When will oil prices finally put an end the The Great American Speedway?

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Will
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When will oil prices finally put an end the The Great American Speedway?

With gas prices back over $4 per gallon and steadily rising ($4.21 in my neighborhood), I continue to be amazed that most people on the freeways and highways around Seattle continue to race to their destinations. 

I took a long, sunny Sunday drive down to the south sound today to visit some friends.  As I cruised along on the freeway in my old reliable 1993 Honda Civic at the speed limit of 60 mph, I watched 99 out of 100 vehicles pass me by at 65 to 75 mph.  Gas guzzling SUVS, monster 4x4 trucks, muscle cars, commercial trucks-- all racing along like it's the Indy 500.  What's the big hurry?  It's the weekend for heavens sake, where is everybody in such a hurry to get to?  Reminds me of the the part in the Shawshank Redemption where old Brooks the librarian gets paroled after spending his entire adult life in prison and observes in a letter back to his former inmates that"  I can't believe how fast everything moves on the outside these days.  Seems the whole world went out and got itself in a great big god dam hurry...."

Questions for all of you:

1)  Are you seeing people slow down at all in your area as the price rises at the pump?

2)  At what price per gallon of gasoline do you think most people will be forced to slow down and conserve?

3)  How long do you think it will be before the Feds decide it's time to lower the national speed limit back down to 55 or 60 mph?

4)  Can you belive that legislators in Texas are close to passing a bill that would raise the maximum speed limit to 85 mph with so much evidence that we are at or near Peak Oil?

 

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rhare
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Regulatin' - a slippery slope....
Will wrote:

1)  Are you seeing people slow down at all in your area as the price rises at the pump?

Don't know but I know I've been quite annoyed at several prius owners lately who won't accelerate up to speed on a 55 mph road near our house.  So instead we get to catch every light and have to reaccelerate.  It's even more wastefull than speeding since generally it is best to quickly (not jackrabbit) up to cruising speeds and minimize stops.

Will wrote:

2)  At what price per gallon of gasoline do you think most people will be forced to slow down and conserve?

As soon as the price of the gas spent becomes more than the the cost of the time spent.  However, most people won't look at it that way, it will just be a point when people say ouch, and will probably more likely drive less rather than drive slower.

Will wrote:

3)  How long do you think it will be before the Feds decide it's time to lower the national speed limit back down to 55 or 60 mph?

I'm sure they will step in soon, politicians always like to look like they are doing something. SmileRather than let market forces deal with the issue we will get silly rules like you can't have a speedometer that registers higher than 85! 

Will wrote:

4)  Can you belive that legislators in Texas are close to passing a bill that would raise the maximum speed limit to 85 mph with so much evidence that we are at or near Peak Oil?

I believe it's already 85 on I-10.  People who have never driven around west TX, NM, AZ, UT, NV have no clue the distants involved and how flat, straight and empty the roads can be.  So yes, I welcome 85!  If people choose to drive slower to save gas, then great, but I firmly believe this is a state issue and the Federal government should stay out of it.

Say I choose to drive 85 over several hunderd miles versus going 15 in stop and go traffic on the 101 in LA, whose wasting more fuel?  Do you believe the federal government should step in and raise taxes on autos until traffic reduces enough in LA to keep traffic flowing at 55 during rush hour?  If not, why not?  Do you believe the government should stop you from taking your joy ride to see friends?  If not why not, after all your wasting gas on an unecessary trip...  see how slippery the slope can get?

Will's picture
Will
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Hey Rhare, 1)  I'd be

Hey Rhare,

1)  I'd be annoyed too if I was behind some moron Prius owner who doesn't understand the basics fo fuel efficient driving.  However, most Prius owners I see around here drive them like race cars!

2) I agree that many will drive less rather than slow down when they do go somewhere.  I"d say gas has to go up to $5+ before many people start slowing down.

3 & 4)  I'm all for states rights and am no fan of the Feds and their need to control everything.  And yes, the market will effectively regulate peoples behavior eventually.  I grew up in Nebraska and there are lots of wide open spaces in the central and western part of the state where it was painful to drive the speed limit.  Now that I'm older and more patient, I don't mind driving slower and could probably handle it OK. 

I guess my primary complaint is our generally wasteful attitudes in the US, which I see accelerating me, you, and everyone toward the date with destiny where life rapidly gets alot harder.  If we would all just slow down and conserve NOW, we could buy some time and postpone the inevitable to some degree.

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It Can Go Higher...

 

On Germany's Autobahn, cars regularly drive much faster. And yet gasoline there is equivalent to over $8 (close to $9) per gallon (converted from liters and euros).

Besides, people complain at the pump and grit their teeth. But once their car is fueled, it's paid for. So they just floor it and drive!

Poet

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Will
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Poet wrote:   On Germany's
Poet wrote:

 

On Germany's Autobahn, cars regularly drive much faster. And yet gasoline there is equivalent to over $8 (close to $9) per gallon (converted from liters and euros).

Besides, people complain at the pump and grit their teeth. But once their car is fueled, it's paid for. So they just floor it and drive!

Poet

 

Good point Poet.  If Americans are like Germans, it looks like it's going to be Super Speedway USA until gas hits $10+ per gallon!

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rhare
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Wasteful attitudes - a measure of currency failure?
Will wrote:

I guess my primary complaint is our generally wasteful attitudes in the US, which I see accelerating me, you, and everyone toward the date with destiny where life rapidly gets alot harder.  If we would all just slow down and conserve NOW, we could buy some time and postpone the inevitable to some degree.

Sorry if I was a bit touchy about the regulation part.  The problem with wasteful attitudes in the US I believe comes from the completely distorted prices of so many goods due to subsidies, monetary policies, etc.  I don't think you will see any type of correction in attitudes until we solve those issues.  I think the wasteful attitude of so many is a clear sign of currency failure - it means the money is no longer representative of the work required to produce.  So perhaps it's not so much the attitude of people that are the problem, rather the tool peole in the US use to measure the scarcity of resources.

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Poet
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People Will Still Pay
rhare wrote:

I think the wasteful attitude of so many is a clear sign of currency failure - it means the money is no longer representative of the work required to produce.  So perhaps it's not so much the attitude of people that are the problem, rather the tool peole in the US use to measure the scarcity of resources.

We currently mine ore/oil out of the ground, extract, refine-form-press... for  one-time-use. Think of cheap drinks or food (soda cans, plastic bottles, stew/soup/luncheon meat cans, etc). There's a reason people trash things of all kinds that in the old days would involve poor people with hand carts going door-to-door (rag pickers, bottle collectors, scrap metal, "night soil"). They can afford to.

I would say it's the same with oil. There are many millions off millionaire families in the U.S. alone. They and those who make six figures likely will continue to drive as they do - even when gasoline jacks up to $10 or $15 per gallon. (By the way, just look at the cost in Turkey or Norway.) Although by then, you'll see a lot more busing, carpooling, cycling, walking, and telecommuting than you see today. The rural poor might even include horses or pony carts in the mix.

Poet

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james_knight_chaucer
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View from the UK

Roads here are so congested that it is difficult to sustain a speed over 60 during daylight hours. I have always stuck to 60 during 30 years of driving. Occasionally on the motorway I come up behind a supermarket lorry that says it is restricted to 52mph. This isn't the law, but the action of the supermarket.

Last year we kicked out our dictatorial Labour Government. They had in mind to restrict A roads to 50mph, and around town to 20mph. This was ostensibly to save fuel, but does not consider that the cars will not be in top gear at 20mph.

Last week I paid £1.495 per litre for BP Ultimate Diesel. I make that $9.45 per US gallon.

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Poet
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$9.45 Per US Gallon In The UK
james_knight_chaucer wrote:

Last week I paid £1.495 per litre for BP Ultimate Diesel. I make that $9.45 per US gallon.

James Knight Chaucer

Sir. Care to tell us what you drive, what kind of mileage you have, and how many miles or kilometers you drive in a typical week?

Poet

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james_knight_chaucer
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Poet
Poet wrote:
james_knight_chaucer wrote:

Last week I paid £1.495 per litre for BP Ultimate Diesel. I make that $9.45 per US gallon.

James Knight Chaucer

Sir. Care to tell us what you drive, what kind of mileage you have, and how many miles or kilometers you drive in a typical week?

Poet

Hi Poet,

Yes, I have a 2006, 1560cc diesel Citroen C5. Driving carefully, it does around 55 miles per imperial gallon. (Around 46 miles per US gallon.) I drive around 160 miles per week

Regards

James

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rhare
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People routinely drive 85-100 mph, 75 is the legal limit.
james_knight_chaucer wrote:

Roads here are so congested that it is difficult to sustain a speed over 60 during daylight hours.

NM is about 30% larger than the UK with 1/30th the population.  There are quite a few roads where you can see where you'll be in an hour!  Perhaps the photos make it easier to understand why people like to drive 85+ around here. Cool

The following photo is from Santa Fe, looking south to Albuquerque.  The Speed limit on this section of I-25 is 75mph (65 in Albuquerque & Santa Fe).  The mountain in the background is 40 miles away.  Quite a few people commute between the two cities (about 60 miles).  The picture is of the construction of a new commuter train that was put in in the last few years. 

 

 

I believe this picture is NM-285 outside Espanola looking north to Colorado (a bit of a guess).

Yes, high fuel prices will cause quite a bit of grief around here.

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Poet
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james_knight_chaucer
james_knight_chaucer wrote:
Poet wrote:
james_knight_chaucer wrote:

Last week I paid £1.495 per litre for BP Ultimate Diesel. I make that $9.45 per US gallon.

James Knight Chaucer

Sir. Care to tell us what you drive, what kind of mileage you have, and how many miles or kilometers you drive in a typical week?

Poet

Hi Poet,

Yes, I have a 2006, 1560cc diesel Citroen C5. Driving carefully, it does around 55 miles per imperial gallon. (Around 46 miles per US gallon.) I drive around 160 miles per week

Regards

James

James

Okay, so if my calculations are correct, you spend about USD$140 per month on fuel. My wife and I spend around USD$200. I can see why you went with a very fuel-efficient car.

Poet

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