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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 08-16-05, 12:35 AM   #1
Machka 
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Got some questions for those of you who are happy about high oil prices

1. Do you get all your food from a garden and from the livestock on your farm or acreage? Or do you buy your food from the grocery store?

If the oil prices go up, that will affect the farmers who have to pay out fuel to do their harvesting and other work, and it will affect the people who deliver the food to your grocery store, as well as many other industries in between. Food prices will go up.

2. Are you planning to purchase any large items in the next year? If so, how are you planning to get that item home? A delivery service maybe? Or a taxi?

If the oil prices go up, those delivery services and taxis will start charging more.

3. Are you planning a trip somewhere? Got any desire to go to Europe to cycle? How about to a cycling event in the next State or Province? How are you planning to get there? Rent a car? Fly?

If the oil prices go up, you'll have to pay for it when you rent a car, and already the airlines are raising their rates.

Even if you don't own a car, and even if you regularly walk or ride your bicycle everywhere, rising oil prices will still affect you in some way or another. Has your boss given you a raise to compensate?
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Old 08-16-05, 01:00 AM   #2
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Those are some good points Machka, but in my case you're preaching to the choir. The oil companies and the politicians will not be harmed by high costs--they will benefit with correspondingly higher profits. The people will be the ones who are harmed, including those of us who are carfree.
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Old 08-16-05, 02:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Machka
Even if you don't own a car, and even if you regularly walk or ride your bicycle everywhere, rising oil prices will still affect you in some way or another. Has your boss given you a raise to compensate?
I am more than happy to make some sacrifices in exchange for a less car-dependent society. Despite a record number of smog days in Ottawa this year, the asses who insist on commuting by car can't be convinced to leave the filthy things at home. What people won't do out of basic decency, responsibility, or societal need they may finally do out of self-interest when gas prices get high enough.
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Old 08-16-05, 04:19 AM   #4
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Ultimately, the price of oil NEEDS to go up. We need to stop relying on it so much. If that means we have to pay a little more for some things, then so be it. We never used to be able to afford everything we do now. I think it's more important to have a planet that still works......
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Old 08-16-05, 05:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Machka
1. Do you get all your food from a garden and from the livestock on your farm or acreage? Or do you buy your food from the grocery store?

If the oil prices go up, that will affect the farmers who have to pay out fuel to do their harvesting and other work, and it will affect the people who deliver the food to your grocery store, as well as many other industries in between. Food prices will go up.

2. Are you planning to purchase any large items in the next year? If so, how are you planning to get that item home? A delivery service maybe? Or a taxi?

If the oil prices go up, those delivery services and taxis will start charging more.

3. Are you planning a trip somewhere? Got any desire to go to Europe to cycle? How about to a cycling event in the next State or Province? How are you planning to get there? Rent a car? Fly?

If the oil prices go up, you'll have to pay for it when you rent a car, and already the airlines are raising their rates.

Even if you don't own a car, and even if you regularly walk or ride your bicycle everywhere, rising oil prices will still affect you in some way or another. Has your boss given you a raise to compensate?
None of those things will happen to the extent that the media like to make out. Ultimately, supply and demand play a far bigger role in setting the prices of certain items than the cost of transporting them. Already I'm saving $1.20 on every loaf of bread I buy simply by choosing the locally produced bread, as opposed to the goods that are shipped in from afar. In fact, I'd say there's a fair possibility that the long term effect could be cheaper prices of many goods, as a large section of the consumer base makes sacrifices to they can pay for their precious fuel. Ultimately, the demand for everything that isn't fuel will fall in line with the spending of those people.

Interestingly, right at the moment, airfares in this country are cheaper than they've ever been. I remeber being slugged $274 to fly to Sydney back in 1999. Only recently I saw airfares to Christchurch for $150 (I'm not making this up).

In anycase, the rise in fuel prices should surprise nobody. It was inevitable once developing nations started consuming the product to a larger extent. This is just capitalist economics doing what it has done ever since the system was implemented. Whining about high fuel prices isn't going to change anything. Even if the government does step in and further subsidise it, they'll have to make a short-cut somewhere else to pay for it, and even then it's only a short term solution.

To put it simply, it's just something we're all going to have to learn to live with, and those of us who are less dependent are in the best position to do just that. It's worth noting that international trips and purchases of large appliances are generally infrequent purchases, and consequently their overall effect on an annual budget is minimal.

I still say, let the suckers pay for it.
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Old 08-16-05, 05:28 AM   #6
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Hmmm... in Europe, fuel prices are already two to four times as expensive as in the US- and somehow food is often cheaper (and better)... public transportation and airfare are competitive, etc... you can't "blame" it all on oil prices.
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Old 08-16-05, 05:58 AM   #7
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Those are some good points Machka, but in my case you're preaching to the choir. The oil companies and the politicians will not be harmed by high costs--they will benefit with correspondingly higher profits. The people will be the ones who are harmed, including those of us who are carfree.
I am doing some business with a fellow from east TX now. He is a wealthy car collector so hangs with other wealthy Texans. The stories he's telling of the new vast wealth being generated and flowing into the pockets of he and his buddies is startling.

In our dealings he has a negative interest in telling me how wealthy he's getting (and his friends in the oil business) so I believe him. This is, IMO, another major story not being bothered to be told by the lamestream press. We are being fleeced and there is nothing we can do about it. Yes, I'm about to ride my bicycle to work, but I need to buy food transported here, etc.

If I repeated the stories he told me, I'd make the entire forum nauseous. It did so me and my partner.
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Old 08-16-05, 06:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chris L
None of those things will happen to the extent that the media like to make out. Ultimately, supply and demand play a far bigger role in setting the prices of certain items than the cost of transporting them. Already I'm saving $1.20 on every loaf of bread I buy simply by choosing the locally produced bread, as opposed to the goods that are shipped in from afar. In fact, I'd say there's a fair possibility that the long term effect could be cheaper prices of many goods, as a large section of the consumer base makes sacrifices to they can pay for their precious fuel. Ultimately, the demand for everything that isn't fuel will fall in line with the spending of those people.

Interestingly, right at the moment, airfares in this country are cheaper than they've ever been. I remeber being slugged $274 to fly to Sydney back in 1999. Only recently I saw airfares to Christchurch for $150 (I'm not making this up).

In anycase, the rise in fuel prices should surprise nobody. It was inevitable once developing nations started consuming the product to a larger extent. This is just capitalist economics doing what it has done ever since the system was implemented. Whining about high fuel prices isn't going to change anything. Even if the government does step in and further subsidise it, they'll have to make a short-cut somewhere else to pay for it, and even then it's only a short term solution.

To put it simply, it's just something we're all going to have to learn to live with, and those of us who are less dependent are in the best position to do just that. It's worth noting that international trips and purchases of large appliances are generally infrequent purchases, and consequently their overall effect on an annual budget is minimal.

I still say, let the suckers pay for it.

Your hypothesis isn't correct. Supply and demand aren't strong determiners when it comes to oil prices because the demand is essentially inelastic. I refer you to an economist for a reference. I'm not but my info from from them.

Oil, in the US, is almost like air or water. We need it to survive.
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Old 08-16-05, 06:28 AM   #9
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1. no, grocery store
2. no
3. no
4. I am the boss


If I go somewhere its by bike, I dont do vacations.
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Old 08-16-05, 06:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by slide

Oil, in the US, is almost like air or water. We need it to survive.
Just now, yes. Soon? No. Air and water recycle. Oil doesn't. Prices or no prices, soon enough, it'll run out.
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Old 08-16-05, 07:06 AM   #11
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Paying more for goods is fine by me. The added cost due to higher prices will still be much less then filling up a car every week. So, come on, rise prices, rise! We have to make some sacrifices to improve our environment.
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Old 08-16-05, 08:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Machka
If the oil prices go up, that will affect the farmers who have to pay out fuel to do their harvesting and other work
And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. Modern industrial agriculture operations use quite a bit of oil in the form of fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and other petroleum-based products in addition to the fuel needed to power vehicles or harvesting machinery.
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Old 08-16-05, 08:45 AM   #13
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Oil, in the US, is almost like air or water. We need it to survive.
Just like Heroin.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:02 AM   #14
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And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. Modern industrial agriculture operations use quite a bit of oil in the form of fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and other petroleum-based products in addition to the fuel needed to power vehicles or harvesting machinery.
This is EXACTLY why, in order to help conserve oil, we should endevor to buy LOCALLY grown and produced food and "grow your own" as much as possible. Stop feeding the intensive-farming, soil and ground water polluting agri-business!
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Old 08-16-05, 10:10 AM   #15
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like said above, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. yeah, it sucks that some people are really feeling the pinch more than others (guys who deliver goods, taxi drivers, etc.) but hadn't we all expected this decades ago? i did.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Machka
1. Do you get all your food from a garden and from the livestock on your farm or acreage? Or do you buy your food from the grocery store?

If the oil prices go up, that will affect the farmers who have to pay out fuel to do their harvesting and other work, and it will affect the people who deliver the food to your grocery store, as well as many other industries in between. Food prices will go up.

2. Are you planning to purchase any large items in the next year? If so, how are you planning to get that item home? A delivery service maybe? Or a taxi?

If the oil prices go up, those delivery services and taxis will start charging more.

3. Are you planning a trip somewhere? Got any desire to go to Europe to cycle? How about to a cycling event in the next State or Province? How are you planning to get there? Rent a car? Fly?

If the oil prices go up, you'll have to pay for it when you rent a car, and already the airlines are raising their rates.

Even if you don't own a car, and even if you regularly walk or ride your bicycle everywhere, rising oil prices will still affect you in some way or another. Has your boss given you a raise to compensate?
1. Grocery store --- Here's the secret to grocery shopping. Buy store brands and use coupons. I used to work in a supermarket and seen people cut $20 to 35 dollars a week easily by doing the above. Using these two methods, any increase in gas will not effect you one bit.

2. It's called mail order --- My furniture were all delivered. Any heavy items will also get the same treatment.

3. Amtrak ----- It's subsidized by the government about 1 billion dollars. I consider it the greatest bargain in transportation second to none. In fact, I'm thinking of taking the 45 day pass and exploring the east coast.

4. Boss has given me a raise but not based on the price of oil. Raise was more of a cost of living increase so I'm looking elsewhere.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:51 AM   #17
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The thing is, people are not cutting back on oil consumption. They are cutting back on other expenditures so they can continue to buy petroleum products. Therefore, other segments of the economy will suffer long before big oil or the local filling station does.

Is the industry you work in immune from the effects of people spending less on all other goods and services so that they can still afford the gas they need? I doubt it. It is likely that unemployment will rise in many industries, including yours.

Again, big villains will profit while innocents suffer.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:57 AM   #18
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Call me a Socialistógo ahead, I know you want toóbut I'm all about making personal "accommodations" for the greater good. If the price of oil compels people to get out of the single-occupant commuter mindset, that's reward enough for me. So we all pay a bit more for delivered goods. Big woop. Better to have cleaner air, healthier citizens, less dependence on machine and oil. It's time to shatter the dangerous illusion of consequence-free entitlement that plagues the western world. (Holy cow, I'm speechifying!)
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Old 08-16-05, 11:32 AM   #19
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The thing is, people are not cutting back on oil consumption. They are cutting back on other expenditures so they can continue to buy petroleum products. Therefore, other segments of the economy will suffer long before big oil or the local filling station does.
Agreed. This recent hike in oil prices will send us into another recession so get ready. As consumers stop shopping, our economy goes along with it and this time real estate or the dot coms will not come to the rescue!
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Old 08-16-05, 12:08 PM   #20
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I agree with the idea inherent in most of these posts: Higher gas prices will encourage greater efficiency.

- Buy locally produced food - it's usually less expensive and fresher.
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Old 08-16-05, 12:21 PM   #21
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Agreed. This recent hike in oil prices will send us into another recession so get ready. As consumers stop shopping, our economy goes along with it and this time real estate or the dot coms will not come to the rescue!
Well, so it goes. Our administration had a golden opportunity after 9/11 to send a clear message to the American public that our dependence on foreign oil carried huge risks - both security and economic. Currently 60% of our oil is imported, headed toward 75% by 2020. At that time the prudent thing to do would have been to call for conservation and begin to phase in (slowly) increased CAFE standards for cars and SUV's, and perhaps even a carbon tax on oil. Similar to what Carter did when OPEC raised prices in the late 70's. Revenues could have been used to invest in new technolgies and better transportation alternatives.

Instead, Bush told the public to go shopping and Congress gave a $50,000 tax break for buying vehicles with a GVWR of 8600lbs or more, like Hummers and 1 ton trucks, the most gas guzzling vehicles of all. Brilliant strategy. And even now, with obvious shortages looming due to global demand, the charade continues. In the most recent House session to finalize the Energy Bill, our representatives, under pressure from the White House, refused to support a Senate bill that would have required minimal reductions in oil usage by 2015. With thinking like that, no wonder we are in the mess we are in.
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Old 08-16-05, 01:49 PM   #22
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mtnroads... Good points, but in some ways it's difficult to think the politicians are entirely to blame. In his book, "When You Ride Alone, You Ride With Bin Ladden", Bill Maher compares the current situation with that during WWII. During WWII, the government actively worked to encourage citizens to conserve oil - things like not driving alone. In present times, U.S. citizens have become so spoiled and lazy, for a politician to suggest sacrifice would be political suicide in most areas. In a democratic republic, people really do get the government they deserve.
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Old 08-16-05, 01:59 PM   #23
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Call me a Socialistógo ahead, I know you want toóbut I'm all about making personal "accommodations" for the greater good. If the price of oil compels people to get out of the single-occupant commuter mindset, that's reward enough for me. So we all pay a bit more for delivered goods. Big woop. Better to have cleaner air, healthier citizens, less dependence on machine and oil. It's time to shatter the dangerous illusion of consequence-free entitlement that plagues the western world. (Holy cow, I'm speechifying!)
And, as in most speeches, you've over-simplified the issue. If the cost of oil keeps rising and we have to "pay a bit more" for the stuff we buy, one (or both) of two things will happen. The economic possibilities are:
  1. We have the same amount of money but it doesn't buy as much stuff, because stuff is more expensive. So we buy a bit less. Then the people who make the stuff produce a bit less stuff. They lay off a lot of their workers. Then eveybody has even less money to buy even more expensive stuff. There is a RECESSION.
  2. We have to pay more for stuff so we ask our employers for more money. They agree, and we keep buying stuff even though it costs more. Then stuff gets even more expensive so we ask for even bigger raises. We go into a period of runaway INFLATION.
But you forgot to tell us those inconvenient facts in your speech! Maybe you need to review that college Econ text that's all dusty in your attic. This is pretty basic information.

But the most important thing for a socialist to remember is that big companies and rich people will suffer some in either a recession or inflation, but it will be poor people and even middle class people who won't be able to feed their kids at the end of the month.
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Old 08-16-05, 02:02 PM   #24
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You are right Alan, it is not just the politicians, the people have a lot to do with it. And yes, Carter committed political suicide by being honest with the people and asking for conservation. In this country we tend to weigh our individual freedoms ahead of collective benefits for society, and as you point out, we have gotten the government we asked for.
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Old 08-16-05, 02:13 PM   #25
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And, as in most speeches, you've over-simplified the issue. If the cost of oil keeps rising and we have to "pay a bit more" for the stuff we buy, one (or both) of two things will happen. The economic possibilities are:
  1. We have the same amount of money but it doesn't buy as much stuff, because stuff is more expensive. So we buy a bit less. Then the people who make the stuff produce a bit less stuff. They lay off a lot of their workers. Then eveybody has even less money to buy even more expensive stuff. There is a RECESSION.
  2. We have to pay more for stuff so we ask our employers for more money. They agree, and we keep buying stuff even though it costs more. Then stuff gets even more expensive so we ask for even bigger raises. We go into a period of runaway INFLATION.
But you forgot to tell us those inconvenient facts in your speech! Maybe you need to review that college Econ text that's all dusty in your attic. This is pretty basic information.

But the most important thing for a socialist to remember is that big companies and rich people will suffer some in either a recession or inflation, but it will be poor people and even middle class people who won't be able to feed their kids at the end of the month.
You also are oversimplifying to some degree. Because there are global factors, the economy is far more complex than you or your college textbook imply, and any of us can sort out fully. Even Greenspan is puzzled. We may well suffer a recession once China stops buying our treasury notes and holding down long-term interest rates which haven't risen in spite of 7 successive increases on the part of the Fed. Once they rise, the housing boom is going to come grinding to a halt and a lot of people are going to find themselves upside down on their interest-only mortgages, and possibly out of work, due to stagnating business investment. However, oil prices are just a small part of the equation.

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