Author Topic: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn  (Read 14885 times)

amicableskeptic

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'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« on: August 31, 2012, 08:28:02 AM »
I really need to get out of the habit of reading CNN, it has really turned into just total trash.  I read this story this morning about how gas prices are a huge percentage of the budget of people in Camden Alabama.  Here's an excerpt:

"Going out to eat, going to the movies, you can't do stuff like that," says Carter, filling up his Firebird

The emphasis on Firebird there is mine.  If gas is such a burden you'd think maybe this guy would sell his 20 mpg Firebird and buy a car which gets better gas mileage.

The next example was a mother who commutes 70 miles a day in a Jeep Cherokee to make between $329 and $220 a week.  She says she spends $60 a week on gas but counting in car maintenance she's probably burning $175 a week on her car to make barely more.  Take out taxes and she may well be losing money going to work.

The article does mention that some people in town have gotten more fuel efficient cars, but obviously didn't interview any of them.  It would be nice to have seen a quote from someone who upgraded to a nice used 40 mpg Geo Metro and was seeing their whole financial situation turn around.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/24/news/economy/camden_alabama/index.htm

James

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2012, 08:47:05 AM »
I agree, misery sells, so they look for and find the misery instead of focusing on, or even acknowledging, the positive.  All news places do it, and it gets old.  I just avoid all major news and get my information from quality blogs of many different stripes.  I have no worry that I'll "miss something", missing their crap is the whole point.  If a quality blog links to major news outlets that's the only time I go there.

Speaking of getting the word out about positive options, I thought of submitting a letter to the editor of our local small paper talking about how I sold my truck and how much money/gas I have saved.  Might help give others the same idea, but I hate to seem so preachy.

Sparafusile

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2012, 10:59:37 AM »
Somebody on this board should volunteer to write opinion pieces for CNN in reply to all these horrors of journalism...

atelierk

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2012, 12:08:49 PM »
"Going out to eat, going to the movies, you can't do stuff like that," says Carter, filling up his Firebird at a BP station in Camden, a quiet southern town 80 miles southwest of Montgomery. "You're working for gas now."

Hm. The guy grosses $14K a year. Even if he biked to work, I wouldn't think he'd be going out to eat or going to the movies much, if at all.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 12:10:57 PM by atelierk »

Kriegsspiel

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 12:59:58 PM »
"Going out to eat, going to the movies, you can't do stuff like that," says Carter, filling up his Firebird at a BP station in Camden, a quiet southern town 80 miles southwest of Montgomery. "You're working for gas now."

Hm. The guy grosses $14K a year. Even if he biked to work, I wouldn't think he'd be going out to eat or going to the movies much, if at all.

It's funny though.  I just finished a book on the Great Depression, and it had a statistic that kinda threw me.  Evidently, throughout the GD, the equivalent of 60% of the population went to the movies.  Pretty crazy stat.

Another Reader

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2012, 01:11:06 PM »
No television or internet then.  My dad used to tell me stories of trying to scare up a dime from his parents and older siblings to spend Saturday at the movies.  You got a movie AND the latest serial chapter.

Daley

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2012, 01:19:21 PM »
"Going out to eat, going to the movies, you can't do stuff like that," says Carter, filling up his Firebird at a BP station in Camden, a quiet southern town 80 miles southwest of Montgomery. "You're working for gas now."

Hm. The guy grosses $14K a year. Even if he biked to work, I wouldn't think he'd be going out to eat or going to the movies much, if at all.

It's funny though.  I just finished a book on the Great Depression, and it had a statistic that kinda threw me.  Evidently, throughout the GD, the equivalent of 60% of the population went to the movies.  Pretty crazy stat.

Not as crazy as you'd think. A 25¢ ticket (as low as 10¢ at a matinée) and 5¢ for popcorn got you in the door for several hours of news and entertainment in a frequently climate controlled environment with something to fill your gullet back then. Even by inflationary standards, that's still only a little under $4 a head at most in today's money. Expensive? Yes, but not like modern movie prices.

newb

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2012, 01:09:24 PM »
The funny thing is, 20mpg isnt really all that horrible for most vehicles nowadays. I dont have any stats to back my opinion up, but other than those subcompact tiny cars that cant hold much, you wont find a lot of vehicles that can do better.

Jamesqf

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2012, 10:48:07 PM »
The funny thing is, 20mpg isnt really all that horrible for most vehicles nowadays. I dont have any stats to back my opinion up, but other than those subcompact tiny cars that cant hold much, you wont find a lot of vehicles that can do better.

Can we have one of those mustachian face punches delivered here?  I drive a car that gets over 70 mpg.  Drove out to the friends' place (where I keep my horse) today, carrying a couple 50 lb bags of feed, a second-hand saddle the friend wanted to try out, my saddlebags, and a big bunch of pears & grapes from my garden.  Oh, and a 6-pack of cider.  And had a good bit of room left.

Look, if you want to go into the freight hauling business, get your CDL and buy a semi.  Otherwise, start living in the real world.

grantmeaname

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2012, 07:00:43 AM »
The funny thing is, 20mpg isnt really all that horrible for most vehicles nowadays. I dont have any stats to back my opinion up, but other than those subcompact tiny cars that cant hold much, you wont find a lot of vehicles that can do better.
Bullshit. I'm currently driving a 2003 minivan with a big honkin' V6 (almost 4 liters), with no modifications, in 60/40 city/highway conditions, and I get better than 20 mpg. If I can, so can anybody else, because that's nearing the worst-case scenario right there.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 05:00:41 PM by grantmeaname »

Jamesqf

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2012, 12:48:41 PM »
Yep, BS.  Even with the 4WD truck, which I basically only drive when I'm hauling a load (often pretty heavy) or heading into rough dirt roads that are impassible to cars, I still manage to average 27 mpg.

Angelfishtitan

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2012, 11:13:10 AM »
Haha, if your sedan (aka plenty of space for someone who doesn't do construction for a living) doesn't get at least 35 mpg, you got tricked my friend. Heck, I can fit two bicycles in just my trunk and I get that good of mileage.

gdborton

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2012, 12:28:41 PM »
Quote
Even with the 4WD truck, which I basically only drive when I'm hauling a load (often pretty heavy) or heading into rough dirt roads that are impassible to cars, I still manage to average 27 mpg.

I'm guessing that's behavior more than anything, what kind of truck do you drive?

Jamesqf

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2012, 12:49:07 PM »
Quote
Even with the 4WD truck, which I basically only drive when I'm hauling a load (often pretty heavy) or heading into rough dirt roads that are impassible to cars, I still manage to average 27 mpg.

I'm guessing that's behavior more than anything, what kind of truck do you drive?

'88 Toyota short bed, with the 4 cylinder and MT.  I'll grant behavior may play a part, as I've always been able to get better than EPA ratings out of any car, but still, this is not "most vehicles", it's a 4WD truck being driven with heavy loads and/or on rough roads.

lauren_knows

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2012, 06:05:03 AM »
This is going to sound a little mean, but the last few years that we've been so damn focused on gas prices here in the US... I keep hoping that gas prices skyrocket.  In Europe (or just about any other place on the planet), gas is way more expensive. 

Half schadenfreude, half hoping that $10/gallon gas would force people in this country to make some changes.  If gas doubled or tripled, it wouldn't affect my budget that much... but some people would have to make some serious changes.

smalllife

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2012, 06:45:47 AM »
This is going to sound a little mean, but the last few years that we've been so damn focused on gas prices here in the US... I keep hoping that gas prices skyrocket.  In Europe (or just about any other place on the planet), gas is way more expensive. 

Half schadenfreude, half hoping that $10/gallon gas would force people in this country to make some changes.  If gas doubled or tripled, it wouldn't affect my budget that much... but some people would have to make some serious changes.

It might be mean, but I've thought the same thing many times.  Americans complain about some of the cheapest gas on the planet! I just keep hoping that the gas tax will rise (with the income spent on infrastructure and bike advocacy) and an extra tax put on the sale of trucks, SUVs and other large vehicles.  But we all know that will never happen :-P

Another Reader

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2012, 08:16:17 AM »
I'm sorry, hut this is arrogant, elitist BS.  What you are saying is, raise prices, I can afford it, and I want to change the behavior of everyone that can't afford it.  Here in California, we are dealing with a spike in gas prices.  The price of gas is wreaking havoc on the budgets of individuals and small businesses.  People at the low end of the wage spectrum can no longer afford to get to work.  Small businesses, especially ones dependent on gasoline, are already cutting back.  A few more weeks of this, and it will show up in the unemployment rate.  A few months, and it will show up in declining tax revenues.

Try using the carrot instead of the stick.  Offer people a cheaper, cleaner alternative, and they will buy it. 

lauren_knows

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2012, 09:50:45 AM »
I'm sorry, hut this is arrogant, elitist BS.  What you are saying is, raise prices, I can afford it, and I want to change the behavior of everyone that can't afford it.  Here in California, we are dealing with a spike in gas prices.  The price of gas is wreaking havoc on the budgets of individuals and small businesses.  People at the low end of the wage spectrum can no longer afford to get to work.  Small businesses, especially ones dependent on gasoline, are already cutting back.  A few more weeks of this, and it will show up in the unemployment rate.  A few months, and it will show up in declining tax revenues.

Try using the carrot instead of the stick.  Offer people a cheaper, cleaner alternative, and they will buy it.

It's not elitist to want to change people's behavior or perspective. This site revolves around that idea.

What you're saying is, people can't afford to get to work by personally owned cars. If it became cost prohibitive for me to own a car, I'd take the bus, ride a bike, take the subway, intentionally move closer to work, intentionally find a job closer to home, or some combination of all of those.

I'm not trying to sound arrogant. I just think that the shift to a more sustainable energy is going to be painful no matter what. 

Edit: I just looked at the CA historic gas chart. Over the past couple months, you have a $0.45 increase in gas going (or ~10%).  If a 10% fluctuation in prices hurts as much as you describe, there are some major problems with the system.  As I mentioned before, gas is already $8-10/gal in most of the rest of the world.   Plus, everyone in this thread is basically saying "These people are fools for driving a Firebird. I get 999mpg, this is the way it should be done." and that doesn't strike you as elitist? Just playing devil's advocate.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 09:59:03 AM by bo_knows »

gdborton

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2012, 10:01:01 AM »
Quote
What you're saying is, people can't afford to get to work by personally owned cars. If it became cost prohibitive for me to own a car, I'd take the bus, ride a bike, take the subway, intentionally move closer to work, intentionally find a job closer to home, or some combination of all of those.

I don't want to call this close minded, but it is certainly looking at the issue from a slanted perspective.

If you live in an area where public transportation is available, kudos to you, but not everyone has this option.  The bike is a good bet if you are healthy, the climate permits, your roads to work are safe, and the distance allows it.  In my area I need to cross several multilane highways to get to work, as well as ride on some very busy roads.  This is fine in good weather, but I'd likely die if I attempted this in a foot of snow or icy roads.

Also for many people moving would mean double rent until the landlord can re-rent your apartment/house, and likely forfeiting your security deposit.

lauren_knows

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2012, 10:06:24 AM »
Quote
What you're saying is, people can't afford to get to work by personally owned cars. If it became cost prohibitive for me to own a car, I'd take the bus, ride a bike, take the subway, intentionally move closer to work, intentionally find a job closer to home, or some combination of all of those.

I don't want to call this close minded, but it is certainly looking at the issue from a slanted perspective.

There are certainly times when some of these aren't possible... but I'm surprised to hear this idea as thought of as "close minded" in a forum like MMM, where pretty much everyone is attempting to craft their life around ways to spend less and save more.  One particular part of your budget blowing everything else up? Try and change it. 

*shrug*

gdborton

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2012, 10:33:18 AM »
It is one thing to suggest possible ways of saving money in areas that need it.  It is another thing entirely to wish that vehicle dependent people were forced into giving up their cars.

Sylly

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2012, 10:37:17 AM »
Quote from: Another Reader
Try using the carrot instead of the stick.  Offer people a cheaper, cleaner alternative, and they will buy it.

It's not elitist to want to change people's behavior or perspective. This site revolves around that idea.


I'm not sure if 'elitist' is the word I'd use, but there's something unsavory about the notion that you could impose your preference on others, their preference be damned (not saying the govt doesn't do this all the time.., but I still don't like it). Like AR says, I also think the carrot approach is a better approach than the stick.

And while this site revolves around frugal living, with a heavy emphasis on sustainable approach, it's voluntary. We shake our heads at people driving an SUV to get to the office two blocks away. We don't slash their tires so they can't do it.

I'm thankful that while I shudder at the prices at the pump (which has gone up ~15% in the last week), it's not going to wreak havoc on my finances. But I understand there are people whose budgets are a lot more tight than mine, who can't easily find other modes of transportation, who can't easily make drastic changes in their lives, especially in such a short period of time. It's callous to just say 'change it'. I don't disagree that we need to reduce our dependence on oil, but the change needs to happen gradually, and people need to want to do it rather than have it crammed down their throats.



lauren_knows

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2012, 10:40:18 AM »
It is one thing to suggest possible ways of saving money in areas that need it.  It is another thing entirely to wish that vehicle dependent people were forced into giving up their cars.

I mentioned that it was mostly a schadenfreude idea.  I wasn't originally talking about people being forced to give up their cars, but more along the lines of the country as a whole being forced to change policy about energy.  The US has basically beat around the bush about energy policy and it's silly.  If we put even 1/10 of the effort into changing our energy production that we do into the military, we'd all be better off.   But, that is getting far too political, I digress.

I apologize if anyone took my schadenfreude too seriously.  It was just a thought.

TheDude

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2012, 11:30:41 AM »
It is one thing to suggest possible ways of saving money in areas that need it.  It is another thing entirely to wish that vehicle dependent people were forced into giving up their cars.

I don't necessarily wish anyone give up there vehicle. I do however want them to pay more.

The thing that really bothers me is that this has happened before. You are absolutely crazy if you haven't changed your behavior by now. Here is a good chart show the history of prices in CA. Notice the spike in 08. That's not that long ago. http://www.californiagasprices.com/retail_price_chart.aspx

Also I don't believe in the carrot approach. Lets look at wind power.  We have been subsidizing it for the last decade and its still not competitive with coal or natural gas. On the other had look at the volume of sells of the Prius last time gas spiked. Consumers ultimately drive the changes the government cannot give enough incentives to get be people to change their behavior on a large and continuous scale.

Jamesqf

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2012, 11:48:17 AM »
I'm sorry, hut this is arrogant, elitist BS.  What you are saying is, raise prices, I can afford it, and I want to change the behavior of everyone that can't afford it.  Here in California, we are dealing with a spike in gas prices.  The price of gas is wreaking havoc on the budgets of individuals and small businesses.

Yeah, I see the news reports (and feel some of the effects, since I live close enough to California to share a gasoline market), but what I also see is that most of the people complaining are driving fairly new cars, and the ones complaining the loudest are driving SUVs.

If being able to discern cause & effect relationships makes me an arrogant elitist... well, I'm proud to be one!

Quote
Try using the carrot instead of the stick.  Offer people a cheaper, cleaner alternative, and they will buy it.

Sorry, but no.  Easily disproved by sales history of SUVs vs non-guzzlers, as for instance sales of the Cadillac CTS or Escalade, vs the Chevy Volt.  Apropos of which,
Quote
Candace Rocha wasn't phased by the spike. "I haven't been to a gas station since July thanks to my Chevy Volt!"
http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Severe-Spike-in-Wholesale-Gas-Prices-Gasoline-Auto-Club-Costco-California-Los-Angeles-172707661.html
Quote
I drive a Chevy Volt.
With a commute of around 70 miles I use under 1/2 gallon of gas a day, and average 120-140 mpg. On the weekends I use zero gas.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/06/california-gas-prices-all-time-high_n_1945091.html
Quote
I'm a new volt owner (5 weeks) and gas just hit $4.60 a gallon today in California. I commute 30 miles each way to and from work and I'm able to charge at work. I just hit 1,200 miles and haven't burned a drop of gas. I love this car!!
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?17500-4.60-a-gallon-new-volt-owner&p=198350

Another Reader

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2012, 02:12:39 PM »
bo_knows:

Gasoline prices are up almost 15 percent in the last week to 10 days.  The statewide price for regular is now $4.67, vs. $3.87 across the country.  Here in Silicon Valley, if you make $8 to $15 an hour, you are living in shared housing and driving an older, less fuel efficient car.  Unless you live in San Francisco, or maybe the Berkeley-Oakland area, the concept of "reliable" public transit is not applicable.  You are probably driving a less efficient, older car to get yourself to work and any where else you need to go.  You are not going to move closer to your job, because your rent would be more than your paycheck.  You are not going to give up your job and look for another one closer to home, because there likely isn't another job.

TheDude:

Technology evolves and prices come down.  Look at solar systems.  However, not everyone can take advantage, even at lower prices.  Tell me how an $8 to $15 and hour worker is going to afford that Prius or Volt?

Jamesqf:

Why don't you walk around some of the neighborhoods where the folks you want to convert live, and suggest they all buy Volts?  Imagine what folks whose annual wages are less than the cost of a Volt will say to that.  Unless you LIVE in California, you do not share the gasoline market, even if you live in the same district.  California has special fuel blends, which cost more to begin with and I believe are only refined in Califirnia.  Add a pipeline breakdown, a refinery fire, and some planned maintenance on a Southern California refinery, and you get disruptive price spikes.  These prices are disruptive to the economy.  Even the governor woke up and mandated moving to the less expensive winter blend early to mitigate the damage.

Folks, no one is arguing we don't need to move away from oil.  Even T. Boone Pickens suggested wind power for our electricity and natural gas to power our cars.  However, energy must be available at inexpensive and consistent prices for a stable economy.  Raising the prices of the currently used sources of energy, especially by fiat, just puts a drag on the economy and impoverishes more than a few people.


grantmeaname

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2012, 02:16:34 PM »
What is it with the forums lately? It's like there's this need to be super politically correct or you get called an asshole by somebody who's butthurt that your comment hit a little too close to home.

Literally everyone participating in our economy has disposable income, and everyone can choose what they spend it on. When prices of something go up, they'll consume less of the good or less of something else. Which they do is their choice. This isn't about budgets that are magically too tight to weather slight changes in the price of netizen X's favorite good, and this isn't about netizen Y's schadenfreude. If the price of gas went up, American consumers would drive less, and that is an unquestionably good thing. End of story.

TheDude

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2012, 02:55:06 PM »
bo_knows:
TheDude:

Technology evolves and prices come down.  Look at solar systems.  However, not everyone can take advantage, even at lower prices.  Tell me how an $8 to $15 and hour worker is going to afford that Prius or Volt?

I didn't ever imply that people making $8-15 buy a Prius or a volt. I suggested that gas prices have already been this high and that people should probably assume they will get this high again. Therefore they should do something about their situation. Maybe that means find the bus route, move closer, move to a different city. I dont really care but if it was problem once you should something to mitigated the risk of it happening again.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2012, 03:23:52 PM »
Lots of folks can't afford to make the changes you suggest.  Some have never been exposed to your way of analyzing their situations, and would not know where to start.

I'm all in favor of us as a society having conversations about how to improve our society.  However, these conversations need to involve everyone and consider the effects of changes on all segments of the population.  Why not offer everyone information about the available alternatives and solicit their opinions about how to make the alternatives work instead of forcing compliance with what someone thinks is right using the financial equivalent of brute force?

grantmeaname

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2012, 04:12:36 PM »
Nobody's forcing compliance with anything, or having any policy conversations with or without all parties at the table. When the price changes, consumers respond. It's the natural way of things.

Another Reader

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2012, 04:37:44 PM »
Grant:

What was originally suggested was financial pressure used in a way that would have unintended and what to me are unwanted consequences. 

What you say is correct, but not all folks are affected in the same way or to the same extent.  Consumers respond in different ways.  Those that can afford increased prices modify their behavior a little, complain about things, and move on.  Other folks' lives and businesses are disrupted.  Unemployment rises, as does economic misery.  The net result is less gas used.  But stop and ask yourself, is this the best way for our society to move away from dependence on oil?

grantmeaname

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2012, 05:02:29 PM »
Other folks' lives and businesses are disrupted.  Unemployment rises, as does economic misery.
All markets are moving, all the time. I could tell you that I thought Canola oil was an economic necessity and make exactly the same argument- some consumers can afford a 20% spike in the price of their crisco, and modify their behavior slightly and move on from things; the others have their business and jobs disrupted and become miserable. The only meaningful difference here is that you're pleading that gasoline is somehow different than every other good. Considering it's not even the largest portion of the cost of owning a car, much less an exceptionally large part of a typical family's budget, I'm not any more convinced that an increase is a societal evil than you are probably swayed by my tragic canola oil crisis. It's a visible and volatile price, literally on giant billboards across the country, and the media makes a point of bringing it up every chance they get. But do you have any evidence that it's actually significant in magnitude?

But stop and ask yourself, is this the best way for our society to move away from dependence on oil?
Can you think of any other way to move away from dependence on oil besides using less of it?

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2012, 05:17:07 PM »
Why don't you walk around some of the neighborhoods where the folks you want to convert live, and suggest they all buy Volts?

You think I haven't lived there myself? 

You missed something important in what I wrote, which is that the folks who're complaining the loudest aren't the ones living in those neighborhoods, they're the ones driving newer cars, often newer SUVs.  They COULD afford to buy a Prius or Volt, because they laid out as much or more on what they're driving now.  That they didn't,  and went for the guzzlers when any halfway intelligent person would realize that long-term gas prices are just going to go up, means they've forfeited any right to have me take their whining seriously.

Further, if those people who're whining now HAD bought Volts, or even reasonably efficient vehicles, a few years ago, there wouldn't be a gas shortage NOW to drive up prices.  It's supply and demand, you know.  Reduce the demand by a quarter or a third, and prices go down for everyone, including those folks in the lower income neighborhoods whose situations you're now shedding crocodile tears over.

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Unless you LIVE in California, you do not share the gasoline market, even if you live in the same district.  California has special fuel blends, which cost more to begin with and I believe are only refined in Califirnia.

Yes, and the gasoline we use here (northern Nevada) comes across the hill from California.  It may or may not be the same blend as required in California, but it comes from the same refineries.
 
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However, energy must be available at inexpensive and consistent prices for a stable economy. 

Stable, yes, but inexpensive is not necessary.  For transportation, what matters is cost per mile, not cost per gallon.  If these people had chosen, years ago, to buy vehicles which use half as much gasoline to go a mile, they would not be hurt by price increases.  They made their beds: why are they complaining about the crumbs now?

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2012, 09:31:49 AM »
You missed something important in what I wrote, which is that the folks who're complaining the loudest aren't the ones living in those neighborhoods, they're the ones driving newer cars, often newer SUVs.

You got anything to back that up? They may be the ones you see on TV, but as we all know, TV interviews don't generally make a statistically relevant sample.

Further, if those people who're whining now HAD bought Volts, or even reasonably efficient vehicles, a few years ago, there wouldn't be a gas shortage NOW to drive up prices.  It's supply and demand, you know.  Reduce the demand by a quarter or a third, and prices go down for everyone, including those folks in the lower income neighborhoods whose situations you're now shedding crocodile tears over.

You say that as it if makes perfect financial sense to buy a hybrid in the past few years. It's not yet, and with conventional gasoline vehicles getting more efficient, EV's and hybrids need to work that much harder to be competitive price-wise. I've done the rough math of it for my average commute, and it hasn't add up yet. Even now, when EV/hybrids are cheaper than a few years ago, gas has to go up a lot higher to make the higher vehicle cost pay off in a reasonable time frame for the average consumer. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought so:

http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/analysis/hybrid-buyers-do-the-math-and-dont-come-back.html

I'm all for alternative fuel vehicles. I'm watching. I'm just waiting for it the price to be a bit more reasonable and for the battery technology to mature more. Yeah, it's a good cause. I'm still not willing to sacrifice my money to be an early adopter. I made a conscious decision to stick with gasoline. I don't like higher prices, but I'm not complaining. Should gas prices rise enough to tilt the equation more in favor of hybrids, I'd be all over it. I'm just saying, it's not as simply as that. It has to be done gradually, and alternatives (e.g. reliable, reasonable speed public transit) for those who really can't afford it need to be in place.

Yes, and the gasoline we use here (northern Nevada) comes across the hill from California.  It may or may not be the same blend as required in California, but it comes from the same refineries.

You're also seeing a spike, but the magnitude of the changes isn't even close (4% off a lower prices vs 15% off already higher prices). CA's stringent requirements on the cleanliness of its gas severely restricts its supply. I imagine that's largely because NV has the option to get supply from outside of CA.

http://www.nevadagasprices.com/Retail_Price_Chart.aspx
http://www.californiagasprices.com/retail_price_chart.aspx
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 09:42:01 AM by Sylly »

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2012, 09:57:41 AM »
Grant:

You are a hightly intelligent, well read, thoughtful guy.  Many of of your broad theoretical conclusions are fine.  However, my guess is that at 20, you have never had to support a family or run a small business.  The cost of energy is often critical in many households and small businesses.  Here in California we have seen the cost of energy increase unemployment and force businesses to cut back or shut down on several occasions.  This is disruptive and has long term ramifications for the entire economy.

****

Folks, I understand the thinking that says higher prices encourage conservation.  However, higher prices and especially unstable prices disrupt the economy.  Production and transportation of goods requires energy.  Cheap, reliable energy makes it possible in many cases to be competitive in producing goods and providing them to the ultimate consumers.  It doesn't matter whether the good is bread for the dinner table or cheap plastic junk from China.  You may not want the cheap plastic junk, but a predictable and affordable cost of the bread might be important to you. 

Spend money on researching energy efficiency and low cost energy production.  Create alternatives that are price competitive and can be placed in service quickly and with minimal disruption.  But don't spend money on more regulation or market controls that drive up prices with no benefit to anyone.


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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2012, 10:31:28 AM »
You're also seeing a spike, but the magnitude of the changes isn't even close (4% off a lower prices vs 15% off already higher prices). CA's stringent requirements on the cleanliness of its gas severely restricts its supply. I imagine that's largely because NV has the option to get supply from outside of CA.

http://www.nevadagasprices.com/Retail_Price_Chart.aspx
http://www.californiagasprices.com/retail_price_chart.aspx


Let's take the time to expand the charts and look back in history a little. You'll see that for the current upswing in gas prices (starting approx. 7/13), CA has seen a 27% increase while NV has seen about 14%, which is a lot closer than 15% to 4%. Further, you'll see that NV fluctuations usually trail CA by a few weeks, so we can expect that difference to decrease as CA's prices even out and NV's keep climbing. For a better example, we could look at the period from 12/24 to 4/3, during which CA saw an increase of 23%, while NV saw a 20% increase. That's pretty darn close.

Grant:

You are a hightly intelligent, well read, thoughtful guy.  Many of of your broad theoretical conclusions are fine.  However, my guess is that at 20, you have never had to support a family or run a small business.  The cost of energy is often critical in many households and small businesses.  Here in California we have seen the cost of energy increase unemployment and force businesses to cut back or shut down on several occasions.  This is disruptive and has long term ramifications for the entire economy.

I'll leave Grant to defend himself on this one, but I will say that I hoped the forum had gotten over the whole "Grant's younger than us so he must not see the whole picture" thing.  Guess I was wrong.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2012, 10:52:51 AM »
I'm not sure where this idea that you need a new, expensive hybrid/electric in order to have reasonable fuel consumption comes from. Average fuel consumption across the US in the late 2000s was around 20mpg (23.8 for short wheel base, 17.4 for long wheel base). Almost every 4 cyl passenger car made in the last 25 years can beat that. My 18 year old Escort (purchased for $900) got about 40mpg. So no, you don't need to be rich to afford a fuel efficient car. In fact, big gas guzzling pickups and SUVs tend to cost quite a bit more on average than small sedans.

California gas prices are averaging about $4.67/gallon right now. That's lower than the national average in Canada. Do most Californians have much farther distances to drive than average Canadians? Is there more agriculture in California than in Canada (which is very sensitive to gas prices)? Is the weather in California that much worse than Canada for alternative forms of transport?

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2012, 11:27:43 AM »
The funny thing is, 20mpg isnt really all that horrible for most vehicles nowadays. I dont have any stats to back my opinion up, but other than those subcompact tiny cars that cant hold much, you wont find a lot of vehicles that can do better.

I'm so glad other people addressed this right away.
Just to put some hard numbers on it:
http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_04_23.html
34 is just AVERAGE.  For ALL new cars.  And thats for average, lead footed drivers.
Which means you should be getting much much more than that.
Even the average for trucks and SUVs is more than 20.
You are doing something very very wrong, my friend.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2012, 11:41:45 AM »
I'm sorry, hut this is arrogant, elitist BS.  What you are saying is, raise prices, I can afford it, and I want to change the behavior of everyone that can't afford it.  Here in California, we are dealing with a spike in gas prices.  The price of gas is wreaking havoc on the budgets of individuals and small businesses.  People at the low end of the wage spectrum can no longer afford to get to work.  Small businesses, especially ones dependent on gasoline, are already cutting back.  A few more weeks of this, and it will show up in the unemployment rate.  A few months, and it will show up in declining tax revenues.

Try using the carrot instead of the stick.  Offer people a cheaper, cleaner alternative, and they will buy it.

This is all because people have all gotten accustomed to cheap, subsidized gas.  No where else in the world which is a net importer of gas pays as little as we do.  But no one is "entitled" to cheap gas.  If they can't afford to get to work, they need to change their home or work situation.  If someone choose to live in SF and work in NY, do you have sympathy for them if they can't afford the plane tickets anymore?

Instead of mandating mpg ratings, using pricing uses a trick called "supply and demand", where by the market solves a problem.  Gas rices go up, then people stop buying SUVs, stop moving to the suburbs while they still have jobs in the city, stop buying groceries and clothes that were grown overseas.  We don't have to add new taxes to make the price go up either - the government just has to stop intervening.  No tax breaks for oil companies.  No US troops guarding pipelines.  I'm in the service myself, and while I haven't been there myself, I work with people who do, and apparently just about the only thing we are doing is guarding pipelines.  Let the oil companies pay for their own security.

If we find a cheaper alternative, people will buy MORE big trucks, and move FURTHER from work, and eventually, no matter how "clean" a technology is, we will find a way to make it unsustainable.
There was a time when petroleum WAS the "revolutionary clean alternative fuel" because it displaced coal.  But it was cheap, so it became the problem.

Hey, guess what?
I run a small business - one that revolves around a truck.  I make around $20k a year in one of the most expensive areas in the world (San Francisco Bay).  And I 100% agree that fuel prices are too low.  If I can get 34-38mpg out of a 30 year old commercial truck, nobody has any excuse for getting 20mpg in anything.
You don't need a hybrid. You just need to not drive like an idiot.  That's it.  It's that easy.  Drive slower.  Don't race to stoplights.  Those two alone should get you 10-25% above EPA.  Some mild cheap car mods will get you further.  Then, on top of that, don't drive if you are going 5 miles or less.  Get a bike.  We are talking about CA, so no excuses.  We don't have to ride in -30 degree temps like some people.  Stop whining about how you deserve cheap gas.  You don't.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2012, 11:55:00 AM »
Bakari, Your input was awesome.  I especially like this

"Instead of mandating mpg ratings, using pricing uses a trick called "supply and demand", where by the market solves a problem."

Make no doubt about it. The market must fix this problem. You can not incentivize enough to truly change the situation.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2012, 12:06:40 PM »
You folks are all correct:

1.  Yes - a spike or decline in fuel prices can have an economic impact at all levels (macro, micro, individual), but only if it is over an extended period - a month is not long enough (most of the gas issues in CA are temporary).
2. yes - supply and demand drives prices.  People will adapt, maybe over night or over time.  Can drive less (bus, carpool, quit their job) or can get better fuel efficiency or both.  But to point #1 it only happens if it is perceived to be a long term/permanent change.
3. yes - new cars are more efficient than ever and to be honest I call BS on efficiency standards passed earlier this year - 54.5 mpg average by 2025 - make happen sooner the tech is there.
4. yes - there are older fuel efficient cars available that are not costly.
5. yes - the ROI on hybrids/EV doesn't make sense unless you get a lot of tax credits or you drive a lot. 
6. yes - this was forseeable and people should have planned - different car, closer to work, etc. but the real doesn't work that way all the time.
7. yes - grant is young and intelectual but also thoughtful and normally brings data to the table to support his position, but I do acknowledge that there can be difference between theoretical and practical experience. Some things you just have to live through but enough jumping on him because he is young.


Enough about all that - the most significant driver of oil prices and the reason why the US has benefited from low prices is the strength of the US Dollar.  Look at the attached link and if you weren't aware of it then you will see how the rise of the dollar correlates precisely with the fall of oil and vice versa.  So keep this in mind when you vote and I don't mean Obama vs Romney, I mean in general.  The US dollar gets eroded the more deficits and sovereign debt increases.  This needs to stop. 

I don't care if we price fuel higher because we are trying to promote fuel efficiency or alternative energy vehicles over time but I don't want fuel prices rising because the US can't manage its bank account.


http://www.macrotrends.org/1335/us-dollar-index-gold-and-oil-chart-last-five-years

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2012, 12:33:48 PM »
Enough about all that - the most significant driver of oil prices and the reason why the US has benefited from low prices is the strength of the US Dollar.  Look at the attached link and if you weren't aware of it then you will see how the rise of the dollar correlates precisely with the fall of oil and vice versa. 
I'm not entirely convinced which is cause and which is effect. Afterall, the entire US economy has gotten accustomed to cheap gas, and has built infrastructure around taking it for granted.  As you pointed out, this can't change over a month, so instead of brief fluctuations causing change, they just temporarily repress the economy, and by extension, the dollar.
But whether its cause or effect is moot - I wasn't saying the price is fixed, just that it is subsidized and therefor repressed.  The entire gas price line could shift upward, and still keep the same relationship to the dollar.


Quote
So keep this in mind when you vote and I don't mean Obama vs Romney, I mean in general.  The US dollar gets eroded the more deficits and sovereign debt increases.  This needs to stop. 

Agreed.
Its funny how, which ever party is in power, the other one starts calling for less spending, but when its their turn, they seem to forget

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2012, 12:44:23 PM »
However, my guess is that at 20, you have never had to support a family or run a small business.
Your guess is wrong, so maybe at this point it behooves you to discuss my points instead of raising the same tired ad hominem that I've been addressing for six months now. I said that what you were doing was special pleading for gasoline based on its media and physical prominence and visible volatility, not its actual importance to household spending due to its magnitude. You have somehow managed to not only fail to find any evidence that it's absolutely significant, but to actually totally fail to engage with my point. The cost increase is only critical if you can show that gas is absolutely significant as a part of a household's budget, which you seem to be totally unable or unwilling to do.

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This is disruptive and has long term ramifications for the entire economy.
Let me put it this way: Why is a quintupling of copper's price in the last 8 years not an issue for small businesses and families? What's that, because families and most small businesses don't consume an absolutely significant amount of copper, and those that do have responded by changing their prices or production inputs? Shocking, I know.

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Folks, I understand the thinking that says higher prices encourage conservation.  However, higher prices and especially unstable prices disrupt the economy.  Production and transportation of goods requires energy.
It's really too bad we live in a nation entirely devoid of bicycles, sidewalks, ethanol, biodiesel, lpg-powered taxis and buses, hybrid cars, electric trains, bamboo-based plastics, organic fertilizers not produced from petroleum, and diesel trains and boats that achieve greater efficiencies than semis. If only any of those things existed, consumers and producers could choose to consume alternatives to light petroleum distillates as a supplement, and our economy wouldn't grind to a halt.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2012, 01:34:17 PM »
You missed something important in what I wrote, which is that the folks who're complaining the loudest aren't the ones living in those neighborhoods, they're the ones driving newer cars, often newer SUVs.

You got anything to back that up? They may be the ones you see on TV, but as we all know, TV interviews don't generally make a statistically relevant sample.

I don't get my info from TV 'cause I don't own one, but in general, yes:  The ones I read about in news, on forums, or in person ARE THE ONES WHO ARE COMPLAINING THE LOUDEST.  That's why I hear them.  If you want to introduce a statistically relevant sample, feel free to provide links.

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You say that as it if makes perfect financial sense to buy a hybrid in the past few years. It's not yet, and with conventional gasoline vehicles getting more efficient, EV's and hybrids need to work that much harder to be competitive price-wise.

Competitive to what?  You seem to have ignored (or failed to comprehend) what fraction of the public I suggested should have bought Volts or hybrids.  How is the Volt (MSRP $39K after tax credit) not economically competitive with say a Cadillac CTS (MSRP $39K-$63K), or an Escalade (MSRP $63K-$85K)?

As for us folks unable or unwilling to shell out that much for a new car, we could have bought a used Prius for much less, or even one of the many mid-80s to mid-90s Hondas, Toyotas, Geo Metros, and so on that sell on Craigslist for a few thousand, and get around 40 mpg.

Quote
Yes, and the gasoline we use here (northern Nevada) comes across the hill from California.  It may or may not be the same blend as required in California, but it comes from the same refineries.

You're also seeing a spike, but the magnitude of the changes isn't even close (4% off a lower prices vs 15% off already higher prices). CA's stringent requirements on the cleanliness of its gas severely restricts its supply. I imagine that's largely because NV has the option to get supply from outside of CA.

http://www.nevadagasprices.com/Retail_Price_Chart.aspx
http://www.californiagasprices.com/retail_price_chart.aspx

You need to know that with gasoline, as with virtually everything else, Nevada is two entirely separate markets.  (One could really say, and I often have, that they're entirely different realities.)  Looking at state average prices gives disproportionate weight to the Las Vegas area.   Northern Nevada is separated from it by several hundred miles of desert, and is far more closely connected to Northern California.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 01:41:28 PM by Jamesqf »

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2012, 01:40:29 PM »
So no, you don't need to be rich to afford a fuel efficient car. In fact, big gas guzzling pickups and SUVs tend to cost quite a bit more on average than small sedans.

Exactly what I was trying to say.  If you buy the economical, used small sedan/hatchback/whatever for a few thousand bucks, you have a substantial financial cushion (those car payments you're not making) to pay for gas price increases.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #45 on: October 09, 2012, 04:17:33 PM »
I don't get my info from TV 'cause I don't own one, but in general, yes:  The ones I read about in news, on forums, or in person ARE THE ONES WHO ARE COMPLAINING THE LOUDEST.  That's why I hear them.  If you want to introduce a statistically relevant sample, feel free to provide links.

Then subsitute TV with news articles. Additionally, the loudest does not equate the majority. I'm not claiming anything that requires me to provide source for statistically relevant sample. In looking back at your statement,
Quote from: Jamesqf
most of the people complaining are driving fairly new cars, and the ones complaining the loudest are driving SUVs.
the first part may require source, but let's just add the qualifier 'complaining as seen in news articles, and we can skip the whole statistically relevant sample bit. The crux of my disagreement is that even taking both parts of the quoted above as true, it doesn't mean they're the only ones negatively affected by it. What I saw Another Reader taking issue, and I echoed, is that there's likely not a small number of people, who you may not hear about on the news (I dunno, maybe because they can no longer afford to go to the gas stations where reporters go for sound bites) who aren't the kind of people where the advice 'you should've bought a Volt/Prius or move or change jobs' is remotely realistic.

Competitive to what?  You seem to have ignored (or failed to comprehend) what fraction of the public I suggested should have bought Volts or hybrids.  How is the Volt (MSRP $39K after tax credit) not economically competitive with say a Cadillac CTS (MSRP $39K-$63K), or an Escalade (MSRP $63K-$85K)?

You're looking at different market audience. Sure, there's probably cross-overs of those who usually go for luxury cars going for compact EV/Hybrid instead, but that's not a fair comparison. You want to compare the Volt to something, grab a Honda/Toyota/Chevy/Ford sedan instead of one of the luxury brands' model. Those luxury brands have their own EV/hybrid models.* Quick peek at sedans show the lowest MSRP being a Mazda at $15k. For a straight up Chevy comparison, the Cruze starts at $17k. And there's similarly cheaper alternatives in the used car market as well.

For average consumer (required to reduce gas demand by any significant fraction), one should compare with same class/size models -- where EV/hybrids are still significantly more expensive and won't pay off until several years. For the audience of this forum, who are likely to go for small economy cars instead of Cadillacs and Escalades, those EV/hybrids are still expensive. The reduced yearly mileage will also push the ROI date further than the average driver. I think the equation is slowly tilting towards those alternative fuel cars, but I don't think we're really there yet for enough people.


* I'm not defending the irrationality of luxury brands, just saying that's how the consumers by and large behave in the market. Some people tend to go for, and stay with, the luxury brand that's 'appropriate' for their status.

You need to know that with gasoline, as with virtually everything else, Nevada is two entirely separate markets.  (One could really say, and I often have, that they're entirely different realities.)  Looking at state average prices gives disproportionate weight to the Las Vegas area.   Northern Nevada is separated from it by several hundred miles of desert, and is far more closely connected to Northern California.
Thanks, good to know.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2012, 05:58:39 PM »
If someone is buying a new car - any new car, of any size - then they are not really hurting for money.

That 15k Mazda, plus tax, plus loan interest, plus mandatory full coverage insurance,
compared to a $4000 (already twice as much as I've ever paid for a car/truck) used car from craigslist or the classified ads,
buys about ten years worth of gas.

People choose to spend their money however they want, but unless you are talking about food, you can't really say that higher prices "hurt" anyone.  That's a bit like claiming that a soda tax hurts the poor.  No one's forcing them to drink soda.

You don't need to pay a premium to gt good mileage.  A manual Geo Metro gets the same mileage as a Prius.  So does any small to mid size car with a few DIY hacks and careful driving.  If people don't realize that they are spending 25% more money on gas by driving 75MPH instead of 55MPH, that is no one's fault but their own - the information is out there.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2012, 09:53:52 PM »
The crux of my disagreement is that even taking both parts of the quoted above as true, it doesn't mean they're the only ones negatively affected by it.

And when did I ever say otherwise?  I have never been addressing those people (directly, anyway), but the ones who DO have the money to buy fairly expensive newer cars, and still whine about gas prices.

Quote
...who aren't the kind of people where the advice 'you should've bought a Volt/Prius or move or change jobs' is remotely realistic.

Those are the kind of people to whom the advice "you should have bought an inexpensive used Civic/Toyota/Metro instead of that used gas-guzzler" does apply.  (FWIW, other than the Insight, which cost me a bit over $8K, I've never owned a car or truck that cost more than $4K to buy.)

Quote
You're looking at different market audience. Sure, there's probably cross-overs of those who usually go for luxury cars going for compact EV/Hybrid instead, but that's not a fair comparison. You want to compare the Volt to something, grab a Honda/Toyota/Chevy/Ford sedan instead of one of the luxury brands' model.

Nope, YOU are the one insisting on making an unfair comparison, by trying to stack up a luxury/performance car like the Volt against a low-end sedan.

Quote
For average consumer (required to reduce gas demand by any significant fraction), one should compare with same class/size models...

Nope.  You should ask why those average consumers chose to buy ridiculously oversized/overpriced vehicles, and why they're whining when they experience the ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE consequences of their choice.

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #48 on: October 10, 2012, 02:44:02 PM »
The price of gas is wreaking havoc on the budgets of individuals and small businesses.
Yeah, I see the news reports (and feel some of the effects, since I live close enough to California to share a gasoline market), but what I also see is that most of the people complaining are driving fairly new cars, and the ones complaining the loudest are driving SUVs.

I have never been addressing those people (directly, anyway), but the ones who DO have the money to buy fairly expensive newer cars, and still whine about gas prices.
Fair enough. Nobody here is disputing that we can point at laugh at the Escalade driver who's whining about gas prices. AR was saying the spiking gas prices is "wreaking havoc on the budgets of individuals and small businesses." It's implied (and safe to assume) that these are individuals who can't afford an Escalade. I (and I assume AR) have been talking about the average to lower income folks. You were talking about the luxury-car market folks. Apples, oranges, let's leave it at that.

Further, if those people who're whining now HAD bought Volts, or even reasonably efficient vehicles, a few years ago, there wouldn't be a gas shortage NOW to drive up prices.  It's supply and demand, you know.  Reduce the demand by a quarter or a third, and prices go down for everyone, including those folks in the lower income neighborhoods whose situations you're now shedding crocodile tears over.

My second point re: ev/Hybrids being not yet competitive is in response to this.
  • Luxury car consumers make up roughly 10% of buyers^1. Say 50% of those are Escalade-type drivers, who you think should be buying Volts. Small market fraction, not going to have significant effect on demand.
  • To obtain such a large reduction in demand for gasoline, you need to include a bigger chunk of the car driving population, namely the average non-luxury car driver. Hence, my point, that for large segment of the population, EVs and Hybrids aren't competitive. Even taking the top-end sedan of non-luxury brands (e.g. Malibu, Impala for Chevy), the starting price still range in the mid 20k, compared to Volt's $39k. If the Volt is truly a Cadillac in Chevy clothing then a) they did a horrible job marketing it as one, b) we're again talking about that 10% luxury car maket.
  • This doesn't mean people shouldn't buy conventional fuel-efficient cars. I agree with you that people should do that, and it does seem that people have been shifting to smaller cars^2. But this is a gradual process as people replace their cars. Hybrids have been viable for several years now, but not only until the last couple of years have they approached the average buyer (and even then, still with decent length ROI) instead of the early-adopters and for-the-environment buyers.
  • There's one point where your argument stands -- roughly 50% of light cars sold is SUVs/light trucks. Assuming the light truck purchased due to legitimate need is balanced by the heavy trucks purchased for non-legitimate use, that's still a lot of people driving with MPGs on the lower end of the spectrum. The first step for this segment of the market is to buy more fuel-efficient models of the same type of cars. The next step is to make them realize they can live with smaller size cars. Sure, we can say they should've bought EV/hybrids, but I see that as saying an apple kind of guy should switch to mangosteen instead. It's more wishful thinking. The probability of it happening is low, and it sure isn't gonna happen in a short period of time.
The main point is that, I don't believe we could have reduced demand enough to lower gas prices for everyone in just the last few years. We theoretically could, if people switched en-masse to fuel efficient cars in just a couple of years. Realistically, that didn't happen. We're seeing change, but it's happening at a slower pace. Would it be better if it's happening faster? Sure. Do I know how to change the minds of millions of SUV buyers overnight? Nope. Either way, couldn't avoid CA's spike due to disruptions in supply.


1: http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/01/us-auto-sales-by-brand-2011-year-end.html
2: http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html#autosalesD
another source of statistics: http://www.nada.org/Publications/NADADATA/default.htm

Bakari

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Re: 'You're working for gas now' insanity on cnn
« Reply #49 on: October 10, 2012, 05:55:53 PM »
Who are all these poor to middle income people driving 15 to 20 year old Geo Metros, Honda Civics, Ford Festivas, and motor scooters, all at no more than 55MPH and only for trips over 10 miles, that you seem to be talking about?
Because, outside of the people on Ecomodder.com, they seem to be non-existent, at least any where I have ever been.

Just because someone doesn't buy a hummer doesn't mean they aren't buying something bigger than they need, driving it faster than they need to, and driving at times they could have biked.

It may be "wishful thinking" to say people should buy smaller cars, but I don't see why we should feel sorry for anyone who chose not to.  Maybe they should have thought about petroleum being a non-renewable resource before they decided "I'm a truck kind of guy" was more important than fuel economy. 
The time when people started buying small cars was after the oil embargo.
When gas became cheap, the SUV craze started.
What is wishful thinking is imagining that somehow supply and demand economics doesn't apply to gasoline.  The supply is limited.  Whether there is price fixing or not, prices WILL eventually go up.
And when they do, that is the only thing that will change individual consumer behavior. 

The lower gas prices are, the more people will buy big cars, with AT, AC, power everything, etc. and as long as that is what sells, its what manufacturers will produce.  Then those same people will cry that its wreaking havoc on their budget