Retail Gas Prices Hit Record, $4 A Gallon Coming

AAA says that U.S. gasoline prices hit a record on Tuesday and will probably keep climbing into the summer, according to Reuters.

Average regular gasoline prices touched an all-time high of $3.227 per gallon, up 27 cents in a month and surpassing the previous peak hit in May 2007, AAA said in its daily survey of more than 85,000 self-serve filling stations.

The travel group said it expected pump prices to rise further in the coming months, breaking above $4 a gallon in some areas by summer, when road travel typically peaks.

Are you prepared for $4 a gallon gas this summer?

Retail gasoline price hits record: AAA [Reuters]
(Photo:REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

Comments

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  1. Summer, yea right. People who have to fill up with 93+ are going to be in the $4 range by May. *Wishes BMW would hurry up with their 120d in America*

  2. Suddenly taking the bus doesn’t sound so bad….

  3. skitzogreg says:

    Time to go buy a bike.

  4. Brunette Bookworm says:

    Yep, I’ve been waiting for the $4/gallon gas for awhile now. My dad works for an oil company (he doesn’t set the prices, he works in construction for them) and has been warning me that gas will get to $4. It’s still cheaper than what people pay in a lot of places outside the US. I just wish more cars got better mileage.

    And if you are in an area where they have to use certain, reformulated gases due to pollution control, then you will definitely see $4/gallon.

  5. NightSteel says:

    I guess I might keep driving my hybrid a little longer after all. Jeez.

  6. DrGirlfriend says:

    This feels like the New Year’s Eve countdown. You can see the $4 gallon dropping down on people like the NYE ball in Times Square.

    We have a ’95 Corolla, which he hardly use because we use public transportation to work every day. We live in a part of town where lots of things are either walking distance or a short car ride away. I take the bus or lightrail on weekends, too, if they take me where I’m going within a reasonable distance. So we’re fortunate that this shouldn’t hit us too hard. If I lived in South Florida, not exactly know for its stellar public transport system or pedestrian-friendliness, this would really be sucking right now.

  7. SaveMeJeebus says:

    I’m not worried; Dick Cheney has hopped into his Tie-Fighter and is en route to the Middle East as we speak.

  8. DrGirlfriend says:

    @DrGirlfriend: I meant, “If I *still* lived in South Florida.”

  9. Buran says:

    @full.tang.halo: Check your manual. “Recommended” isn’t the same as “required”. You may be able to use 87, just with a performance hit. You can take the hit for normal commuting, and save money. But be attentive to mileage drops; some cars do lose mileage with lower-octane gas. If your car requires 87 or higher, run a tank of 87 and see what happens.

  10. PKBandit says:

    Why should we worry about $4/gal? We might as well skip that and go right to $5/gal.

  11. SkokieGuy says:

    So if Bush wanted to really stimulate the economy, instead of increase the nations debt further by printing money and trying to purchase a better approval rating…….

    What if he eliminate the current multi-billion dollar SUBSIDIES to to oil industries.

    What if he prosecuted the oil companies under existing laws that make illegal war profiteering?

    What if he put a cap on profits, via a windfall profits tax?

    Wow, this could actually reduce the deficit by generating more tax revenue AND stimulate the economy, since the price of oil effects every single American, whether you drive or not.

    As a P.S. We know this will never happen as the Bush & Saudi Royal families own companies together (and allowed the Saudi Royals to fly out of the US in the days after 9/11 when all other plans were grounded). Do you also know that the Saudi’s donated 10 million dollars to the foundation that built the Bill Clinton’s Presidential library?

    So I guess President Hillary might not do squat about oil prices either. Ya think?

  12. johnva says:

    I’ll pay a little more, but I don’t really care that much. My car gets 30+ mpg and I don’t drive nearly as much as a lot of people seem to.

  13. bustit22 says:

    @DrGirlfriend:

    Thanks for clearing up the Florida thing, I was so concerned that I wouldn’t have been able to sleep tonite.

  14. johnva says:

    @SkokieGuy: While I’m with you on the Bush/Clinton corruption stuff and the subsidies, “profiteering” is not the main reason gasoline prices have gone up. Largely, prices have gone up because of increasing demand worldwide (especially in Asia) and because of political instability in many oil producing areas around the world (leading to uncertainty over supply).

  15. ThinkerTDM says:

    @DrGirlfriend: It may not affect you when you buy gas. But that stuff you walk to buy? It’s shipped in. So expect to see price increases in the things you buy.

  16. SkokieGuy says:

    @johnva: You should care. The price of gas affects the cost of everything you buy. How do you think Wallmart gets all the cheap crap on the shelves? Your grocery store? It is eating up more tax dollars from city budgets to put gas in police cars, get supplies delivered, power contruction vehicles, etc. Where will muncipalities make cuts to make up for these extra expenditures? What about other employers?

    High gas prices = higher costs of goods = reduced profits = layoffs = lost tax revenue and lost purchasing power

  17. savvy999 says:

    [clicks heels] there is no inflation, there is no inflation, there is no inflation.

    Aw crap, Toto.

  18. wdnobile says:

    I think the Bush administration needs to step in. Yes the cost is going up but the companies are also making record profits. Theres some serious price gouging going on here.

  19. urban_ninjya says:

    Been paying $4/gallon for nearly a year now. Of course running a performance car/bike sucks @ the pump.

    On the topic of octane, the octane number is just an indicator of how spontaneously explosive the gas is. The lower the octane the better, so you want to use as low as you can get away with. Where higher octane gets it’s performance is the engine, an engine with higher compression ratio requires higher octane gas so it wouldn’t knock.

    I’m really perplexed to why $4/gallon is really a crisis for consumers. It’s bad for shipping and airfare (the price of light crude oil that is), but anyone who can’t afford $4/gallon for regular gasoline really should be driving a less expensive car. If you think about it, the price difference between a Prius and a Toyota Carolla is still more than the gas savings the Prius can generate over it’s entire estimated lifetime. Gas will have to hit near $8 a gallon to get anywhere close.

  20. DrGirlfriend says:

    @bustit22: You’re welcome. Anytime I can help, you just let me know, li’l buddy.

  21. DrGirlfriend says:

    @ThinkerTDM: Well, yes. But the way I read the OP, it seemed like they were asking how it would affect us in fueling up.

  22. ? graffiksguru says:

    Meg don’t remind me, its already 3.65 in parts around seattle. I know its coming, but I was hoping if I play ignorant, it will go away. (Doesn’t look like thats going to work)

  23. SkokieGuy says:

    @johnva: John, IMHO, if ‘demand’ were the real issue, why would oil company profits be the highest in the recorded history of mankind?

    Normally when quantities produced are increased, there are resulting efficiencies. It generally costs less to make more of something.

    If the demand is going up and availability were the problem, (like diamond prices because the supply was supposedly limited), then there would be shortages. I am not aware of any economy suffering because of lack of availability of gasoline and petroleum products.

  24. Manji Kengo says:

    so…when can we start government funded and required trades for hybirds/no gas cars?

  25. SkokieGuy says:

    Luckily Toto didn’t eat kibble manufactured by Menu Foods.

  26. johnva says:

    @SkokieGuy: That’s true. I do care about the collateral effects. But I don’t believe there is anything our government can do about it in the short-term. The only thing that will help is making ourselves less dependent on oil

  27. Geekybiker says:

    Who else thinks these articles are a self fulfilling prophecy?

  28. jscott73 says:

    According to an oil analyst on NPR this morning the run up in prices is more due to a weak dollar and people buying futures in crude oil then anything else. US oil consumption has been steadily going down while oil reserves are at a 14 year high. He thought it might even be an “oil bubble”.
    So the feds rate cuts aren’t helping the housing market in any appreciable way but are leading directly to inflation, this is just a case in point.

  29. SkokieGuy says:

    I’ve been in cities (I think Phoenix may be one) where late night, the traffic lights all flash, allowing you to slow down and proceed (with caution) through the intersection without stopping.

    This certainly saves gas. Nothing more annonying than to sit at a red light when you’re the only car for miles.

  30. sir_eccles says:

    It’s amazing the improvement in mileage you can get with simple changes to driving style and maintenance:

    - anticipate the road ahead
    – reduce heavy acceleration
    – note what the rev meter is doing
    – coast down hill
    – close windows
    – take off the un-used roof rack
    – check your tire pressures
    – turn off or reduce AC

  31. tinmanx says:

    Now I’m glad I didn’t buy a SUV. Not that I drive enough where this will actually hurt. But then again, this will make everything cost more. I think it’s time to replace those big delivery trucks with delivery bikes [www.bikesatwork.com]

  32. johnva says:

    @SkokieGuy: It IS being driven by demand with flat supply. Demand has increased, hence the price that oil companies can charge has increased. If we didn’t pay the higher prices here, then the oil producers would sell the oil to someone else who would (like China). Oil is a commodity. Oil companies make more money when oil prices are high (duh). They are simply selling at the price the market bears.

  33. johnva says:

    @jscott73: Yeah, the devaluation of the dollar is a major factor as well.

  34. DeeJayQueue says:

    @SkokieGuy: Problem is, there are only so many refineries working at any given time to turn the oil into gasoline. Guess who controls the refineries? The same companies that get to set the price for gas. They tell us that they have to set the price high to account for demand, but really they’re artificially limiting supply, then jacking the price up accordingly.

  35. @sir_eccles: It’s a bad idea (and against the law) to coast for long distances. What if a deer jumps out in front of you and you have no engine power? Don’t get yourself killed to save a few bucks. I guess that also means don’t fly Southwest.

  36. @Buran: Trust me, run a BMW on less than 93 and you’ll find yourself in the service garage getting o2 sensors replaced like they were going out of style. On 93 I get 28 MPG and that is in a 330xi.

  37. MrSpaz says:

    As a property appraiser, I have no choice but to operate a vehicle (my own) for my line of work; the money to buy the gasoline comes out of the fee for each order I take. For the furthest reaches of my coverage area, this can already mean $15 in fuel alone.

    I’ve been eating fuel cost increases for quite a while now. At some point, I’m going to add fuel charges to recover this cost from the customer; $5 may not sound like a lot, but it’s yet one more place where the rising cost of gasoline can sneak in and bite you (how many people would expect to see fuel cost increases reflected in the fees to refinance their homes?).

  38. MYarms says:

    Diesel here in my town in Florida is 4/gal right now. It jumped about 35 cents last week alone. So much for having a fuel efficient car, I might as well drive a hummer or a ferrari. I think I’d be paying the same amount.

  39. forgottenpassword says:

    Looks like I will be investing in a syphon hose soon.

  40. snowmentality says:

    @urban_ninjya:

    So I ran the fuel cost savings from this CNet calculator: [reviews.cnet.com]

    Assuming $3.25/gallon gas, which is what it costs around here (NC) right now, I would save about $600 a year by driving a Prius. (I assumed about 31 mpg — reasonable for normal city driving in my Corolla– and 12k yearly mileage.) Quick and dirty scan of cars.com tells me that a Prius runs around $24k while a new Corolla runs around $17k. That’s about $7k difference, which means I’d pay for the difference in approximately 11 years.

    At $4/gallon gas, I’d pay for the difference in approximately 10 years.

    I don’t think 10 years is an unreasonably long time to drive a car. I expect to drive my Corolla for at least that long.

    Now yes, if you drive a lot less than 12k miles a year, get significantly better mileage than 31, or compare the cost of a new Prius to an older used Corolla, then it’ll take longer (or gas will have to cost more) for the cost difference to even out.

    However, it’s not true that gas will have to hit $8/gallon to get “anywhere close” to evening out the price difference.

  41. forgottenpassword says:

    btw…. we need to start drilling in alaska & opening new refineries. At least for a start.

    THEN start truely considering fuel alternatives.

  42. kc2idf says:

    I will be resuming my use of public transit at the start of next month. If things get really bad, I can do that during the winter, also, but the bus stops at both ends of my commute are shelterless, making it a not-very-attractive option.

    Taking the bus costs me $36/month (This is for a month-long unlimited weekday pass). Driving, even in a fairly efficient car such as I have, uses 1.33 gallons/day (actually more now that they are selling E10 in this area instead of straight gasoline). At $3.00/gal, that’s $4/day or around $90/month, hence I save $54/month. At $4.00/gal, it would cost about $120/month to drive, hence the bus will save me $84/month.

  43. johnva says:

    @forgottenpassword: No, we do not need to drill in ANWR. That oil would be a drop in the bucket and would not be available for years anyway. You might not care about destroying a large chunk of unspoiled land to save a few cents (at most) on gasoline, but I do. That is not going to fix our problems. We really need to just stop being so wasteful on gas here. No one needs an SUV to drive their kids to school.

  44. timmus says:

    How long until the lame “gas boycott day” chain letters rise up from the grave?

  45. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m going to set up a pup tent across the street from an Exxon station and laugh at the Hummer owners crying their bitter tears of regret into their Big Gulp cups.

  46. greensmurf says:

    Got news for you all by summer gas will hit $5 a gallon. Right now gas is $4.60 in southern calif. Its going up, up, up I am sad and I am glad.
    I am sad because it now takes $44 buck to fill up.
    I am glad because
    1. Gas is on the way to be a thing of the past and new technology will be arriving.
    2. I drive a Honda Civic and I get 37mpg and I drive and accelerate fast.
    I cant wait till hydrogen fuel cells take off all that is needed is a better way that is green to create the hydrogen.

    Solar power is the power of the future as well.
    In one second the sun generates more energy then has been used in the history or human civilization.
    Imagine if we could effectively harness only a fraction of the Sun’s energy that hits our planet, energy problems solved worldwide.

  47. greensmurf says:

    opps that was 3.60 a gallin in calif sorry for typo.

  48. theBIG says:

    I am seriously thinking about distilling my own ethanol from all the oranges I have on my property.

    I know its TECHNICALLY illegal, but the allure of $.75/gal fuel is tempting.

  49. Ilovemygeek says:

    High gas prices just don’t bother me at all. My Honda Fit gets 38 miles per gallon highway 36 combo and I only have to fill it up once a week. I hope the high gas prices help to get all the idiots with Hummers and the like off the road in my neighborhood. I ditched my SUV a couple years ago when I noticed I was spending 80 dollars a week on gas. Now its 26 bucks and I’m good for well over a week.

  50. Crumbles says:

    I was wondering how long it would take a Democrat to blame Bush over something that’s not his fault again. It took 10 posts… that’s actually more than I thought.

    Congratulations Skokie, you’re the winner!

  51. lonewolf333 says:

    I think thats Hot.

  52. racerchk says:

    wow you guys are a bunch of complainers!! here in alberta canada – where most of the oil and gas comes from – our gas costs $1.08/litre!
    so if you convert what you americans are paying from gallons to litres, you are only paying $.70/litre.
    Stop your whining!!!!

  53. johnva says:

    @greensmurf: How high it will go depends a lot on where you are in the country and how high your local/state taxes are. Where I live, gas is approximately $3.15/gallon.

  54. forgottenpassword says:

    @johnva:

    Well, I am already at the limit on how much I conserve fuel costs. I dont drive anywhere I dont need to & do my shopping on my way to & from work. I dont have a giant SUV either, but I do have a small jeep wrangler (which is paid off)that I NEED for my job. I cant go out & buy some little prius & get in debt for it. I am driving that jeep until it dies. I also cannot use any public transportation,nor do I want to live near my work (in a BAD neighborhood).

    I was listening the other day to a guy on talk radio that said we needed to have a government mandate that all new vehicles need to be flex-fuel capable & that fuel can be developed from basically any plant material (including grass).

    I truely feel sorry for people who are already at the breaking point because of rising fuel costs. Pretty soon it will get so bad that people will be making a choice between food or fuel in order to keep a job.

  55. bbbici says:

    Big whup. I just paid $4.56 up here in Edmonton for premium, and this is where we make the stuff!

    I was just down in Dominican Republic, and gas is $5.40, but people down there make $1000/month if they’re lucky.

  56. greensmurf says:

    @Ilovemygeek: Yeah some damn Hummer threw a rock the size of a halfdollar at my windshield with its big huge wide deep grooved tires (an no mudflap) scared the crap outof me and sounded like a gun shot. Now my windo has a huge crack in it.
    Damn punk ass big shot that dont put common sense mud flaps so they damage other vehicles.
    Its okay though because the $300 bucks it will cost to fix my windshield is probably just a half a tank fill up for that hummer so I guess its karma returned.

  57. Chols says:

    Rice burners FTW!!!

  58. Canerican says:

    This idea that we should punish the oil companies is crap. No subsidies to oil companies – yes. But what the Democrats want to do (and are doing) is forcing oil companies to give away their earned profits so that we can find an alternative to oil. They are telling the oil companies to pay to destroy their own industry. Instead of that give the oil companies incentives to invest in new types of renewable energy.

    As for $4 gas, just wait for inflation to catch up with gas prices, strap down, use your $600 to make up for the stupid economic policies of the 90’s and early 00’s that have gotten us into this.

  59. modenastradale says:

    @urban_ninjya: That’s a pretty blind statement. In many places (for example SoCal), it’s not unusual for people to have a 1-2 hour stop-and-go commute to and from work each day. Even with a compact car, that can take up most of a tank. At $4 a gallon, those people are basically looking at a $50 charge, every day ($1150 a month) just to get to work.

    I don’t know what your finances are like, but I’d venture that for many people, costs in that range will start to necessitate major, unwanted life changes.

  60. johnva says:

    @forgottenpassword: Well, these are serious macroeconomic problems. They’re not going to be solved overnight. Flex fuel vehicles are not going to do it either, because we don’t have near the capacity to produce that much ethanol right now. Nor is that a particularly efficient way for us to power vehicles. Some people are simply going to lose if they made bad choices. Tough. Anyone with a brain knew that gas prices were not going to stay at $1.20 a gallon forever.

    Anyone who tells you ANWR drilling will solve our energy problems is full of it and more likely lying to serve an agenda. It won’t – there’s simply not enough oil in comparison to how much we use.

  61. whatdoyoucare says:

    My husband works long hours and thus can’t carpool the 35 miles to work as no else want to go in as early and stay as late. We are really worried about how we are going to afford it.

  62. zsouthboy says:

    @sir_eccles: “- reduce heavy acceleration”

    Wrong – a slow acceleration up to speed is wasteful, because your engine is not operating in its prime RPM range.

    Otherwise your other tips are spot on.

  63. Orv says:

    Diesel is even worse than gasoline, right now. It’s running $3.999 per gallon at some stations around here, over 10% higher than regular unleaded.

    @wdnobile: The record profits don’t shock me. If you’re selling a record amount of your product, and you aren’t making record profits, you’re probably don’t something wrong.

    What I do find a teeny bit suspicious is how multiple refineries will close for “maintenance” all at about the same time. It smells a bit like Enron’s games, where they’d shut down power stations to drive up the spot price of energy.

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: Uhm, if a deer jumps out in front of you I’d hope you’d hit the brake, not the accelerator.

  64. Orv says:

    @bbbici: Yes, but the high fuel prices you pay in Edmonton are because your government taxes fuel more heavily.

  65. johnva says:

    @modenastradale: Major unwanted life changes are coming to us all if oil prices stay this high.

  66. Orv says:

    @zsouthboy: Be that as it may, full-throttle acceleration is bad because most engines switch to a richer “best power” mixture when you floor the accelerator.

  67. modenastradale says:

    @greensmurf: Yeah, I think solar’s the next big thing, too. Advancements in nanotechnology have been predicted to make new solar collection materials far cheaper and easier to use. IIRC, some people have predicted the prices of solar energy and oil to converge within the next decade.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. government is wasting billions of dollars on idiotic ethanol subsidies, while severely distorting prices in the food supply. Great job!

  68. greensmurf says:

    @racerchk:
    1 litre of gas is roughly .264 a gallon
    so 4 litres of gas would be eqival of one gallon of gas (1.056).
    So if gas costs $1.08 a litre then a gallon(4 litre of gass = roughly one gallon) of gas would cost you $4.32,
    so the differance in price would be that you pay around $0.72 more for gas then we do.
    Dont worry things will be even soon.

  69. sir_eccles says:

    @zsouthboy: Yeah, probably depends on the car, the road and a dozen other factors like manual or automatic. I sort of meant more along the lines of accelerate hard then brake hard then accelerate again then brake hard again. I would have been better off summarizing my point as “don’t drive like an asshole in a hurry ‘cos you ain’t gonna get there any quicker”.

  70. modenastradale says:

    @johnva: Nah, I don’t think so, actually. Most people don’t commute that far, and don’t travel that much. For most of us, I think we’ll just see the continued evaporation of our purchasing power, along with things like nonsense luggage and fuel charges when we fly somewhere.

    But I do feel sorry for people whose livelihoods are contingent on using a lot of gas. :-

  71. forgottenpassword says:

    @johnva: “Some people are simply going to lose if they made bad choices. Tough. Anyone with a brain knew that gas prices were not going to stay at $1.20 a gallon forever.”

    Well, noones perfect.

    I can easily afford the increases, but I refuse to be a smug jerk who thinks that everyone who suffers somehow deserves it & that they ALL drive gas-guzzling SUVs.

  72. johnva says:

    @modenastradale: Wind is a pretty viable alternative power source right now in some places. For some reason a lot of people are resistant to it, though (apparently they don’t like how it looks).

  73. ath0 says:

    Good thing we are getting the economic stimulus package in a few months!

    Next they should raise minimum wage to $20 an hour.

  74. B1663R says:

    man, you american’s got it easy. why, just this morning in sunny old Canada gas is at $1.10 a liter! (that’s $4.40 a gallon)

    the whole reason gas is high right now is because a bunch of investors said its going to go up and lo and behold it has!

    same reason why gold is going to break $2000.00 an ounce, because the American economy is dying and some banks might chapter 11 and the only safe bet is gold.

    so, while you guys dream about 4 bucks a gallon, i’m livin’ the dream!

    btw my car is rated at 33mpg and it cost me $54.76 to fill it up this morning.

  75. @Orv: You hit the brake OR the accelerator.

    From Edmunds:

    Brake or gas: If you see deer or their eyes, make a snap decision: Either brake assertively (after checking your rearview, of course) or stand on the gas. Doing nothing is mimicking a deer in the headlights. Either you must slow to a safe maneuvering speed before the next animal in the herd steps onto the pavement or, if you’re too close or going too fast to stop before the crossing, accelerate to get past the crossing before the next animal.

    [www.edmunds.com]

  76. Orv says:

    @sir_eccles: It’s the hard braking that’s the real culprit. Think about it…in a non-hybrid car, when you brake you’re scrubbing away energy as heat that you burned gasoline to create.

    The trick is to develop a driving style that minimizes braking. You can do this by trying to drive at the average speed of traffic in stop-and-go traffic, instead of constantly accelerating and stopping. (Watch a semi driver some time; they usually have this down pat because for them changing speed all the time means having to constantly shift gears.)

    You can also let off the gas early when approaching stop signs or red lights and let the car coast. Every moment you’re coasting to a stop is a moment when you’re not burning any fuel.

  77. johnva says:

    @modenastradale: I feel sorry for them too, but I don’t see any good short-term solution. The best we can do, I think, is to start working very seriously on reducing our reliance on gasoline.

    @forgottenpassword: Maybe I came off as smug, but I’m not saying I think people “deserve” to suffer. I’m just saying that we can’t help everyone who made a choice that is now costing them a lot of money, nor should we. And I don’t see where I said that they “ALL” drive SUV’s. I just threw out parents who think the somehow need an SUV for urban driving as an example of people who are needlessly consuming more gas than required to do what they need.

  78. dirk1965 says:

    Actually, people in the Netherlands, have it the worst. Its $6.48/gal

  79. trujunglist says:

    No, not at all.

  80. Orv says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: Huh. I’d never heard that advice before. It sounds like a great way to maximize the speed and force with which you hit the deer. ;)

    The advice I’ve usually seen is not to swerve. It turns out very few people are killed by hitting deer, but a fair number of people are killed by hitting telephone poles, trees, or other cars when they lose control trying to avoid hitting a deer.

  81. Orv says:

    @dirk1965: Yeah, but how big is the Netherlands? It’s not like they’re driving that far. ;)

  82. greensmurf says:

    @B1663R: dont worry we will be there this summer.
    The thing that sucks in calif is not all areas have good public transportation. I work about 25 miles away from my job, I could ride my bike to work but that would be a 50 mile round trip communte and 40% of that is up steep hills, so luckly I have an option but it would be roughly a 1.5 hour commute. Still if gas hits $5 a gallon I will most likely be taking that route

  83. ? graffiksguru says:

    @dirk1965: WOW $6.48! I think your in the lead

  84. @Orv: I thought that too, that if you sped up, you’d just hit the deer harder, but there’s also a chance that you’ll get past the deer and it’ll jump into the side of your car or land in the road behind you.

    Or you can brake and while the deer may jump ahead of your car, you may also hit it when you could have avoided it by speeding up.

    It looks like a wash both ways, so I think the advice is to do one of the two instead of, as you say, swerving and hitting a tree.

  85. bohemian says:

    If we had bus service I would be taking it.

    Maybe people should spend those rebate checks buying cheap scooters like this.
    [www.schwinnscooters.com]

  86. SactoKev says:

    I find the many comments suggesting that alternative fuels will solve everything just plain delusional.

    Hydrogen cars will not be here next week, next year, or widely available/affordable in the next five.

    We need increased supply in the very near future. Drill ANWR, as in drill right now. Increased supply is the only thing that will lower prices, as demand will only continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

  87. Youthier says:

    I hate these articles. Gas was 3.04 Friday, 3.27 this morning, and 3.45 when I went to lunch today.

    Thanks AAA, I was unaware gas prices were increasing.

  88. johnva says:

    @SactoKev: And you think that oil from ANWR will be here in the next 5 years, even if we start working on drilling now?? Hahahaha.

    ANWR oil reserves are not big enough to supply more than something like 5% of our oil consumption, at most. And even then it wouldn’t last that long; couple of decades even going by the high estimates of how much oil is there.

    Don’t believe everything a Republican Congressman tells you.

  89. Canerican says:

    So because ANWR won’t last forever we shouldn’t use it? The Alaskans want it, even the Natives Americans would like it. ANWR isn’t a permanent solution, but since when do we only go for solutions that will last forever? If we used this mentality nothing would have ever been invented, since nothing lasts forever.

  90. greensmurf says:

    Two words, Solar Power….It is the future. Endless and abundant energy and its free. We just need to start putting more money into its development; we need to bring it up to 80% efficiency. Oil is outdated and it will eventually be gone, when then?

  91. johnva says:

    @Canerican: Alaskans support oil drilling at least in part because the government there basically bribes them to support it. Likewise, native communities stand to gain financially from it (and my understanding is that they are NOT united in supporting it). I would rather the decision be made by people who aren’t getting money if it goes forward.

    Don’t get me wrong: I oppose it for environmental reasons. There are just not many places like that left in America. And I simply do not think it’s worth it when it’s not even going to come close to solving our oil problem. At most, it might depress oil prices slightly. We would still be importing like 3x more oil from Saudi Arabia alone than we would be getting from ANWR, IIRC.

  92. DashTheHand says:

    I’m prepared. Just….waiting for it to get a bit warmer before bringing out the motorcycle.

  93. ELC says:

    I’m so tired of the supply/demand argument for the price increase. Just a few days ago there was a news article that showed that the demand had gone DOWN, but the prices where still hitting all time HIGHs. That flies in the face of supply/demand.

    The simple truth is that the oil companies are part of an oligopoly. Once they had an excuse (Katrina, world demand, etc) to raise prices and realized that people would take it (what choice does the VAST majority of America have – our culture/society is built on mobility), there has been no end to it. Does anyone believe it will EVER be $2 again? What about $2.50? Is there a ceiling? Will it stop at $4, $5? where? Until we have a REAL choice of something to put in our cars beside petroleum-based fuel, or cars that truly run on an alternative, we are screwed.

    Supply/demand economics is NOT driving this b/c there are no alternatives. Oh, and as much as I’d like us to be “energy independent” – what does that mean? Are we going to tell the American-based oil companies that they can only sell to us, from our own reserves? I highly doubt that.

  94. RStewie says:

    The technology is already there for them to fix this crisis. Americans just have to adopt it.

    Did I want a giant SUV? Yeah! Did I get one? No. My car gets 28-32 mpg. Is it a crap car? No. So there was no sacrifice.

    There’s cars out there that run on solar power, electricity, hydrogen. My fave is the one that runs on used oil from restaurants.

    But American consumers have to demand it, buy it, support it. And make it a point of contention. Universal Health Care? I’d rather some of these politicians took a firm and public stand on the energy crisis. Yes, people need health care…but where are you on this other major issue?

  95. The Porkchop Express says:

    @greensmurf: the main problem right now with solar is the cost. I know it’s free(ish) later but now it costs a lot to build. And later it may cost a lot to maintain. It is never ending (as far as anybody on this board or their kids are concerned)and eventually would be very cost effective, but right now it’s expensive and we are not able to harness it well enough to call it efficient.

  96. less_is_best says:

    My favorite are the buses with the big signs on the side of them that read, “This bus just took 40 cars off the road”. And there are 3 people on the bus. Does not compute……………. Drill Anwar and drill it fast. Need more oil……… Public transportation is a joke and frankly, I refuse to use it. Can I smoke? Can I have privacy? Nuff said.

  97. greensmurf says:

    @Lo-Pan: I know that but one of the reasons its expensive is it really hasnt been deeply developed.
    That will change as time goes on, it already is changing.
    The only two obstacles to solar power is Cost and efficiency, well there is also demand.

    Just wait as oil rises and gets more and more expensive, the demand and opportunity will be there for some company to take the lead and the market.
    Its going to happen it has to, it is just a matter of time.

    Our dependency on oil cant last forever.

  98. KJones says:

    Saddam Hussein wins in the end. In the year before the invasion and occupation, he was building a new oil market based in Euros instead of dollars (on of the key reasons the US invaded) and wasn’t having to press OPEC hard to get them to sign on.

    The momentum has slowed, but oil people and business analcysts on TV are talking about oil going off the dollar anyway and almost becoming a currency unto itself.

  99. OsiUmenyiora says:

    Gas prices and the need to drive — yet two more reasons not to live in suburban hell. When I fill up about once every two months it’s in New Jersey where gas this weekend was $2.97/gallon.

    The affluent suburbs and exurbs are going away folks. Those single-family 4000-square-foot mansions that cost a fortune to heat and cool and are located a 20-minute drive from anywhere will lose their value as fossil fuels become more and more scarce. Oil production worldwide peaked a few years ago but oil demand keeps rising as Indians and Chinese get their first cars and air conditioners. Our society is going to have to reorganize itself and it’s going to be painful and it’s going to mean less driving, smaller and more efficient homes, and fewer cornfields being paved over for exurban development.

  100. greensmurf says:

    @KJones: does that mean we will be paying in vials of oil? 1dram of il is worth one dollar or Euro? That woudl suck, what if the vials broke in your pocket (heh heh)

  101. hwyengr says:

    @Canerican:
    Alaskans support ANWR drilling because their Permanent Fund checks will skyrocket if it’s tapped.

  102. FromThisSoil says:

    @full.tang.halo:

    Right…the BMW diesel. I saw diesel prices already hitting $4.02 here in New York (87 was $3.30). Not sure what kind of fuel mileage that car will get, but will it be worth the extra 72 cents per gallon?

  103. johnva says:

    @OsiUmenyiora: Whenever I post anything like what you just posted anywhere on the Internet, people attack me and argue that they can’t change. I guess some people can’t face reality.

  104. uberbucket says:

    That’s also why the US has such a beef with Venezuela and Iran, they are both starting to trade oil in Euros instead of Dollars exclusively.

  105. cronomorph says:

    Thank God for public transportation! When I started work at my current job I had an under 6 mile commute that took nearly 30 minutes and made my 95 Corolla drop from ~30mpg to in the mid 20’s.
    The the company changed locations, which only lengthed the commute to 10 miles, but lenghted the trip each way to 45 minutes. Happily it’s right down the street from the MARTA station. Buying that monthly pass for $52.50 upfront sucked at first, but when I can get by on 5 gallons or so per week I learned to love it.

    I’m cheap though, I’m getting an inexpensive bicycle so that I can cut out the 3 mile round trip to the MARTA station in the mornings, and then I’ll only use my car to drive to my fiance’s house on Saturdays and to go to church on Sundays. (Though the church trip could be converted to a bike ride if I took back roads)

    This realy hits my fiance hard though, she lives on the west side of Atlanta, away from her work, school, and church, but doesn’t really have the option to move right now.

  106. gingerCE says:

    I am so glad I bought a Civic instead of an Accord (debated over this at the time of purchase). The Accord isn’t a gas guzzler, but the Civic definitely gets better mileage. Everyone told me to get the bigger car, but I’ve only needed a little car. Plus, I get gas 2-3s a month so my pocketbook isn’t going to be hit too hard–but I do worry about the rise in price affecting everything else–goods, food, travel, etc . . . that’s what’s got me really worried, not what I pay at the pump but the trickle effect into the economy.

  107. Orv says:

    @hwyengr: Alaskans have a pretty good scam going. They get more money from the federal government than any other state, in relation to what they pay in federal taxes. Meanwhile their state government gives them free money instead of taxing them. The audacity of that, and the fact that the rest of the country puts up with it, is pretty amazing when you think about it.

    @less_is_best: I can’t speak to the buses where you live, but the 60-passenger bus I ride is full every morning.

  108. OsiUmenyiora says:

    @johnva: They “can’t change” because they’ve already invested so much in their current lifestyles that they can’t imagine changing. If you were heavily invested in a mortgage and two car loans, and the only way of life you’ve ever known involved driving everywhere every day all the time for everything, then your imagination would be stunted too. But it doesn’t really matter because as you say change is going to find them. It’s coming. It’s just a matter of how prepared we’ll be.

  109. modenastradale says:

    @OsiUmenyiora: No, suburbia is not going anywhere. Urban living and suburban living are such different experiences that it’s hard even to compare them. There will always be people who prefer the latter, and who will make other compromises in order to avoid living in congested, overpopulated, and often dangerous cities.

    (Not too long ago, I moved from Manhattan to the SoCal suburbs. I myself might be happier moving back to a more urban environment, but I can tell you one thing for sure: you can’t take these people and cram them and their 2.5 kids into a 640 square foot apartment with no air conditioning, and charge them the same price.)

    Also, many suburbs have developed their own independent economies, to such an extent that some people commute from the city to the *suburb* to work. Obviously, places like that aren’t going to evaporate because of an extra $30 at the gas pump.

    I suppose some of the newer, built-on-credit communities which have no industries of their own are most at risk. Some of those places never became fully functioning communities before the real estate and credit crash; they might not survive in their current form. Even still, I’m not really sure if energy prices alone could ever kill suburban communities. It could surely prompt the development of more public transportation options, though.

  110. Orv says:

    I’d prefer to live in a more urban setting, closer to where I work, but I can’t afford it. Denser housing costs more to build, so it skews towards luxury condos that can command higher prices. The people who can least afford an expensive commute are the ones who end up pushed out to the fringes. The phrase “drive ’till you qualify” is in common usage around here, meaning you should drive away from the city until you find a house cheap enough that you qualify for the mortgage.

  111. johnva says:

    @modenastradale: Public transportion doesn’t work nearly as efficiently and economically in big low-density suburbs. It works better when people can walk or bike to the public transit network.

    Some people may prefer living in suburbs; that much is obvious. The question will be whether anyone except for the wealthiest people will be able to afford it. I doubt they will go away entirely, but I do think that if the long-term trend continues to be towards higher energy prices then we will see more of a movement towards housing being built in high-density cities. Such living arrangements may not be what everyone would choose if they had a choice, but they make more centralized (and thus possibly more energy efficient) transport of goods and people more economical.

  112. OsiUmenyiora says:

    @modenastradale: I agree with much of what you say. However, I’m not talking about just an extra $30 at the gas pump. I’m talking about fossil fuel scarcity where you’re just not going to be able to get it at all sometimes. With a crashing dollar and rising energy prices, the affluent suburbs (what I said in my first post) are going to choke as they try to pay for their gas bills, their heating and cooling bills, and the inevitable big box store inflation that will occur when Wal-mart can no longer afford to operate its huge fleet of diesel trucks. There will be thrashing and denial and the obliteration of a large part of our food supply as people try to run their cars on corn in order to eke out whatever value remains of their misguided investment in suburban sprawl, but in the end that way of living will end or be forever altered in a major way. And whatever happens, real estate prices in places where driving is a necessity are going to plummet.

  113. urban_ninjya says:

    @snowmentality: I think looking at gas saving alone is a very 1 dimentional view of the subject. I was debating getting a Pius then realized the cost savings weren’t worth the cost considering normal use circumstances.

    1) Cost of financing. Financing a cost of a $24k car over a $17k car over 5 years?

    2) Cost of insurance. The price differnce will create a small price diff in the insurance rates.

    3) Normally people turn over their cars every 3-4 years. Will anyone even recoup their investment in hybrid technology in that time?

    4) When you hit the 100,000 – 150,000 mile mark, the battery will have decayed from all the charge/release cycles. Either you’ll have to replace the battery, or milage will dramatically decrease.

    My real point is people worry too much about gas prices, but buy cars they can’t afford. It’s not the gas’s fault people are poor. It’s poor decision making that makes people poor. As easy as it is to buy a hybrid car, it’s even easier to save even more money to buy an old beat-up car.

  114. OsiUmenyiora says:

    @Orv: That is indeed a problem. The country will probably need to reorganize around more Main Street-type communities where shops and services are available locally from your neighbors — you know, the kind of Main Street communities that Wal-mart and strip malls killed off years ago.

    However, “denser” housing doesn’t cost more to build. If it’s built in a more desirable urban neighborhood instead of a paved over cornfield then it will be more expensive because of its location. But per unit it’s not more expensive to construct, and is actually a lesser strain on infrastructure such as roads, sewers, water mains, etc.

  115. Jamie Beckland says:

    OK, there is a lot of animosity on the subject of ANWR.

    Let’s look at it objectively:

    Drilling in ANWR would not significantly affect the price of oil, and it would not do so for several years.

    Drilling in ANWR would replace about 5% of US demand.

    However, 5% of US demand is significant when considering our oil usage from a foreign security standpoint. Of the 20MM gallons we use, the US produces about 13MM GPD. We import about 3MM gallons from countries outside of the Middle East.

    That leaves 4 MM GPD that we import from the Middle East. Replacing 1MM GPD of that is significant. If national security is important to you, this is meaningful.

    The pristine nature of ANWR itself is certainly of some import, but I would offer that it is relatively minor, given the lack of enthusiasm, funding and the fact that few people ever go there to experience that nature.

    Also, the people that do live in Alaska see a whole lot of money sloshing around because of oil, so they aren’t exactly objective on this topic.

    All in all, I see both sides, but ultimately I fall on the side of not drilling in ANWR for a simple reason: the only thing that is going to get us off oil is an increasing price of oil. Therefore, to serve the long term goal of the decline of fossil fuels, we must encourage things that make them more expensive relative to other energy options.

  116. Trai_Dep says:

    Anwar, if fully utilized (laid barren in a toxic sludge of waste), will meet the US’ oil needs for… Wait for it…

    Two weeks.

    Back to the drawing boards, polar bear-haters.

    Jack the CAFE standards up by 2-3MPG and we’ll save more than Anwar’s entire output. Every year. Bump it up to 6 or 8 MPG more over 12 years, say, and we’ll have just “discovered” 2 or 3 more Anwars.

    But then I guess lard-ass won’t be able to put his 8th Big Gulp cup in a holder, so the Terrorists Will Win or some-such.

  117. theblackdog says:

    This is why I’m glad to live near a subway station and I have seen it become more and more packed as gas prices have gone up. I wouldn’t be surprised if I won’t be able to find a seat when I get on the train, even if I am at the end of the line.

  118. MercuryPDX says:

    Didn’t they say $4 a gallon around this time last year… and we never got there? This year though we’re really trending to hit that. We’re at about $3.34 to $3.59/gal. here… although one place is showing $4.49/gal. but that HAS to be a typo… right?

  119. MsClear says:

    I really need to get that bike. I drive a Corolla and my hubby has an older VW. We get good mileage, but it’s tough to pay for the gas with one full time income and graduate school bills.

  120. nikalseyn says:

    Well, gee. If you don’t want to drill for oil in Anwar or off the coasts and if you are sitting in the Middle East with an army and don’t just take the oil there, then perhaps you are in a tight spot. When the environmental wackos control the Democratic party, we all suffer. I hope gas goes to $10 a gallon. I can afford it. Then maybe we will wake up.

  121. modenastradale says:

    @modenastradale: You’re right: public transportation can’t be a way of life except in a densely populated area. What I was really suggesting is that far-flung communities will start finding ways to finance better rail networks to the major business centers, so that commuters can still commute. Already, quite a few people find it economical to own an extra, cheap car and leave it at the rail station rather than commute by car. If energy prices continue to rise astronomically, I suspect more people will start finding that option economical (before they’d consider cramming their families into a coat closet on 609th St.).

    I’m skeptical that builders are going to refocus on dense urban centers. It’s very expensive to build in those places, so you’re unlikely to see the kind of entry-level development that would be approachable by financially displaced ex-suburbanites. Further, I’m not sure that goods transportation *is* more efficient in cities. My experience has always been that everything from delivery charges, to bus fares, to parking, to goods prices themselves are much higher in cities than in suburbs. I don’t know that the theoretical efficiencies of urban density actually occur in the real world.

  122. @Buran: You just gave me an idea… I’m going to try 89 octane (I’ve commonly used 87) and see what it does for my mileage in my 1999 Nissan Altima GXE…

  123. Ahoatam says:

    Today, Templeton, CA. Chevron at Las Tablas and 101 has Premium for $4.00 even.

  124. modenastradale says:

    @OsiUmenyiora: Nah, I think those kinds of predictions are the result of taking just a few variables and considering them in isolation.

    If and when fossil fuels become that expensive, it will either happen gradually (if steeply) over a period of years, or suddenly because of an unexpected kink in the supply chain. Regardless, I don’t think the long-term result will be that different.

    If we go the gradual route, you will probably see more and more investment into researching alternative energy sources, along with corresponding technological gains. Even with today’s technology, it would probably be feasible to replace a large chunk of our energy needs with a combination of nuclear power and hydrogen storage. That’s not presently a politically feasible solution, but in the longer term people would probably overcome their aversion to nuclear power in the face of impossible living costs.

    Of course, it won’t have to occur with today’s technology. Solar may well turn out to be the Next Big Thing, especially if (as predicted) it becomes possible to produce low-maintenance solar panels at cheap prices. Storage and transportation technologies still must be engineered, but those are very practical, approachable challenges.

    If oil prices suddenly, discontinuously spike because of some unforeseen event, then yes, we will have a very painful short-run. But in the end, I still suspect that technological advancement will end up making the difference – not a widespread return to ascetic lifestyles.

  125. death_hacker says:

    Welcome to Los Angeles, baby.

  126. dezeinstein says:

    Hey! That’s my Chevron station on Cahuenga.
    Well, not really my station. I pass it by though, on my way to other stations in the neighborhood which are generally .15 – .20 cheaper.

    And, yes, you can absolutely blame Cheney/Bush for the price of oil/drop in value of the dollar. Everything is interconnected. Take an economics class.

  127. Moosehawk says:

    Once gas hits $3.50/gallon here in Minnesota, I made a promise to my self I won’t drive unless I absolutely have to.

    I will bike up to 30 miles to friends’ houses if I don’t have to carry a heavy load.

  128. Orv says:

    @Trai_Dep: CAFE is a bad law. It gave rise to the SUV. It never works to tell companies they can’t build what customers want; it just leads to market distortions, and the SUV is a great example. Customers still wanted big cars, so when CAFE made it impossible to keep making large station wagons truck-like SUVs appeared instead.

    We’d be far better off giving people incentives to buy fuel-efficient cars, and letting the resulting market signals cause manufacturers to make them.

  129. Buran says:

    @sir_eccles: Yeah, I do all that and I don’t drive more than I have to (I miss the days of carefree day-long country drives… and I drive a German car designed to be a fun drive, too, but one with good mileage). If only more people did. I’ve grown real tired of people deciding I’m going too slowly, and swerving from right behind me to right in front of me only to get stuck behind the car I was stuck behind in the first place.

    Flooring it like that is one of the worst things you can do for your mileage. Don’t do it, calm down, and you’ll just get there a minute or two later! Big deal!

  130. Buran says:

    @full.tang.halo: There was a bad run of O2 sensors from a supplier a few years back, that was happening to a lot of people no matter what you used for gas. Check your manual, like I said. If the manual says you can do it and the car won’t take it and breaks down, you need to take it in for servicing because it isn’t meeting the minimum requirements specified by the manufacturer.

  131. Landru says:

    I call $6.00 per gallon by the fall of 2008!

  132. Rusted says:

    @forgottenpassword: Sorry, time has passed you by…..most modern cars have anti-siphon built in. Including mine.

    @OsiUmenyiora: I see that I wasn’t the only one who read that article in The Atlantic.

    @less_is_best: Depends on time of day. Bet rush hour is different.

    @SactoKev: We could drill ANWR right now but it would be years before we see any production from it. And then we could forget it, the oil companies would sell it to countries that have hard currency, which won’t be us.

    @ericole:No argument…fact. Flat supply, increased demand, and two major countries, India and China with a rapidly growing middle class that wants to be mobile too, with the cash to do it.

  133. Lordstrom says:

    “Suddenly taking the bus doesn’t sound so bad….”

    @CreativeLinks: Sorry, it still sounds really bad to me.

    Fact is $4, $5, $6 gas won’t change anyone’s habits. I won’t see less cars on the road. I won’t see less parking spots filled up. Not gonna happen.

  134. Lordstrom says:

    “What if he prosecuted the oil companies under existing laws that make illegal war profiteering?”

    @SkokieGuy: Please cite these phantom laws.

  135. Buran says:

    @Papa Midnight: I’m not sure how much of a difference you’ll see – higher-octane gas will just give you more knock resistance. You will most likely find it a waste of money, but I agree – run a tank and see what difference there is. You may (this is my guess) not see one, but you tried, and it won’t cost you much more just for one experimental tank.

  136. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Why is no one spouting the ludicrous crap about how biofuels will save us (after we starve because we’re using all the corn for fuel, and the fish are dead because of the runoff from the biofuel plants).
    But don’t worry, the runoff story is from some crazy internet site…[www.nytimes.com]

  137. HeartBurnKid says:

    @doctor_cos: You say this as if corn were the only way to produce biofuel. Corn is a ridiculously inefficient means of producing ethanol, and the only reason it’s as cheap as it is (and why it’s even being considered) is because of government subsidy.

    If we’re going to get serious about biofeuls, we should start growing sugar beets.

  138. Orv says:

    If biofuel is going to work and not compete with food crops, it needs to be made from feedstocks that aren’t edible and can be grown on land not suitable for food crops. We’re not there yet, but there are some interesting possibilities on the horizon.

  139. JeannieGrrl says:

    Whiny Americans! Come to Canada! I live on the East Coast, New Brunswick to be precise. Its $1.09 per litre for the cheapest gas available. Thats over $4 a gallon if you’re unsure of metric conversions and it has been quite a bit higher in the past. I feel so bad for you all and your terribly back breaking gas prices.

  140. modenastradale says:

    @Orv: Forgive me, but I don’t really understand the theory behind biofuels. Aren’t we replacing one non-renewable energy source with another? Even if you find a crop and land that won’t intefere with the food supply, you’ll still have the problem of having to fertilize the land. Plants don’t just pop up out of thin air; they require tangible resources to grow.

    It seems to me that it would be much wiser to focus on things like solar, wind, hydro, and even nuclear.

  141. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: And if you believe everything you read on Edmunds, you’re a fool. I live in deer country – we have huge lighted signs with alternately flashing lights on our highways that say “Deer – High Kill Area”. Everyone here knows you NEVER accelerate when you see a deer because where there is one, there is more and you don’t know where. You see deer, you hit your brakes.

    Also, if you take the time to check your mirror before braking, you just totaled your car. The car behind you should have enough room to stop without hitting you, or else they are tailgating you.

  142. TPS Reporter says:

    When I lived in Germany from 1987-1991 their gas prices were about the equivalent of $3.00 a gallon. We used gas coupons from the US gov’t at the Esso stations to get it at a very reduced price. I’m glad we traded our van for a small car (30 mpg!).

  143. Dancing Milkcarton says:

    If this is what it takes to get the car companies, individual inventors and corporations to push harder for a replacement to gasoline powered cars, then I’m all for it. Yeah, it’s going to hurt, but when the petrodollar slowly dries up – all you’re left with is a handful of nations that built decadent skylines with no other viable skillsets to sustain itself.

    One of the USA’s greatest days?… when we tell the OPEC cartel to go fuck itself instead of kissing their asses. While we’re at it, all the hedge assholes who passively manipulate the price should be kicked in the groin as well.

  144. chrrey103 says:

    People in Canada and places like Italy get health care in their price of gas so of course they are higher. I could afford that price fo gas too if I didn’t pay for health insurance. Or people on medicaid.

  145. ottawa_guy says:

    Yep today it went up to 110.9 a liter here in the national capital of Canada.. I am actually heading down to the US at the end of the week and I am glad for 3.50 a gallon gas, it’s still cheaper!

  146. Trai_Dep says:

    @modenastradale: well, the right biofuel could make a big difference. Although, no magic bullet (that’s the conundrum of this mess we’ve gotten ourselves into).

    Prairie grass won’t require water, fertilizer, tending and supports native species. Unlike corn which is the polar opposite on all of these. And since puny humans only have one stomach, there’s no displacement of food supplies.

    The tough (really tough) thing is that the energy is stored in the form of cellulose, which while incredibly abundant compared to sugar or carbs, is tough to break down into a biofuels-friendly form.

    THAT would be a very nice thing. Economically and environmentally. But it’s a tough nut to crack.

    Less pie-in-the-sky, let’s-wait-another-three-decades than hydrogen, but still, a tough nut to crack. Hopeful towards that, though. :)

  147. CurbRunner says:

    It’s already over $4 a gallon at several gas stations here in the San Francisco bay area.

  148. Difdi says:

    You can get engine kits to convert a bicycle into a moped (and retaining pedals, so you can do without the engine if you’re so inclined) for around $500 for a good quality one. Such kits routinely crank out 200+ miles to the gallon fuel efficiency, and some edge up towards 300 mpg. Something to think about, the way fuel prices are going…

  149. quagmire0 says:

    @Osi..

    And I suppose that public transit runs off fairy dust? You obviously don’t live in Chicago, where our public transit system can’t go two months without threatening a shutdown due to budget shortfalls.

    You hit the nail on the head with the affluent suburban life taking a hit though – but it’s not the commute, it’s more the people living off of credit to keep up with the Jones’. ;)

  150. SisterHavana says:

    Diesel is already around $4.09 near me (western suburbs of Chicago) – in the city it’s up to $4.39 in some stations. Prices were jumping up to $3.43-3.45 today. I topped off at a station that was still $3.27, even though I had half a tank left. (Thank goodness for getting around 30 MPG in my Civic!)

  151. courtneywoah says:

    It’s sad that it takes a monetary increase for people to care about their oil consumption, too bad the health of the environment isn’t enough. I understand that our capitalist country runs off consumption but we could try and be a little conscious about it.

  152. Trai_Dep says:

    @courtneywoah: That’s simply b/c the externalities of SUVs, etc., aren’t captured under our artificially tweaked economy. These polluting, inefficient industries don’t have to pay for the damage they wreck (kids do instead: yipee!), localities and us.

    Energy companies, the SUV makers, etc., wouldn’t rake in the profits they do if it weren’t for their interfering with the marketplace.

    Makes it snickericious when the “Free Market” types defend a broken, inefficient and dishonest economic system. But it’s okay: their children will be screwed too. Hope they’re still around by the time their kids wise up and spit in their enfeebled eye.

  153. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @HeartBurnKid: That works for me…I hate beets as a ‘food’ source :)

    @courtneywoah: I’m sure that more people care about the health of the environment, but the corpo-government (brought to you by big oil) has done everything possible to squelch any viable (or possibly viable) alternatives…keeping oil as the only game in town.

    It’s already been said that if we hadn’t invaded Iraq (over oil, grow up), the money we wouldn’t have pissed away could have been used to all but eliminate our dependence on oil by converting our economy to alternative energy. But the problem is that once the conversion is made, these monster profits for the energy companies won’t be there anymore.

    And now today I read that this big run in pricing is happening IN SPITE OF near-record reserves of oil.

    Those of you who continue to deny that the government(s) have any hand in this need to move back to the children’s table.

  154. disavow says:

    Instead of flying cars, this is what we’re reduced to?

    Any societal change would take years. If food costs keep rising as they have been, and especially if idiot government policies insist on corn-based ethanol, eventually farmland will be valuable enough that urban sprawl just wouldn’t be worth it. Combine that with rising energy prices, and we’ll see cities growing denser and hopefully slowing consumption.

    No change for me just yet, 12 miles to work in a 27mpg car.

  155. Savage says:

    Time to telecommute.

  156. warf0x0r says:

    I’m biking to the grocery store from now on… damn that’s going to be hard.

  157. vdragonmpc says:

    Everyone likes to write off ANWAR but its there and its useful. Same thing is happening in the Gulf of mexico. Guess where the ports are we ship oil into?

    Why are we not drilling into the gulf?
    Why cant we drill ANWAR?
    Whats going on with the arctic circle…

    Russia had found great oil fields but Putin killed Yukos oil…

    There are answers but they need to actually implement and ignore the NIMBYS and environmentalists who show up to the protests in SUVs.

  158. lincolnparadox says:

    This is a good thing. If gas prices stay high until October, it means that it will be an election issue.

  159. OsiUmenyiora says:

    @Rusted: I did indeed read the article in the Atlantic but that’s not what got me thinking this way. Another good source is Jim Kunstler’s site at [www.kunstler.com] The Atlantic is way behind on this one, though ahead of most major media outlets.

  160. OsiUmenyiora says:

    @quagmire0: No, I don’t live in Chicago, I live in NYC (thus the name and ‘NY’ Giants logo). Public transit doesn’t run on fairy dust, but there are eight subway lines within two blocks of my house and they all run on electricity, which can come from hydro, nuclear, etc. and all kinds of things other than oil.

    BTW, screw the Bears.

  161. Rusted says:

    @vdragonmpc: Not for us. The oil will go to those who have hard currency.

    @OsiUmenyiora: I cruise through his site now and again, found it through idleworm. He does have good points but at times I get the feeling he thinks he can stroll upon water in high summer.