:25 AM.
    If you don't grow where you're planted, you'll never BLOOM - Will Rogers

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Wilts, UK
    Posts
    903
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bloom View Post
    ETA: high prices are ultimately a win/win: high prices bring stable employment to the oil economy, but also enhance the viability of alternatives. If we look at this in terms of decades, I do believe high prices are ultimately beneficial even if the short term pain is extreme in the transition...
    I agree completely that higher prices enhance the viability of alternatives. I think the point about bringing stable employment to the oil economy is good if you are in a region or industry directly related to oil. What we are seeing in the bulk of the UK however is the situation where families are spending more on fuel than on food. I think something over 60% of what we pay for every litre goes directly to the Treasury in taxes, so the govenment is certainly not losing out, despite its notional drops in duty. As oil prices continue to rise we are looking downstream at higher public transport fares, and are already seeing higher prices for both food and non-food items - those that are derived from oil are costing more to make, and they are all costing more to transport. In the midst of joblosses, pay-freezes and ongoing austerity measures it is sadly difficult to see higher oil prices as an entirely good thing. Much as I enjoy seeing literally scores more cyclists on the road as both petrol prices and temperatures climb.

    This thread has been both interesting and educating. I'd never have known that US fuel was so much cheaper because of tax dollar subsidies.
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  9. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
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    5,672
    Quote Originally Posted by hebe View Post
    This thread has been both interesting and educating. I'd never have known that US fuel was so much cheaper because of tax dollar subsidies.
    Sorry if what I said was misleading; all I know is that gas companies do get very large tax breaks and subsidies from the US gov't. Whether that is actually why the cost of gas is lower in the US than in the rest of the world, I have nary a clue.

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  10. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Blessed to be all over the place!
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    Quote Originally Posted by hebe View Post
    I'd never have known that US fuel was so much cheaper because of tax dollar subsidies.
    Contrary to what some have implied (but not supported), this is not true. There are no subsidies to oil any different from other businesses in the US or elsewhere under standard accounting rules and normal standards of determining taxable income. Example: some say it's a subsidy to allow an oil company to expense their exploration costs (thereby reducing their taxable income)...but they don't make that same argument saying a technology company is subsidized when they expense their R & D. In the same way, allowing an oil company to use a highway built for the general welfare and use of others is not a subsidy...but some wrongly argue it is.

    Differences in gas prices in different countries are more heavily influenced by taxes, refining capacity, distribution network, and shipping costs.

    Eta: I was typing while jobob was posting...I appreciate her clarification
    If you don't grow where you're planted, you'll never BLOOM - Will Rogers

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Big City
    Posts
    444
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bloom View Post
    Contrary to what some have implied (but not supported), this is not true. There are no subsidies to oil any different from other businesses in the US or elsewhere under standard accounting rules and normal standards of determining taxable income. Example: some say it's a subsidy to allow an oil company to expense their exploration costs (thereby reducing their taxable income)...but they don't make that same argument saying a technology company is subsidized when they expense their R & D. In the same way, allowing an oil company to use a highway built for the general welfare and use of others is not a subsidy...but some wrongly argue it is.

    Differences in gas prices in different countries are more heavily influenced by taxes, refining capacity, distribution network, and shipping costs.

    Eta: I was typing while jobob was posting...I appreciate her clarification
    In addition to this, we must all remember that the oil companies we routinely buy gasoline from in the US (Shell, Exxon, Chevron, etc.) control a VERY small portion of the world's oil supply. They have very little influence over the final end dollar amount of a barrel of oil and thus our prices at the pump.

    I remember a few years ago when prices rose a dollar in a few weeks and everyone was talking about the prices like we are now. On Facebook, there was a huge "group" that claimed we should boycott all Exxon stations for one day to make them lower the prices. My father told me that Exxon (one of the largest companies) controls about 3% of the world share of oil and that boycotting their company (or even all the major companies in the US) would effectively do nothing.

    It's just interesting to think about how small the consumer is in all of this.

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,981
    Quote Originally Posted by westtexas View Post
    I have mixed feelings about the rise in gas prices. My father is an engineer for a large oil company and rising prices means he keeps his job (or his benefits once he retires). In three weeks I'm moving to a town that is heavily dependent on oil for its economy - so right now it's booming so bad there's a housing shortage. So really, so far in my life, rising gas and oil prices have always signaled better times for me and my family.

    One thing I have noticed is that many whom have commented so far on this thread that commute to work frequently or run errands on their bikes with regularity, live in a place where the climate can support that kind of thing. Where I am moving it's already averaging temperature in the upper 90s and they've even had a day that was 102 (admittedly, my whole state is literally on fire right now, so that doesn't help). Where I am now it's in the low 90s to upper 80s but the humidity is typically 90%+. My new town is the dry desert (thank goodness). Even so, I will live ~3 miles from my job and I am hesitant about commuting. I can't even do it here. It's not because of traffic and it's not because there are unsafe routes, but rather it's so hot here that I would be a sweaty, disgusting mess when I arrived. And I work with people all day in a highly professional setting, so this would not be okay (and no shower option at work). So I typically drive the very short distance to work and to all my errands close by because I simply cannot live without a/c! I am so glad that I am fortunate enough that I will have a career that pays better than average and I will be able to support my love of hot weather and still afford the fuel I need to stay comfortable.
    Westtexas I cycle-commuted round trip 30 kms. when I lived in Toroonto during spring to fall. Including the summers that do often go up to 85-90 degrees F with at least 90-100% humidity (and with smog). I started off cycling to work shortly after 6:00 am.

    There were no showers at work. But I arrived at work nearly 1 hr. early which gave me lots of time to change, etc. and relax with my coffee before starting work.

    I know it sounds initially difficult, but now I've become an early morning person for the past 15 yrs. It helps me for my present job, because I want to start and do start work at 7:30 am and get off work at 4:00pm. It's wonderful.

    As for the oil industry: my partner is long time cycling advocate for Toronto (when he was working for a national oil company for whole of his career before retirement) and now for Vancouver. He still believes oil prices must be placed higher to force people to understand to conserve their resources and choose viable transportation that isn't heavily oil-dependent. Petroleum is useful for making ..plastics. So, not all terrible.

    His career gave him a strong negotiating skills to transfer well for cycling advocacy..and how to deal with corporate world for funding, engineering firms, engineering mindsets to redirect some funds and rethinking for cycling infrastructure. This is how I reconciled it when he was still working for the oil firm. (He did have to support 2 children, so it wasn't just easy to leave based on principles.)

    Over the years, I have heard enough about the inner world at senior management of oil firms and the games they play: they don't care. They really don't care..it's just the profit, protection of their jobs and careers.

    And now working in Alberta where the oil firms and energy companies rule the economy (locally and nationally), it requires strong backbone of government bureaucrats to hold their ground on oil firms asking for concessions, rights, etc. I hear of this in my job ...daily. If you knew the games that were played out, it's not pretty.

    So a life that is abit less car dependent ..makes you healthier and 1 less chainlink on oil dependent economy. (and I may add, a big cause of war..in the Middle East. It's pretty awful to hear people who work in the oil industry who are aware of he power grab for oil ..in the Middle East.)
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
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  13. #43
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,981
    I cannot comment on gas prices since I haven't lived in a household with a car, for over last 25 years.

    I am truly ignorant in this area.

    I only know about fuel..in terms of home heating.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  14. #44
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,636
    There was a story on ABC news tonight that some of you may have seen. It indicated that an event (like a hurricane or a small glitch in the supply chain) could cause gas prices to rise to $6/gallon this summer in the US.

    The piece also featured the Nissan Leaf. A man who bought one in January only spends $15/mo in extra electricity to power it. Very cool. Would work for most people's commutes, and they also stated that eventually "quick charge" stations would be available to allow people to get more of a range out of these vehicles.

    Interesting report.
    Emily

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  15. #45
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    Dec 2006
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    Yeah, that's where refining capacity comes in. If a hurricane took out a port or refining facility, it is the same as putting a pinch on the pipeline coming into the US.

    Then, the businesses who MUST have fuel to operate (airlines, truckers, etc), immediately go into the commodity market and buy futures to lock in price/supply into the future. A rush of demand fom nervous buyers + reduced supply = higher prices for all. It's not the oil companies raising prices, it's the panic buying to assure critical supply.

    Refineries are HUGE investments with long term payback. Since the supply of oil is finite, no one is willing to invest in building more capacity...so, the supply pipeline will remain fixed and, short of a precipitous decline in demand, prices will remain much higher than historical averages...
    If you don't grow where you're planted, you'll never BLOOM - Will Rogers

 

 

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