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Old 03-05-11, 12:31 PM   #1
xizangstan
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How to cope with - and survive - escalating fuel prices

Threads are going in other discussion forums here about the price of gas and diesel. I'm interested, but beyond that, I'm wondering what you as a group of 50+ year old bicyclists are thinking. We've all been through the Arab oil embargo of 1973 and we've all experienced several recessions and some severe inflation.

But if fuel prices continue to increase, we all know from experience what comes next: INFLATION. After all, the price of fuel is built into the price and availability of most everything we as consumers buy: Food. Bicycle tires. Office supplies. You name it.

Some of you are retired and living on a fixed income. How will you cope?
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Old 03-05-11, 12:35 PM   #2
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A smart guy who I like and respect posted this in a real estate finance networking forum this morning. I think it's worth thinking about:

--------------

Thanks to the crisis of the moment it's easy to loose situational awareness


Have not verified these
Asset Price 1/1/10 Price 2/22/11 % Change

Oil 82.75 94.64 14%

Gold 1,137 1,397 23%

Silver 16.81 33.05 97%

Wheat* 5.53 7.62 38%

Corn* 4.25 6.79 60%

Cattle 85.00 110 29%

Sugar** 26 31 19%

Tell me again how inflation is not a problem
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Old 03-05-11, 03:47 PM   #3
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Every time inflation hits they change the definition to keep the great unwashed in the dark. That is to say with their head up their a$$es.

I will cope by being lucky everything's paid off and accepting a lesser lifestyle. Or perhaps a winning lottery ticket............................
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Old 03-05-11, 08:50 PM   #4
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First, I try not to worry about it. IMO, worry makes you age faster!!

Second, I ride two wheels 5 days a week. Three days I ride the motorycle, and two days I ride the bicycle. The alternate week, it will be 3 days on the bicycle and 2 on the bike. In the meantime, my wife drives my gas guzzling F150.....
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Old 03-05-11, 09:55 PM   #5
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I live a half a block from where I work. I'd recommend it to anyone just starting out. It wasn't my plan to save gas when I bought the house; I just liked the house. But it has made a huge difference, both in the amount of money I spend on gas and the longevity of my vehicles. I have a shopping bike. I live a mile from my local shopping center. When I want to save money on gas or be green I ride my bike to go shopping. I can put about four bags of groceries in my Bob trailer.

My "shopping bike":
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Old 03-05-11, 10:15 PM   #6
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I cut back on everything I don’t need and save up for bike parts. I don’t use credit and everything I have I own.
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Old 03-06-11, 01:03 AM   #7
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I wouldn't get too worked up over a commodity/fuel price spike, even if it is permanent. How much is the price increase of fuel or even wheat going to affect a loaf of bread? Not much. It looks dramatic and makes great headlines, but most of what we pay for is other people's time, not the raw materials they work with. Even a 25% increase in the price of gasoline does not change the cost of driving by double-digit percentages because most of the costs of driving are the fixed costs (unless your car was a gift).

One thing I do like about this spike as well as the one in 2008 is that the news is making a big deal about how expensive fuel is. That seems to cause people to drive less. Today I went on a 42 mile ride that I do regularly. I typically have 20-25 cars pass me on this ride. Today, only 10 cars passed me. If headlines about expensive fuel keep people from doing as much aimless driving, I'm all for it.
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Old 03-06-11, 01:48 AM   #8
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I am semi retired and do not live on a fixed income so that leaves me out. Oh, ya, paying back debts with inflation dollars is fun. Just bought a Big Cat 1200 pellet rifle with scope, might bring in some extra meat running around in the trees around here. Yum.
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Old 03-06-11, 03:56 AM   #9
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Living where I do the cost of fuel has a big effect on the price of goods since pretty much everything has to be shipped in. As far as fuel is concerned I don't need it. I either ride the bicycle or drive my electric car which is powered by my PV system. Mostly it is my wife that drives the car. No need for heating fuel either or air conditioning either.
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Old 03-06-11, 07:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
I live a half a block from where I work. I'd recommend it to anyone just starting out. It wasn't my plan to save gas when I bought the house; I just liked the house. But it has made a huge difference, both in the amount of money I spend on gas and the longevity of my vehicles. I have a shopping bike. I live a mile from my local shopping center. When I want to save money on gas or be green I ride my bike to go shopping. I can put about four bags of groceries in my Bob trailer.

My "shopping bike":
NICE RIG. I like it! The very first question that pops into my mind is, how on earth do you secure it so it doesn't get stolen while you're busy shopping???
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Old 03-06-11, 09:19 AM   #11
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Old 03-06-11, 09:24 AM   #12
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Cycling is my primary form of transportation, so increase fuel prices will only give me more room on the roads.
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Old 03-06-11, 09:48 AM   #13
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Reading Bike Forums is how I learned gas prices are going up.


Paul
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Old 03-06-11, 10:19 AM   #14
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The gas prices DO hit me, simply because I have extended family living with me, and they have three autos in my driveway. My sister is game for the bike, but seems to fall a bit short because her hub is, at his core, a wuss. Talks tough about what he can tolerate, do without, make do with, but he's the most wasteful consumer I've ever met! (He buys things for his, or sometimes her, use, with the idea that it can be pawned if money gets tight! WTFF?!?)

When the rising gas prices affect groceries and general needs for life, I have to dig deeper and re-shuffle my budget; his disability check is a joke, she's returning to school for career training (spent years as the primary caretaker for his ailing mother, also under my roof, until she passed), and I'm the primary breadwinner. I haven't owned an auto since fall of '04, and have no desire to change that status. But, unlike what he SAYS, I can make do....

It just grates on me to have to tell the kids "No" on their wants and such because he won't grab his ears and pull til he hears the POP. (And civil conversation about it is impossible; he's "61 years old, about the be 62!", and still thinks he can whup ass on anybody. I need more reason to get violent, but I'm told that's a symptom of bi-polar disorder....)
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Old 03-06-11, 11:23 AM   #15
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This is how one of my friends (age 65) solved his mpg problem.
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File Type: jpg honda-insight-hybrid-2005-001-500x335.jpg (37.1 KB, 8 views)
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Old 03-06-11, 11:26 AM   #16
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Gas prices in town here are C$1.229 per liter that works out to about US$ 4.533 per US gallon, just think of the screaming you'll hear when it reaches that in your town. We are lower than the average price in the greater Vancouver area so we have a price increase to look forwad to.
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Old 03-06-11, 12:23 PM   #17
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As a retired person on a fixed income, there is really nothing I can do. I depend exclusively on my car to get me into town, to shop for food and anything else for that matter, and to take me to the places I want to go. I love to travel, to camp, to hike, to ski, to fish, to kayak and to bicycle. Only the latter activity does not depend completely on my driving anywhere. so I just pay the higher gas prices. When it gets to the point that it begins to tear into my monthly expenses, I'll just have to cut down on the driving or on some other expense. I drive fuel efficient cars, but I live in Montana and my drives to the places of my outdoor activities are usually between fifty and a hundred miles one way. Nothing is close here in the Big Sky State even though the mountains are right outside my window. I'm hoping that inflation will increase only gradually and that I'll grow too old to do all things that I love to do by the time I can't afford to do them. But the cycling is good right here in town, as is the walking so I can always increase the frequency with which I do them.
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Old 03-06-11, 01:26 PM   #18
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Fuel prices don't have much of an effect on me directly, since I rarely drive and don't own a car. I do have two motorcycles that I'm thinking of selling because I really can't afford to maintain them properly anymore. The indirect effects of higher fuel costs are scary. I don't expect to ever be able to retire, and consider myself lucky that my profession is such that I could work freelance from anywhere with a good internet connection, and can continue to work as long as I can still see. About the only strategy I have is to avoid debt and avoid owning much (especially to avoid owning a house) so that I can easily move somewhere cheaper, and grow some of my own food.
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Old 03-06-11, 03:01 PM   #19
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The cost of living continues to go up and will ,no doubt, go up dramatically as the dollar continues to lose value. Fuel cost is folded into the prices of everything else in the distribution chain. Since I'm now fully retired I no longer require an auto as much as in the past. However, I enjoy hiking in New Hampshire and skiing and drive to locations where I can pursue those activities. My best guess is that I drive about half what I drove when fully employed. I'm finding I enjoy riding the bike all over town which includes shopping. I'll likely get some sort of cart or large panniers for this purpose and for bike tours in N. Hampshire of up to, say, 3 to 4 days.
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Old 03-06-11, 11:32 PM   #20
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This would fix everything for us all:

http://automobiles.honda.com/fcx-clarity/

I'm on the waiting list, but I need to be in southern Calif. when they call my name. And I'm not so sure I want to spend full time in California.
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Old 03-07-11, 12:33 AM   #21
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Buy stock in your favorite major oil company. You'll profit accordingly.
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Old 03-07-11, 08:55 AM   #22
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I am sorry to say but it will not fix everything for all people. The idea of an electric car is great but the implementation is another thing. Consumer reports did a test on the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf and found out they did not live up to their hype. What does a person do who needs something to haul large or heavy items? I own a Prius that is driven quite often but also own a SUV to haul my camper and other large loads that need moved.

As I said the electric car is a fantastic development but it is not the fix for everyone.
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Old 03-07-11, 08:22 PM   #23
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If what was reported on the news is correct the current price spike is based on speculation, not oil shortage. What little decrease in oil supplies is caused by the problem in Libya is being more than made up for by Saudi Arabia increasing production. So, just what is going on?

Of course there will be very few people on the planet who are not affected by increased energy prices. They will be reflected in everything we buy or do.

The real question is, again assuming reports are correct, what are the big investment houses and banks going to do with the big bonuses they will derive from all this?
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Old 03-07-11, 08:51 PM   #24
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If what was reported on the news is correct the current price spike is based on speculation, not oil shortage...
Maybe, but we are getting close to a real limit. I have yet to see any credible estimates of global oil delivery much in excess of 92 million barrels/day. Demand seems to be rising towards 90 MB/day. When you have a relatively inelastic supply limit that demand bumps up against, you will have price spikes. In fact, with so much of the world addicted to oil use, the spikes to come will likely be quite large. Will speculators play a role? Sure, but they won't be the cause.

Look at it this way, if you could sell a barrel for $110 today, but you expect that by next week the price will be $120, why would you sell it now? The expectation of higher prices could well drive a price spike like Enron engineered for electrical power in CA in 2000-2001 where suppliers keep the supply low enough to maintain ever-increasing prices.

Fasten your toe-straps, we may be in for a wild ride.
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Old 03-07-11, 11:30 PM   #25
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It is a bit off this topic, but, yes, over the long haul there is a probability energy prices will increase dramatically. Note I said "energy", not "oil".

The primary driver is thought to be increasing world population coupled with desire to live at higher comfort levels than many do today. According to the people who count such things the planet population will soon reach 7 Billion people. Just sustaining them at subsistence levels will be a very large drain on known supplies of water, fuel, etc. At the same time disposing of their waste is a daunting challenge even at subsistence living levels. Or course, one of the consequences of this network we are using is that people who are living in poor conditions now know better conditions exist and strive for them.

People planet wide are moving from rural areas to cities. From inner city and slum conditions to downtown, suburb and other developments that provide better and safer living conditions. All this takes energy. We are told there are plentiful supplies of natural gas and coal but they need processing and transporting from their sources to where the need is. This is costly. All those people need food which requires more energy. Again, more cost.

In short oil will probably go the way of whale oil for most things to be replaced by a blend of fuels and energy. But, population growth will probably move faster than new energy sources can be brought on line.

Quite a long post. But, I hope enough to give a sense of optimism. I don't think we are going to run out of energy. It will just be a bit different than today and more expensive. At the same time the artificially inflated prices like we are experiencing today will give fuel to social and political unrest like few have experienced. How that will play out is anyone's guess. But, bet the Golden Rule wins.
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