Tell you what . . . living in Newport RI where weekends are crazy with visitors . . . it has been a really quiet summer until last Sunday when all the streets were jammed with cars for the first time really bad all summer. Worse than when the Folk and Jazz festivals were here. I think gas prices have really affected how much people are driving.
As I figured the gas prices have stabilized even though crude went to 135 a barrel today. If any of you think that by us humans burning all the fuel that we burn does not affect the atmosphere then I suggest you park your car in a garage with the motor running for a little while and then come back and tell us what you find.
Remember that while they may be related, there is difference between global warming and pollution. I'm not convinced humans are the cause of gw but it's impossible to deny that we pollute.
Personally I don't think the world economy can sustain oil prices at this level indefinitely. IMHO the rise has happened to quickly and there's a bubble formed. I predict we see gasoline below the $3 mark again before the summer of 2009. India, Indonesia, and China have been subsidizing oil prices. Other countries have frozen the price of gasoline. They can't afford to continue to do that forever. When they stop, and gasoline goes through the roof in those countries, their economies will suffer significantly and demand for oil and gas will drop as it already is in the US and Canada. Thats when prices will come back down. I believe they will drop after the summer olympics when China cuts back on their subsidies but I'm not sure how much. It just depends on how long these governments can keep the price low in their countries.
Well, the price for a gallon of regular in my area is now $3.03 at several stations. I guess we're going to see sub $3 very soon. The world economy is in the tank like I figured it would be. Like I said in May, the rise happened too quickly. Without a major conflict in an oil producing country it looks like $2.50 isn't out of the question now.
Yeah, I'm psyched, $3.14 here. Hasn't been a solid sub $3 since Jan '07 here.
Anyway, and most people won't like this, but I feel we should increase the federal tax on gasoline. Clearly France has the right idea, we need to make it high enough that people stop being so wasteful and high enough that if they do decide to be wasteful at least they're keeping most of the money they're spending inside the country. Although I guess the same amount will be going to the middle east either way. And it'd definately increase cost of food which is the real pain. Maybe this can be offset with less income or property tax proportionate to the gasoline tax they bring in. Some incentive so that using less gasoline will benefit others. It's either that or a quota, quota would be really hard because our communities are so spread out and people have a lot of commuting and we don't want to cause people to take less vacations or that will kill vacation communities dependant on the summer tourism income.
It all takes much more thought and planning than any of us can truly 'solve' though we definately don't want oil execs and lobbyists at the reins. I know the CDTA board here is pushing for a plan to expand public transportation and incentives to build/live closer to together. They projected maps of house placement/building based on 30 years of current sprawl trend and 30 years of their planned growth method. Very interesting! With more sprawl we need more super highways while we should be focusing on better commuter management and public transportation.
I saw one guy once say that the gas prices are only a problem because everyone sees the numbers flying by and what we need is just a monthly expense bill. That's ludicrous, for me it IS the monthly expense that is hurting. At the pump I just use the credit card and fill, at the end of the month is when I hurt. 3 years ago I struggled to use $100 of gasoline/month. Now with a growing family we easily use almost $400/month. That's a big change. Worse is the price of food. I don't have any trending data but I know 2-3 years ago a gallon of milk was under $3, I feel like it was $2.65 or something. Now I regularly see $4.35 or higher and if you want organic I've seen an organic gallon for $7! in Target!. The food prices are crazy, we're trying to cut back but our food budget for 2 adults and one toddler are still easily over $300/month. Everything is just so expensive.
With economy and all coming issues we can't keep sending so much money to the middle east. What's worst is I feel most people use credit like crazy to the point of breaking point. We already have much more debt than GDP and I could easily see al that debt being pure income to Middle East, so not only are we negative exporting but we're exporting income we don't even have as a country! Very bad news. I almost think it's major crunch time where we have to really think and plan and find some alternative or way to at least stem the tide and keep money in the US. I honestly don't think the electric car is the answer (and it's CERTAINLY not H2 fuel cell, grr!), but I could be convinced we need to strengthen and improve our electrical grid and transmission lines and would be all for electric tram and trains all over the place. A perfect segway to turning some particular state into a giant solar array. Any volounteers? We don't need North Dakota anyway