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Gas Prices -

By BackSlash in Op-Ed
Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 07:47:56 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

This week, gas prices rose by an average of 13 cents, the largest 2-week gain ever recorded by the Lundberg Survey who has been recording gas prices for over 60 years.

Why the sudden jump?

Is the American public being fleeced? Or is it those OPEC bastards again?

The official Summer Season is only 30 days away, but the Summer Driving Season is already here.

But looking at the gas prices, you'd think it was August!

April 6, the Department of Energy released its report concerning what it believed gasoline prices would be this summer.

"Retail gasoline prices are expected to average $1.49 per gallon, slightly lower than last summer's average of $1.53 per gallon, but still above the previous (current-dollar) record summer average of $1.35 per gallon", the report states.

Obviously, the DoE got it wrong.

As of 04/23 the US average was $1.619. On 04/02 the Average was $1.442. A difference of 17.7 cents! Compare this to the average on Memorial Day weekend, 1998. Any guesses? $1.108! Oh, but we were much simpler then. 04/26/99 - $1.166!

So, who is getting our summer money? Apu the 7-11 owner? The government? Distributors? Refineries? The Arabs?

The DoE has put together this primer on gas prices, in an attempt to explain whose pockets we're lining.

According to our friends at the DoE, in February 43% of the cost of gasoline is the cost of crude oil. The rest is made up of taxes, Distribution, and Refining costs.

Crude oil is $27.58 per barrel.

If 43% of x = 27.58 then x = $64.14

If there are 50 gallons in 1 barrel, then according to this, gasoline should be around $1.28 per gallon!

Obviously Apu isn't making $0.339 per gallon... or OPEC is only making 34%.

The price difference, explains the industry, is a simple case of supply and demand. There was a sudden increase in demand that was not matched with an increase in supply. I wonder how something can be sudden when it happens every summer?

Oh wait! It's those bastards in OPEC. They keep screwing with the crude oil prices. This crude oil forecast, however, paints a stable, and affordable future.

For the week ending 04/13, the DoE says the US produced 8,477,000 barrels of finished gasoline per day.

Summer of 2000 saw a demand of 8,539,000 barrels per day, and the DoE expects a modest increase of 0.6% or 8,593,000 barrels per day. This, of course, leaves us with a deficit of 53,000 barrels per day (1.01 %).

Add in 217,000 barrels imported per day, and you've got a surplus of 164,000 barrels going into the reserve every day.

Who do we import our "foreign" gasoline from? ALL our imported gas comes from our allies - Canada, Venezuela (an OPEC Founding Member), and Western Europe.

Gasoline stocks or inventories are presently at 192.8 million barrels. That is enough fuel for 9.966 years if production keeps going, or 22.43 days, if all gasoline production stops. Keep in mind, these are Industry stocks, and doesn't include government reserves.

The DoE calls this `low inventory compared to normal'.

Where's the decrease in supply? The 80,000 barrels that used to come out of the aging Blue Island, Illinois refinery?

Things get a bit complicated, thanks to government regulation. In 1995, the Clinton Administration passed regulations requiring additives to be mixed with the gasoline to reduce pollution and smog. In 2000, we ran out of additives. Refineries goofed. "There was such a small margin between production and demand; there wasn't much room for error." - Except for those 192.8 million barrels. Not to worry, says the DoE. They're learning.

Keep in mind that Exxon-Mobil is this year's Fortune 500 champ.

Petroleum Refining, Pipelines, and Drilling all were in the Top 10 of Fortune's Growth in Profits (5 Years) list.

Even more damning is the Growth in Profits (1 Year) List.

Mining, Crude Oil Production - 473.8%

Petroleum Refining - 148.0%

Pipelines - 73.2% - 1,2 and 3 respectively

473.8%!!! In one year!

Exxon-Mobil made $210,392 million dollars last year. Not bad for someone still "learning."

By the way, Big Oil donated $2,857,848 to the Bush campaign, as opposed to $301,075 to Al Gore. The future keeps looking brighter and brighter.

So, what's the solution? Are we being fleeced? Yes. Is it Apu the Gas Station Owner? No. Is it the evil Arabs? Not this time.

So what do we do about it? Drive-off and hurt Apu? Go to war and kill all the Arabs? Write your bought-off congressman?

The oil industry has it made. They have an in-elastic product, politicians in their pockets, a foreign `bad-guy', and are totally inaccessible from the Teeming Millions. I'm going to keep driving my car and blame Apu and the Arab sheiks for my $25 fill-up.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Who's to blame for the gas price hike?
o Big Oil - Those greedy bastards 35%
o OPEC - Never did trust 'em! 11%
o Apu the Gas Station Guy - $1.99 for a Mtn. Dew? WTF! 5%
o Bush - for taking Oil's money 23%
o CmdrTaco - For running the Exxon-Valdez of weblogs 25%

Votes: 80
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Department of Energy
o $1.619
o primer on gas prices
o 43% of the cost of gasoline is the cost of crude oil
o Also by BackSlash

Display: Sort:
Gas Prices - | 138 comments (111 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
Not elastic...but getting bendy (3.33 / 6) (#2)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:19:58 PM EST

1) I've started working at home. My commuting car was easily half and probably more like 3/4 our gas bill.

2) My wife saw our electric bill this month and said to me "maybe that solar stuff you were talking about wasn't so crazy".

3) If my aging '87 Camry can hold out long enough, I plan to move the '96 Corolla down to second place and make the primary car an HEV (hybrid electric vehicle). Toyota (I think it was Toyota) is releasing an HEV minivan in Japan this year. Hopefully I can get one next year.

The times, they are a-changin'....

"It's like these people think that being really, really sad is a suitable substitute for being right." Tycho Brahe

Electricity and Natural Gas (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by paulT on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:50:37 PM EST

With natural gas becoming more and more prominent in the generation of electricity I wouldn't count on a HEV cutting your costs much. I would do some research on how much electricity per mile the car will use and what you can expect that to cost you.

Personally I have a car but I do my best to keep it parked as much as possible. I ride my bike or take public transit for most of my transportation. It's cheaper and cleaner than even an electric car.

[ Parent ]
That's why he said *H*EV (none / 0) (#50)
by physicsgod on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 06:57:10 PM EST

An HEV isn't an electric car, it's a super-efficient gas engine strapped to a generator that powers your wheels. You fill it up at the pump like a normal car, you just do every 500-600 miles or so. Natural gas doesn't play into it. BTW I'd really like to see you get 30 miles in an arbitrary half-hour on a bike or on public transit.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Heh. Do your math (none / 0) (#54)
by dieman on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:11:41 PM EST

Lesse, take 30-40 people on a average rush hour express bus, multiply that by the amount of 1-person-cars that takes out, and then look at how much gas (diesel) the bus uses?

What, not funny anymore?
[ Parent ]
Why I prefer my car to the bus (none / 0) (#60)
by physicsgod on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:25:38 PM EST

sure, the bus generates less pollution and keeps the streets from congesting, but where I live if I'm five minutes late out of my door I end up being a half-hour late to class; whereas if I used my car I'd be five minutes late. I still use the bus, but public transit is far from an ideal method of transportation.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
30 miles? (none / 0) (#76)
by paulT on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 01:35:53 PM EST

Fair enough on the HEV.

I don't remember ever saying anything about going 30 miles on a bike. If you live that far from where you work, by all means drive. I live a 20 minute bike ride from work that during rush hour takes at least 40 minutes to drive. I'll stick to my bike.

[ Parent ]
That's why I picked it (none / 0) (#77)
by physicsgod on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 03:38:06 PM EST

I wanted to demonstrate that there are certain situations where mass transit and bicycling are just not feasable. Glad to see you're not one of those nuts who think a 100 mile ride in the snow with a headwind is a "plesant jaunt" ;)

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Mmmmm, snow (none / 0) (#79)
by paulT on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 03:52:35 PM EST

Glad to see you're not one of those nuts who think a 100 mile ride in the snow with a headwind is a "plesant jaunt" ;)

That would be my wife. :)
However, while she winter rides she recognizes that it is not for everyone.

As for commuting. Everyone needs to evaluate what is the best way for them to get to where they're going.

For example if I lived 30 miles from work but there was a commuter train that could get me there I'd be on it, it'd be faster than driving through rush traffic. By the same token, I bought my first car when transit could not deliver me to work in a reasonable amount of time. It's all about what's reasonable for your situation.

[ Parent ]
Reality (4.50 / 6) (#3)
by finkployd on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:23:33 PM EST

Adjusting for inflation, gas prices are insanly LOW. They have not gone up the way one would expect. Also, I don't know about other states, but in PA roughly $0.50 of every gallon of gas goes to state and federal taxes. Combine that with the tightening environmental regulations that have forced every small filling station near where I live out of business (all that's left is sheetz, exxon, and bp), you have the makings for a heafty rise in gas prices.

Not to mention the high cost of getting the gas to the US. Those tankers aren't cheap and they keep sinking.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
Exactly. (3.75 / 4) (#7)
by error 404 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:29:24 PM EST

When I started driving back in the 1970's, the oil embargo was driving the price of gas to about US$1/gallon.

Now, nearly 30 years later, it is close to double - how many things have been that close to immune to inflation?

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Reality Part Deux (5.00 / 3) (#8)
by BackSlash on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:29:31 PM EST

Adjusting for inflation, gas prices prior to 1998 were low. And we still haven't hit the all-time record summer average ($2.50 2000-dollars in 1980).

But you can't tell me that a $0.30+ jump these last 2 years is because of inflation!

[ Parent ]
Close (none / 0) (#58)
by Devil Ducky on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:13:33 PM EST

The gas stations in your area are:
  • Sheetz
  • BP
  • Exxon
  • Sunoco
  • Amoco
    But you were close. :)
    And I don't even buy that much gas.

    Devil Ducky

    Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
    Day trading at it's Funnest
    [ Parent ]
  • Other area (none / 0) (#75)
    by finkployd on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 11:34:49 AM EST

    I was thinking of my hometown, not State College. I haven't been here long enough to see what small time gas stations have gone out of business. :)

    Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
    [ Parent ]
    Market forces will correct this (3.00 / 4) (#4)
    by weirdling on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:24:45 PM EST

    No industry can long make the kind of profits the oil companies are now making. However, let's remember that it wasn't long ago when Exxon was facing bankruptcy, so let's let them have their day in the sun. Sooner or later, some other company will step in and undercut them, and their margins will get back to the razor-sharp margins of yesteryear...

    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    Well, there is one way (3.00 / 2) (#11)
    by error 404 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:41:20 PM EST

    But I refuse to badmouth the guy we are pretending is the President.
    Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
    - Donovan

    [ Parent ]
    1 gallon crude != 1 gallon gasoline (4.57 / 7) (#5)
    by WinPimp2K on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:26:35 PM EST

    The last time I checked, crude oil is refined into a variety of products. I'm pretty sure this means that it takes somewhat more than a gallon of crude to make a gallon of go-juice for my 20 ton SUV. Of course, if prices stay at higher levels, we may just start looking seriously for some alternatives. Not that I expect the search to be financed with BUSH tax dollars...(miaow)
    Now before you Eurpoean blokes start feeling too smug about this, ask yourself how much of your governments revenues are coming from your higher go-juice taxes.

    Crude >= Lots of stuff (4.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Devil Ducky on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:22:48 PM EST

    Crude oil is used to make a lot of things.
  • Gasoline
  • Motor Oil
  • WD40
  • Napalm (but the U.S. doesn't make this anymore *WINK* *WINK*)
  • Styrofoam containers
  • Many plastics
  • Spam (the meat stuff and the e-mail)
  • Plastics, Plastics, Plastics!!!

    But, as far as I know only two of these items are made by oil companies. Motor Oil and Gasoline (duh!). Most of Big Oil's crude goes to gasoline but a certain amount of it is made into Motor Oil.

    It was also not considered how much of the output is made with recycled motor oil, the oil is cleaned and then mixed with the crude before refining. And in case you're wondering there is a lot of recycled motor oil, though much of it goes back directly back into cars, ask that 15 minute place where they get their "generic motor oil" I dare you.

    Why do I know so much about this? Maybe I don't...

    Devil Ducky

    Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
    Day trading at it's Funnest
    [ Parent ]
  • Qestion (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Nyarlathotep on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:33:43 PM EST

    Dose producing gas reduce the ammount of plastic and motor oil we can produce? I have always assumed that plastics were made from the "trash" that the oil companies throw away, but I don't know where that idea came from.

    Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
    [ Parent ]
    Not really (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Devil Ducky on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 12:07:49 AM EST

    Many plastics are recycled too, and like you said much of it is wasted refined oil. But I guess if we made a lot more gas then there wouldn't be enough oil to make plastic.

    Supply and demand won't really let that happen though. If they made that much gas, then gas prices would crash while plastic prices rose, thus the oil would get diverted back to plastics.

    Devil Ducky

    Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
    Day trading at it's Funnest
    [ Parent ]
    Yes/No (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Nyarlathotep on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 05:22:24 AM EST

    No, the supply and demand issue is irrelevent since oil is a non-renuable resource, i.e. we can depleat all out oil making gas now and not have plastics later, but I doubt that this would really be a serious problems since:

    a) plastics may require less oil / we don't need *that* much plastic, so we might still have plenty of oil for plastic coming out of "dry" wells.

    b) there are alternatives to plastic.


    Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
    [ Parent ]
    Cyclical Industry (3.40 / 5) (#9)
    by Bad Harmony on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:36:23 PM EST

    A friend of mine has relatives that work in the oil industry. From what he has told me, they are usually in one of two conditions, making big bucks with lots of overtime, or laid off for an extended period of time. Over the long run, it averages out to a comfortable, if modest, living.

    Exxon's profits are roughly 10% of sales, which doesn't seem outrageous.

    5440' or Fight!

    Natural Gas Prices (4.33 / 6) (#10)
    by paulT on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:38:45 PM EST

    OPEC has no impact on North American natural gas prices. Natural gas can not be stored or transported easily. The only economical transport method is by pipeline. This means natural gas used in North America comes from North America, much of it from Canada.

    Natural gas prices have risen with increase of natural gas use in electrical generation and the increase in electrical demand across North America. As new gas fields are opened up in Canada and Alaska, and new pipelines are constructed to deliver that gas, presumably prices will drop.

    The bottom line, though, is that natural gas supplies and delivery are limited and that will make natural gas prices very volatile.

    increases in natural gas cost affect petrol prices (4.00 / 2) (#70)
    by iGrrrl on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 09:03:38 AM EST

    Pardon the American for using the Brit word for gasoline, but you are more on target than you know.

    At the moment the US has plenty of oil and raw gasoline, both from domestic production and imports. What is currently driving up the price at the pump is an additive used to produce "clean burning" gasoline which is derived from natural gas. Given what's going on with American natural gas markets, it's no surprise the current "shortage" is having a strong affect on consumer prices.

    I put shortage in quotes because of an interview I heard on NPR with former secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit. According to him, there are reserves tapped and drilled, but which are being withheld from the market to drive up natural gas prices.

    My next car will be a Prius.

    You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
    remove apostrophe for email.
    [ Parent ]

    Gas Stations (4.33 / 3) (#13)
    by Bad Harmony on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:45:19 PM EST

    In my region of the country, gas stations are having a tough time staying in business. They make little or no money on gasoline, and get most of their profits from the minimarts.

    5440' or Fight!

    Where's the poll option (4.11 / 9) (#15)
    by ZanThrax on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:48:03 PM EST

    for "the people who take their two-ton behemoths for weekend trips involving a few hundred mile drives regardless of the current price, leaving the companies secure in the knowledge that we (north americans, anyhow) are thoroughly addicted to their products and will pay whatever they decide to charge"?

    Time for a new .sig

    *sigh* (4.00 / 10) (#19)
    by electricbarbarella on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:51:30 PM EST

    And yes, with all your bitching and moaning, you forget that America's gas prices are some of the lowest in the world. Possibly THE lowest in the world. Go to Europe sometime: take along a calculator and do some math. In England right now (some of the highest prices in Europe) the gas prices are about 6 USD a gallon!

    So why don't you do the smart thing: the thing that the Europeans and the educated poor in America have been doing for a while: buy a smaller, more fuel-efficient car. Which is what I'm in the market for right now. Interesting side note: my 11 year old Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme averages about 20 miles per gallon, which is better than several brand new SUVs.

    -Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
    Not everything is quantifiable.
    oops (none / 0) (#30)
    by electricbarbarella on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:13:43 PM EST

    ok, i was dumb and forgot what year it currently is. however, you can remember that gas WASN'T six bucks a gallon last year. i'm having trouble finding current stats for any of the European gas prices, but I'm sure that they are (as usual) much, much higher than here.

    -Andy Martin, Home of the Whopper.
    Not everything is quantifiable.
    [ Parent ]
    OPEC (2.16 / 6) (#24)
    by alprazolam on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:01:52 PM EST

    OPEC has as member countries Indonesia, Venezuala, and Nigeria, along with arabic nations. So instead of killing arabs why don't you also kill asians, hispanics, and blacks?

    Eh, nevermind. (4.50 / 2) (#28)
    by BackSlash on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:08:41 PM EST

    I don't advocate killing the arabs. Nor do I advocate driving off from 7-11 and not paying Apu. (I guess I can see where 'hurt Apu' could get misconstrued). What I do advocate is somehow, someway removing the giant corperate stranglehold on gas prices. But you interepreted my remarks as racist.

    [ Parent ]
    yea (2.00 / 1) (#38)
    by alprazolam on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:49:46 PM EST

    I guess you meant something differently when you said Go to war and kill all the Arabs? Obviously for construing that as advocating killing arabs I was mistaken. I guess it just seemed to much like the real thing for me to see the satire.

    [ Parent ]
    All those suggestions were Ludicris (3.50 / 2) (#45)
    by BackSlash on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 05:22:51 PM EST

    Drive off and hurt Apu? Go to war and kill all the Arabs? Write your bought off congressman?

    Do any/all of those possible solutions sound like they'll solve the problem? Of course not!

    Subtle, yes, but it wasn't satirical.. It was just shocking.

    Not as shocking as k5 calling me racist, tho.

    [ Parent ]

    Still sounds bad. (4.00 / 1) (#73)
    by theboz on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 10:46:30 AM EST

    Even if you meant it in parody, it still sounds bad and seems unnecessary. I don't think that most Americans think about it as simple as "kill the Arabs" except in backwaters that generally aren't known for putting much throught into the world outside their farm anyways.

    [ Parent ]

    This is in fact the case... (4.33 / 3) (#46)
    by magney on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 05:26:29 PM EST

    The whole point of the article was that it is not OPEC nor the individual gas station owners that are responsible for our higher gas prices.

    Consequently, it was quite clear to me that the exhortations to "Go to war and kill all the Arabs" were a parody of what the author saw as the typical American knee-jerk response to higher gas prices.

    When reading things with a sarcastic bent, it's often necessary to examine things only in their full context, rather than pulling individual statements out of context.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    Quit complaining! (Some perspective) (3.71 / 7) (#25)
    by evvk on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:01:58 PM EST

    Let's see. 1 USgal ~= 3.8724 l and let us assume that a litre of petrol costs 6.90mk, which according to the currency convertor at <http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi> would be 1.03758USD. That is $3.92 per gallon, which is much more than the $1.619 average mentioned in the article. Most of that is tax but hey, I don't have a car or any other vehicle so I don't care. It is only right to tax those polluters. So, quit complaining of your _low_ gas prices and use the public transport if you can not afford driving that SUV. You don't have proper public transport? Too bad.

    Oops... (3.50 / 4) (#29)
    by evvk on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:12:38 PM EST

    1 USgal = 3.7854 l => $3.93. Get rid of those ancient measures and use the metric system like the rest of the world!

    [ Parent ]
    In other words... (1.50 / 6) (#52)
    by B'Trey on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 08:37:25 PM EST

    quit complaining that they're having you up the bum and just be thankful that they're using vaseline.

    [ Parent ]
    Public transportation? (4.50 / 2) (#80)
    by treat on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 04:52:53 PM EST

    Most parts of the US do not have effective public transportation. In New York, you can live your whole life and never need to drive a car. But in most of the US, this is unthinkable. People get a driver's license immediately when they are old enough, because there is absolutely no other way to get around. We wish that we had good public transportation like you have in Europe. We really do.

    [ Parent ]
    It's hard to feel sorry. (3.80 / 15) (#26)
    by jd on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:06:20 PM EST

    I guess I should, but I just can't. The American people are being fleeced, alright. By car manufacturers!

    Many of the richer Americans wouldn't be caught dead in a car over a year old. Unless it was some kind of classic, which cost as much -as- a brand new set of wheels.

    Further, most cars in America - SUVs especially - average 10-20 miles to the gallon.

    An you expect gas prices to stay low??? With all that money you're itching to give to the nearest gas station???

    European cars average 40 miles to the gallon, with some of the better makes reaching 60-70. A few even claim 100 mpg.

    If you had a car that could go 10 TIMES the distance, for the same amount of fuel, you'd effectively be paying only a tenth as much.

    But will Americans demand parity with the Japanese or Europeans? Will they, hell! Low Gas Prices are a right! They may not be in the Constitution, and it may encourage manufacturers to build shoddier and more pathetic gas-guzzling gorgons, but somehow Americans have been convinced that they don't deserve quality. They want -quantity-.

    Some day, I hope, America will wake up to the fact that the English pay over $5 per gallon, but still end up paying less than Americans.

    Paying half the price, but needing ten times as much, is STILL five times more expensive. The absolute price isn't worth a damn.

    Re: It's hard to feel sorry. (4.75 / 4) (#33)
    by BigRedZX on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:24:23 PM EST

    Minor nit: American Gallons != English Gallons

    Our English Bretheren have larger gallons. This will skew the reported MPG numbers accordingly.

    [ Parent ]
    Did you show up for math class? (5.00 / 6) (#47)
    by Miniluv on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 05:32:14 PM EST

    Or did you waste all your time in rhetoric?

    Further, most cars in America - SUVs especially - average 10-20 miles to the gallon
    Ok..stipulated, though mildly inaccurate.

    European cars average 40 miles to the gallon, with some of the better makes reaching 60-70. A few even claim 100 mpg.
    Fair enough, though many of those same European models are owned by Americans, so your numbers are skewed, but we'll ignore that.

    If you had a car that could go 10 TIMES the distance
    Now that is the clever part. The only two numbers you cited that are an order of magnitude apart are the 10mpg and the 100mpg. The absolute far ends of the spectrum. How about the "average" car?

    I will now semi-arbitrarily (not at all randomly) pick the Buick Regal ('00 model year) as the "average" American passenger car. It gets 28-30mpg around town, with a few more picked up on the highway. Then we'll take the "average" European car you mentioned. 40mpg wasn't it? Now, 30mpg is 75% of 40mpg, right? So if you pay $10/gallon and get 40mpg you're paying $0.25/mile. That same math with the 30mpg car means $0.33/mile. That's an $0.08/mile differential, and thus nowhere near the number you cited.

    This folks is the beauty of rhetorical math. You need no grounding in anything aside from basic addition, division and misdirection (what's the operator for that?) to prove whatever point you want.

    Come on, tell me how to moderate. I DARE YOU!

    [ Parent ]

    Misdirection? (none / 0) (#121)
    by Matrix on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 05:09:32 PM EST

    This folks is the beauty of rhetorical math. You need no grounding in anything aside from basic addition, division and misdirection (what's the operator for that?) to prove whatever point you want.

    Isn't the misdirection operator ->? Oh, wait. That's indirection. Nevermind. ~_^;;;;

    "...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
    - Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
    [ Parent ]

    Fact (4.63 / 11) (#35)
    by Lelon on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:41:05 PM EST

    Random Fact: Take every SUV in America right now, increase their miles per gallon by 3 (which isn't very much, but % wise its around 15% becuase SUV mpg is so awful) The gas you would save by doing that per day would be more then GW Bush wants to take out of ANWR (and we don't even know how long that would last) Our "need" for oil is fueled by some severe social problems

    This sig is a work in progress.
    class action lawsuit (4.00 / 3) (#40)
    by speek on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 05:06:39 PM EST

    Other peoples actions affect prices I have to pay. Even though I drive a car that gets 40 mpg, I have to pay higher prices because of the choices others make. We all share the same supply, so.... their demand affects me. I'm thinking class action lawsuit here .....

    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    One partial solution (4.50 / 6) (#36)
    by skim123 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:41:42 PM EST

    Drive a Honda Insight. According to Honda, they can get up to 700 miles per tank of gas, and they have puny gas tanks (10.6 gallon jobbers).

    Sorta like being gay: you're walking around, you know something's up, you just don't know what it is yet.

    expensive (none / 0) (#53)
    by joeyo on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 08:58:45 PM EST

    I like gas-electric cars. I really do. Saving the environment is a Good Thing. But the Insight is just too tanj expensive. The same is true with the Toyota Prius, another duel-power car. Great idea, great fuel efficiency, but you pay for it up front. I'm not sure if it is yet quite worth it at the current american gas prices (which are FAR below global gas prices)

    Now, if gas prices were to suddenly sky-rocket, a la an oil crisis, then I'd agree with you. But right now you can get almost the same gas mileage with a plain old ordinary economy car like the Toyota Echo.

    If that all doesn't convince you that the WTO is evil, perhaps you should consider the possibility that you are evil. -- Rabbit

    [ Parent ]
    Almost the same mileage? (2.66 / 3) (#62)
    by CrayDrygu on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:35:14 PM EST

    Gas mileage, of course, varies greatly with cars like the Toyota Prius, because it all depends on the way you drive it. The Prius is optimised for "city driving," though, so I'll take those figures.

    "...you can get almost the same gas mileage with a plain old ordinary economy car like the Toyota Echo," you say.

    Average city gas mileage for the Toyota Echo is 34mpg. (Source: Bridge Auto review.) Pretty good, especially when you compare them to SUVs that get about 8mpg or less.

    Average city gas mileage for the Toyota Prius? 61mpg! (Source: Canadian Driver.) That's almost twice what the Echo gets you.

    Really, the choice is whether you want to buy a $10k car and pay five cents per mile (at current gas prices), buy a $20k car and pay three cents per mile, or wait until you can get a hybrid for $10k. I'm leaning towards the third option, myself.

    So, with the price taken as a whole, you're not really saving any money going with the Prius. You're saving gas, though. Lots of it.

    [ Parent ]

    In Maryland, eco-friendly items are free sales tax (none / 0) (#87)
    by Ricdude on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 03:14:52 PM EST

    So you don't have to pay the 5% sales tax on that Honda Insight. Makes it a slightly more attractive option, not to mention spending 1/4 to 1/2 of what you would spend on gas....

    [ Parent ]
    extra poll option (4.20 / 5) (#43)
    by speek on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 05:16:56 PM EST

    - Me, for transporting my single person around in an SUV.

    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

    prices aren't high (4.80 / 10) (#44)
    by akb on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 05:22:11 PM EST

    Actually in constant dollars gas prices are pretty much the same in the early 80's and 90's. They aren't even as high as they were during last years "crisis". But a "crisis" sounds good and gives us an excuse to drill in a national park and maintain our national interests in the Persian Gulf and bomb shit there.

    Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net

    Speak for yourself (none / 0) (#117)
    by nstenz on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 04:46:21 PM EST

    (gas prices) ...aren't even as high as they were during last years "crisis".

    Do any of you live in the Midwest (say, Wisconsin)? It's only April, and gas is already up to $1.73 here, which is about as high as it got at the worst part of last summer. I drove down to Madison last night, and it was $1.77 in some places- and gas is usually cheaper in Madison than it is here. Explain that one to me.

    And no, public transportation is not an option for me. I don't live in a city, and I have to drive 25 miles around a state forest to get to work. There will be no buses or trains in my daily commute anytime in the forseeable future.

    And to all of the Europeans laughing at Americans for having shitty public transportation- our country's just a damn bit bigger than yours. I was in Madison yesterday, so I could've taken a bus then. I chose to walk instead. We don't always have to take our 'big, gas-guzzling SUVs' everywhere (and I drive an economy car anyhow).

    [ Parent ]
    SUVs (3.77 / 9) (#48)
    by darthaya on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 05:34:39 PM EST

    They suck in so much gas that it is beyond funny.

    I think there should be special SUV tax for those SUV hippies.

    There eis (3.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Miniluv on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:47:17 PM EST

    In most places in the US there is already tax on "gas guzzlers". It includes any internal-combustion powered vehicle which does not achieve a specific EPA MPG ranking.

    Come on, tell me how to moderate. I DARE YOU!

    [ Parent ]
    Hahaha (3.70 / 10) (#56)
    by Inoshiro on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:48:30 PM EST

    Man, every time I see an article like this, I am glad that they are running out of oil. Most people are car addicted slugs. Buses, bikes, and hoofing it are more environmentally sound, and far more economic. The only downside is when you need to move things around.

    For people who aren't morally opposed to fossil fuels, there are hybrid cars coming out slowly (only because of legislation in California, where the problem is so bad that people can't hide their heads in the sand anymore). I'm waiting until I can afford an old VW Rabbit shell and a converter kit to 100% electric, though. Electricty can be produced from renewable resources, gasoline can't.

    As a side note, avoid the Honda Insight. It's what I'd call an ass-backwards hybrid. It uses gasoline all of the time, using electricity only to sometimes assist it during acceleration. Since you spend most of the time at a constant speed (more so on highways/freeways than in the city), this makes them less efficient by design than the hybrids which use gasoline only for acceleration.

    [ イノシロ ]
    Actually ..... (none / 0) (#67)
    by DeHans on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 05:23:33 AM EST

    Electricty can be produced from renewable resources, gasoline can't.

    Yes it can. The process was heavily used in (please don't invoke Godwins law :-)) Nazi germany in WWII.

    They didn't have oil fields so they had to devise a different way of getting their fuel. Two scientist, Fischer and Tropsch, devised a process to gas coal and from that gas create a synthetic fuel. Germany had about 8 operative plants by 1943. The process, unfortunately, wasn't researched by the allies after the war. However lately more and more research is being done (under pressure of environmental agencies and to escape the long arm of the OPEC :-).

    I know of a test plant in Amsterdam (Shell) where this process is being refined. In that process they don't use coal, but biomass (which of course is a renewable source). Apart from being created from a renewable source, the fuel which is created through this process is much purer with almost no impurities.

    [ Parent ]
    Soybean Oil (4.66 / 3) (#81)
    by dzimmerm on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 05:01:00 PM EST

    If you use a diesel engine, which is more efficient than gasoline, you can run it on soybean oil which is a very renewable resource.

    Soybean oil is about $2.50/gallon. Maybe European drivers should try this. I hear tell it smells like McDonalds french fries going down the road.


    [ Parent ]

    Honda Insight? (none / 0) (#97)
    by Mr.Mustard on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 09:48:28 PM EST

    Where did you get your information about the Honda Insight. Everything I have read about it says that it only runs the gas engine when it needs to, not all the time.

    Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
    [ Parent ]

    here's some info (none / 0) (#130)
    by chopper on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 10:06:26 AM EST

    The Insight is a parallel hybrid, meaning the electric motor is used as a torque assist for accelerating and hill climbing.

    in a series setup, the ICE is used only as a generator. both have their advantages

    give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

    give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
    [ Parent ]

    thanks (none / 0) (#137)
    by Mr.Mustard on Tue May 08, 2001 at 05:30:54 PM EST

    I was confused by your wording.

    The insight does seem to run the gas engine all of the time while moving, but shuts it off when idle.

    The Toyota Prius seems to be similar.

    Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
    [ Parent ]

    I'm dusting off my bicycle... (none / 0) (#103)
    by SIGBUS on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 12:13:08 AM EST

    The one and only benefit that urban sprawl has brought to my formerly-rural town is that bicycle trails are being constructed at breakneck speed. Long overdue, IMHO. Now that I've managed to lose some weight (about 5.36 stone in the last year), I'm jumping back on the bike... maybe I can *keep* the weight off.
    (: Yeah, I know that few USians know WTF what a "stone" is. I only know because of my British relatives. :)

    [ Parent ]
    Mobil (3.00 / 7) (#57)
    by Refrag on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:58:07 PM EST

    ExxonMobil's earnings were up 52% over last year at this time (end of 1QTR). You decide for yourself if people are being fleeced.


    Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches

    More fun with statistics (none / 0) (#133)
    by bnenning on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 03:28:15 PM EST

    Exxon's profit margin is 6.9%, and that's after their allegedly huge increases in revenue. If they were to run their business as a nonprofit organization they might be able to sell gas 10 cents a gallon cheaper. Compare that to the amount of taxes you pay for each gallon and tell me again who's doing the fleecing.

    [ Parent ]
    A few data points... (4.22 / 9) (#64)
    by plastic on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 12:17:36 AM EST

    Ford Excursion: 12-17 mpg
    Mitsubishi Montero: 13-18 mpg
    Nissan Xterra: 15-19 mpg
    Chevrolet Tahoe: 16-21 mpg
    Lexus LX 470: 13-16 mpg
    Land Rover Range Rover: 12-15 mpg
    Honda Civic: 31-38 mpg
    Toyota Prius: 45-52 mpg
    Honda Insight: 61-68 mpg

    (data from www.edmunds.com)

    More (comical) Data Points (4.00 / 1) (#82)
    by djx on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 11:01:24 PM EST

    1985 Dodge Ramcharger (318 CID engine) 10 mpg
    1997 Kawasaki 1100 ZXi Jet Ski 13 gph (gallons per hour
    1997 Sea Doo GX 2 gph

    And I own one of each. By the way, gas taxes in Texas are (IIRC) just about the highest in the states, at just over 42 cents/gallon (last time I checked).

    -<end of transmission>-
    [ Parent ]
    bad units (mpg / gph ) (none / 0) (#95)
    by Highlander on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 09:26:03 AM EST

    You should use the same units, preferably mpg. It is hard to look at the number this way.

    Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
    [ Parent ]
    Add to this (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by strlen on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 06:18:57 PM EST

    VolksWagen Jetta 1.9 TDI - 49 mpg (Diesel)

    [T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
    [ Parent ]
    And add to that (none / 0) (#123)
    by themessage on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 06:22:51 PM EST

    Diesel in the US is usually less expensive than gasoline, about $.15 to $.20 less expensive on average.

    [ Parent ]
    Add to this (none / 0) (#118)
    by nstenz on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 04:52:45 PM EST

    Pretty much any Dodge 2.2L fuel-injected K-car: 25-30 mpg (and 15 years old)

    [ Parent ]
    The reason price is inelastic (4.45 / 11) (#65)
    by bjrubble on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 02:25:45 AM EST

    is because even the most vocal complainers refuse to entertain the notion of driving less. I'd love to see the US tax gas to the level you see in Europe -- really, it would only bring the price more in line with the actual cost of gas, paying for the wars and environmental disasters and the general filth that comes with it.

    Fortunately, gas is on its way out. Whether hybrid or fuel cell or something else, the technology to replace the internal combustion engine is coming quickly. Unfortunately for you, that probably won't change the fundamental energy equation -- you'll still be vulnerable to shafting by the alternative energy providers (who will probably be mostly the same people who now do oil) because you refuse to go without their product.

    Actually, I've come to believe it's not really all consumers' fault. I live in San Francisco, still considered fairly environmentally progressive despite its burgeoning SUV population, but I've seen this city do everything it possibly can to discourage people from biking or taking public transportation. They recently started rebuilding the Bay Bridge; when it's done I still won't be able to bike to Oakland. I'll have to keep paying $4+ (!) to go on Bart, but of course never during commuting hours or if it's crowded.

    Of course, in San Francisco there are always likelier reasons for this kind of thing, but I think it's very common across the US for civil engineers to design for cars to the neglect of everything else, leaving individuals with little choice in the matter.

    Stop this racist, uninformed blather! (3.21 / 19) (#66)
    by decaf_dude on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 02:27:07 AM EST

    Disclaimer: I work for an oil company in one of the OPEC member countries. No, I don't have problems sleeping at night, thank you!

    OPEC takes a fraction of the cost you pay at the gas station. Most of it goes for taxes, big chunk to retailer, and refineries take their part as well. Blaming OPEC, while popular, is stupid. As someone already pointed out, many OPEC members are not Arab (Venezuela comes to mind), so those anti-Arab remarks were uncalled for. Furthermore, most of oil in the US comes from non-Arab sources (Alaska, Africa, South America...).

    Barrel of crude (that's 42 gallons) goes for around $26. You do the math.

    Now, I know it would be against your nature, but if you really cared for correct info, you'd go to the source and read up on the issue before firing off your stupid mouth.


    Trolling are we? (2.50 / 2) (#74)
    by Kinthelt on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 11:00:29 AM EST

    I'll bite.

    OPEC takes a fraction of the cost you pay at the gas station. Most of it goes for taxes, big chunk to retailer, and refineries take their part as well.

    True. But the input price *does* make up a not insignificant amount. Especially when you realize that retailers mark up the price by a percentage of the wholesale price, ditto taxes.

    Furthermore, most of oil in the US comes from non-Arab sources

    Are you trying to tell me that if there's a scarcity of oil everywhere but in the United States, that the price of oil in the United States won't skyrocket? It's called a global economy.

    [ Parent ]

    "Correct Info" (3.00 / 3) (#111)
    by Tsuraan on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 10:33:04 AM EST

    Yes, let's go find the PETA website for the "correct info" on their actions too, why don't we? Nothing gives you a nice, unbiased perspective like a corporate website put together by marketing, eh?

    [ Parent ]
    Why do gas prices rise in the summer? (4.25 / 4) (#71)
    by georgeha on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 09:40:14 AM EST

    People drive more.

    The kids are out of school, families take vacations, families spend more time camping on weekends.

    At least where I live (Rochester, NY), I try to minimize long trips in the winter. The driving is trickier, accidents are more likely, and I don't see myself schlepping off to a campground in February.

    My wife drives less in the winter too.

    So, we have a basic supply demand curve.

    Now, a better question how much heating oil consumption drops in the summer, and does gasoline consumption rise more than heating oil drops?


    SPRO (4.00 / 3) (#72)
    by Vygramul on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 10:41:33 AM EST

    There's a solution to the problem that requires politicians be willing to give up oil money and grow a backbone: pump the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Oil.

    The SPRO, which currently has 60 million barrels in it, could be pumped and the oil sold. Prices are high now, and the act will drive prices lower. When the price of oil drops, we can buy back oil to fill the SPRO at the lower cost, which means not only do we drive consumer prices down, but we make a profit doing it.

    Ideally, the SPRO should be a reserve of about 80 billion barrels which conforms to about ten years of US consumer oil consumption.

    The problem is that supply-side reserves like that make oil companies really nervous, especially OPEC, because the power over oil pricing and supply falls into the hands of the consumer.

    Some people are under the mistaken impression that the "Strategic" in SPRO means military oil. That is incorrect, and, in fact, 60 million barrels is about an order of magnitude more oil than the US military has used in all its wars combined.
    If Brute Force isn't working, you're not using enough.

    Supply/Demand... (3.50 / 2) (#94)
    by beergut on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 05:54:32 PM EST

    Just a note...

    If we pump out the strategic oil reserves, we might, for a time, decrease the price of crude in the marketplace.

    But, when we go to buy back that oil at now-lower market prices, we will drive the price right back up to where it was before or higher.

    That is the nature of supply and demand economics. We can artifically increase supply, and therefore lower price. But, to replenish our stocks, we will artificially inflate demand and therefore increase the price.

    i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
    i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

    -- indubitable
    [ Parent ]

    what do I care and why should anyone? (1.44 / 9) (#86)
    by SPasmofiT on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 03:12:04 PM EST

    I vote this down, because this is of LOCAL INTEREST!
    Why should I, a non-american, care about your Gas Prices, and why should I read about it on kuro5hin?

    Why don't you post this sh*t on americans-only sites... I really don't care about America, nor about it's petty capitalist needs and bully tactics.

    If you don't care, Choose "I don't care" (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by strlen on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 06:13:58 PM EST

    I'm sorry if I hurt your ethnic pride, but Kuro5hin has a large American audience, and they have every right to read it. If you don't care, choose that and dont complain about America-centric topics. Also, please know that this is a globcal topic. However, I'td be nice that the use Petrol instead of Oil and try to use liters as well as gallons, to make it nicer for others to understand the global problem.

    [T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
    [ Parent ]
    Quit your bitching. (4.00 / 4) (#115)
    by provolt on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 04:13:54 PM EST

    There is the "don't care" option. Use it moron. This is a interest to alot of people. If you want more stories about your country, post some. Maybe your country sucks so bad there is NOTHING going on there, but I highly doubt it.

    [ Parent ]
    Refinery problems, not OPEC (4.00 / 1) (#88)
    by SEWilco on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 03:21:51 PM EST

    Look again. The current analysis is that inventories of crude oil are way up. There is plenty of crude oil arriving from OPEC. The problem is that refineries can't make gasoline fast enough. Refineries are having various maintenance problems before switching to the summer gasoline production configuration, with complications due to the <A href="http://www.pioneerplanet.com/news/wis_docs/018912.htm"50 different gasoline blends across the country (complicated by the switch away from air-pollution-avoiding MTBE due to water pollution).

    (Notice that the above EIA/DoE info is in the current info page which is mentioned in the April 6 press release by the same agency...the press release said crude oil reserves were expected to be low, but the current info page says they are up.)

    You can have efficient internal combustion too (4.75 / 4) (#89)
    by strlen on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 06:11:26 PM EST

    While prices on petrol rise, there's also diesel. Diesel is cheaper, and can be generated from organic products in factory conditions. Volkswagen provides an option of a 1.9L Direct Injection Turbo Charged Diesel engine, on Jetta, Golf, GTi and Beetle cars. It gets you 90 HP's, which coupled with the light weights of those cars will still get you a 12 second 0-60 time. Unless you plan on racing, and do not prefer to go fast on the high way, this is acceptable. The engine also provides 155 lb/ft of torque. The coolest thing about is 49 mpg (miles per gallon. Sorry, I can't find a metric alternative). The engine is available on all trims of the car, and costs few extra thousands I believe. If you travel long distance and can afford few extra thousands, this is definately a good option. Also, Volkswagen is working on making their TDI engines cleaner.

    Another option are Honda Civics (If you don't mind driving with your elbows on your knees and your head sticking out of your sunroof; not really true, but sometimes close). The HX trim gets you 37 miles per galon, while still being a fully functional 4-seat (well, officialy 5 seat, but I'll debate that) sedan. There's also a bit less economic civics, though still more economic then anything else petrol powered.; they utilize DOHC engines, with 98 horse powers per liter. Plus the cars are light, so a 1.7 DOHC engine producing about 110 HP's is more then sufficient, for you to even get a decent 0-60 times.

    There's other options available to long for discussion (for instance a 35 mpg 1.8Turbo VolksWagen cars, with V6-level performance).

    Just in case you care, I'm temprorarily driving a 1995 Honda Accord LX (2.0, around 30 mpg), while my regular car is a 2001 VolksWagen Jetta GL (2.0, around 28 mpg :(). I generally fill up with 87, the lowest gas out there, for $1.7 per gallon.

    [T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
    Civics rule :) (none / 0) (#100)
    by dgwatson on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 11:32:17 PM EST

    I've got an '86 Civic 4-door with standard transmission - 185500 miles, runs like a dream. Gets me between 35-45 MPG, depending on the kind of driving I do.

    I don't know why anyone would want to drive an SUV - they're big, hard to maneuver, hard to park, and are expensive. And with gas prices the way they are now... look out wallet!

    [ Parent ]
    SUVS and civic jokes (none / 0) (#120)
    by strlen on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 05:05:55 PM EST

    Cool. I guess you don't mind your knees touching your elbows when driving. Do you also have to open the sun roof for your head to fit? Ok, this is a bit exagerated*RUN* Hmm, yeah civics are ok, but I'd prefer them to be a big roomier. That's why I have a Jetta.

    SUVs seem like a stupid idea for most people. Unless you live in the rocky mountains and on daily basis need to take your car offroad, cover long distances, and haul large weights you really dont need an SUV. SUV's are slow, dangeorus (they can fall over), cause accidents (my car has been rear-ended by an SUV. not a big deal for me, but it will surely raise insurance premiums for its owners, also there's a bit of cosmetic damage on the SUV) as they are heavier and harder to stop. And prices on them are way too high. For most things, a station wagon (such as Volvo V70, Jetta Wagon) is a much better idea. in extreme cases a minivan.

    [T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
    [ Parent ]
    Diesel prices... (3.00 / 1) (#102)
    by SIGBUS on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 12:02:50 AM EST

    One thing I've noticed around here is that diesel fuel prices have remained a fairly constant $1.70/gallon or so here for the last year, even as the price of gasoline has gyrated wildly, ranging anywhere from $1.45 to $2.38/gallon. Hmmm.....

    [ Parent ]
    I drive a '96 Passat TDI (4.00 / 1) (#104)
    by molo on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 12:35:09 AM EST

    I drive a '96 Passat TDI. It is EPA rated 38/43 mpg. I've gotten fuel efficiency as low as 36 mpg (all city driving) and as high as 47 mpg (highway with cruise control, going the speed limit). In my usual mix of city and highway driving, I get around 41 mpg.

    The car is no speed demon, but I find it fun to drive with the low-end torque of a turbo diesel. But if only it wasn't front wheel drive! Regardless, the Passat is a lot more spacious than the Jetta or Golf, without adding too much weight (my passat is 3200 lbs./1450 kg) and can still get good gas mileage. It does pretty well for a diesel (about 11 seconds) 0-60mph, and I have no qualms driving it 85-95 mph on the highways. Top speed is around 105 mph. Hmm, now that I have some new tires I should re-investigate that number. :)

    At this time of year in New York state, diesel is cheaper than gasoline. Diesel is at $1.59 per gallon while low octane gasoline is at about $1.65. It only gets better for diesel in the summer months. The price of diesel generally follows the price of home heating oil, getting more expensive during the winter and cheaper during the summer, following the opposite track to gasoline. The most expensive I've seen diesel around here was a bit more than a year ago, when it was up beyond $2.00 per gallon during the winter.

    Any Europeans want to comment on the price of gasoline/petrol versus diesel? I've heard that while diesel is comprable to US prices, gasoline can be as much as 4 times the price of diesel there.

    Whenever you walk by a computer and see someone using pico, be kind. Pause for a second and remind yourself that: "There, but for the grace of God, go I." -- Harley Hahn
    [ Parent ]
    New Passat? (2.00 / 1) (#119)
    by strlen on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 04:55:51 PM EST

    Is TDI still available on the New New Passats (the ugly looking ones :-))? I like the Old Passat body-style more then the new, and that one seems like a pretty light car. By the way, Jetta is very roomy inside, by my measures. However, I'd guess Passat is roomier -- its on the luxury edge and costs similar to Audi A4's.

    [T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
    [ Parent ]
    Newer TDI Passats (2.00 / 1) (#126)
    by molo on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 08:45:02 PM EST

    Unfortunately, VW doesn't feel the 4 cylinder TDI on a Passat is powerful enough for the American market. You can still get TDI Passats in Europe. Actually, I hear that they sell pretty well there due to the high price of gasoline. I believe VW also has plans on bringing the European V6 TDI to the US in the Passat.

    Whenever you walk by a computer and see someone using pico, be kind. Pause for a second and remind yourself that: "There, but for the grace of God, go I." -- Harley Hahn
    [ Parent ]
    Rising 'gas' prices. (2.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Afty on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 08:46:33 AM EST

    Over here in the United Kingdom we have even more reason to complain about 'gas' prices than the majority of the posters in this thread (obviously Americans) do. Incidentally, we also call it 'petrol' - which is short for petroleum.

    To purchase one gallon of petroleum fuel for an average car (what we call unleaded fuel) costs us, at todays exchange rates, $4.32. Contrast that with your $1.49 / gallon and you see a mammoth difference.

    The main problem is that our government seems to attempt to foist its' chosen moralities upon us with taxes rather than laws.

    There is talk that the tax on petrol (I believe the government receives somewhere in the region of 80% of the cash taken at the pump) contravenes human rights for those who have to consume petrol in order to live (the disabled, and those for whom public transport is not an option) as they would any other normally taxed commodity. Unfortunately, our population appears unable or unwilling to get off its' collective arses and do anything more than write the their MPs.

    Of course, we know what influence the population has over its elected representatives, don't we?

    Democracy (none / 0) (#122)
    by ryancooley on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 06:06:38 PM EST

    You should come to America where the politicans are spineless and the voters are not...

    If 80% of the price of Gas was going to government, at the next election any congressmen that voted for th increase and/or didn't attempt to change it, would be kicked out of office immediately.

    And while I'm at it, I like the smear campaigns that candidates launch against each other. If it wasn't for them attacking each other, we'd never hear the truth about either one! Whoever has the most skeletons in their closet SHOULD lose the election, and does.

    [ Parent ]
    Vote them out... (none / 0) (#129)
    by Afty on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 06:15:22 AM EST

    Members of parties (90% +) have to 'tow the party line' and agree with the party - if they don't they can be punished by loss of privileges etc.

    There is no accountability to the populace, no way for me to find out if my elected representative voted the way I would have liked on the last issue, no reasonable way for me to find out if my representative adhered to his purpose (to represent his constituents) and voted the way that 20% of them petitioned him for, or whether he sold out to corporate interests.

    [ Parent ]
    Voting Records (none / 0) (#136)
    by ryancooley on Thu May 03, 2001 at 11:16:28 PM EST

    In the US of A, public official's voting records are public record. If they are not in your country, well, democracy is the same everywhere, if you demand it, you get it.

    [ Parent ]
    Hopped up on goofballs... (4.60 / 5) (#98)
    by Mr.Mustard on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 10:58:57 PM EST

    So, am I one of the ones here that thinks gas prices should go up? I wouldn't mind seeing gas prices as high as 5$ or 10$ in the USA. (Yes, I live in the USA)

    When I suggested this at work, they looked at me like I was insane (not that I'm not). I don't think we should be using the US strategic oil reserve or digging up Alaska. I think we should be looking at public transportation, cars with better gas mileage, and alternative (renewable) fuels.

    Depending on a nonrenewable resource is stupid. Using that resource poorly by burning it in a low mpg car (SUV) is idiotic. Not spending more time and energy on researching alternatives so we can ween ourselves from it rates as one of the worst moves we can make, IMHO.

    I don't think that alternatives will be taken seriously until the cost of gas is prohibitive and consumers are willing to change in order to save money.

    Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]

    I'm with you (none / 0) (#112)
    by Wah on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 03:06:32 PM EST

    (but I should make it clear that I went for a year without a car, walking or biking everywhere. This was a set of circumstances, not necessarily a statement)

    I think it would be a good thing, although I was nearly leveled when I accidentally selected a premium grade the other day. However, it won't work. The SUV lobby would crush this initiative like an Excursion hitting a Miata. But I think there's some good possibilities for public transport where I live (monorail, monorail, monorail) in Colorado. The main car pipeline is not going to hold for many more years and a light rail line from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs (with stops in Boulder and Denver, propably starting there) would be something that I would pay high gas taxes for (map for the unfamiliar). Anyway, I like your idea, but it would seem to be a suicidal political call at the moment.
    Some things, bandwidth can't buy. For everything else, there's Real Life | SSP
    [ Parent ]

    Big Chief Small Picture (3.66 / 3) (#113)
    by provolt on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 04:01:29 PM EST

    Public Transportation, cars with better gas millage, and alternative fuels are wonder ideas. I think it would be wonderful to not be dependant on fossil fuels. But you are missing a large part of the picture by hoping for $5-$10 for a gallon of gas.

    A huge increase in gas prices like that would result in people driving less. But not only would individuals stop driving their cars, businesses would have to stop driving their cars and trucks too. That large of an increase in gas prices would drive the price of every other product through the roof. It would make food production and delivery prohibitively expensive. Manfactured product would be in less available because making them would be expensive and delivering them would make them out of the price range of all but the extremely rich. The rich wouldn't be very rich for very long either. When all of the rest of us couldn't afford to buy products, their stock options and invenstments would drop like a rock.

    And those are just the forseeable economic consequences, not to mention the number of people in areas that couldn't afford heating fuels. The maximum price would occur in the summer, but if it's 10 dollars/gallon it's going to take time for it to come down again. By the time it does at least one (if not many) winters will have come and gone. Since gas prices and heating fuel prices are highly correlated, hwo many people do you think will freeze all winter?

    Less dependance on fossil fuels is a great ambititon, but I don't think it should come at the cost that $10/gallon gas prices would bring.

    [ Parent ]

    I'm not saying it would be great (none / 0) (#138)
    by Mr.Mustard on Tue May 08, 2001 at 05:35:12 PM EST

    My point is that the average person needs a serious incentive to actually change. Gas is easy and cheap right now, but it won't be forever. As time passes it will become more scarce and more expensive. If this happens quickly and with little warning (bear with me, it could happen), I would guess that the social impact would be even greater than gas that's 5-10$ a gallon.

    Again, I don't think it would be great, but I see high gas prices as one of the few ways that the market can make the average person uncomfortable enough to change.

    Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
    [ Parent ]

    In Australia last week... (4.00 / 1) (#99)
    by steven on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 11:22:23 PM EST

    Shell Petroleum was blocked from buying Woodside Petroleum, an Australian oil exploration and data services company. Several days later, the price of gas/petrol, per litre, jumped by ten cents. It could be a coincidence, but if the price has jumped worldwide, perhaps it isn't.

    Good news, though. Recently my father invented a complex set of mathematical formulae which, when used in conjunction with some software we are writing, should save the oil industry (worldwide) several billion dollars per year. Maybe they will pass on these saving to consumers. Maybe.


    That made no sense. (none / 0) (#108)
    by steven on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 03:20:43 AM EST

    Please remove "It could be a coincidence, but if the price has jumped worldwide, perhaps it isn't." and replace with "Perhaps it's a coincidence, perhaps not." I'd just woken up from my afternoon siesta and had no idea what the hell I was writing :)


    [ Parent ]

    Chicago is getting hit *hard*, just like last year (4.00 / 1) (#101)
    by SIGBUS on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 11:42:44 PM EST

    Currently, in suburban Chicago, prices are about $1.82/$1.92/$2.02 (depending on the grade of fuel). Within the city, regular starts at $2 and prices go up from there. Last summer, when it hit $2.38 in the suburbs (for regular!), I got rid of my GMC Sonoma pickup (about 21-25 mpg, not particulary horrible, but not great either), and got a new Saturn SL (36-42 mpg). The difference in my fuel bill was incredible! The other day, I filled up in Indiana (about 15c cheaper than the suburban Chicago price)... and noticed that the guy in the Ford Expedition (for non-USians, it's a monstrously huge gas-guzzler SUV) in front of me dropped $50 into his tank. AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I've noticed that I get distinctly better mileage when I fill up in Michigan than in the Chicago area, even when it's all highway driving. So we're getting hit even harder, with the idiotic additives that supposedly make for cleaner air, but really only have any effect when you're driving a 30-year-old car. Still, having experienced UK prices firsthand (about 75p/litre, Oct '99), $2/gallon doesn't seem so bad. Even though I was prepared for it, it was still shocking to watch the numbers rack up on the pump, and realize those were POUNDS, not dollars.

    gas prices high is good (none / 0) (#127)
    by Delirium on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 09:42:48 PM EST

    Last summer, when it hit $2.38 in the suburbs (for regular!), I got rid of my GMC Sonoma pickup (about 21-25 mpg, not particulary horrible, but not great either), and got a new Saturn SL (36-42 mpg). The difference in my fuel bill was incredible!

    And that is exactly why I hope gas prices continue to rise. It's also why I think people whining that gas prices should be 10% cheaper are dumb; they could save much more (50% or more) by not buying an SUV with really shitty gas mileage.

    [ Parent ]

    Drilling on Federal Land (3.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Anymoose on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 01:43:11 AM EST

    If you recall, Dubya would like to allow his oil company buddies to drill on currently protected Federal land in Alaska. This is a "payback" for the generous campaign contributions they made. In order to get the sheep...err American citizens to accept such a thing, it's necessary to create a "gas shortage" and drive prices up to outrageous levels.

    I've heard prices in California are expected to hit $3/gallon this summer - has a friend of mine scrambling to get rid of his Big Ol' Truck(tm) in exchange for a fuel effecient commuter-mobile.

    Wake up America! We're being played like a fiddle!

    I AM, Therefore I THINK

    Or... (4.00 / 1) (#106)
    by slakhead on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 02:33:02 AM EST

    ...it could be Toyota and Honda pulling strings so more people will buy the Prius or the Insight.

    It doesn't matter much what the cause of the price increase is. We should all move to cars with better fuel economy and lower emissions anyway. Yes it is cool to have a pimped out Mustang convertible to go cruising in the summer but there are so many people in the world that we have to make more concessions when it comes to personal freedom. Whether the oil supply is there or not, the environment won't handle everyone driving gas guzzling cars as the population increases.

    But that is all crazy long term talk so I guess we should just forget I said anything...

    [ Parent ]
    Prices In Australia (4.00 / 1) (#107)
    by steven on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 03:13:33 AM EST

    I didn't have this information with me when I posted my first comment, but I just filled my tank up. It cost me $62 for a full tank of petrol, at 104.9 cents/litre. By memory, there are about 3.4 litres in a gallon, which means I spent $3.56 a gallon. Keep in mind, these are Australian dollars - so about $US1.78 a gallon.

    (Lots of assumptions, but I'm just giving a general idea)

    Before ANZAC day (April 25), a litre of petrol cost 92.9 cents/litre at the same petrol station - there was a 12 cents/litre jump overnight.


    So why are SUV sales increasing, hmm? (3.80 / 5) (#109)
    by Kasreyn on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 05:40:59 AM EST

    If there's a conspiracy among gasoline producers as you seem to be implying, one cannot overlook possible complicity of the auto manufacturers.

    Why is it that NOW, just when we're closing in on the day when Earth's oil will be (in the words of a 4 year old) "Aww Gawn!", why is it that right at this moment we're experiencing a comeback in the gas-guzzling roadhogging behemothmobiles? Have you SEEN some of the new SUVs? They're too wide for standard road LANES.

    What the FUCK is wrong with everyone? Excuse the profanity, but this just has me seeing red. We need that oil for other things than just lining the pockets of Dubya's back room pals and the auto manufacturers. It's needed for the production of many, MANY everyday items, for many types of plastics, it is used widely in agriculture, and plays a great role in pharmaceutical research.

    Why are we squandering what little we have left of it this flagrantly? I personally propose that in 10 years when gas is selling at 25 a gallon, there be a record check and if the buyer ever owned an SUV he should be charged an extra 10/gal to help cover the cost of his former stupidity.


    "Intolerant people should be shot." - the best one-sentence troll I have ever seen.
    Complaining about gas prices is pathetic. (2.60 / 5) (#110)
    by arcade on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 07:17:35 AM EST


    I can't do anything but think that the americans are utterly pathetic when they complain about the gas prices. $1.60 per gallon.. One gallon is about 4 litres.. about 0.40 per litre.

    In norway, One litre of gas now costs about $1.1 - depending on the $ -> kr exchange rate. It costs aproximately 10NOK per litre. In other words, we pay somewhere around $4 per gallon.

    So, in short - you americans complaining about your gasprices is a pathetic bunch of whiners



    What about mini-vans? (2.50 / 2) (#114)
    by Shaggie76 on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 04:07:02 PM EST

    Everybody blames SUV's, but let's not forget about mini-vans... they're inefficient and largely unnecessary, too.

    Inecessary, my ass. (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by physicsgod on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 07:00:17 PM EST

    You try hauling a family of 4 (average height 6') 1000 miles in anything smaller than a minivan, there'll be bloodshed before you leave Kansas. Minivans are people movers, and they perform that job admirably. Compare that to the SUV's which are (snort) designed to go off road. If I ever see a Lexus off road I'll eat its spare tire.

    --- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
    [ Parent ]
    vancouver -> saskatoon (3.00 / 1) (#125)
    by Requiem on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 07:57:30 PM EST

    in a 1981 Honda Civic.

    It's been done.

    Minivans are rarely a necessity. I know some families for which they are, since there's five or six kids. But for the most part, there's no reason why your standard four-door car won't suffice.

    [ Parent ]
    i dunno... (none / 0) (#131)
    by chopper on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 10:29:14 AM EST

    back in '82 my family of five drove down to disney world from chicago in a ford pinto (!)

    and yes, we did it, but it was the most frightening experience of my life.

    therapy hasn't helped get rid of the pain. it feels like... burning...

    give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

    give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
    [ Parent ]

    Oh, and another thing (none / 0) (#134)
    by physicsgod on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 11:21:03 PM EST

    Try hauling lumber, or anything sizable in your civic. Minivans make great people-movers, and damn good stuff haulers, making them more effecient than a 4-door and a pickup.

    --- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
    [ Parent ]
    The difference: (none / 0) (#132)
    by Kragma on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 10:35:17 AM EST

    Well, there are lots of differences, actually. The most popular SUVs (Explorer, Excusion, Expidition, Navigator, Blazer, Jimmy, Tahoe, Suburban, in no order) are all truck-based. Essentially, they're identical to their truck counterpart from the A-pillar forward. This includes the engine.

    Truck engines aren't really designed for hauling people around, they're designed to haul tons of rocks, dirt, wood, motorcycles, bricks, etc and get them around where roads don't always go. So they have huge engines. Most of the truck-based SUVs are V8s (or V10s!) with massive displacement. Trucks need this displacement for the torque it produces low in the rev range. SUVs, used basically like mini-vans, don't need half of it. Coincidentally, mini-vans have about half the power. Most come standard with four-cylinder engines right out of a car with an optional V6, also right out of a car. Understandably, they get much better gas mileage and emit fewwer polutants.

    But mini-vans have an image problem. To an SUV buyer, a mini-van just announces the vehicle's intent. To them, it's just like saying "I have a family and I'm more concerned about practicality than anything else". To most any car driver, though, SUVs say exactly the same thing, but with "I'm an asshole who wants a bigger car than anyone else too" tacked on. They'll catch on eventually. In ten years SUVs will be like station wagons were in the 80s. But now station wagons are making a come-back.

    Funny thing is, if SUVs were made to play by the same emissions rules as cars, the only ones we'd have would be like the Honda CR-V or the Toyota RAV4.

    [ Parent ]

    Who cares about the gas prices in Europe? (4.00 / 4) (#116)
    by DoomGerbil on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 04:15:04 PM EST

    Overall, Europeans drive less than Americans. You have (for the most part) a well-developed mass transit system. Very rarely do you need to travel long distances in a short amount of time. For my example, I live in Fontana, California. I gio to school in Rancho Cucamonga, 10-15 miles away. I work in Santa Monica, about 60 miles away, past school, due west. My fiancee lives in Irvine, about 60 miles dead south. I do well in excess of 150 miles every day. I have absolutely no options other than driving myself to get from place to place to place. I drive a 1990 Toyota Celica, and I get about 27-30 mpg. You give me an option that leaves me as much flexibility, mobility, and ability to be where I need to be, when I need to be, and I'll consider it. Until then, I have to pay prices that are absolutely killing me. Even at 30mpg, I still have to spend about $60-80 per week for gas. And to be honest, I don't care how much you spend in England or France, because you have options. I, on the other hand, am stuck behind the wheel.

    An answer to our European friends (1.00 / 1) (#128)
    by Ray Chason on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 10:32:26 PM EST

    In response to the obligatory You Damned Americans And Your Whining About Gas Prices chorus:

    • Your prices are higher because you tax the hell out of gasoline. That's your choice -- your countries were democracies the last time I checked -- and at least that excess money goes to the public treasury rather than the pockets of fat-cat oilmen.
    • The problem is, in part, that world oil prices are rising. Do you think this isn't going to affect you too?

    The War on Terra is not meant to be won.
    Delendae sunt RIAA, MPAA et Windoze
    I have a solution (none / 0) (#135)
    by joshv on Tue May 01, 2001 at 08:49:32 AM EST

    Add $1 city tax to gas and use it to fund public transportation. You suburban boobs can either cough up the extra dough for rising gas prices, or move to the city where won't need a car. -josh

    Gas Prices - | 138 comments (111 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
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