Surging gas prices affect not only those with gas guzzlers, but potentially just about every product you buy. Rising shipping costs will likely be passed on to consumers, who will have less money to cover the costs because of other ways expensive gas is sucking them dry.
The economic hardship brought on by gas price increases is a spawning ground for silly, ineffective conventional wisdom on how to cut down on fuel use. It’s important to distinguish between genuine gas-saving maneuvers and moronic wastes of time and effort.
A man’s eyes popped out his head and went “Awoooga!” when they saw his receipt for pumping 13 gallons of gas: $2297.84! Since he paid with his debit card, that meant real money was immediately drained from his bank account, causing a $1,300 overdraft. At first the gas station manager just shrugged his shoulders and blamed the bank, but he changed his tune after news reporters walked in asking questions about the receipts.
To frugal drivers, value and efficiency are sexier than horsepower and design. With fuel economy, cost of ownership and resale value in mind, Forbes evaluated cars on the market and chose the most value-packed models. Most are compacts, with the Mazda2, Nissan Versa and Chevrolet Cruze taking three of the first four spots on the list.
Ongoing protests and government upheaval in the Middle East may be great for freedom, but the phenomenon is costly for anyone who needs to buy gas. Oil shot up past $100 a barrel Wednesday, its highest point in more than two years.
With the economy kinda sorta picking up, and consumers in China, India and Brazil buying cars in droves, gas prices are expected to keep going up, and may hit $4 a gallon by early spring, when Americans finish scraping the ice off of their windshields and begin planning road trips. And unlike 2008, when gas last broke the $4 barrier, only to later drop to lower prices, $4 may be a new baseline, followed by $5 gas as early as next year.
One easy way to save on gas is to park in the shade. The cooler your car is, the less the gas in your tank will evaporate. A quality windshield shade helps, too. After all, you wouldn’t want your hard-earned dollars to waft away into the sky, now would you?
Energy companies were supposed to compensate rural Virginians for the billions of dollars worth of gas they sucked from their land, but a local newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation found that the money has instead been diverted into escrow accounts for over 20 years. If the landowner even knows the money is there, it’s nigh impossible to get it out, and in any event, the companies have only been putting in a fraction of what they’re supposed to. A rubber-stamping regulatory board that hadn’t done an audit for a decade only compounded the problem. I drink your milkshake, indeed.
A gaggle of costumed sea creatures plan to occupy the SoHo BP station in NYC tonight at 6pm to protest the company’s response to the oil spill. However, while the threat of makeshift sea turtles descending on Houston and Lafeyette is wonderful to contemplate, because BP stations are independently-owned, only the local business owner will be harmed by the disruption in commerce. Media points against BP will be harder to score. This particular station is a mecca for taxi cab drivers in the area, who will most likely find any difficulties in getting gas on a busy holiday weekend night to be less than hilarious. UPDATE: Local news coverage:
First BP told us 1,000, then 5,000, and now a joint federal and independent research task force estimates that 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil were spewing into the Gulf since the crisis began, NYT reports. If the numbers are right, then we’re talking about as much as 30 million gallons. That would be more than 3x the amount from the Valdez disaster.
BP has started operation “Top Kill,” and we’ve embedded here the live videostream of their latest attempt to plug the well. The maneuver involves pumping heavy drilling mud and cement into the well. While routine on surface wells, it’s never been attempted at 5,000 ft underwater. And if it goes south and the blowout preventer cracks under the pressure, it could make matters worse. Bust out the popcorn! I just saw a robot arm!
A fake BP PR twitter account, BPGlobalPR, has started posted satirical tweets about the company’s response and attitude to the oil spill, and it has more followers than of the real BP Twitter accounts combined. And why not? Would you rather read, “BP Pledges $500 Million for Independent Research into Impact of Spill on Marine Environment” or “Doing our best to turn oil into oilinade. So far the stuff tastes TERRIBLE.”
By attaching a mile-long pipe to its leaking well, BP is now able to slurp off 1,000 barrels of oil daily. The Gulf of Mexico spill currently emits about 5,000 barrels of oil per day, according to BP/Coast Guard/NOAA estimates, which have been challenged by independent scientists who put the figure more at 70,000 barrels per day, and criticized BP for using methodology specifically not recommended for measuring large oil spills. BP’s response: we’re here to stop the oil, not measure it. Scientists are also concerned that the oil could reach a major stream that would ferry it into the Florida Keys and up the East Coast. Looks like we’re gonna need a bigger milkshake straw.