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  1. #1
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Gas Prices making Car Free easier

    Well, gas prices, at least here in Canada are getting ridiculous.... The other day it hit $1.13/L here in Toronto, cheap compared to places like Montreal and Halifax, or how about Kelowna, BC where the lowest price posted in the last 60 hours was $1.239/L and most stations were $1.289/L or higher (that's $4.963 per US/Gallon), and this is for the cheap stuff.

    People do not realise the power they actually have, we can set prices, simply, by putting a moratorium on using gasoline, if enough people stop driving, even temporarily, then it hurts the oil companies where it hurts them the most, the wallet. The profit on, $0 in sales is $0. People can bike, hike, roller-blade, skate-board, take transit, not bother for some trips at all, the idea is to not drive the car for a period of time, exceeding one day. I expect that 3 days would be sufficient to return prices to the 99c/L range.... As soon as prices start heading up again, you stop driving again, this tells the oil companies, that they can't push you around anymore....

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    You can't be free unless you're carfree.


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    What we are seeing is rationing by price. Gasoline inventories in North America are razor thin, maybe down to as little as a few day's supply on hand in excess of what's needed to keep the pipelines primed. The problem is that it takes a huge increase in price to get the consumption to drop even a little bit. Now would be a really good time for people to cut their gas demand. If for no other reason, so we will have something in reserve to do hurricane evacuations with.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Personally I have discovered many years ago, that's it is easier to manipulate my expenditure on gasoline purchases by using less either by biking, walking, or motorcycle riding than it is to try and change the price at the pump. The dollar amount I spend today on gasoline is on par with what I spent on gasoline 30 plus years ago when I drove more and gasoline was over $3 a gallon cheaper.

  5. #5
    Tree-hugging Norse Eco-warrior's Avatar
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    The focus should be less on hurting the oil companies, and lowering the price, as it should be on what is responsible and necessary. After gas prices went down after the OPEC issue in 1973 people just started driving more, and then more, and then the economy picked up and they drove still even more. At this point, if the price plummeted I think we'd see a lil bit o' history repeating. Just ride your bike. =)
    Last edited by Eco-warrior; 05-20-07 at 05:22 PM.

  6. #6
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy
    What we are seeing is rationing by price. Gasoline inventories in North America are razor thin, maybe down to as little as a few day's supply on hand in excess of what's needed to keep the pipelines primed. The problem is that it takes a huge increase in price to get the consumption to drop even a little bit. Now would be a really good time for people to cut their gas demand. If for no other reason, so we will have something in reserve to do hurricane evacuations with.
    Very good point. Now would be a good time to curtail unnecessary car trips. There have already been shortages this Spring in some locales and any minor disruption in refining gasoline could cause a lot of disruption at the gas pump. Those of us who survived the 1970s might remember what can happen.

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    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy
    What we are seeing is rationing by price. Gasoline inventories in North America are razor thin, maybe down to as little as a few day's supply on hand in excess of what's needed to keep the pipelines primed.
    Not really razor thin (scroll down to days of forward supply). We're down a day in forward supply compared to last year, and a couple days compared to a few years ago, but we're still at nearly a month of stocks iirc. I don't think the situation you're describing would be met w/ price controls. We would simply ration the stuff ala the 70s. By the time we are at a few days supply, price should be around ~$6-12 imo, and it's distribution would be strictly regulated. If you would look here, you can see that since the mid-ninties the days of forward gasoline supply has dropped from ~30 in 95', to ~20 currently. This is because after the oil shocks of the 70s, we have at least a good decade of very fuel efficient cars. In order for gas and oil prices to be driven up, we (by we I mean certain lobbies ) have had to freeze CAFE at 25mpg for a couple decades, which insured that consumption would grow proportionally to average mileage per driver and number of drivers, as well as build no refineries in North America during those two decades, to insure supply wouldn't increase while demand did, as well as wait and work through fleets of relatively efficient vehicles. Getting oil/gasoline bouncing around due to it's elasticity has truly been a feat decades in the making. We (like before ) have had to put a complete stop to advances in fleet efficiency, and not build any new refinery capacity to get where we are today. Hell, something as small as the electric car was considering a threat because even a small, one or two percent drop in consistent consumption could push back the year we start bumping up against the supply that hasn't been increased in two decades. If they caught on, we may never reach that point. So, in the interests of profit, we've been using that stuff up like wildfire.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
    Not really razor thin (scroll down to days of forward supply)...
    It takes about 185 million barrels of gasoline to keep the delivery system primed (i.e., better not drain the pipelines) [1]. Your link shows current stocks at about 195 million barrels. With consumption around 9.5 million barrels a day, that's (gulp) about one day's buffer. Looks razor-thin to me.

    [1] Congressional Research Service, CRS Report for Congress, April 8, 2004, "Gasoline Price Surge Revisited: Crude Oil and Refinery Issues".

    "...The 185 million barrel figure can be thought of as the 'fill' needed to keep the distribution system in normal operation; it cannot be drawn upon to meet a demand increment at the pump. There is virtually no extra supply to act as a price cushion, and price spikes, spot shortages, and localized 'run-outs' are a likely possibility."
    http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/33168.pdf

  9. #9
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    If I understand the issue (and I probably don't!), refining capacity is low, and refineries are inefficient, outmoded, and ready for the scrap heap. It seems to me that the gas refining companies have two or three good reasons NOT to improve gas production:
    • Businesses always want to keep supplies low in order to boost prices and profits.
    • Businesses also boost profits by keeping costs low so they use equipment until it totally wears out.
    • The refiners know that if supplies get too low, the government will give or loan them tax revenues to build new refineries, so why should they invest their own obscene profits in new plants.
    • ??????
    I guess lyeinyoureye was saying roughly the same thing?


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  10. #10
    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    Pretty much. Thanks for the link Platy, I never knew supply was so spotty. I have to wonder, where precisely would regional shortages first manifest themselves? It almost seems like some places could be skirting by with a day or so, and some could have much longer.

  11. #11
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
    Pretty much. Thanks for the link Platy, I never knew supply was so spotty. I have to wonder, where precisely would regional shortages first manifest themselves? It almost seems like some places could be skirting by with a day or so, and some could have much longer.
    Well I hit a total of 3 stations this weekend on the way home that were out of fuel. I don't know if they all depend on the same supplier/tank farm or what. But it was interesting none the less. I have taken to keeping one of the tanks on my work truck full at all times. It is enough to get me home if the excrement impacts the rotary oscillator. I also keep a bike available just in case

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  12. #12
    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    None that are out here, and prices are in the $3.40 region. Hmmm...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
    I have to wonder, where precisely would regional shortages first manifest themselves?
    That's been the subject of speculation over on the oil boards. The Midwest has had particularly low gasoline inventories. One poster stated that a couple of stations in Dallas ran out last week because their wholesalers were trucking gas to the Midwest. So shortages won't necessarily occur in the areas with the lowest inventories.

    There has been speculation that the Feds will once again lift clean air restrictions so that gas formulated for one market can be more easily sent to another. This could happen very soon depending on whether the situation improves or deteriorates this week. If tank trucks are used more heavily to move supplies between markets, I'd expect that individual stations would experience more delayed deliveries, and if that happens there will be more "Out of Gas" signs seen. According to that theory, the bellwether areas are the ones that rely most on long haul tanker truck delivery, such as Florence, Alabama and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

    Since we're apparently going to do rationing by price, I'd expect shortages to manifest more as price spikes than as closed pumps. These days, distributors are very quick to adjust prices as conditions change. As of today I see a station in Chicago at $3.999. A little extra imported gas (just a handful of ships extra) arrived on the West Coast last week and prices there immediately went down in that region about two cents.

  14. #14
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    ...and yet, SUV sales for the month of April were up 25%. Truth is truly stranger than fiction. Can't wait to see May and June sales results.
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  15. #15
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    For some reason today I saw so many big SUVs hummers and the Denials. Maybe I was just looking for the fools driving in those monsters with gas at $3.29 per gallon.

    As for making it easier the traffic seems to have slowed down on my way home from work at noon time. They must not be driving to buy there lunch and brown bagging it to save a few dollars.

    The driving culture will never get it. although I have two friends that rode bikes to work last week its a start. but they where driving 30+MPG cars to start with, they seem to see the bigger picture like us. I hope to see them riding more and it become normal for them, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
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  16. #16
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn
    Personally I have discovered many years ago, that's it is easier to manipulate my expenditure on gasoline purchases by using less either by biking, walking than it is to try and change the price at the pump.
    I am not car-free, but car-lite. I drive my old Subaru about once a week.

    Gas is around 3.30/gal here and I sure have been rethinking my meager driving habits. Most places I need to go are walking distance and most of the rest of the city is an easy bike ride.

    Sometimes I use the car for bulk-buying loss-leader grocery shopping. I have noticed groceries going up in price and have been stocking up on some items when there is a good sale.

    We were planning on doing a few camping trips over the summer, but we may even scale those back.

    If gas gets even more expensive, we can drive even less, or not at all.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with the gas situation in the next few months.
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  17. #17
    Member Bakemono's Avatar
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    Im all for living car free, but its not a realistic option for everyone. I know for me its not a realistic option.
    My parents live 250 miles away from where I live, without a car, how am I supposed to see them? How do you pick up a week's worth of grocerys for a family of 4 on a bike?
    Maybe for those of you who live in big cities its an option, but its not an option for everyone.
    Besides, even I could bike everywhere, Id still never want to give up owning a car. I love cars too much to give them up. I figure if oil is going to be gone in 50 years, why not enjoy it as much as I can while it lasts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakemono
    My parents live 250 miles away from where I live, without a car, how am I supposed to see them? How do you pick up a week's worth of grocerys for a family of 4 on a bike?

    my family lives farther than that, and the bus works fine

    as far as groceries go, my messenger bag holds more groceries than I wanna haul somedays, and there's always bikes setup just to haul cargo


    none of the problems of being car free are insurmountable, cars havent always been around........

  19. #19
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedex
    none of the problems of being car free are insurmountable, cars havent always been around........
    +1
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  20. #20
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    or how about Kelowna, BC where the lowest price posted in the last 60 hours was $1.239/L
    Good. It'll cut down on the tourons in their winnies.

  21. #21
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakemono
    Im all for living car free, but its not a realistic option for everyone. I know for me its not a realistic option.
    My parents live 250 miles away from where I live, without a car, how am I supposed to see them? How do you pick up a week's worth of grocerys for a family of 4 on a bike?
    Maybe for those of you who live in big cities its an option, but its not an option for everyone.
    Besides, even I could bike everywhere, Id still never want to give up owning a car. I love cars too much to give them up. I figure if oil is going to be gone in 50 years, why not enjoy it as much as I can while it lasts?
    Well I hope you keep on studying, your heart's in the right place but your brain ain't caught up with it.

    Like pedex I visit my family every month. The 200 mile trip takes about an hour longer by bus than by car, costs about $37, or a tad more than gas, but far less than the 55 cents a mile that the IRS figures for car travel.

    Groceries present many options. For right now lets just say it is NOT difficult to get them without a car.

    What is it that you love about cars? Maybe you could transfer that love to bikes. Bikes are also beautiful, sexy, fast, powerful. You just don't see many movie stars riding them, or brainwashing commercials on TV. The day will come when car lovers will go to museums to drool over cars!


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  22. #22
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    What will happen when the "Out of Gas" signs start popping up regularly? I bet the price of gas will jump so fast that present increases will be a subject of nostalgia.

    Do you work in an industry with elastic demand, like restaurant, manufacturing, travel, home electronics? Look for job layoffs as gas prices increase. People will put off buying other things in order to purchase their precious gas. Hell, they'll probably quit buying crack before they quit buying gas!


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  23. #23
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    What will happen when the "Out of Gas" signs start popping up regularly? I bet the price of gas will jump so fast that present increases will be a subject of nostalgia.
    Fuel-rationing via price-increase. Coming to a neighborhood near you.

    People who pay their own heating bills will be seeing a rate increase, and people whose landlords pay the gas will be getting notices like the one I got back when i had a heat-included apartment: "your rent is going up 20% this year because natural gas rates have risen". (paraphrased)

    And, like conservatives like to remind us, the cost of a whole array of goods will rise. Prices on locally-produced products won't rise much, though. So there'll be an incentive to buy local, live in a home that doesn't need much heating fuel, and drive less. It'll be a pain in the bottom, but people will manage.
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  24. #24
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerewa
    And, like conservatives like to remind us, the cost of a whole array of goods will rise. Prices on locally-produced products won't rise much, though. So there'll be an incentive to buy local, live in a home that doesn't need much heating fuel, and drive less. It'll be a pain in the bottom, but people will manage.
    I agree that consumer prices will rise due to shipping costs being greater. However, costs of some things, like restaurant meals, might go down. If people are spending more on gas, and therefore less on other things, lowered demand for those other things might reduce prices.

    At least that's what I'm hoping.


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  25. #25
    Dare to be weird!
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
    I have to wonder, where precisely would regional shortages first manifest themselves?
    I'm seeing huge (10-20 cent type) 1-day price increases tonight in Chicago, Detroit, Columbus and St Louis. Looks like some gas pumps in the midwest may be sucking wind. One station in Chicago breached $4 today with what looks like a legit price of $4.099. Regions outside the midwest look more stable right now. Weekly petroleum product inventory report due tomorrow.
    Last edited by Platy; 05-22-07 at 09:46 PM.

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