Is Everybody Ready For $4 Gas?

Are you ready for $4 gas? We are, we live in NYC. You, however, might have a problem. Analysts are saying that $4 is a very real possibility this summer. From CNNMoney:

“I think it’s going to happen,” said Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at Alaron Trading in Chicago. “Unless things change dramatically, I think we’re going to see $4 a gallon.”

“More and more communities are going to see gasoline that approaches or exceeds $4 a gallon,” John Kilduff, an energy analyst at Man Financial in New York, said recently. “Where we’re currently at with prices, that’s a given.”

Naturally, CNN also went out and found a guy who doesn’t think $4 gas will happen, so we can’t be sure what they’re saying is accurate or not….We’re simply left with an uneasy feeling that makes us want to buy things. —MEGHANN MARCO

Get ready for $4 gasoline [CNN]
(Photo:The BH)

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  1. bigdave914 says:

    This is a yearly trend, lets scare people and drive up the price of oil for no good reason.

  2. Pelagius says:

    I’m ready for $4 gas, but I’m not ready for the barrage of OMG$4GASWTF stories.

  3. zsouthboy says:

    Psst..

    This happens every year.

    media scare story: OMGWTFBBQ GAS COULD BE $1000 a gallon!!11one!

  4. MaliBoo Radley says:

    I could take it. I live in the UK. We pay the equivalent of around $9.00 for petrol.

  5. zentec says:

    I think this is a positive step in convincing the government that their energy policy is not in the best interest of the country.

    Over the past two years, the weekly cost of my commute to work has more than doubled; from $15 to $32. Is it going to kill me? No. I knew this was going to happen someday.

  6. FLConsumer says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with $3, $4, $6 gallon gas…if the oil co’s were posting record profits. When gas prices are through the roof and ExxonMobile posts the highest earnings out of any company out there, including Mal-Wart, that’s flat-out theft. Overall, unless you want to live in a cave and live by candle light (and even some candles have petrol products in them), you’re a slave to the oil cos.

  7. Pelagius says:

    @radleyas: But everyone knows that petrol is cheaper than gas, since it’s made from recycled tea bags and leftover scones.

  8. MaliBoo Radley says:

    @Pelagius:

    You know it! I live in hobbiton!

  9. humphrmi says:

    How does one “prepare” for $4 gas? Save up? Buy futures?

  10. AskCars says:

    I’ve been holding off on these types of stories because most analysts say the spike will happen this month and everything will go down from there. So we’re in the final phases and like others said, this happens every year.
    I also agree with FLConsumer.

  11. Skiffer says:

    Historical retail gas prices since ’92:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications

  12. I’m a huge free market guy but this gas price stuff is really getting on my nerves.

  13. GitEmSteveDave says:

    The only thing worse than these stores is the “I had to cancel my family vacation this year because gas is so much!”

    Let’s say gas went up $2 a gallon from “normal”. On a 1000 mile trek, assuming 25 MPG, the total “added on” amount would be $80 each way. And if you can’t honestly save up an extra $160 dollars, should you be going on vacation?

    The 2nd worse, is the “Don’t buy gas on this day, and the oil companies will become so hurt, that the heads will all commit suicide after they lower the prices for wronging you.”

  14. foghat81 says:

    @radleyas:

    While you folks pay $9 for petrol, how much do you drive, on average for the year? I’ve always been curious of that. While the US may get relatively cheaper gas prices, it’s a wash if we drive relatively more.

    Any of our UK friends care to fill me in on your driving habits?

  15. maciejb says:

    JLP: It’s not exactly a free market.. OPEC regulates the supply doesn’t it?

    I gotta admit, I’m not particularly moved by this issue.. seemed like a lot at first, then I realized your gallon is what most of the world calls 3.8 Litres. Doing the math, this works out to $1.05 Canadian dollars per Litre. Which is exactly what I paid this morning. And these prices have been here for well over a year if not two.

    Why does the price in Canada matter? Well, turns out that the U.S. imports more oil from Canada than any other country in the world. Gas is more expensive in just about every other country in the world than the U.S., and the U.S. imports about half its oil. That, and if you adjust for inflation, prices really aren’t that much different than they were 20 years ago.

    Sorry guys, I don’t mean to sound cynical, but you just gotta deal with the fact that it costs money to drive your *ss around town!

  16. Anitra says:

    Gas can get more and more expensive; I won’t care until it starts changing people’s habits. My husband and I have started carpooling, and will soon add a third friend to our carpool, but it’s more to save wear-and-tear on the cars and be environmentally responsible. We could pay twice as much for gas before we needed to change our budget.

  17. Rajio says:

    @AnitraSmith: agreed

  18. mopar_man says:

    The 2nd worse, is the “Don’t buy gas on this day, and the oil companies will become so hurt, that the heads will all commit suicide after they lower the prices for wronging you.”

    I would have to put that before your first one. I don’t normally get stories about cutting family vacations because of gas prices in my e-mail. I do take some personal enjoyment in making the sender feel like an idiot by sending them and everybody else a link to the Snopes website about the “gas out” days.

  19. davere says:

    It’s getting to the point that I can’t afford to do anything in my free time outside of my house.

    I’ve even had to stop volunteering as much. I can’t afford to drive down that far so often.

  20. Falconfire says:

    The biggest problem I have is its fake, there is NO REASON for the prices to go up, the oil companies shut down their facilities for “routine maintenance” which in turn raises the price, but they have been doing this for years with no proof they are actually doing anything but manipulating their production capability to allow them to raise the prices. Spitzer in NY is the only person in our government who is actually calling to question this practice, after seeing refineries that just came off maintenance shut down again for the exact same reason, a week before the big surge in prices again.

    By all accounts from people studying the issue, we should be paying 1.50 at most, even once you lump in taxes and everything else. We are not because the oil companies are manipulating prices to gain record profits, and the government is so in with them that they would never bring legitimate investigations and charges up.

    And it doesn’t matter who is in charge. Republican or Democrat we will NEVER have the oil companies held accountable with how paid off government officials are by the oil companies.

  21. gopher646 says:

    Another reason why I enjoy living in New York. If I didn’t read these article meant to scare the American public with threats of high gas prices, I’d never even know how much gas costs. Yay mass transit!

  22. MaliBoo Radley says:

    @foghat81:

    I must admit that I don’t drive. I don’t even have a car. But most people I know drive a 2 hour commute a day. We’re talking about 60 miles a day.

    While I’m lucky enough to live in London, most people don’t.

  23. MaliBoo Radley says:

    Oops … I mean 60 miles each way!

  24. lpranal says:

    It always comes down to supply and demand. The major companies know this. Which is why they bought up all the independent oil companies and shut down refineries, which they claim was because of environmental regulation. Artificially this gives us two choices, pay higher prices for gas, or relax the regulations (unnecessarily). It’s win-win for the oil co’s, lose-lose for us.

    Sickening, isn’t it?

  25. Buran says:

    @radleyas: Rolled into what you pay for gas is the price of universal health care and other programs that we pay separately for. All the people who say “you can’t make comparisons” aren’t taking that into account.

    Sure, gas costs more — on the gas station sign. But when you look at where your money goes every month, you’ll see it in a different light.

    I have money taken out of my paycheck every month to pay for my health care. Europeans don’t — they pay for it every time they fill up instead.

    Wish people would think before posting about the price differential.

  26. GitEmSteveDave says:

    @mopar_man: I listen to a lot of talk radio, and they always seem to find two idiots who say that whenever they interview people for these stories. And I always yell at the radio.

  27. MaliBoo Radley says:

    @Buran:

    That’s BS. I pay money out of my paycheck each month to national insurance.

    The price of petrol and the NHS are not one in the same.

    Maybe you should have thought before you posted??

  28. Notsewfast says:

    The current Price for a gallon of gas in the US is on average $3.05.

    A jump to $4 is 30% increase…that’s enormous.

    It’s so large in fact, that nobody has the foresight or quality of information neccesary to predict such a spike. This is purely specualation by the media “analysts” to get quality sound bytes out and to convince local papers to pick up wire stories.

    There are so many forces at work in the oil market that it is unreasonable to assume that one can predict such large swings.

    It goes to show that TV and news marke analysts don’t have to be the smartest or most informed, just the most communicative… or best looking.

  29. Buran says:

    Bring it on. I drive a fuel-efficient vehicle that I’m replacing soon with another fuel-efficient vehicle that can carry five people or easily be converted within five minutes to a cargo hauler by folding down the rear seat and removing the rear cargo cover.

    I still cannot figure out why the five-door hatchback seems so hated here. I love mine. The VW GTI coming up this summer will be my third (replacing the second of two Golfs). 25 city/32 mpg highway? BRING IT ON.

    Maybe people who didn’t think ahead and who bought gas guzzlers will finally see the error of their ways. Sadly, it’ll have to stay high for a while for anyone to realize they need to change and that yes, really, you’ll have to keep paying this and it won’t get cheap again any time soon.

    I also live close to where I work, minimize non-essential driving, have a transit pass courtesy of my employer, and schedule my work hours to avoid rush hour both ways when I drive in.

  30. GitEmSteveDave says:

    @Buran: I would really like to see what the break down is in America for a gallon of gas. What goes to local taxes, state taxes, federal taxes, etc.

    Cigarettes cost like 7 dollars a pack in NJ, but most of that goes to places OTHER than the cigarette companies due to assorted taxes and levies.

  31. Buran says:

    @radleyas: YOU may have a different situation. Just because it doesn’t apply to you doesn’t mean it’s BS.

  32. MaliBoo Radley says:

    That’s how it works in all of the UK. I’m sorry if you don’t like the answer.

  33. Buran says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: That’d be interesting to see. I believe that where I live cig taxes (“sin taxes”) partly go to fund health care, but I’d have to check. Where I live we have some of the lowest gas taxes in the country, too, which leads to people from the next state over who work here filling up while here, not while there.

    I’m sure there’s a site somewhere with this info…

  34. Buran says:

    @radleyas: I didn’t specifically mention the UK, either.

    Sorry if you don’t like THAT answer.

  35. MaliBoo Radley says:

    @Buran:

    And for the sake of saying it, that is how it works through out Europe. You did mention Europe, didn’t you?

  36. Buran says:

    @radleyas: Tell that to people I’ve heard from who say otherwise.

    But I don’t really feel like getting in a stupid argument about this. SITUATIONS VARY, that’s obvious. My point is still valid. So is yours. Enough already. There are better things to do than argue online about stupid things, and I’m going to go do them.

  37. GitEmSteveDave says:

    @Buran:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=53654

    This story is about a year out of date, but it’s probably still true for the most part. Explains a lot about how prices are set, why companies are showing profits, etc. And it’s NPR, so it shouldn’t be that biased.

  38. $4 per gallon of petrol? That is nothing.

    I have been living in Austria for last several weeks now. The petrol price here is 1.10 Euro per liter. That equal to $5.63 per gallon.

    http://www.tian.cc

  39. andyj76 says:

    @foghat81: I drive around 4-500 miles per week.

    @buran: I don’t know about the rest of Europe, and I am guessing that you are in the US.
    We pay separately for our health care (around 4% of income), plus our maximum income tax rate is 40% which comes into effect around £30k (~$60).
    According to the IRS, the maximum US tax band is 35% and comes into effect at $336k. At $60k, a US citizen would be paying just 25%.
    Add on to that, the fact that goods from the US are charged at almost a £ per $ (ie. a $200 iPod costs us £200 or almost $400), and the tax burden in the UK is far, far higher than in the US.

    The actual value we get for this increased burden is subject to interpretation, but I think most folks who work for a living probably feel that they are getting the short end of the stick.

  40. Red_Eye says:

    And in further news look for more record breaking profits at oil companies this year.

  41. Techguy1138 says:

    It’s already $4 a gallon here for midgrade at some stations(3.97) and a dime cheaper for regular.

    Gas prices are justifibily high. The US has an oil embargo on Iran and Iraq’s oilfileds are running at 1/3 tilt. China now makes most of the US pruchaced products and needs oil to do so as well as ship it to us.

    $4 isn’t that bad except when you think it WILL be $5 next year.

    I’m already trying to convince my father to live out his retirement dream of driving to all the North American stellar obserivitories now. Gas will not get cheaper in the near future until Iran and Iraq stabalize and the US economy stops demanding so many foreign goods.

  42. orig_club_soda says:

    $4 is a reality in California. I think we’ll get pretty close to $5 this summer.

  43. zuvembi says:

    Meh, maybe it will encourage some people to get out of their cars and try some alternatives.

    I personally use my Xtracycle for grocery shopping and hauling kids, and my Crosscheck for commuting.

    That average commuter in the US commutes about 5-6 miles one way. This is easily doable by bike.

    Hills: I live in Seattle.
    Distance: 10 miles each way.
    Time: 10 minutes longer than driving. Easily worth it for the cost savings and the exercise benefits.
    Weight: I started commuting at 280 lb, in fact I was obese my whole previous life. I’m a reasonable 205 lbs now.

    And before any of you post “But I live a bajillion miles away from work!” Well, maybe it’s not an option for you, but please don’t discourage other people from trying it.

  44. MaliBoo Radley says:

    @andyj76:

    Thank you for that.

  45. KenyG says:

    Dang – I paid $1 for a pint of bottled water this morning – that’s $8 a gallon!!

    Where’s the outrage?

    $3, $4, the market will bear it, it’ll complain – politicians will bloviate – but not one of them will talk about reducing the taxes on gasoline.

  46. TVarmy says:

    If biking is unrealistic, electric vehicles may be a good option for you. They get about 110MPG if you convert gas to electricity by price (even better if you convert it by $4, this is by $3 gas). They get about 120 miles of range per charge; the average American only needs 29 miles of range per day. The only problem is that it takes a while to charge, but at the same time you never need to go to the gas station, so it has pros and cons. If you can find a place to plug in while at work, that helps out.

    Unfortunately, there are few manufactured electric vehicles on the market. Toyota is planning to release a plug-in hybrid someday, but for now, you can use an EV conversion of a gasoline car or you can let car companies know you would by an EV via mail/etc.

    If you need more than 120 miles per day, or you can’t always have an electric source at night, go ahead and buy a gas or hybrid car. It works for most other people, but you are the exception. Don’t bring others down.

  47. zuvembi says:

    @KenyG: Reduce gas taxes? You realize that gas taxes are only a small part of the cost of gasoline, yes? Generally about 25-50 cents a gallon, varying by state.

    And that money goes to pay for roads generally, and doesn’t even cover that fully. Should we raise income tax so that we can lower the taxes on gas?

  48. Cap'n Jack says:

    Does anyone else find it appalling that the price of gasoline has more than DOUBLED in less than 5 YEARS?? Where’s the outrage?

  49. Canadian Impostor says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: Thanks for that article. I keep hearing people say “omg gas companies record profits” and I’m pretty sure that the gas market isn’t a gigantic oligopoly.

  50. j.a.s.o.n says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: “The 2nd worse, is the “Don’t buy gas on this day, and the oil companies will become so hurt, that the heads will all commit suicide after they lower the prices for wronging you.””

    Laugh!

  51. Canadian Impostor says:

    @Shadgenki: What should we be outraged at? Our own conspicuous consumption?

  52. shdwsclan says:

    Why the hell is bp and shell not using their slanty drilling method on venezuela, iran, and SA, its exactly like taking the oil right from underneath them…and if the caverns are non-symmetrical, then you can generally calculate to the earth’s core that the oil cavern would be on international soil at a specific depth…

    Or, just nuke iran, sa, and venezula and just take their oil….

  53. Trick says:

    If it wasn’t for the buttload of money I was making off my oil stocks, I would be so damn mad at the current gas prices!

  54. GearheadGeek says:

    Since American consumers have been told by our dear CEO..er.. president that we need to spend our way to prosperity and not make any sacrifices for his little war, they’ll keep putting gas on the credit card until it’s maxed, then they’ll realize they’re upside-down in their SUV because they “bought” it on a balloon-note fake lease or a 7-year note and it’s taken an even worse hit on depreciation because it gets 15 mpg highway and some people woke up and realized this is wasteful. Look for a glut of cheap used Suburbans and Tahoes in a few years, and companies like Hyundai to be making tidy profits on efficient cars.

  55. kimmie says:

    Uhm, yeah. In the San Francisco Bay Area, driving a car that requires 91 pretty much costs me $4/gal *now*. I only have to fill up once every two weeks, so I’ve been sucking it up.

    Try driving a car in the UK, and then it won’t seem so bad here.

  56. mac-phisto says:

    @shdwsclan: supposedly, the problem is not oil shortage. it’s a bottleneck in refining. we are producing at max capacity & recent happenings have pulled refineries off-line which has reduced supply in the face of increasing demand. when this passes, the reason will be the “seasonal move the higher ethanol content”, then “ramped up production of jet fuel for summer travel”, then “increased production of home heating oil means less gas for winter”.

  57. humphrmi says:

    I was originally going to drive to from Chicago to Orlando with my family this summer. Now, I’m going to drive to Peru. With lots of stops and starts.

    Take that, Big Oil!

  58. @radleyas: “I live in the UK. We pay the equivalent of around $9.00 for petrol.”

    You have public transit.

    @andyj76: “According to the IRS, the maximum US tax band is 35% and comes into effect at $336k. At $60k, a US citizen would be paying just 25%. Add on to that, the fact that goods from the US are charged at almost a £ per $ (ie. a $200 iPod costs us £200 or almost $400), and the tax burden in the UK is far, far higher than in the US.”

    What nobody ever says when calculating these statistics is that IRS taxes DO NOT include state taxes (in my state, 3% flat on all income) and DO NOT include Social Security taxes. I’m self employed, so I pay the 15%ish SS tax instead of the 7.5%ish that others pay.

    I’m in the 25% bracket, so my total tax burden on INCOME works out to 43%. (Well, a theoretical 43%. I haven’t worked it out with all the exclusions and deduction and so forth, which would make it less than 43% on gross income.) Some places also have county or city income taxes (I don’t have those); and most places in the US have property taxes. I don’t know how property tax works in Europe so I can’t say if it’s comprable; here I pay about 8% of the property’s assessed value every year in tax, but that varies a lot by state and locality.

    —-

    It’s no secret that Americans drive too much. But there’s not a whole lot we can do about 50 years of bad, sprawl-driven infrastructure planning as individuals. I don’t have a CHOICE about driving — there is NO public transit available to me, and there is NO pedestrian bridge across the river to my workplace. (The nearest bicycle-allowed bridge is about 8 miles downstream, I think, and the speed limit on the bridge is 55 mph, so it’s terrifying on a bike.)

    My husband and I drive fuel-efficient cars, live in a densely-zoned urban area, can walk or bike to many amenities (although not the grocery store), and work 3 and 5 miles from home, respectively. $3 gas is STILL a huge bite out of our budget.

    (And where I live, at least, we’ve also been bitten in the ass with soaring natural gas (for home heating) costs and a 55% increase in electrical costs as of January 1. Utilities are eating my budget alive. I can’t afford for gas to get in the act.)

    I’ve lived in London. If we had that kind of public transit, I’d be all over that like white on rice, and if my gas taxes were FUNDING public transit, I wouldn’t complain one whit. But we don’t have public transit where I live and we’re not funding it.

  59. Nickoli says:

    @Buran:
    The NHS is primarily paid for by income tax, which is also higher than America’s.

    Also: “I drive a fuel-efficient vehicle”
    “25 city/32 mpg highway? BRING IT ON.”

    That doesn’t look like good fuel economy to me (in the UK). I don’t drive, but Dad’s large luxury car gets what he calculates as being 30 – 40mpg, but US gallons are bigger, so he gets slightly better than that sounds.

    Most people I know with cars have small cars that get mid 40s.

    @Eyebrows McGee:
    “You have public transit.”

    Indeed we do, and that is why I don’t drive.

    @radleyas:
    National Insurance is for State Benefits (Jobseekers’, State Pension etc.)

    @foghat81:
    Much less than Americans, in short. People are more likely to commute long distances if they’re commuting to London (hence the high average figure from radleyas), but out of the people I know, the one that drives the furthest to work does 23 miles (each way). My parents do about 8 miles (each way). Also, a much greater percentage of us live within easy walking distance of a convience store or take-away, and most supermarkets can be got to on foot. The parts of America I’ve visited, walking is not a viable means of getting anywhere, but I can easily live without any other form of transport.

  60. The key metric for petrol price comparison is *not* price per unit. It’s cost over time. While gas in London may indeedgoes to cost $9/gallon, and one fills up once per month, total petrol expenditure is $108/month (assuming a 12 gallon tank). However, in San Francisco, as kimmie stated, 91 octane is $4/gallon. I live in San Francisco and have to fill up every 3 days, or 10 times a month (assuming a 30-day month), spending $45/tank or $450/month. That’s a fair comparison of petrol prices.

  61. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Hmmm…let’s see…the news media runs headline stories that read “OMFG, $4.00 a gallon gasoline!!!” So what do you think is going to happen? Traders are going to snap up gasoline futures in a panic, and presto…gasoline *does* go up to $4 a gallon because there’s a shortage rumor that causes a run on gasoline futures. I wonder who started those stories? I bet Exxon-Mobil has it’s own department of disinformation. I find it odd that whenever there’s a news story on why gas prices are going up, the futures market is seldom if ever mentioned as being a factor.

    What kind of bonehead government lets sharks trade energy commodities that affect the livelihood of the economy and every single working family? (Yeah, I know, free market and all that..but really…aren’t billions of dollars of profit enough? Shouldn’t there be a limit the the amount of blood money oil companies and futures traders make?)

    True, there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of effort being put forth by anyone…either private individuals or the government.. to conserve. And there seems to be this idea floating around that everyone can afford to suddenly stop driving their mediocre MPG vehicles and buy shiny brand-new hybrids or that people can just stop driving to work. Unfortunately, the US infrastructure was based on the automobile and the availability of cars and reasonably priced gasoline. Sure, petrol is always $8.00 a gallon in Europe, but the whole infrastructure of most European countries includes extensive mass-transit, while the US never included that.

    Why is there always an excuse? “OMG, we have a refinery down!!!” Two years ago, the excuse was “OMG, hurricane!,” then it was a bad pipeline, violence in Africa, we’re switching blends, we’re adding ethanol, storms in the North Atlantic, a plague of locusts..yada, yada, yada, yada. Oil companies know that the seasonal peak occurs at this time of year, but they seem to be intentionally dragging their heels to make sure inventory is lowest just at the time demand is highest. Hello, huge profits!

    And yes, I agree..at least for commuting purposes, we need to move away from 15 MPG SUV’s and monster trucks and back to fuel efficient vehicles..but that’s only going to happen as people switch out vehicles. Nobody is going to just dump their big SUV tomorrow and take a $15,000 personal loss just to save $800 a year on fuel. The shift, if and when it occurs, is going to have to be a lifestyle shift, and those don’t occur overnight.

  62. Spiny Norman says:

    Simple fuel economy is not going to dramatically change the price of oil or gasoline any time soon. Oil is a commodity on the world market. China and India consume more and more each day. As demand rises, so do prices. The only way that changes is a practical route to an economy that is not oil based. Germany has made a substantial move in that direction. France has invested heavily in public transit and nuclear power. Japan has embraced public transit and high speed rail. It is the United States that lags behind. Where is the methanol fuel cell technology? How about a simple solar panel with more than a 20% photoelectric yield? America has done great things in the public sector. The interstate highway system and the space program are prime examples. It’s time to get moving, for the environment, for economic leverage, and for the wealth we hope to pass to our children.

    Anyone need a used soapbox? I’m done.

  63. zolielo says:

    $4 per gallon. Not yet… Elasticities… National avg peak at about $3.15 or so.

  64. zolielo says:

    Btw the national average for yesterday was $3.05 with a slight downward trend forming.

  65. andyj76 says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: London has great public transport. I hate driving in London, the rules of the road are the complete opposite to the rest of the UK. It’s scary.
    The public transport in London is fantastic. You can get everywhere on the bus and tube. I always try to travel by public transport when in London.
    However, and here’s the problem; London is not the same as the UK. The public transport in the rest of the UK is absolutely terrible. There is no way for me to get to work every day by public transport without having to head in completely the opposite direction, only to change and head back again.
    The public transport system here is very similar to the US system, it’s just on a smaller scale. Train lines between main cities (Amtrak), coaches (greyhound) etc.
    It’s not viable for my 80 mile round trip per day. (not to London)

    I did look for information on State Taxes on the IRS website where I found that info, but it didn’t mention it. If you are a self employed contractor here and you fall under IR35 (tax legislation to screw freelancers), then you end up paying almost 50% tax as you have to pay both Employer and Employee contributions. Council tax is based on the value of your home.

    @Prolific Programmer: As above, London != UK

    @Nickoli: NHS is a state benefit, hence is funded from NI.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/1934690.stm

  66. Jesse in Japan says:

    In Japan gas has been about four dollars a gallon for quite some time (125 yen per liter at 120 yen to a dollar and 3.78 liters to a gallon).

    Suffice it to say, you say a lot more fuel efficient cars on the road here. My car is over ten years old and not a hybrid, but it still gets about 35 miles to the gallon.

    Frankly, I don’t think anyone who bought an SUV has any right to complain about the cost of gas. You ever here of supply and demand?

  67. lilyHaze says:

    When I got my bigger car recently (from an older compact sedan to a new small SUV), I told myself I couldn’t complain about the higher cost of gas. And I haven’t.

    I will continue to pay for gas (I only fill up about every 1.5-2 weeks), but the higher cost will lead me to spend less in other areas.

    I live in the DC area. While commuting to DC for work in certain areas isn’t so bad, the Metro isn’t actually “mass transit.” I would love for a better transportation system to happen here, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon.

  68. quail says:

    Doesn’t everyone remember the $3 a gallon horror stories we were told back in early 2000? It took years before we broke the $3 mark even though the experts claimed we’d be hitting it that summer of ’00, ’01, ’02, etc.

    What I’ve always wondered was why no one ever did the story of why those doomsayers were wrong back then. What happened that kept their ongoing forcasts from being right?

    I also remember reading in the 1990′s several stories about how oil producing countries never wanted US prices to go over $2 mark. Something to do with the fear of alternative energy being more viable if that happened and they were afraid that a push would be made to find new oil fields. Whatever happened to those fears from the oil producing countries?

  69. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Wait, “alternative” energy is oil fields in NON OPEC countries? How uncreative are those executives?

  70. bjcolby15 says:

    For the past three years, at the same time every year, gas goes up to “record levels” – in summer 2004, it broke the $2.00/gal barrier, in summer 2005 it cracked $3.00/gal, and then in summer of 2006 it stayed around $3.00/gal. Guess what happened after Labor Day on each of those years? With the exception of 2005, where Hurricane Katrina hit hard, gas plunged back down (in 2005, gas returned to around $2.00 per gallon or less around October.)

    Who makes $4/gal gasoline? There are many players, all out for their own machinations and desires. All play hand in glove in this game of “how high will the gas prices go?” The easy point of entry is to blame Big Oil or environmentalism. But there are other lesser players that do just as much damage to keep the gas prices high.

    Start with the media. If gas prices were still $1.50 or less per gallon, we wouldn’t hear a peep out of them. Since angry consumers make great news and bring in high ratings and circulation, just like “if it bleeds, it leads” news stories, you can bet the editors and producers will tell their reporters to jump on the “batten down the hatches, $4/gal is coming!” bandwagon. Once Labor Day rolls around, gas “miraculously” drops 20 cents/gal per week – but doesn’t tell the public it’s because the summer driving season is over. When we begin to take a gimlet eye at the media and wonder aloud if they don’t have a few markers in shaping the price of oil, you can bet quite a few editors/publishers will drop the $4/gal story like a hot rock.

    Next, let’s head to Wall Street. I agree with one of the posters here (Dwayne_Dwibbly) that the pundits on Wall Street seem to have a Wheel of Excuses to determine why Nick’s Gas went from $2.95 one week to $3.15 the next. If there’s panic buying in the energy pits for the purpose of extending profits (and not just for the oil companies, but big trading firms like Goldman Sachs, hedge funds, corporate raiders, robber barons, and others), then what’s been going on in the past three years is racketeering and insider trading – something the SEC, the IRS, and the Feds don’t hesitate to fix decades long jail terms and eight-to-nine figure fines on those who make ill-gained profits.

    Our next stop: politicians. These are the people who purport to represent us, and whenever those gas prices go up, have the same catalog of solutions…windfall profits taxes (will never happen: whatever the oil companies will pay will be passed onto the consumer in the form of even higher gas prices), alternate fuels (possible, but some fuels take even more energy to produce; car companies may balk at producing an electric or alternate-fuel car if the profit isn’t there), gas mileage standards (good idea as it saves money, but some people enamored with SUVs may take a lot of convincing to give them up), and public transit (great idea for huge cities, okay idea for smaller cities, not great for small towns, a waste of money for out-of-the-way areas).

    Meanwhile, the same media are not asking these politicians, so concerned for their voters, if they maybe have a stock or a thousand in these same oil companies they like to parade in front of Congress, or maybe have a few friends in the hedge funds or the Big Stock Traders who kick back a little bit of the oil-trading profits in exchange for campaign contributions keeping them in office. If that’s the case, every time a politician opens his/her mouth about “record oil profits,” a journalist should shout out, “But sir/madam, in a recent SEC investigation, it was determined that you owned several thousand shares in an oil company and sold them at a profit. Would you care to comment on that?” What will come first – the cries of outrage from voters, a boilerplate “public statement” that only a well-seasoned damage control flack could generate, or absolute stone silence?

    Finally, as much as I hate to say it, the people who are also responsible for creeping $4/gal gas is, unfortunately, us. Drivers who keep good maintenance on their cars, make sure they don’t idle, find gasoline bargains (why spend $3.15 a gallon for gas when $2.85 gasoline is right across the street?), buy cars that are fuel efficient (get something 25-30mpg and you’re in business; hybrids even better) and keep the tank topped up to avoid multiple fuel-ups won’t feel the effects of $4/gal gasoline, if at all. Those who fall for the media’s scare stories, Wall Street’s excuses, and the politician’s solutions, without making a single change in their driving habits will not bring gas prices any lower – in fact, we might see $5/gal without any further effort on their part, all because someone thinks there will never be a drop of gasoline or oil ever again.