1.4 Billion

That’s how many fewer miles Americans drove in April, 2008, as compared to the same period last year. There are benefits to higher gas prices.

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108 replies
  1. 1
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’m not sure driving less is a benefit and if it is a benefit, I’m not sure it isn’t offset by lost leisure, income and other opportunities afforded through relatively cheap mobility. Remember the folks you are impacting the most through high energy prices are the folks who can generally least afford it, so it isn’t something to necessarily celebrate.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    That’s how many fewer miles Americans drove in April, 2008, as compared to the same period last year. There are benefits to higher gas prices.

    We could have raised the CAFE standards back in 2001 to kick in ten years down the road. We could have introduced the EV-1 rather than embracing the SUV. We could have cut back on coal fired power plants and invested in solar and wind as governmentally sponsored power sources.

    We’d have saved more money, created more jobs at home, done better by the environment, and still driven those 1.4 billion extra miles.

    Instead, we decided to learn the hard way and take market capitalism’s stick to the face over a rational energy policy’s honey.

    In that sense, this has definitely been a learning experience for Americans at large (read: fatties).

  3. 3
    now_what says:

    Yey! People are too poor to do what they did last year! Happiness!

    Is there any way we can convince you to post less, and John Cole to post more? Cause we really, really like him now that he isn’t a total suck-ass for the Republicans.

    You? Not so much.

  4. 4
    Rosali says:

    There are benefits to higher gas prices unemployment.

  5. 5
    Keith says:

    Yet traffic still seems to suck balls.

  6. 6
    Jon H says:

    Divide by, oh, 20, and you get the gallons of gas saved by non-use.

    (The average MPG of US cars would be a better number to use, of course.)

  7. 7
    Laertes says:

    “Remember the folks you are impacting the most through high energy prices”

    Where did you get the idea that Michael D. controlled energy prices?

  8. 8
    MobiusKlein says:

    As a silly note, check out the ads at the bottom of that CNN page: http://runyourcarwithhho{dot}info/?id=A115031 . Yup, ads on CNN telling you how to run your car on water. I feel dirty just pasting the link in here, since it validates their link. (ok, so I’ll replace the link so you don’t burn your eyes on that site.)

  9. 9
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    The good news: You’re losing wieght.
    The bad news: It’s because you can’t afford to eat.

    I’d just like to thank all of the farsighted and courageous politicians from both parties who have, since the Arab oil embargo of 1973, pretty much told America to go shopping.

  10. 10
    Ninerdave says:

    There are benefits to higher gas prices.

    yeah since we fucked it up in the ’70s maybe this time we can get beyond the same ol’ same ol’.

    -Dave

  11. 11
    D0n Camillo says:

    Thanks a shitload Ari and W.

  12. 12
    D0n Camillo says:

    Whoops. Where did my link go?

    Q Is one of the problems with this, and the entire energy field, American lifestyles? Does the President believe that, given the amount of energy Americans consume per capita, how much it exceeds any other citizen in any other country in the world, does the President believe we need to correct our lifestyles to address the energy problem?

    MR. FLEISCHER: That’s a big no. The President believes that it’s an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one. And we have a bounty of resources in this country. What we need to do is make certain that we’re able to get those resources in an efficient way, in a way that also emphasizes protecting the environment and conservation, into the hands of consumers so they can make the choices that they want to make as they live their lives day to day.

    White House Press Conference May 7, 2001

  13. 13
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    In the highest tradition of the Internet, Monty Python:

    We would like to apologise for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme. It was never out intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed political time-servers who are concerned more with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government, nor to suggest at any point that they sacrifice their credibility by denying free debate on vital matters in the mistaken impression that party unity comes before the well-being of the people they supposedly represent, nor to imply at any stage that they are squabbling little toadies without an ounce of concern for the vital social problems of today. Nor indeed do we intend that viewers should consider them as crabby ulcerous little self seeking vermin with furry legs and an excessive addiction to alcohol and certain explicit sexual practices which some people might find offensive. We are sorry if this impression has come across.

  14. 14
    jake says:

    There are benefits to higher gas prices.

    We’re not at the benefit stage yet and we won’t be until either the Chimperor shuts up about quick fixes, or the majority of people accept that there are no quick fixes.

    Remember the folks you are impacting the most through high energy prices are the folks who can generally least afford it, so it isn’t something to necessarily celebrate.

    I think that’s what they call a feature, not a bug. When the price of a necessity starts to rise the poor suffer first. Sometimes they’re the only ones to suffer and even the kindest and most caring of the non-poor may not notice.

    A certain segment of the population was well and truly boned when gas hit $2.00/gal. Now that it’s hurrying along towards $5.00 it’s way too late to say “Think of the poor,” they were fucked years ago. The good news is now that the people who can least afford high gas and oil prices has become pretty much everyone we might all be able to gang up on our Congress critters when they bleat about off shore drilling or permanent tax breaks for the rich.

  15. 15
    Scotty says:

    As a silly note, check out the ads at the bottom of that CNN page: http://runyourcarwithhho{dot}info/?id=A115031 . Yup, ads on CNN telling you how to run your car on water. I feel dirty just pasting the link in here, since it validates their link.

    I don’t know which is worse, the ads they have, or the fact that they were actually running this headline when I got up this morning. Our media at work.

  16. 16
    Shygetz says:

    Yey! People are too poor to do what they did last year! Happiness!

    Is there any way we can convince you to post less, and John Cole to post more? Cause we really, really like him now that he isn’t a total suck-ass for the Republicans.

    You? Not so much.

    Environmentalists have been telling people to carpool, bike, walk, and cut back on unneeded driving not only to conserve gas but to reduce emissions for, well, a hella long time. They were either ignored or laughed at when gas was cheap. Now capitalism has slapped the US driver with its ring hand, and people are finally starting to make the adjustments that we should have made years ago, only now it’s because we have no other choice. Sure, it would be super-cool-double-neato if we had higher gas mileage cars and electric cars and better mass transportation, but as long as people were driving like the oil was coming from a magical bottomless bowl there was no economic reason to produce them and insufficient political pressure to mandate them. Now that the hard times are here, maybe we will finally get off of our collective asses and make the changes we should have made a decade ago.

  17. 17
    libarbarian says:

    Where did you get the idea that Michael D. controlled energy prices?

    You misunderestimate the power of Michael D.

    Personally, I sacrifice a goat to him once a month, just to be sure.

  18. 18
    Scott H says:

    But, wait! Don’t park your SUV yet; go fetch the kids from the school bus stop!

    Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back (And no-bid deals, too, imagine that.)

    We’re saved! Oh, bless ye, Dick Cheney!

  19. 19
    Scott H says:

    fetch the kids from the school bus stop

    Yeah, obviously I don’t have kids or I would know school is out – but I don’t have kids because of their carbon footprint. So there. I am doing it for your kids. It’s all about the kids.

  20. 20
    scav says:

    Leisure: Something you must drive to.

    Interesting dictionary some of you have there.

  21. 21

    As a retiree on the edge of geezerhood, I sure have cut down my driving. No more boredom driving while I’m considering how to entertain myself. When it costs over forty bucks to fill a Corolla we have reached the end of the world as we knew it. I used to like to drive down the coast ten miles to Half Moon Bay to a place for breakfast. Now it’s cold cereal.

    By the way, sacrificed goats grill up nicely.

  22. 22
    b. hussein canuckistani says:

    I don’t know which is worse for the environment.. cars or planes. The good news is that high fuel prices discourages use for both.

  23. 23
    jibeaux says:

    90% of my driving is to and from work and ferrying kids to camp, school, and day care. There isn’t any feasible way to cut down on that, they already don’t participate in anything extracurricular except swimming which we walk to. I combine errands, and if I have to go somewhere out of the routine I start thinking for example, oh, there’s a Target over that way, I should go ahead and go there while I’m over that way.

    I guess what I’m saying is that there have been beneficial effects in that when I can condense and combine my driving, I have. But most of my driving, and I expect for most people this is also true, just really can’t be changed with the way our cities and towns are currently structured, so it just creates hardship. And that’s o.k., because it’s the only way that these places are going to invest in more mass transit, denser housing, all that good stuff. But in the meantime, yes, it’s a hardship.

  24. 24
    Crust says:

    What do folks think about the campaign by Greenwald et al. against telco amnesty? Something John may want to think about for his next fund raising drive.

  25. 25
    mark says:

    OK, bad on Michael for calling it a “benefit”. But for a variety of reasons, it’s probably “good” for gas to be expensive so that people will conserve. The main problem for the poor is that they are, well, poor, not that gas is expensive. If you want to help the poor, subsidize their income, help them find jobs, give them gas vouchers, whatever. Manipulating the price of a scare commodity downward benefits the rich as well as the poor. Price manipulation by oil companies for their own benefit is another issue, of course.

  26. 26
    jenniebee says:

    Environmentalists have been telling people to carpool, bike, walk, and cut back on unneeded driving not only to conserve gas but to reduce emissions for, well, a hella long time. They were either ignored or laughed at when gas was cheap. Now capitalism has slapped the US driver with its ring hand, and people are finally starting to make the adjustments that we should have made years ago, only now it’s because we have no other choice. right-wing pols and pundits are pushing the blame off on those same environmentalists.

    fixed

    If we’d put a $1 a gallon tax on gas when it was $0.89 a gallon (not so very long ago) we could be in a position now where that money would have bought a good public transportation infrastructure and reduced demand so that – very likely – gas would be cheaper than $4/gallon today even with the tax still on it. But nooooo, that would have been socialism! It’s much better to be paying $4/gallon with no public transport options and none of the exorbitant price going to fund them.

  27. 27
    ThymeZone says:

    even if tomorrow we opened up every square mile of the outer Continental Shelf to offshore rigs, even if we drilled the entire state of Alaska and pulled new refineries out of thin air, the impact on gas prices would be minimal and delayed at best. A 2004 study by the government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that drilling in ANWR would trim the price of gas by 3.5 cents a gallon by 2027. (If oil prices continue to skyrocket, the savings would be greater, but not by much.) Opening up offshore areas to oil exploration — currently all coastal areas save a section of the Gulf of Mexico are off-limits, thanks to a Congressional ban enacted in 1982 and supplemented by an executive order from the first President Bush — might cut the price of gas by 3 to 4 cents a gallon at most, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. And the relief at the pump, such as it is, wouldn’t be immediate — it would take several years, at least, for the oil to begin to flow, which is time enough for increased demand from China, India and the rest of the world to outpace those relatively meager savings. “Right now the price of oil is set on the global market,” says Kevin Lindemer, executive managing director of the energy markets group for the research firm Global Insight. President Bush’s move “would not have an impact.”

    That’s excerpted from the story currently on Time Magazine’s website.

    It’s time to go viral with the facts on Oil Demagoguery as practiced by the Grand Old Petroleum party.

  28. 28
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    What do folks think about the campaign by Greenwald et al. against telco amnesty?

    As disturbing as the prospect of the Democrats caving in to Bush on telco amnesty (And they will, it’s what they do) is the article’s highlighting of Obama’s support for Blue Dog Bush fancier, Rep. John Barrow, against his progressive challenger, State Senator Regina Thomas.

    And now Obama turns around and intervenes in a Democratic primary on behalf of one of the worst Bush enablers in Congress — not in order to help Barrow defeat an even-worse Republican, but to defeat a far better and plainly credible Democratic challenger.

    Supporting the incumbency of a two-term Bush-supporting Democrat is not going to change the way things work in Washington.

  29. 29
    4tehlulz says:

    Personally, I sacrifice a goat to him once a month, just to be sure.

    Mickey Kaus called. He wants revenge.

  30. 30
    nightjar says:

    When it costs over forty bucks to fill a Corolla we have reached the end of the world as we knew it. I

    Count your blessings. I shuck out $70 to fill up my Silverado, the model powered by 6 Dancing Hamsters.

  31. 31
    Crust says:

    Dennis – SGMM:

    As disturbing as the prospect of the Democrats caving in to Bush on telco amnesty (And they will, it’s what they do)

    I wouldn’t bet against it, but in fairness, the press has already reported a couple of times that telco amnesty was a done deal. Hopefully, Holt, Dodd, Feingold et al. still have some tricks up their sleeve. If a prominent Democrat really took this on — Obama, Gore, Pelosi or Reid — they could turn it. This is not a done deal like the press channeling the Bush administration, the telco lobbyists and their clients would have you believe. Pressure from the public could stop this again.

  32. 32
    Zifnab says:

    I guess what I’m saying is that there have been beneficial effects in that when I can condense and combine my driving, I have. But most of my driving, and I expect for most people this is also true, just really can’t be changed with the way our cities and towns are currently structured, so it just creates hardship. And that’s o.k., because it’s the only way that these places are going to invest in more mass transit, denser housing, all that good stuff. But in the meantime, yes, it’s a hardship.

    Market Forces, Bitches!

    But yeah, Manhattan has a subway system. The east coast has Amtrack (thank god people kept fighting for that). Chicago has busing. San Fransisco has those iconic little trolleys.

    There isn’t any reasonable excuse for just extending that public transportation. Except, you know, public transit is super extreme hate-America Eurotrash socialism, and if you support a better Metro line, you’re probably a Hitler-kissing communist.

  33. 33
    crack says:

    Peters expressed concern that the cutbacks have resulted in the collection of fewer taxes on gasoline. Such taxes are funneled to the federal Highway Trust Fund, which gets 18.4 cents per gallon from gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon from diesel fuel.

    This is a problem with using taxes to attempt to limit a behavior. Politicians want the money more than they want less usage.

  34. 34
    Zifnab says:

    This is a problem with using taxes to attempt to limit a behavior. Politicians want the money more than they want less usage.

    Politicians want money for roads that go through their districts. This is one of those occasional instances in which the desires of the pol and the desires of his/her constituency match up just fine.

    It’s a rare day that goes by when I hear someone complain about the highway being too big and the traffic not bottlenecking like it should.

  35. 35
    Punchy says:

    Leisure: Something you must drive to.

    Dont end a sentence with a prepostition. There’s your dictionary.

  36. 36

    I live in philadelphia, and during spring, summer, and fall I usually ride my bike to work (13 miles round trip). Occasionally, like today, I get lazy and drive instead. As I was sitting in traffic on University Drive, waiting to get past construction to get on the highway, trying to keep other drivers from cutting in line, I realized (again) that driving doesn’t really save me any time: whether I take city streets on my bike or the my car on the highway, it takes about a half-hour to 45 minutes to get to work. And usually the bike is faster!

  37. 37
    4tehlulz says:

    Dont end a sentence with a prepostition.

    It’s allowed now, per (for example) Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition, because the alternative tortures the reader with “to which,” “for which,” etc.

    Also, if you’re going to be a grammar cop, it’s spelled “preposition.”

  38. 38
    Dork says:

    90% of my driving is to and from work and ferrying kids to camp, school, and day care.

    Bicycles?

  39. 39
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    There isn’t any reasonable excuse for just extending that public transportation. Except, you know, public transit is super extreme hate-America Eurotrash socialism, and if you support a better Metro line, you’re probably a Hitler-kissing communist.

    And you want to wastefully spend government money to subsidize it. Unlike, say, the airports, air traffic control systems, highways, roads, bridges and tunnels that all pay their own way.
    McCain has long been an opponent of AMTRAK. A few years ago he was calling for an end to government subsidies for it. The then head of AMTRAK, I believe his name was Claytor, publicly asked McCain if he also supported an end to subsidies for commuter airlines – a staple of Arizona transportation. McCain never replied.

  40. 40
    libarbarian says:

    Mickey Kaus called. He wants revenge.

    Does his appetite for goat penis know no bounds?

  41. 41
    What says:

    I took the train yesterday because I had to go into NYC for work. After the train I walked for about 20 minutes to my office. All I thought was, if I could do this every day I would be 15 pounds lighter than what I am now. There’s another benefit of not being able to drive point to point – people having to exercise a bit to fill the gaps.

    I actually live only a few miles from work on most days, but the town is a snarled clusterfuck that would make me fear for my life were I biking or walking to my office. If it was reasonably designed with sidewalks, bike paths, etc., I would do it in a second.

    And this is New Jersey, a place with great PT by American standards.

    We have a long way to go and there is a lot of pain left to be inflicted.

  42. 42
    Punchy says:

    Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition

    Please don’t ever link Chicago to style. I lived there a loooooooong time. Flannels and moonboots are not style.

    So, we can end sentences with preps, now? I see where that’s at. That’s something I can agree to. I can see where this is coming from. Becuase I ain’t got no problem with not ending sentences with non-prepositions, from now on.

  43. 43
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Does his appetite for goat penis know no bounds?

    I have it on good authority that Kaus is working to overcome his goat-blowing habit. People who know him have stated that he’s attempting to taper off by merely holding the goat penis in his mouth to get the taste.

  44. 44
    The Moar You Know says:

    Somewhere, in a quiet room in Georgia, Jimmy Carter is laughing bitterly.

  45. 45
    Scott H says:

    The off-shore and wildlife reserve drilling is an issue like creationism – a stake through the heart won’t keep it down.

    Any second now, concern for the poor will be expressed by people who wouldn’t toss a bichon frise turd at the poor. There is an answer. We have food stamps. Okay, let’s have gas stamps. Say, 25 gallons a week of two dollar gas. (Actually, I just want to listen to the howlings when something like that gets proposed.)

  46. 46
  47. 47
    chopper says:

    Cause we really, really like him now that he isn’t a total suck-ass for the Republicans.

    wow, welcome to 2008.

    You? Not so much.

    who are you again?

  48. 48
    4tehlulz says:

    So, we can end sentences with preps, now? I see where that’s at. That’s something I can agree to. I can see where this is coming from. Becuase I ain’t got no problem with not ending sentences with non-prepositions, from now on.

    Fixing this kind of crap — from engineers no less — is my job.

    Actually, that’s not true. Your text was comprehensible.

  49. 49
    libarbarian says:

    I have it on good authority that Kaus is working to overcome his goat-blowing habit. People who know him have stated that he’s attempting to taper off by merely holding the goat penis in his mouth to get the taste.

    I don’t believe you. I am aware of all goat-blowing traditions and I’ve never heard of this.

  50. 50
    nightjar says:

    The current situation in the oil market is not anything resembling the model of prices moved by supply and demand. The supply of oil has been sufficient since last summer and demand has gone down, yet the cost of a barrel of oil keeps rising unabated.

    It is pure speculation, not based on legitimate concerns for supply interruptions. Most markets based on speculation operate under two base instincts, fear and greed, the fear part considers shortages of products but also intervening actions by government, not necessarily a known action like windfall profit of other taxes, but the unknown also. And that natural fear has been removed by the two oilmen in the White House. The speculators know with certainty no govmint action will be taken (at least for now) to spoil the all out greed that’s running the current market.

    If you don’t believe this, then wait till (and if) Obama is elected and watch the PPB of oil begin to slip, maybe even before Jan. 20 2009. It won’t go near back to where it was, but maybe 70-80 bucks a barrel with gas around $2.70 a gallon, with bumps in prices when legitimate interruptions of supply occur, I>E> Hurricanes, new ME fighting etc..

  51. 51
    4tehlulz says:

    People who know him have stated that he’s attempting to taper off by merely holding the goat penis in his mouth to get the taste.

    He’s just trying to maintain until his insurer approves his goat cock patch prescription.

  52. 52
    The Moar You Know says:

    I used to like to drive down the coast ten miles to Half Moon Bay to a place for breakfast.

    Very familiar with the Highway 1 drive, Bob. I used to make the run from Santa Cruz to San Francisco a lot on that road when I lived down in SC; it’s so damn pretty that you honestly forget that you’re driving.

    That stretch over Devil’s Slide is one of the scarier patches of road I’ve ever driven, though. Come to think of it, there is no way to get out of Santa Cruz that isn’t fraught with peril.

    I need to get back up there for at least a vacation. Crap, I miss that part of the world.

  53. 53
    jibeaux says:

    90% of my driving is to and from work and ferrying kids to camp, school, and day care.

    Bicycles?

    Home to summer camp to work for Kid 1, age 7: 16 miles, mostly on a six to eight-lane highway.

    Home to day care to work for Kid 2, age 3: 14.2 miles, mostly on the interstate.

    Believe me, I have thought about these things. The best I have been able to do is hopefully arrange some carpooling fo camp. We bought the house specifically to try to minimize commuting. To live with children someplace other than a non-urban area is to be married to your car.

  54. 54
    Gus says:

    I think it’s a benefit. I know I’ve been more diligent about taking the bus/light rail to work. I’m gonna start biking to work as soon as I get in some semblance of shape.

  55. 55
    dr. bloor says:

    The Moar You Know Says:

    Somewhere, in a quiet room in Georgia in some far-flung place doing more good in a week than Dumbya will do in his lifetime, Jimmy Carter is laughing bitterly shaking his head sadly.

    Fixt. Whenever something like this comes up, I’m reminded of the line in “Breach” where Hanssen refers to America as being a large, retarded child. “Spoiled” might be a bit more appropriate, but still…

  56. 56
    Zifnab says:

    If you don’t believe this, then wait till (and if) Obama is elected and watch the PPB of oil begin to slip, maybe even before Jan. 20 2009. It won’t go near back to where it was, but maybe 70-80 bucks a barrel with gas around $2.70 a gallon, with bumps in prices when legitimate interruptions of supply occur, I>E> Hurricanes, new ME fighting etc..

    You know, I’ve heard speculation that Obama will have the exact opposite effect – oil companies and speculators will try to raise the prices even higher in an attempt to inflict populist pain on Obama supporters. But they’d only be shooting themselves in the foot on that. Even more people would move away from fossil fuels. And then there’s the fear that a non-Oil Guy in the White House would drop the hammer.

    Ultimately, I think it depends on how well Obama seizes the reigns of power. If the federal beurocracy is still flooded with Bushies, Obama is going to have a hard time and anti-government corporate thugs are going to keep doing what they’re doing. If Obama is able to put the right people in positions of power, game over.

  57. 57
    libarbarian says:

    He’s just trying to maintain until his insurer approves his goat cock patch prescription.

    Or Chantdicks. Either one.

  58. 58
    jibeaux says:

    I am aware of all internet traditions, including Kaus and the goats, but I still don’t know how it got started. I guess I’m admitting I’m not aware of the provenance of all internet traditions.

  59. 59
    nightjar says:

    Ultimately, I think it depends on how well Obama seizes the reigns of power. If the federal beurocracy is still flooded with Bushies, Obama is going to have a hard time and anti-government corporate thugs are going to keep doing what they’re doing. If Obama is able to put the right people in positions of power, game over.

    This is true, and largely overlooked by the press. I was working for the feds when Reagan became prez and watched his little gremlins try and destroy fed agencies from within, usually by inserting RW hacks into mid level and other career positions, and other assorted methods to cripple agencies. And from what i’ve heard, the Bushies have taken this to a whole other level and Obama’s task to repair them will be huge. But he should have a solid hold on congress and that will go a long way.

  60. 60
    Krista says:

    Dork Says:

    90% of my driving is to and from work and ferrying kids to camp, school, and day care.

    Bicycles?

    Unless you know the distance required, that’s a silly, flip suggestion. If the kids are young enough to require day care, they’re probably not up for a miles-long bicycle commute every day.

    Sorry…I try to be as environmentally friendly as everybody else, and use my car as little as I have to. But I get royally pissed when people flippantly suggest using mass transit or bicycles, with absolutely no acknowledgement that a) mass transit is not available everywhere and b)transporting small children (and their gear) via bicycle is only feasible for very short distances.

    This problem is bigger than gas prices. Small towns are losing services and jobs, which require people to travel longer distances to get what they need. And when people say “Move closer to your job”, that just exacerbates the problem, because more and more people ARE leaving the small towns and rural areas to move to the cities, where the jobs and services are.

    This results in fewer customers, meaning that other small-town businesses close, requiring more people to drive longer distances in order to get something they could have previously purchased just 5 minutes down the road.

    As more people move closer to the cities for jobs and amenities, the cities sprawl and suburbs grow, often faster than the local mass transit system can keep up. Result? Yet more people driving longer distances.

    This has been the trend for a long time now, and I don’t know how (or if) it can be reversed. But if it CAN be reversed, to the point where people don’t have to drive long distances for work or shopping, I think that would go a long way towards reducing overall consumption.

  61. 61
    Martin says:

    This driving reduction is terrible news!

    First we underfund Amtrak because it can’t turn a profit and now with less driving, the $250B per year interstate system might not turn a profit either! Oh noes!

  62. 62
    Evinfuilt says:

    If we’d put a $1 a gallon tax on gas when it was $0.89 a gallon (not so very long ago) we could be in a position now where that money would have bought a good public transportation infrastructure and reduced demand so that – very likely – gas would be cheaper than $4/gallon today even with the tax still on it. But nooooo, that would have been socialism! It’s much better to be paying $4/gallon with no public transport options and none of the exorbitant price going to fund them.

    Damn you Environmentalists and your so called Logic!!!!

    If you only allowed to drive to work in coal powered steam wagons we’d all be fine now.

  63. 63
    Shygetz says:

    I’m gonna start biking to work as soon as I get in some semblance of shape.

    You’ve got it backwards. You will get in some semblance of shape as soon as you start biking to work.

  64. 64
    jibeaux says:

    Hi Krista it’s me, formerly Jen. I found that one of the internet traditions was way too many Jens. So anyway, I agree with your post and I am no kind of city planner, but something that has always struck me, traveling most anywhere in Europe, is that when you get out into the countryside, in these rural areas people live clustered together. So there will be nothing, nothing, nothing, then a little town with some shops, churches, houses, schools, and a pub for every 10 people or so. Quite walkable as far as the little town goes. Repeat.

    In rural America, maybe Canada too, people live much more spread out. The population density may equal out around the same, but there is no walkable little town. I wonder if that will change someday, too.

  65. 65
    Evinfuilt says:

    This driving reduction is terrible news!

    First we underfund Amtrak because it can’t turn a profit and now with less driving, the $250B per year interstate system might not turn a profit either! Oh noes!

    Why in the US must Amtrak be profitable, yet the roads be a loss leader?

    Please someone, make me understand. Its not like the Postal Office which is just obsolete (though maybe roads will go that way.)

  66. 66
    Darkness says:

    Count your blessings. I shuck out $70 to fill up my Silverado, the model powered by 6 Dancing Hamsters.

    Have you tried lettuce? Our neighbor’s hamsters seem to like lettuce. Also, I don’t know if it is that vehicle or just the drivers of it, but they drive in such a way as to absolutely minimize their mileage. They accelerate like mad, while approaching red lights, no less, and then slam on the brakes while screaming up behind my little car. If you can overcome the urge to threaten all smaller vehicles on the road, you would suffer less at the pump. Also, total speed matters a lot. Force due to air resistance increases exponentially with velocity. Try slowing down on the highway, every mph counts.

    Except, you know, public transit is super extreme hate-America Eurotrash socialism, and if you support a better Metro line, you’re probably a Hitler-kissing communist.

    Worth reposting. So very true. Suck it up everyone who elected the worthless pols who catered to the government-can’t-address-social-issues lizard brains of the electorate when intelligent people were warning of the results of doing just that. And deal with the fact that some of us get enjoyment out of the carrion-eating birds coming to roost exactly where they were predicted to.

    (And to the roaming grammar cop… I preemptively shall quote Churchill when faced with same: “That’s the sort of pedantry up with which I will not put.”)

  67. 67
    ThymeZone says:

    It is pure speculation

    No, wrong. It is a boy’s club of seasoned and knowledgeable traders who are risking zillions of their own cash every time they make a trade. All trades are completed with wire transfers of cash on delivery, and there is immediate and brutal accountability for trading errors.

    The oil business is extremely formalized and based on the inerrant ethics of a cash economy. Calling these people “speculators” is just a way to demonstrate how little is really known about how this business works.

    These are tough guys — and a few gals but not many — operating a high-stakes commodity market with real money in real time.

  68. 68
    Dreggas says:

    crack Says:

    Peters expressed concern that the cutbacks have resulted in the collection of fewer taxes on gasoline. Such taxes are funneled to the federal Highway Trust Fund, which gets 18.4 cents per gallon from gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon from diesel fuel.

    This is a problem with using taxes to attempt to limit a behavior. Politicians want the money more than they want less usage.

    Agreed see cigarettes, tax on.

  69. 69
    ThymeZone says:

    You will get in some semblance of shape as soon as you start biking to work.

    Something about 115 degree homeward bound bike commutes in dense auto traffic that takes the lustre off that idea here.

    Been there, done that, never ever again.

    In the cool seasons, maybe. Not now.

  70. 70
    Shygetz says:

    This has been the trend for a long time now, and I don’t know how (or if) it can be reversed. But if it CAN be reversed, to the point where people don’t have to drive long distances for work or shopping, I think that would go a long way towards reducing overall consumption.

    The industry with which I am closely associated is very small business friendly. They actually are starting to set up shop in small towns, as their employees are able to live close to work (which means they are more likely to come in after hours to get an important project done), rent is much cheaper, and they can attract skilled employees for less salary due to the lower costs of living. We’ve also seen similar patterns with what little manufacturing industry is left, as land is so much cheaper in small towns. I think a combination of cheap and fast telecommunications with expensive transit is going to push the decentralization of much of our businesses, which should help the problem. A lot of businesses are starting to move to or look into the four day work week model, which also saves gas (oddly enough, by about 20%). So I think there is real hope for conservation.

  71. 71
    Darkness says:

    Fixing this kind of crap—from engineers no less—is my job.

    Ah, technical writer… no wonder you’re bitter.

    Best summary I’ve found of the history of ending sentences with prepositions. It’s English. It’s alive. It gets to grow. Let’s not behave like the French… or goddess forbid, the Quebecois.

  72. 72
    Shygetz says:

    In the cool seasons, maybe. Not now.

    Hey, cars burn gas in the cool season, too. Every bit helps. I, unfortunately, am in the two-kids-going-to-day-care crowd, so biking to daycare/work is right out. I wish I could, because I enjoy biking and could stand to lose the pounds and gain the cash.

  73. 73
    wingnuts to iraq says:

    People bitching up about gas prices need to STFU. Waaaa. It’s expensive. Well, it should be.

    Move closer to your job. Maybe you shouldn’t by that huge car. When I grew up, we never had a mini-van or an SUV, and my Mom was able to ferry both my brother and I around quite nicely in a 30MPG 4 door Sedan.

  74. 74
    Kirk says:

    Wanted to respond to jibeaux, but this needs hammered first. “Post office which is just obsolete[.]”

    Bullhockey. I see this way too often, and it’s always one of two reasons. Email, and FedEx/UPS/etc.

    Of them, the Post Office is the only one required to deliver EVERYWHERE at no cost to the recipient. (Yes, I know of laws and regs regarding placement of mail boxes which cost money. In response I know that if you are demonstrably indigent, the USPS is required to provide a mail box.)

    When UPS/FedEx/etc is required to deliver to the recipient, no excuses due to costs, or when everyone has reliable email access without cost (and with expectation of privacy nominally equivalent to the US mail), then the post office will be obsolete. Until then, it’s a dream.

  75. 75
    jibeaux says:

    Wanted to respond to jibeaux

    /waits breathlessly

  76. 76
    Zifnab says:

    Please someone, make me understand. Its not like the Postal Office which is just obsolete a cheap and reliable way of sending material goods long distances (though maybe roads will go that way.)

    Fixed.

    Amtrak must be profitable because that’s the best way to hamstring the business. Rail ways – much like roads and pipelines and telephone lines and internets – require a great deal of infrastructure and, by extension, a great deal of government blessing. Turn it private to cut off its source of government funding. Then starve it to death by making it impossible for the business to expand during the good times or take a loss during the times.

    Then turn the bits and pieces that remain over to whatever corporate overlord is paying your tab. You win.

  77. 77
    jibeaux says:

    Move closer to your job. Maybe you shouldn’t by that huge car.

    wingnut, my car gets 34 mpg and I already previously said we bought our house very specifically to minimize commuting. To add in a third point to the commute and come in at 16 miles is still not bad. I’m just trying to make the point that regular people just going about their lives, cannot necessarily do a great deal to reduce their consumption because our towns are set up for cheap gas. Being middle-class, it isn’t a make or break expense for me. For those less well off, it certainly can be.

  78. 78
    John S. says:

    But I get royally pissed when people flippantly suggest using mass transit or bicycles, with absolutely no acknowledgement that a) mass transit is not available everywhere and b)transporting small children (and their gear) via bicycle is only feasible for very short distances.

    Me too, Krista.

    As much as I enjoy living in South Florida, this is the worst possible place to have to deal with energy costs. Mass transit here is abyssmal. Biking is a pretty rough option considering that it is summer and some days your kids would die of heat stroke before making it to a destination on bicycle. Moving closer to work is difficult considering the housing market here, and quite frankly in most instances that won’t provide you with much overall cost savings after you factor in selling your home and moving.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but none of them are easy and anyone offering what they think is an easy answer needs to STFU.

  79. 79
    Martin says:

    I’m just trying to make the point that regular people just going about their lives, cannot necessarily do a great deal to reduce their consumption because our towns are set up for cheap gas.

    That’s the real problem. I live in a planned community of about 200K people. Everything flows quite nicely. Nobody has a driveway on a busy street. Nobody lives next to a gas station.

    Unfortunately, everybody drives. The buses suck because the roads flow well, so nobody takes them. No light rail, because that wasn’t in the plan. Community schools are good since *most* people walk, but it also means no buses. My kids are in different elementary schools across town that start at the same time. My wife and I split up – she walks one and I drive the other, but I’m late for work every day as a result. Tossing in a bike only screws it up more. I only live 2 miles from work, but with the intervening freeway and 6-lane roads, biking it, even given our nice SoCal coastal weather is a harrowing experience. Side streets, because there are no houses on them are a uniform 50MPH posted (60MPH actual), so even an electric scooter is out and a Vespa is pushing the limit.

    Within 2 miles I have pretty much everything I need – restaurants, grocery stores, work, movie theatres, etc. but to get from my house to them is unbearably hard at any speed below 50MPH. Making matters worse, the community shopping center which was chock full of stuff for the family – toy store, movies, kid-friendly restaurants, Radio Shack and the like, dance and art learning studios, etc. is moving all that stuff out for medical offices. It’s one of the places we realistically can walk to and spend an entire evening at, but there’s more money to be had adding another 12 chiropractors to the local landscape, apparently. Instead, all the fun stuff is being moved down by the corporate park where nobody lives and everyone has to drive to. It’s infuriating and it’s all a problem of city planning.

  80. 80
    Church Lady says:

    Rising fuel costs are hammering every facet of our economy. Less miles driven – great, as long as you’re not a retailer or a restaurant that no one is going to; otherwise, it’s bankruptcy for you and unemployment for your workforce.

    Less miles driven – great, as long as you’re not a non-profit that depends on volunteer drivers to help you carry out your mission.

    I live in an area with next to no public transportation, and what is there (buses), is almost worthless in area covered and scheduling/transfers to get to where you need to go.

    I volunteer once a week as a Meals on Wheels driver for a local non-profit and also do thrift store pick-ups for another local non-profit. While I love doing both of these things and love being able to contibute to the good each accomplishes, both endeavors have become quite expensive to do, given that my car (6 cyl. German import) requires 93 octane and costs over $100 to fill up. Right now, I can afford to continue, but as gas prices rise, I may have to stop. I know that a number of the Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers have already had to quit due to the cost of gas, which is causing a reduction in the number of number seniors receiving free meals, which for some is their only meal of the day.

    Long and short – less miles driven is not always a good thing.

  81. 81
    nightjar says:

    No, wrong. It is a boy’s club of seasoned and knowledgeable traders who are risking zillions of their own cash every time they make a trade

    It’s good that they have zillions to risk. And how much risk is it to purchase a world wide vital commodity at any price. They ain’t gambling for widgets. Sorry TZ, when you purchase something for a price based on what it might be in the future contemplating imagined negative events that haven’t yet occurred, that’s speculation.

    The oil business is extremely formalized and based on the inerrant ethics of a cash economy

    The oil market is a modified pyramid scheme based on monopoly and greed.

  82. 82
    jibeaux says:

    another 12 chiropractors to the local landscape,

    I never ceased to be amazed at how many chiropractors there are. I am not personally letting anyone yank my head 90 degrees to the side, and if you want to, more power to you, but I guess millions of people must be doing this since’s there’s an unwritten law that where there are strip malls, there must be chiros.

    Around here, there are a few nice little planned communities with everything in them — movie theatre, restaurants, schools, etc. — and they’re, um, really expensive.

  83. 83
    RSA says:

    1.4 Billion

    That’s how many fewer miles Americans drove in April, 2008, as compared to the same period last year.

    You know, that sounds like a lot. But there are at least 240 million cars registered in the U.S. If we conservatively estimate that only half of them were on the road in April this year, that means that each car was driven 11 miles fewer than last year in April. It all adds up, of course, but on average (and I know I’m neglecting the issue of poorer drivers–sorry about that) but that’s only about 1% less driving than usual.

  84. 84
    Punchy says:

    When I grew up, we never had a mini-van or an SUV, and my Mom our bikes was able to ferry both my brother and I around quite nicely in a 30MPG 4 door Sedan on $99 Huffys.

    Sorry Kris, but I’m with Dork here. Although I cannot prove it, I believe a cause of such childhood obesity is due to today’s parents’ penchant for providing a Honda Pilot instead of Schwinn Predator. Yes, if they’re as small as Jen’s then that’s not an option. But every child in my neighborhood, from the age of 6-7 yo, rode everywhere, and not a single fat kid in the bunch. Granted…this had less to do with gas prices and more to do with the adventure of a bike ride to places miles and miles away…

  85. 85
    jibeaux says:

    Punchy, will you hire my defense attorney when I send my seven year old off to camp along an eight-lane highway on his bike? He will totally wear his helmet. Incidentally, he weighs 43 pounds. Obesity is not a problem. Finding shorts with enough adjustable notches for his skinny little butt is.

  86. 86
    4tehlulz says:

    WHEN I WAS YOUNG WE RODE OUR BIKES THROUGH TORNADOES AND BLIZZARDS–WITHOUT HELMETS OR EVEN BRAKES! WE STOPPED THEM WITH OUR BARE FEET! ON ROADS PAVED WITH SHARDS OF GLASS! GET OFF MY LAWN YOU DAMN FAT KIDS!

  87. 87
    Church Lady says:

    Punchy, either you don’t have children or they are now grown. When my husband and I were kids, we also walked or rode bikes everywhere. On weekends and in the summer, our mothers kicked us out of the house right after breakfast, we were allowed to come home for lunch and then got kicked right back out the door, were expected to be home for dinner (alerted by a ringing bell) and then thrown back out again until dark. Those were definitely the good old days.

    Now, the world is a much different place and the safety our mothers took for granted is no longer a given. When my children were young, they didn’t even play in the front yard unless I was there, watching over them and their playmates. The biggest upside of that was getting to know all the other moms on our street, because they were out there too, sitting in their lawnchairs and watching over the children.

  88. 88
    jibeaux says:

    Punchy, either you don’t have children or they are now grown.

    Punchy’s about 19. He likes to reminisce about the good ol’ days, back in 1995…

  89. 89
    Zifnab says:

    Screw bikes and cars. It’s 2008. Where’s my jet pack?

  90. 90
    capelza says:

    The Moar You Know Says:
    Somewhere, in a quiet room in Georgia, Jimmy Carter is laughing bitterly.

    I think this often. I’ve always driven smaller cars, even our “big” boat truck is an F-150 (we need it to tow trailers of crab pots). We literally live within walking distance of the boat docks and I use my car so infrequently there are cob webs growing on the mirrors.

    But we have come to a serious crisis, the diesel the boat needs is becoming so expensive the boat may have to be tied up for the shrimp season. I, intellectually understand, but emotionally I am so pissed off. There’s another factor here, no offense to Canada, but your shrimp fishermen get subsidies and can keep the cost of the shrimp down. There is NO incentive for the plants here to pay what it actually costs to catch the little buggers. There is a lawsuit happening against the Canadian fisherman, but that’ll take years. Fuck free trade (because someone somewhere is getting the subsidies, and it ain’t the American fisherman). We fish carefully, avoiding pinheads (the babies) and use excluders, used them before it was mandated.

    Several years ago, we had discussed switching to bio-diesel, but I’m glad we didn’t because the whole corn thing always seemed sketchy to me and other issues that included some bullshit thing or another. We take could care of the engine on the boat, but man, we are being killed here. Rant over.

    Oh, btw, do you all know that commercial fishing boats have to have a tracker on them now, so the Feds will know where we are every minute we are out there. And they wanted us to “call” them four days ahead of time, every time we went out, but I don’t think they were able to implement that. No one’s doing it anyway. That would be impossible. Who knows what the weather will be in 4 days? I fucking HATE my government.

    That said, the glory days of suburbia are over and it isn’t like Jimmy Carter didn’t try to tell us 30 years ago. But did we listen? No…we didn’t. Collectively this chicken been coming home to roost for a long time.

  91. 91
    Zifnab says:

    Punchy’s about 19. He likes to reminisce about the good ol’ days, back in 1995…

    ‘Twas ’bout da turn o’ the twentieth century. A Willy was in da White House. Michael Jordan was playing the basketball. And everybody was doing that new-fangled dance called the Macarana, on account it was da style at da time.

  92. 92
    Grand Moff Texan says:

    It’s time to go viral with the facts on Oil Demagoguery as practiced by the Grand Old Petroleum party.

    I hear and obey:

    Corruption drives up the cost of oil, high oil prices squeeze and frighten the natives so that you can get them to give up even more of the natural resources that big oil isn’t using anyway. That way, after the fifteen to twenty years it takes to develop those resources, they can sell American oil and natural gas to China.

    And fuck America.

    You may think you’re an American. You may even be white. But that won’t protect you. To big oil and the Republicans, you’re just another bone-in-the-nose native to be ripped off, and America is just another third-world country to be raped.

    .

  93. 93
    Krista says:

    I think a combination of cheap and fast telecommunications with expensive transit is going to push the decentralization of much of our businesses, which should help the problem. A lot of businesses are starting to move to or look into the four day work week model, which also saves gas (oddly enough, by about 20%). So I think there is real hope for conservation.

    We can only hope. :)

    Sorry Kris, but I’m with Dork here. Although I cannot prove it, I believe a cause of such childhood obesity is due to today’s parents’ penchant for providing a Honda Pilot instead of Schwinn Predator.

    Point taken, but that only returns to my point of decentralization. I’m going to take a liberty and assume that you are in your thirties as well. I also rode my bike to school, to my friends’ houses, etc, from about the age of 6 years old. However, everything was closer, and within the same town. I rode on neighbourhood streets, not the freeway, to get to school.

    My point was that there are no pat, simple answers for helping people deal with the cost of gas. And pretending that there is, is only insulting to people who are struggling right now. I own a 2003 Taurus. It’s not a big car. Right now, it costs me over $80 to fill that thing. After taxes, that is over a full day’s pay for me.

    I’m fortunate in that my job is only a 15 minute drive from my home. I drive as little as possible, and I’m still feeling a serious pinch.

    And in the meantime, Exxon had a $40b profit last year and they gave chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson an 18 per cent raise to $21.7 million. Let HIM get on a fucking bicycle.

  94. 94
    Napoleon says:

    Supporting the incumbency of a two-term Bush-supporting Democrat is not going to change the way things work in Washington.

    Which is why a few years ago I decided to make all of my political contributions only in Dem. primaries.

    It is pure speculation, not based on legitimate concerns for supply interruptions.

    Wrong – What TZ says applies but in addition to that there has been not increase in inventories which right off the bat tells you its not speculation. If you want speculation see the example of Hunt, Bunky – silver speculator.

  95. 95
    Phoebe says:

    Nobody said it wasn’t going to hurt. In fact “high [anything] prices” kind of assumes hurt. Trying to find some silver linings to the hurt was all that Michael D was doing, and you squeal like stuck pigs, as though he created the high prices to hurt you [and the poor people! because you care most about them!].

    If more people were more grown-up and less babylike, we could have cushioned the hurt we now face, but no, everyone had to have his induhvidual freedom in the form of a cul de sac house and a strip of pavement from everywhere to everywhere and no tax dollars for mass transit.

    Did anyone see this hurt coming? Well, yes. Do the people who ridiculed those people deserve all the hurt they get? Of course. But sadly, mass hurt does tend to disporportionately hurt the poor people, because they don’t have the resources to ameliorate it.

    So if you want to bitch on behalf of the poor, bitch at those freedom lovers, not against Michael D, whoever he is.

  96. 96
    The Moar You Know says:

    Screw bikes and cars. It’s 2008. Where’s my jet pack?

    While we’re at it, where’s my weekly shuttle flight to the moon?

  97. 97
    capelza says:

    The flying car, people, we were told we’d have flying cars!

  98. 98
    The Moar You Know says:

    A few words about bikes – a lot of whether using them is feasible or not is dependent on factors beyond one’s control.

    I was bike-only for a wonderful five years in the Bay Area. I rode about 20-30 miles every day and was in the best shape of my life. It can be done.

    But not with kids. I don’t have them but I don’t see any way you could pull that off.

    And your environment has a lot to do with feasibility. Riding through downtown San Francisco, South SF, Redwood City – all doable. Riding through my new/old home of San Diego – not so much. Drivers are different in different regions. San Diego has wide, straight, high-visibility streets and you’d think riding here would be a lot safer. You would be lethally wrong. I rode through SF every day at rush hour with little concern for my safety. Here, I’m terrified to ride even on most neighborhood streets, not to mention main streets – drivers don’t look and worse, flat out don’t care. Killing a cyclist in Northern California will get you ostracized. Here, it will only raise your insurance, not your friends eyebrows – no social penalty, and that counts for more than you think it might.

    If we pullerd most cars off the roads, that would be a different story. But we’re not there yet.

  99. 99
    Original Lee says:

    Yay, jibeaux. 100% agreement with you.

    I used to be able to ride my bike everywhere when I was a kid, and even had the newspaper carrier baskets over the rear wheels so I could go to the grocery store for my mom. BUT we lived out in the country, and we had nice shoulders on the road to move on to when cars went by, and as long as you weren’t out on the road during the Rush 15 Minutes, you were usually fine. Yet even in that bucolic climate, one of my friends was killed by a drunk driver while he was riding his bike home from the grocery store.

    We currently live 15 minutes from my husband’s office and 20 minutes from my office, 10 minutes from my kids’ school. That’s about as good as we can afford. But my kids cannot ride their bikes outside the immediate neighborhood because a two-lane highway is right outside, with no crosswalks or sidewalks and an almost nonexistent shoulder. We can’t walk to the grocery store, or to the doctors’ office, or the post office, or the YMCA, or the rec center, or any of these other amenities, even though they are all less than a mile away, because the whole community was designed around using the car to go everywhere.

    There is a bus. I could theoretically take the bus to work. It would only take 90 minutes on a good day to get to the office from my house, and about 2 hours to reverse the trip. My husband cannot take the bus, because even though the bus goes right past the industrial park where his office is, it does not stop there or anywhere nearby, which is monumentally stupid. Well, I amend that. He could take the bus, if he rode the bus that stops 3 blocks from our house all the way downtown (past his office), and then transferred to a completely different bus, which stops at a satellite parking lot, and then transferred again to a shuttle that runs to a stop about half a mile from his office building. I think we use less gas by driving together when our schedules allow.

  100. 100
    Martin says:

    they’re, um, really expensive.

    Heh. Median home price in my area: $990K. $800K will get you a nice 3 BR with 2 car garage and a yard about the size of my ass.

    Killing a cyclist in Northern California will get you ostracized. Here, it will only raise your insurance, not your friends eyebrows – no social penalty, and that counts for more than you think it might.

    We had 3 cyclists killed in a span of about 3 weeks just recently. 2 of the 3 were early morning hit-and-runs. A couple of poor bastards biking to work at 6 AM got speedbumped by SUVs who courteously sped off leaving them to die on the curb. The third was a kid waiting at an intersection with the front of his bike sticking off the ramp when someone came along and clipped the front wheel and dragged him.

    One of the big problems here is with side streets being 3 lanes each way @ 50 MPH with 2 left turn lanes and a right turn/bike squeezeway, cross walk signs to watch and trying to sort out who has the green, there’s WAY too much for most motorists to keep track of to make safe right-on-reds. Plus they do it all on the phone sucking down a mochachino.

    So yeah, I know where you’re coming from on biking in SoCal.

  101. 101
    nightjar says:

    Wrong – What TZ says applies but in addition to that there has been not increase in inventories which right off the bat tells you its not speculation

    Maybe you didn’t read the link I provided.

    In its monthly market report, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said oil’s recent volatility “reconfirms the view that current price levels do not reflect supply and demand realities.”

    Looking ahead to the second half of the year, the cartel added: “A review of the prospects … also shows little support for prices to remain at current levels.

  102. 102
    Napoleon says:

    Maybe you didn’t read the link I provided.

    In its monthly market report, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said oil’s recent volatility “reconfirms the view that current price levels do not reflect supply and demand realities.”

    Looking ahead to the second half of the year, the cartel added: “A review of the prospects … also shows little support for prices to remain at current levels.

    Nowhere in your link does it indicate that inventories have gone up. If inventories have not gone up, its not speculation that is driving the price. It’s that simple. That is the only practical method a speculator has to increase the value of what he is speculating in. Unless the speculator holds what he buys off the market he has not method to increase its price. Seriously, read up on Bunky Hunt.

    As to OPEC’s opinion as to what maybe causing it, well its just an opinion and it could be driven by the suspicion that OPECs largest producer (the Saudi’s who drive OPEC) had been lying for years about the amount of their reserves and their ability to pump additional oil. If they admit that there is demand they cannot meet it is basically an admission on their part that they have been lying to the world since 1982 when they stopped publishing detailed info about their oil industry. So they have no choice, other then admit to lying, then to claim it is something else going on.

    By the way this is a good resource in this area:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/

  103. 103
    Kirk says:

    aaand for Jibeaux – yes, I agree. Folks, blandly saying “just move” or “just bike” without knowing anything of the local situation is the height of stupidity. Let me raise a few examples of issues that just might make a difference.

    I’ve now lived in three smallish communities in Georgia. In every one of them there were some significant constants regarding fuel-efficient transport. The one that frustrates me the most is lack of sidewalks.

    There are sidewalks in the business areas – most of them, anyway. But in residential areas – brand new, 100 years old, it doesn’t matter – sidewalks are the exception. Now it’s perhaps an odd thing to consider, but if the city/county isn’t going to require and/or pay for sidewalks to encourage walking, what do you think the odds are they’ve any other support for non-motor transport? Bicycles? Only in the street itself – no bike lanes, no shoulders until you hit highways and “express transport routes” (read four-lane or better roads – the kind adults might bike upon but kids should be kept away from.) Buses? snicker.

    And the placement of activities is clumsy as well. Consider for an example my county’s school system. In fact, consider MY schools. We moved to where we are for a number of reasons, one of which was that the middle school my daughter would attend is in walking distance. Only 3/4 mile – on roads with no sidewalks, and across two busy roads, but walking distance nonetheless. If we’d been here when she was in elementary school it’d have been 4 miles to that school, requiring a quartermile travel along a state highway (no sidewalks, but at least there’s a shoulder – except on the bridge.) High School is six miles away, with two routes. We can take the highway for three miles, or we can use the “express transport route” for three miles. To the good, the latter has sidewalks, we just have to get there.

    Oh, almost forgot to note. There are no bicycle racks at the middle or high school.

    I agree, walking and biking and other gas saving transport methods are great idea. And I’m trying to persuade the local government to make it possible to do them. As a consequence when I get the blind “just move” or “just bike” or any of that crap, I realize I’m dealing with an ignoramus – well-meaning in most cases, but an ignoramus all the same – and either ignore or try to educate. You want to make it happen? Help build sidewalks to start. Better, help persuade communities built around the existence of cars to realize they need to change their thinking – and help them pay for that change.

  104. 104
    ThymeZone says:

    “reconfirms the view that current price levels do not reflect supply and demand realities.”

    That’s a cue quote, but useless. That’s like saying that the price of GE stock doesn’t reflect the realities of their business.

    But, stock prices are not about the realities of the business every day. Nor are oil prices always about the most arcane realities of supply or demand. Generally, but not specifically.

    In a commodity market, prices are determined by what buyers and sellers agree the sale is worth, and those determinations are ultimately made by human … and fallible … deciders. That’s why it’s a market, that is how markets work.

    You might not like (because you don’t understand) how a market works, but deciding to get mad at the market or fuck with the market is a little like a monkey getting mad at a calculator and smashing it on a rock.

    The market is what it is, a market. Leave it alone. If you want lower prices, ultimately you have to do at least one of two things, if not both: Increase supply, or decrease demand. Without one of those, you are barking at the moon.

  105. 105
    nightjar says:

    You might not like (because you don’t understand) how a market works, but deciding to get mad at the market or fuck with the market is a little like a monkey getting mad at a calculator and smashing it on a rock

    You go on like the oil market is structured with all the mechanisms that make it work like a competitive free market. That’s baloney, There is little to no competition when oil companies own the entire refinement and distribution, and retail apparatus of a commodity that is VITAL to life as we’ve known it for more than a century. As well as a group of nationstates who own 90% of the oil who do the wink and nod on supply issues (along with the SPECULATORS), although OPEC seems to be getting jittery that the greed will seriously damage the world economy. And yes supplies are tight, but not short, and using that to justify jacking up prices to the heights we’ve seen (for once again A VITAL product), is not believable. If we were talking about skateboards, I’d say you were right, but we’re not. Like I said, wait until Obama wins (if so) and see what happens to oil prices. The S/D situation should be about the same.

    And trying to describe and support the indescribable and unsupportable (the oil not so free market structure) is more like a monkey howling at the moon., IMHO.

  106. 106
    Rick Taylor says:

    It would be better if we pursued conservation an alternative energy without being hit by high prices, but it hasn’t work that way. We’ve known for decades there was a limited about of easily accessible oil in the ground. We’ve known for years that the evidence for climate change was strong and we needed to do something. And nothing happened. I remember looking up and seeing all the SUV’s on the road and wondering what the hell people were thinking.

    Even if offshore drilling would lower prices (which it wouldn’t) it would still be a bad idea. If prices dropped, we’d go right back to burning more oil until shortages began again. At least now, maybe it will wake us up enough to begin making the changes we should have started a decade ago. It would be a lot better if we could act intelligently as a species and not wait for shortages and high prices, but so far that hasn’t worked.

  107. 107
    grumpy realist says:

    Eh, this is a standard case of “stupidity hurts.” We could have been maxing out the taxes on gasoline, essentially putting an artificial level of competition into the mix, with the result that we would have had a whole lot of gas-sipping technology developed.

    Instead, now, we have to buy said technology from the Japanese and Europeans….while much less of that high-price-to-us-of-gasoline actually gets used here in the US. Nope, we’re just handing $$ over to Bin Laden’s relatives.

    Ah well, I figure that at least all of this will end up keeping the value of my present condo high, considering that it’s optimal for anyone who needs to commute into the Loop…yes, and I did go for the location deliberately. After 10 years in Tokyo I much prefer using public transportation for commuting rather than driving. I usually even get a seat in the morning and can spend the next 20 minutes leisurely reading the newspaper.

  108. 108

    […] Beautiful, isn’t it? As Michael notes over at Balloon Juice, Americans drove 1.4 billion less miles this April than last. Seems that all it took to begin to reverse a decades-long trend of ever-increasing driving is a six-fold increase in the price of oil, never-ending war in the Middle East, and eight years of catostrophic leadership from all-around-nice-guy and worst-president-we’ve-ever-known George W. Bush. Go America! […]

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  1. […] Beautiful, isn’t it? As Michael notes over at Balloon Juice, Americans drove 1.4 billion less miles this April than last. Seems that all it took to begin to reverse a decades-long trend of ever-increasing driving is a six-fold increase in the price of oil, never-ending war in the Middle East, and eight years of catostrophic leadership from all-around-nice-guy and worst-president-we’ve-ever-known George W. Bush. Go America! […]

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