American Driving Declines By Steepest Amount In 100 Years

From November to June, American driving dropped by 53.2 billion miles, according to the Department of Transportation. Billion. 53.2 billion fewer miles. That’s insane, and kind of beautiful. [NYT]

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  1. Eldritch says:

    That’s kinda neat, actually. That’s 53.2 billion fewer miles of car pollution!

  2. squatchie44 says:

    Makes you wonder how more efficienct people could be in doing what they must do.

    For example, i try to do all my errands on one day to prevent driving 10 miles 3 seperate times. Plus our work (finally) allowed a 4×10 schedule to eliminate one day of work commute.

  3. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    How do they measure how much driving occurred?

    • ChiefDanGeorge says:

      Perhaps they looked at the amount of federal tax collected on fuel and used an average price per gallon of gas?
      @Rectilinear Propagation:

    • quail says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: They take factors such as gasoline purchases, tollway use, and mass transit use into account to figure out how many people are or are not driving and how many miles they’re traveling. The figure is a rough estimate – but probably pretty close give or take 500K miles – of the distances traveled.

      Every time I look at a highway mixmaster in Dallas or a 10 lane interstate in L.A. I always wonder what wonderful things could be done with that land if we weren’t using it for big roadways. Wonder if we’ll ever get to the point where we aren’t using some of that highway and can transform it into agricultural land, parks, housing, and what not.

  4. moore850 says:

    thats like 200-300 fewer miles per person… good job everyone, keep it up and the gas price will continue to drop without the drilling McCain thinks is “required”.

  5. whydidnt says:

    It’s pretty sad actually. Our Fathers, Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers fought to guarantee our freedom. Now we are changing our way of life for the worse, because enviro-Nazis refuse to allow us access to the resources available within our own country. I don’t consider having to change my life and give up my freedoms progress.

    • Bladefist says:

      @whydidnt: It’s the 21st century and they want to revert us back to the 19th. In my humble opinion, this is embarrassing.

    • MonkeyMonk says:

      Less driving (and less pollution) is definitely one of the perks of higher gas prices. It’s about time that US prices started to keep pace with prices in other parts of the world. It’s only going to get worse too.

      @whydidnt: Joke post? I certainly hope my grandfather didn’t fight in WWII to protect my right to be a wasteful idiot. You still have the freedom to be as wasteful as you like . . . it’s just going to cost you a bunch more.

      • Bladefist says:

        @MonkeyMonk: Your Grandfather didn’t find in WWII so that government could reap profits on its citizens, to make it harder for them to afford to do business.

        Your grandfather didn’t fight in WWII so that an apple would cost 4 bux because the shipping to get it there was $12 a gallon.

        Please, take a moment and think about what high fuel prices really means to do you. Unless you live in Walden Pond, higher gas prices mean you can’t afford diddly.

        • GearheadGeek says:

          @Bladefist: When our fathers and grandfathers were fighting in WWII, Americans were scrimping and saving and CONSERVING. At the behest of the government, for the war effort. Our government at the time, mindful of the concept of finite resources, encouraged the American people to conserve. Our so-called conservative so-called government now tells us to go to the mall and spend (on credit, of course, just like they do) while they send our sons and brothers and cousins and friends to die in Iraq.

          • Bladefist says:

            @GearheadGeek: That was pretty sensationalist man. During the big wars, we were conserving, to send the surplus over to our troops.

            That was a noble cause. Today is nothing like then. Todays cause is global warming. Not noble. Not caused by humans, and right now not even warming.

            Also now, people seem to like the idea of our Government, taking in more revenue. This theory confuses me.

            As for the war (which is way off topic), America will decide in this election how they proceed with the war. If Obama wins, we’ll be pulling out, if McCain wins, we’ll finish it then go take care of Iran. Let the majority decide.

            • Rhayader says:

              @Bladefist: I don’t think that Global Warming is the only reason for our shift toward conservation. Sure, it is a factor (which some people believe and others do not), but I think it’s more about energy itself than the byproducts of any particular form of energy.

              The laws of thermodynamics state that energy use is a negative-sum game. There is always an associated energetic and entropic efficiency, and chemical combustion has particularly low efficiencies. No more available energy means no more life. It’s not hard to conclude that we should maybe look into more efficient (and, if possible, extra-terrestrially obtained) forms of energy, even if one does not consider pollution or global warming.

              • Bladefist says:

                @Rhayader: And any logical person is fine w/ that. But in the meantime, don’t screw the country over by making oil impossible to afford.

                The energy we need doesn’t even exist yet. A semi-truck cant be hybrid. People get ahead of themselves. They want to get rid of oil asif we already have our new technology. When the new technology comes, if it’s a good technology, it’ll be widely available, and extremely efficient. The market will obviously go to that. You wont have to convince me to save money.

                • Charles Duffy says:

                  @Bladefist: Making oil more expensive (obviously, prohibitively expensive is a Bad Thing) pushes private R&D into developing that new technology via market forces (and makes domestic production from sources such as oil shale feasible). Surely you wouldn’t prefer government grants?

                  Even if you disbelieve global warming, needing to import (or completely exhaust the easily-tapped subset of the domestic supply of) an increasingly scarce resource is a Bad Thing; doing such R&D domestically is very much in our interests.

                  • Bladefist says:

                    @Charles Duffy: I don’t want the government pushing anything. You think I want to give them more of my income, so someone will do more R&D? Who is doing this R&D? The oil companies are right now. Some think they are doing it for show. I think they are greedy and if anyone finds an alternative fuel, they want it to be them. So R&D is being done. You trust the government way too much.

                    I’ll say it again. If they push prices up. It’ll cost more for food (yes poor people will no longer be able to afford food, yay for welfare), it’ll push up electronics, it’ll push up the cost of kids going to school (buses), it will cost everything that is shipped. So your deodorant at wal-mart. It’ll give Ben 900 more stories about the shrink ray gun. Think about it in terms of economics. You think our economy now is bad? Remember all the horror stories when oil was 140 a barrel? You want that again?

              • HIV 2 Elway says:

                @Rhayader:
                The laws of thermodynamics state that energy use is a negative-sum game. There is always an associated energetic and entropic efficiency, and chemical combustion has particularly low efficiencies. No more available energy means no more life. It’s not hard to conclude that we should maybe look into more efficient (and, if possible, extra-terrestrially obtained) forms of energy, even if one does not consider pollution or global warming.

                You’re looking way too deep into this. People are driving less because we’re cheap.

                • Rhayader says:

                  @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Yeah, I get that. The economic factors are what drive the average consumer.

                  But looking at the energy situation from a thermodynamic perspective is not ‘looking too deep into it’. I think there are plenty of people who are concerned about the eventual loss of petroleum, and worry about where we will turn. Energy is the ultimate currency, and to properly consider how we should use it we need to think about the laws that govern it.

                  Asimov had a great short story called “The Last Question” (you can Google it and find a version to read online, it’s not long). He considers a future in which entropic losses begin to catch up with human society, despite incredible advances in technology.

            • GearheadGeek says:

              @Bladefist: I don’t think my comment was significantly more sensationalist than your conflation of restricting drilling in ANWR and $12/gallon fuel, over 2.5x the recently-observed peak price. If T. Boone Pickens thinks the odds are better with alternative energy, we’d probably do well to pay some attention. If there’s anything that old bird knows, it’s how to make money in the energy game.

              And I DO honestly think that W’s “policies” have had a negative effect on the whole situation. Personally, I think we never should have invaded Iraq in the first place, CERTAINLY not while the situation in Afghanistan was still unresolved. I certainly can’t change the past (though I can proudly say I’ve never cast a vote for the dolt, including when he was campaigning to help Tom bloody scumbag Craddick gerrymander Texas away from any reasonable representation of her actual population.)

              Among all the stupid, offensive, destructive things the current administration has done while they’ve been leeching away our privacy and legal and constitutional protections was the egregious, offensive statement that while we were sending our soldiers into battle, we should just live our lives as usual and go SHOPPING. That alone should be grounds for impeachment, it’s certainly more damaging and offensive than some randy lecher getting blown in his office.

              • Bladefist says:

                @GearheadGeek: T Boone Pickens is heavily invested in alternative fuel. You could read that as he believes in it. I read it as he is a good investor and is trying to make a quick buck. Of all the alternative fuels out there, he picked wind. Guess what he invests in? Wind is the worst. I can understand the sun, water. Wind? No where on earth, besides the top of a mountain, does wind blow more then 30% of the time. And, to boot, it takes those generators a hour or two to even get up to speed. He is a fraud.

                As for the rest of your comment. I told you, America will get to decide this election. America isn’t always right, but the majority gets what they want. I believe in that.

              • HIV 2 Elway says:

                @Rhayader: Yeah, I’ve read Slapstick.

                • Rhayader says:

                  @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: I haven’t actually. The only Vonnegut I have read was “The Breakfast of Champions”, and while I liked it, it was years ago. Worth picking up?

                  On the other hand, I am not so sure from the summary on Amazon how it relates to ‘The Last Question’, or really any of Asimov’s fantastic science fiction.

                  • HIV 2 Elway says:

                    @Rhayader: If you’ve only read Breakfast of Champs you’re better off getting through Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five before Slapstick.

                    Relates, albeit loosely, because all resources have been used up and things are in shambles.

              • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

                @GearheadGeek: Partisan political rants are not allowed. Keep the conversation on topic; bashing the current administration is likely to only cause people to divide among party lines and start yelling.

                Bladefist, keep it on topic.

            • veronykah says:

              @Bladefist: I have a question for you since I don’t know anyone personally to ask, what is the harm in assuming there IS global warming? If you are wrong, you really aren’t out anything and probably still have a cleaner planet.
              If you are right…well you have averted a catastrophe.
              This is something I am perplexed by, why not err on the side of caution instead of deciding it isn’t happening and hoping for the best?

              • whydidnt says:

                @veronykah: I’m not Bladefist, but since you asked.
                The harm is that decisions are made, such as limiting drilling in the ANWR, or wasting huge $ on “green” products when there is significant question as to the real benefit. When permanent decisions are made based upon questionable data, they tend to be the wrong decisions.

                Think of it this way, it’s possible a huge comet will hit the earth someday and either wipe out or significantly change our civilization. Should we spend all our money and base all our decisions around this fact? It’s very dangerous to make broad assumptions and then act upon them.

                That’s not to say you don’t take into account potential negatives, such as global warming, or climate change as it’s now called, since it’s actually cooling these days. It’s just that you don’t base your entire national energy policy around an assumption that many question.

                • Techguy1138 says:

                  @whydidnt: If you care about the continued future of the country or world you make assumptions that have the highest potential cost.

                  If global warming is happening the cost to the nation will be many times more expensive to compensate for. If as time goes on it turns out the global warming is just a farce there is no additional cost. You can simply resume the way of life you had.

                  One course of action has a low relative risk to profit ratio. The other has a high potential risk to profit ratio.

                  It makes much more sense to act in a conservative fashion and gather facts than to wait and see what happens.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @whydidnt: Those same “eco-nazis” have wanted us to stop driving since the 70s (because of pollution initially, before global warming was the buzzword.) No one did. None of those “eco-nazis” has had much of an effect this time, either. Americans are driving less because their Beloved Leader hasn’t done a good thing for the economy (at least not for anyone worth less than a few million) and economics eventually drives decisions. Now that their credit cards are maxed and they’re as upside down in their mortgages as they are their car payments, Americans are thinking about whether or not they need to drive around quite as much at $3.50/gallon.

      The drop-in-the-bucket quantities of oil beneath ANWR aren’t going to return us to the halcyon days of the ’50s. They’ll just delay the inevitable shift to other forms of energy. We’re a nation that innovates and improves under pressure, it’s taken this “energy crisis” and a bunch of conservative bobbleheads screaming “DRILL EVERYWHERE NOW!” in the midst of economic chaos to get more people seriously thinking about both our energy use and our energy sources.

    • Notsewfast says:

      @whydidnt:
      Actually, the freedom our grandfathers fought for was for citizens of the U.S., not the oil companies who stand to benefit far more than you or I will from drilling in some of the most beautiful places in the country (what some people consider to be the true natural resource). Causing long-term damage to solve short-term problems is exactly not what is needed if we wish to remain a world power.

      People are driving less because gas costs more, not because the ‘enviro-nazis’ want to steal your freedom, and to be perfectly honest, I’m OK with high prices because it creates demand for more efficient and cheaper (in many ways) technology.

      Being ignorant and loud is your right as an American, and I’m fine with you having an opinion. Bladefist may have different opinions than myself, but at least his opinions have reason behind them and he doesn’t throw Libaugh rhetoric around and expect anyone to be impressed.

      whydidnt, you sir, are in idiot.

    • varro says:

      @whydidnt: Freedom to pay $4+ for a gallon of gas?

      This is why Reagan was elected – I’m surprised people don’t storm St. Paul next week and tar and feather the Republicans who brought us $4/gallon gas, when it was 85 cents/gallon in 1998.

  6. Carl3000 says:

    Nice to see people finally putting their money where there mouth is. I’ve been hearing for the past ten years: “Once gas goes to $2, it’ll be too much. I’ll drive less.” Then $2 became $3 and $3.50 and nothing seemed to happen. Surprise, people are now actually following through with what they say.

  7. Carl3000 says:

    Nice lame troll attempt whydidnt

  8. tubby17 says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: From the US Dept. of Transportation website ([www.dot.gov]): The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) collects vehicle-miles-traveled data for all motor vehicles through more than 4,000 automatic traffic recorders operated round-the-clock by state highway agencies. To review the FHWA’s “Traffic Volume Trends” reports, including that of June 2008, visit [www.fhwa.dot.gov]

  9. dequeued says:

    Couldn’t be happier.

    Does anyone really think that “progress” is driving 150 Miles a day in order to do your daily errands?

    Hmm, lets see, pharmacy is 15 miles east, then I have to take the interstate 30 miles west to drop off my clothes, then I have to drive 50 miles east again to pick up a pack of cigarettes.

    Nope, I do not envy people who live in rural areas.

    America has the most poorly engineered infrastructure in the developed world — we essentially have only one form of transportation, and it is completely dependent on a steady stream of cheap petroleum.
    And we have a massive sprawling highway system that encourages poor development practices and wastes energy.

    There is a part of me that would get a morbid satisfaction from seeing gas go up to $12/gallon, just to see people regret moving 75 miles away from where they work, and being isolated from anything.

    • sketchy says:

      @dequeued: I heartily agree.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @dequeued:

      What I like is people who insist that any public transportation should have to stand on its own with no government support. (Like my dad.) You know, like cars + roads. OH, WAIT…

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @TechnoDestructo: I think the operation of public transit should at least try to be selfsustaining but there is no way you could install it without government funds. Here in KC we have an upcoming vote on light rail, AGAIN, and we’re banking on getting federal funds in addition to a local tax.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @TechnoDestructo: Good call including the highway system as a taxpayer-funded gift to these companies. Not to mention the $3B or so Big Oil gets in direct subsidies, plus the billions the car companies get for the same, and the multiples of these amounts that they receive in tax writeoffs.
        Plus, if we’re feeling liberal, 1/2 our military budget and/or the total cost of the Iraq war since if we weren’t so reliant on oil, would we have spent the trillions there for their… Sand?!
        There are a lot of hidden costs benefiting Big Oil and the Big Three that don’t show up on their balance sheets, but that US taxpayers foot the bill for.
        I’d like to see a tenth, even a hundredth of that amount applied to renewable energy and mass transit. Prime the pump, create viable industries that would make us economic leaders across the globe and help the world.
        Green is good and profitable. Just ask Toyota.

        @GearheadGeek: That would be monopolistic collusion and result in ruinous fines and damages, probably enough to bankrupt (or at least split asunder) any violators.
        The nice thing about commodities is that they trade on international markets and any arbitrage would make itself evident. I would love to see Oil companies to try it, since it’d be exposed fairly quickly. Momma – they’d pay and they’d pay dearly.

        @Bladefist: “Oil is renewable”. Tee hee. In geologic terms, sure. So let’s simply wait a few hundred million years for the new stuff? Virtually limitless indeed (err, once we beat that whole “mortality” thing).

        • Bladefist says:

          @Trai_Dep: Fearing that oil will run dry is pretty sensationalist. I could say the sun will go dark, so why do solar panels? Tee Hee

        • GearheadGeek says:

          @Trai_Dep: I’ve venture to say that it would require overt collusion, and it wouldn’t require any particular level of oil prices. If you put into place a tax regime indexed to keep the price of gasoline at $4.25 at the pump, there would be no incentive to any refiner/distributor to reduce prices below the maximum they could charge to still achieve $4.25 at the pump… any amount they gave up in revenue there would just go to the government, without any benefit to the consumer, so the price would be the same everywhere, all the time. You wouldn’t sell a single extra gallon by lowering your price, so companies would not. Your infrastructure tax would be a de facto price control at the consumer level.

          • GearheadGeek says:

            @GearheadGeek: gah… it would *NOT* require overt collusion, that is. Damnation take the lack of an edit function.

          • Trai_Dep says:

            @GearheadGeek: Except that there’s a benchmark that exists outside the US market for oil prices. Likewise, refining isn’t rocket science and can be compared against similar operations run elsewhere. Thus discrepancies would be easy to spot.
            This besides the fact that market forces would tend to work against collusion: that’s why most cartels fail.
            If there was any collusion, it’d be painfully easy to catch. Once caught, a Federal subpoena served on US execs to testify, under penalty of perjury – and decades of jail time at risk for each empaneled executive – will do wonders for breaking “The Thin Black Line”.
            It would be glorious thing to see. Really. I wish they would.

            • GearheadGeek says:

              @Trai_Dep: What you are either failing to understand or are ignoring completely is YOUR arbitrary $4.25 that’s to be maintained by a sliding tax would negate any market forces that would tend towards competitive pricing. If the end price is always 4.25, and the “infrastructure tax” you invented adjusts to keep it there, there is zero incentive for any producer to charge less than $4.25-regular gasoline taxes-minimum infrastructure tax. They don’t NEED collusion, as long as the cost of other inputs is low enough for them to sell at some price below X, the price will always be X. I’m sorry if you can’t see it, but your infrastructure tax as proposed is a non-starter.

              • Trai_Dep says:

                @GearheadGeek: So you’re saying that high gas taxes remove market forces from acting on the price of a nation’s oil consumed? I’m certain the other 2/3s of the world, which have much higher retail taxes (and thus prices) than the US, will be rather depressed to hear that.
                We have unusually low gas prices because the argument has been to raise the taxes would be inflationary. With ~$4.00 gas, that argument can’t be made. Whatever hit’s been taken. Keep in mind, the era of “cheap” oil is toast – no market will be pushing prices for, say, 2018 gas to under $3.00/gal.
                So let’s use the positive impact of higher prices – more rational uses of a scarce resource – to our advantage.
                Take the windfall and invest it to make our country stronger, safer and more competitive.
                And crush like grapes any oil firms that attempt shenanigans during the transition.

                • GearheadGeek says:

                  @Trai_Dep: Look, you’re ignoring the stupid part of your suggestion. You didn’t suggest that we add a gasoline tax of x%, or a specific dollar figure per gallon, you suggested the creation of a sliding-scale tax designed to keep gas at $4.25/gallon, which is frankly a terrible idea because with a SLIDING TAX as you proposed, suppliers would naturally maximize their revenue and would have zero incentive to compete on price below that $4.25 level. You said: “Would like to see a infrastructure tax (ONLY going to repair the $3 TRILLION deficit we have) kick in that keeps the current average at around $4.25…” It’s a bad idea, you can’t put enough lipstick on that pig to make it a good idea, and you can ignore the fact that you said it until the cows come home and it still won’t make it a workable idea.

  10. dequeued says:

    I don’t remember where I read it exactly, but, basically, the cost of building a high speed rail trunk comes out to be something like 1M/mile, where a four-lane interstate is something like 4M/mile.

    No major city is less more than 500 miles from another major American city, we could have a Japanese quality high speed rail network in this country for the cost of expanding our traffic trap highway system.

    And of course, the trains would be powered by overhead electrical wires, which means that you could plug any energy source into that you wanted.

    What does that mean?
    Well, if I hop on a passenger train or subway here in the Northeast, it is probably electric, all of the major lines are electric.
    Further more, where is the electricity that powers the trains coming from?
    Well, almost certainly from Hydroelectric power, or nuclear power, but NOT from burning petroleum.

    With some simple changes to our basic infrastructure, we can ween ourselves off of oil.
    It would be expensive, but worth it, and would take a decade or two, but it’s dooable.
    I think rising gas prices would help.

  11. caveman1428 says:

    Just goes to show what we could have been doing for years. Kind of makes me think gas prices should stay this way if thats what its gonna take for people to change. An incentive for people who dont drive their car from one year to the next would be nice though too.

    Too little too late? I hope not…

  12. TeraGram says:

    Here in my little slice of paradise, I was dreading the start of the school year. CalTrans, in their infinite wisdom, decided the 101 needs umpteen years of work and such work includes closing lanes, ripping out trees & bushes, and all other manner of road construction that’s sure to stress out even the most valium-saturated.

    And yet… the gas prices have wondrously encouraged many folks from Ventura (and points further south!) to either find other ways to work & school or other employment and education.

    Even though the road construction is moving ahead as planned, I’m actually getting my kid to school faster.

    So, I suppose in one teeny tiny way, I’m sort of grateful for the increased gas costs.

  13. HIV 2 Elway says:

    The reason I’ve started running my errands on my bike? Chicks dig it.

  14. Techguy1138 says:

    @bladefist-

    Any consumption of a natural resource in vast excess to the domestic capacity to produce it is threat to sovereignty.

    Any government policy that does not address such threats threats is flawed.

    Since as you stated oil is such an important resource to the domestic economy, and more importantly to military function, our national consumption should be cut to an amount very near our national production. Laws should be set into effect to protect and reserve national petrol reserves for future national emergencies such as war.

    Any policies to the contrary are placing short term comfort and corporate profit over the future continuation of a free and sovereign republic.

    In short, I’m really happy that driving has been reduced but, as a nation we have a lot farther to go to ensure our freedom and continued prosperity.

    • whydidnt says:

      @Techguy1138:
      If you believe what you say Techguy, then you should also support a policy that allows said country to extract as much of those needed resources from it’s own soil. You can’t have it both ways.

      • Techguy1138 says:

        @whydidnt: There is no two ways about it. Since we do not have a replacement for oil the domestic stocks must be preserved. In no place is this more important than national defense.

        The ANWAR reserve that hasn’t been tapped yet can provide a up to 3 years of our national need for oil. This sounds exactly like the kind of resource you leave untapped in case of war.

        Asking to run more wells and use up more of out resources at a faster rate in the exact opposite of what should happen. Those wells will be tapped but hopefully well into the future maybe in another 100 years or more.

        America already produces plenty of oil. Unfortunately we still use far more than we produce. So it is a problem of consumption and not production. This is far more than a market issue as it fundamentally changes the way domestic policy work depending on foreign oil policy.

    • Bladefist says:

      @Techguy1138: Oil is a natural, renewable, resource. And there is PLENTY of it. It is virtually limitless by our needs.

      • Jakuub says:

        @Bladefist: Citation Needed.

        • Bladefist says:

          @Jakuub: Google is your friend. It’s made from hydrocarbons. Trai_dep is right in that it takes a long time for the environment to make oil, but it does.

          • Jakuub says:

            @Bladefist: Google is your friend too: “A natural resource qualifies as a renewable resource if it is replenished by natural processes at a rate comparable or faster than its rate of consumption by humans or other users.”

          • Trai_Dep says:

            @Bladefist: But that doesn’t make it a renewable energy, in the common – or even uncommon – senses of the word. It’s thus only in the sense of time scales vastly exceeding the presence of land organisms on our planet. Which is – well – pedantic and misleading.
            Oil is the definition of non-renewable. Your saying otherwise is beneath you. :)

            And, I’ve not said that oil will “run out”, at least in our lifetime. But the era of so-called cheap* oil? That’s over. Stick a fork in it and the policies that Big Oil prefer that pretend otherwise. Let’s figure out how to make tons of money for our country in this new era so we’ll enjoy a second American Century.

            * “Cheap” in the sense that externalities aren’t accounted for, and that we ignore the vast oceans of tax-payer funded subsidies and indirect costs that Big Oil enjoys. The rank opposite of a Free Market, in other words.

      • Techguy1138 says:

        @Bladefist: Oil is not renewable but there is plenty of it. Unfortunately most of it is not in the United States.

        The rate at which our country burns oil is unsustainable given our national production rate and total oil reserves.

        This is fine as long as you want other nations dictating our domestic policy.

  15. whydidnt says:

    Let me clarify for those who
    a) think I’m trolling
    b) minds are closed and REFUSE to consider any side but their own

    One of the great things about the US, is that its citizens have historically had the freedom to come and go at their own convenience, be it by foot, boat, horseback, or even car. We have ARTIFICIALLY limited that ability today by refusing to utilize the resources available to us, including those in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado Shoal, and off of both our coasts. For those who cry about “pristine resources” – please do some research for yourself and quit believing everything your environmentalist friend tells you. The proposed drilling area in ANWR is a tiny percentage of the actual area, nobody is proposing digging up the entire refuge. The proposed area is anything but pristine, it’s actually quite barren and not highly populated by wildlife. The arguments against tapping into this resource are identical to those heard 30-40 years ago regarding the Alaskan Oil Pipeline – yet in areas the pipeline has been installed, we actually see wildlife thriving, not destroyed.

    Nearly every other industrialized nation drills for oil closer to its shores than the US does, including many supposed “green” European countries (been to the North Sea lately?)

    I grow tired of the Oil Company making huge profit bit. These are huge companies selling a product that is in demand around the globe. Of course they are going to make huge profit. What I don’t understand is why you get so pissed about an Oil company with an 8.7% profit margin, but are happy to pay $10.00 to see the latest movie, when entertainment companies earn on average 12.3 profit margin. Nobody seems to bitch when Brad Pitt gets 20 Million big ones for making one movie. But heaven forbid a company providing a product we actually need makes a reasonable profit.

    Being able to go where you want, when you want, is indeed freedom. I’m not advocating folks purposely waste resources, but I don’t think we should have to change our way of life when there are resources available in our own country, under our own control, that could be utilized to maintain our standard of living. Of course nothing lasts forever, but guess what, we Americans have been pretty good at adapting over the last 230+ years, and I have every confidence we’ll find solutions that will enhance our freedom and standard of living in the next millennium. Not utilizing the current available resources is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. There isn’t enough tangible benefit to justify our current policies.

    It seems to me we have politicians on both side of the spectrum that enjoy telling us where we should live, how we should live, how we should commute, etc, and that my friends is just plain wrong. Your government does NOT know better, is not your mother and is NOT always looking out for your best interests.

    Stop being a sheep and following the latest fad, think for yourselves for once.

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    Couldn’t be happier. Would like to see a infrastructure tax (ONLY going to repair the $3 TRILLION deficit we have) kick in that keeps the current average at around $4.25 (sliding up or down as needed) to prevent more bridges collapsing, levees failing, etc.
    Keeps more dollars in the US and improves our competitiveness. And keeps the polar bear cubs frolicking in the Arctic. And lets me continue to LOL every time I see a Hummer refueling at the pump.
    Win/win/win/WIN!

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @Trai_Dep: That would result in the before-tax price staying as close to $4.25 as the oil companies could manage without kicking in higher taxes, because they’d blame the infrastructure tax on the price being $4.25, no matter what the real price would be.

  17. aj.hidell says:

    Public transportation sucks! Who anyone want to ride a smelly train or bus with a bunch of other shmo’s is beyond me. I like to go where I want, when I want. Besides, I love to drive. I won’t curtail my habits of driving my big 13 mpg SUV 400-500 miles a week even if gas goes to $10 a gallon.

  18. HIV 2 Elway says:

    I was sure you’d be on foot, because you always say public transportation is for losers.

  19. mariospants says:

    You know what? Add the fact that there was probably a huge factor of reduction in idling (less traffic obviously helps) and in people sitting in idling cars in general and we’ll all probably breathe a little easier this year.

    I wonder how fewer flying miles were logged as well?

  20. dweebster says:

    @Trai_Dep: I drive plenty at present, job in another city. Bought smallest used car I could afford.

    Still, one major answer to the problems of pollution, congestion, environmental degradation, etc. would be to make the gas tax $3-4/gallon, ramped up over a few years, dedicating it to effective public transit with neutral oversight on how it’s spent.

    WTF is the tax now- 18 cents/ gallon? And politicians blustering over and over that removing that will restore America to it’s perceived former glory? Nope. Gotta base your economy and community and children’s future in alignment with sustainability or you perish. (Hint: endless wars and cheap oil ain’t sustainable).

  21. synergy says:

    Now people need to learn to not bike like they drive, willy nilly. I keep seeing bicyclists blow through stop signs and red lights. I wonder how much the percentage/rate of accidents involving bicycles and motorcyles has risen in the time period driving and car accidents have fallen.

  22. ninjatoddler says:

    Why are people arguing about a decline in driving? It’s a good motherbleeping thing that people drive less.

    1. Reduces the price of gas for everyone

    2. #1 results in lower shipping rates and helps the economy

    3. Frees up normally congested streets from idiots

    4. People can learn to walk 2-3 blocks again (Yes. I know plenty of people who used to drive even if the place they were going were within a few blocks.)

    5. Whether you believe in global warming or not, less driving = less smog = whatever you want to believe in. If you’re too ignorant to see that, go check out China.

  23. AD8BC says:

    1) Research alternative energy. I’m fine with alternative energy. And I’m a conservative. We will need alternative energy.

    2) While we research, drill for our own damn oil. You see, my truck doesn’t run on alternative energy. It runs on gas. Gas comes from oil. My truck is paid for. I’m not buying another truck until this one breaks. So I need to fuel it until it breaks. And everybody else needs to fuel their cars until they can afford to buy an alternative energy vehicle.

    3) Let the rich folk buy the initial batches of alternative energy vehicles. Until the price comes down for the average person. Then average people can get into bad car loans for those cars. As soon as they do, then the prices will come down and I can afford to buy one used for cash.

    4) In the meantime (and there will be a meantime), drill for oil, keep gas cheap, and keep it plentiful. We need to find a balance to keep people living well and traveling well while still finding alternatives. We can’t blow the economy in the name of alternative energy.

    5) Drill for oil in the US so I don’t have to send my money to terrorists every time I fill up my tank. I don’t blame me for funding terrorism. I blame the US Government and the bureaucracy it takes for getting our own damn oil.

    6) Keep gas prices low. I can’t stand the morons who say we need to be like Europe and price their gas out of reach of the average person. That would blow the economy out of the water. Besides, the Europeans let their governments walk all over them, especially when it comes to taxes (which bloat the price of their gas). We don’t need higher taxes. We need affordable gas. Until we can get the alternatives working right and make them affordable.

    7) if you want to do this, we need to blow out all of our politicians — on both sides — and put in people with real ideas and people who understand that their job is outlined in the Constitution. That is their job description. Nothing more. http://www.blowoutcongress.com

    Until then, long live my truck and my 27 gallon gas tank.

  24. unixinit says:

    @Bladefist, @whyididnt: Aren’t you forgetting that the entire reason that oil is $100+ a barrel at this point is because of market forces? The market doesn’t care about global warming or environmentalists. It cares about supply & demand. And I hate to tell you that a possible 900,000 to 2 million barrels per day from ANWR and the OCS pales in comparison to the 82 million barrels per day that the world currently produces. Sorry but the possibility of 2 mbpd production level in maybe 5-10 years will not even make a dent in the price of gas. Hell it will probably not even offset the delta in demand between now and then.

    If you want to affect the price of gas, get involved with alternative energy sources. It’s the only way to solve this crisis.

    And if you don’t believe that we will eventually run out of easily extractable oil, the oil companies themselves will disagree with you.

    • whydidnt says:

      @unixinit: Hmm, so rather than doing something today, let’s just keep waiting. The problem is we’ve been doing this for the last 20 years – for no good reason – and it HAS impacted what we pay for gas, and will continue to. We don’t have a justifiable reason for NOT using the resources available to us.

      I have no problem with companies trying to develop alternative energy sources. There just isn’t any reason we can’t do that and still use the resources we have available today. To use your own argument, in 10 years time, it’s unlikely that alternative resources are going to make a bigger dent in our oil needs. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work towards alternatives, but we also shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket.

  25. We are still moving around in 1800’s technology. It’s 2008, where’s my flying car? The Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor is due in 7 years, America. Start innovating and stop crying about oil.

  26. mrearly2 says:

    I guess folks in South Florida didn’t get the memo–traffic hasn’t lessened, that I can tell.