Why We’re Paying But Not Hurting At The Pump

If gas prices are at an all time high, why are consumers driving more? Are they just idiots? Or is the price of a gallon of gas not the only thing to compute?

Forbes’ Nick Schulz thinks it’s the latter: that people are driving more because energy, even at the current prices, is simply a better deal than it’s ever been. Although energy prices are rising, energy intensity is declining. Whether you’re a car driver, a home owner who needs to heat his house or a gigantic corporation that needs to consume energy to produce your products, you can produce more with less energy than you ever could before. Energy, overall, is less important to the economy than it ever has been before.

It’s an interesting point: why aren’t we seeing the sort of panic through the current energy gouging that we saw in past energy crises? What about you guys? Have you started gripping the nozzle a bit more tightly, shaking out the last few drops at the pump lately? Or are you driving as much, if not more so, than ever before?

Why The Pump Isn’t More Painful [Forbes]


Edit Your Comment

  1. airship says:

    I get 30 mpg, and 30 miles is about the length of my commute. I drive about as much on a weekend day as I do on a work day. I burn a gallon of gas a day.
    My tank holds 14 gallons. So I go about two weeks on a tank of gas. Coincidentally, I get paid every two weeks. A fill at $3 a gallon (which is a little more than I’m paying right now) costs me $42.
    That’s $84 a month, which is less than I pay the cable company for TV and Internet access. So it costs me less to travel around in the real world than it does to travel around in the virtual world.
    How much sense does that make?

  2. A couple years ago I sold the Cadillac that got 18 mpg premium and bought a Scion that gets 31 mpg regular…so when the price increases hit, I continued to pay the same amount of money at the pump as I always did(maybe less). Besides, gas in the US is still cheaper than it is in Japan…

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter how expensive gas gets, what’s the alternative? Outside of downtown city areas, there just isn’t public transportation.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    David writes:

    “It’s too infrequently noted that burning fuels derived from biomass
    (whether french-fry oil, ethanol, buffalo chips or shredded newspaper) has
    the advantage that it does NOT introduce new greenhouse gasses into the
    biosphere. Instead, it merely recycles CO2 that’s already part of the
    environment. When you burn fossil fuels you are returning CO2 to the
    atmosphere that was locked in rock millions of years ago. This is not the
    case with biomass fuels.

    This, BTW, is the reason concerns over cow farts causing global warming is
    so much malarky.”

  4. Ben says:

    People have to drive to work so they can get paid and make the minimum payments on their credit cards.

    There is no alternative.

    In my office several people now carpool and everyone whines about the cost of gas, says it’s cutting into other expenses like movies or going to watch sports. But the gas price will have to go much higher to truly change consumption patterns, as it is everyone is just trying to hang on until “something gives” on prices.

  5. caltonia says:

    While I chafe at the daily-rising gas prices, I’m always relieved that I don’t use as much as I could be using.

    I’ve been carpooling (to work, school) (with my husband, brother, friends) since 1988. My husband and I carpool to work every day. We went close to two years with only one car. We broke down and bought a second car last year (Scion XB), that we use 98% of the time. Most days, he drops me off, which is fine by me, because I can walk to wherever I need to go during the day: the bank, a small post office, a shipping outlet, many lunch places, the grocery, and the gym (I picked it for it’s closeness), are all within 3 mile radius of my job. And walking around, I find more places every day, You miss most of the world around you when you’re in the car.

    We schedule other outings to coincide together. We do a lot of multi-purpose trips (multiple stores in the same trip) on the weekend and go to stores that are close to each other, rather than far away specialty stores. We carpool with two other people when we go out (dinner, movies, hockey).

    Carpooling is remarkably easy, once you’re in the habit of it.

  6. Bubba Barney says:

    Is he carrying a ‘Trucker Bomb’ in that photo?

  7. Bubba Barney says:

    I’m with caltonia. I walk pretty much everywhere and enjoy what I come across. Luckily, I live in an urban area that promotes pedestrianism [is that a word?], and doesn’t make you rely on a car.

  8. GenXCub says:

    The amount of cash my rent is increasing ($61 per month) is double what my per month of Gasoline increased by. I have other things to worry about.