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Old 05-12-07, 06:41 PM   #1
mike
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More road space finally on its way?

The writing is on the wall concerning automotive transportation in the USA. With the price of gasoline increasing rapidly with no hint of retreat, we are finally getting a glimmer of hope that many automobile owners are going to be choosing smaller gas-conservative vehicles rather than the big BIG trucks and SUVs that have dominated the roads in recent years.

Of course, it will take awhile. The big BIG vehicles have to run their course. Nobody is going to trash their new-ish gas-guzzler and get an efficiency automobile, but as the gas-thirsty SUVs start to retire, I am sure we will see them replaced with smaller vehicles and even mopeds.

This is clearly what we see in countries where gasoline prices have been higher than ours through most of modern history.

Anyway, it is not likely that the bicycle utopia that many bicyclist dream of will ever be realized - where automobiles are discarded and replaced by bicycles.

However, it is likely that the wide and beautiful roads that America has built to accommodate the big-vehicle lifestyle will have a lot more space for bicyclists as the rest of the vehicles become more modest in size and with some four wheeled transportation being traded for two-wheeled motorbikes.

I am very much looking forward to the day when I as a bicycliest can once again see over the tops of the vehicles around me and look down the streets for oncoming traffic. It will also be good when automobiles can pass me with enough space for both of us to be comfortable.
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Old 05-12-07, 07:03 PM   #2
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What is the color of the sky in your world? You must be dreaming if you think Americans are going to give up their giant SUVs. Gasoline is over $3 a gallon in most areas of the country and there are still PLENTY of brand new SUVs on the road. People are driving more then ever.

I welcome the SUV if it meant getting back to under $2 a gallon. I may enjoy riding a bicycle but I still need to drive a car too.
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Old 05-12-07, 07:30 PM   #3
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What is the color of the sky in your world? You must be dreaming if you think Americans are going to give up their giant SUVs. Gasoline is over $3 a gallon in most areas of the country and there are still PLENTY of brand new SUVs on the road. People are driving more then ever.

I welcome the SUV if it meant getting back to under $2 a gallon. I may enjoy riding a bicycle but I still need to drive a car too.
Well, as I said, we might not see the change happen this week, but I am sure that we will see changes in automobile size and efficiency gradually. The price of gasoline does not seem to be going down and there are plenty of people who are feeling the financial squeeze even now. Continued price increases are only going to increase the pain and encourage some wiggle in the automobile market.

The big car thing was a fad anyway. It started in the 90's and was a pretty ridiculous trend. Probably even without the economic pressures of high gas prices we would see the beast-mobile fad fade into nostalgia.
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Old 05-12-07, 07:48 PM   #4
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I remember the prediction of smaller cars once gas prices in the US hit $1.00; still waiting for that prediction to come true!
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Old 05-12-07, 08:03 PM   #5
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I remember the prediction of smaller cars once gas prices in the US hit $1.00; still waiting for that prediction to come true!

Exactly. And next it was $1.50, then $2.00 and then $2.50 and now $3.00. Each time the price jumps the SUV sales slack a little but they are back just as strong as they ever were once people get used to the increase in price.

The vehicle that I do not understand is the Hummer. OK they are really cool looking but they are giant size, fit in very few parking spaces, and really don't carry any more than a regular size SUV. Do these vehicles get miles per gallon or gallons per mile?
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Old 05-12-07, 08:56 PM   #6
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Do you think the semis and other delivery trucks will shrink in size?
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Old 05-12-07, 09:03 PM   #7
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"The big car thing was a fad anyway. It started in the 90's and was a pretty ridiculous trend."

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Old 05-12-07, 10:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mike
Well, as I said, we might not see the change happen this week, but I am sure that we will see changes in automobile size and efficiency gradually. The price of gasoline does not seem to be going down and there are plenty of people who are feeling the financial squeeze even now. Continued price increases are only going to increase the pain and encourage some wiggle in the automobile market.

The big car thing was a fad anyway. It started in the 90's and was a pretty ridiculous trend. Probably even without the economic pressures of high gas prices we would see the beast-mobile fad fade into nostalgia.
I have to laugh, Mike.

Fact is, there is nothing on this planet short of a new energy source (or cheap supply of petroleum) that will allow the perpetuation of oversized, gas-guzzling monstrosities.

If you throw in the new demands from China and the rest of the developing world, you can forget cruising around in tanks anymore. (Check out what happened to the Ponitac Le Mans...you remember, man~!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_LeMans

Elephant graveyards are waiting...

I already know one die-hard big pickup commuter who has switched to commuting by bus. He used to drive an hour to work on the freeway.

Now, he saves $240 dollars a month on gas alone...wait, that was a year ago...
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Old 05-13-07, 12:50 AM   #9
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I remember the prediction of smaller cars once gas prices in the US hit $1.00; still waiting for that prediction to come true!
I remember when I lived just south of the FL-GA border driving across to get gas under a buck a gallon.
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Old 05-13-07, 01:01 AM   #10
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I remember when I lived just south of the FL-GA border driving across to get gas under a buck a gallon.
How about $8 a gallon as we pay over here. We have a problem over here still as everyone still wants a car. Roads are still crowded and although we are looking for green alternatives- Cyclindg is not a main form of transport. The car rules and even on the cycle paths that are springing up every where- You still take your life in your hands to cross a junction.

The car is here to stay- They may get more economical and smaller but there will still be as many of them on the roads so don't count on a traffic free ride for a lot of years to come.
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Old 05-13-07, 01:09 AM   #11
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How about $8 a gallon as we pay over here. We have a problem over here still as everyone still wants a car. Roads are still crowded and although we are looking for green alternatives- Cycling is not a main form of transport. The car rules and even on the cycle paths that are springing up every where- You still take your life in your hands to cross a junction.

The car is here to stay- They may get more economical and smaller but there will still be as many of them on the roads so don't count on a traffic free ride for a lot of years to come.
To tell the truth the fuel prices don't bother me that much on a day to day basis. This summer it'll be ten years since I've owned a car. Occasionally I miss driving, but then I look at the gas station prices and remember how MUCH I drove (40,000 miles+ a year mind you I got better than 30mpg @ 80mph with the AC blasting, but still ) and it passes quickly.
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Old 05-13-07, 01:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by CB HI
I remember the prediction of smaller cars once gas prices in the US hit $1.00; still waiting for that prediction to come true!
I remember that too and there was indeed a surge in smaller car sales when gas went from $.50/gal to $1.00/gal. In fact, I remember very clearly the first time I saw a Toyota. It was parked next to my Dad's big truck on the Pizza Hut parking lot in 1975. We all laughed at how small it was and how funny it looked next to the big American cars. I marveled at the small wheelbase and wondered who would buy such a small car.

I also remember sitting next to my dad when he filled up his tank with gas about $.69/gallon in 1977 just after the oil shock of 1976. Man, was he complaining and blaming everybody from the government to the Saudis. Still, he was driving his big truck. I said, "Dad, what if gas goes over a dollar a gallon? Will you buy a car with better gas mileage then?" His reply was, "It will never happen. The USA government would have to step in because it would impact the economy too much". HIS next car was another gas-guzzler, but OUR NEIGHBORS were starting to buy smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

By 1979, the gas conservative Japanese cars had taken nearly 20% of the USA automobile market and by 1983, the Japanese had taken 25% of the USA automobile market. The unthinkable had actually happened! This was in large part due to the sky-rocketing gas prices of the 1970's oil shocks.

We saw a continuing trend toward smaller cars through the 1980's. It wasn't until the 1990's that Americans decided gasoline was cheap enough not to worry about and started buying mini-vans and SUV's with mileage around 10 mpg.

In real dollars adjusted for inflation, gasoline WAS cheap in the 1990's. It was the cheapest it had been in USA history. If fact, today's gasoline prices, adjusted for inflation, are about where they were in the very early 1900's - when most people were walking to work!
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Old 05-13-07, 01:30 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by stapfam
How about $8 a gallon as we pay over here. We have a problem over here still as everyone still wants a car. Roads are still crowded and although we are looking for green alternatives- Cyclindg is not a main form of transport. The car rules and even on the cycle paths that are springing up every where- You still take your life in your hands to cross a junction.

The car is here to stay- They may get more economical and smaller but there will still be as many of them on the roads so don't count on a traffic free ride for a lot of years to come.
stapfam, I agree that automobiles are here to stay. No question about that. I am sure that the gasoline producers will not price themselves out of the market. However, I do believe that the market will drive automobiles down in size in order be more fuel efficient.

You pointed out that you are from England where gasoline is $8.00 per gallon. I have been to England and other European countries and noticed the difference in automobile sizes and efficiencies. England's streets are not filled with the vast numbers of SUVs, big trucks, and vans as is the USA. In fact, if you subsituted the BIG USA vehicles for most of the smaller sized cars in England, there wouldn't be any space in England at all.

So what I am saying is that cars will be getting smaller in the USA and as they do, there will be more space on the roads. As it is now, if you are bicycling on the side of the road and two SUVs pass each other next to you - guess who gets pushed off the road - yup, the cyclists. By the same token, when you have two cyclists and two smaller sedan cars all lining up side-by side, there is enough room for all with very little adjustment in trajectory needed.

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Old 05-13-07, 03:13 AM   #14
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"How about $8 a gallon as we pay over here."
But how much is that is tax?
How much of that tax is used to pay for non automotive things like health care etc.?
Here my state tax is $.24 and federal is something likr $.18+ per gal. The money is alledgedly used for transportation related things. Of course having the govt. collect and administer it, we're probably lucky if half makes it back.

"I remember when I lived just south of the FL-GA border driving across to get gas under a buck a gallon."

When I started working in a gas station, it was $.259 during the summer. It dropped a nickel in winter.
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Old 05-13-07, 03:26 AM   #15
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Peak oil will arrive soon enough. That will put an end to the SUV, no question.
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