Monday, May 19, 2008
What if gas were $10 a gallon?
An article on MSN Money Central began as follows:
...."In four years, U.S. gas prices have doubled to more than $3.70 a gallon, and crude oil has tripled to around $125 a barrel.
Allowing for inflation, that's higher than prices were during the 1978–83 oil shock that triggered a recession and sky-high interest rates.
But . . . What if gas cost $10 a gallon?
Thousands of truckers would go bankrupt. Airplanes would sit idle in hangars. Restaurants and stores would shut down. Car-pooling, hybrid vehicles, scooters and inline skates would swing into vogue."
I find it strange that the writer would mention inline skates and miss the obvious choice in human power vehicles, namely the bicycle. As for truckers going bankrupt, some will, but goods will still need to be shipped whatever the cost.
There will be rising prices and inflation, which will affect everyone; however, those who can run a tight budget and spend less on gas, will fair better. Some low-income families will not be able to run a car.
...."According to Todd Hale, a senior vice president for consumer researcher Nielsen, at $10 a gallon, the average family's gas bill would leap from 16% of its retail spending to about 40%.
People would drive less, yes. But many have to drive to work or the supermarket, and they'd cough up the cash -- screaming all the way -- and cut back elsewhere."
Yes, many will still drive and even some will still drive SUVs; they will become even more of a status symbol. There will be more compact cars or the road, and a lot more motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds.
Not everyone will ride a bicycle, but for those of us who do, share the road will be a lot easier.
Public Transport will make a comeback, which will ease congestion further. Even long before gas reaches $10, we will see less joy riding in cars on the weekends, leaving roads less congested and more pleasant for bike riding.
...."Taxis and FedEx would be strictly for the well-heeled. And home pizza deliveries would cease. Pizza delivery drivers also pay for their own gas. "It'd be brutal," says Joseph Miller, an assistant manager at a Domino's Pizza in Seattle. "I would think we wouldn't have any drivers."
Pizza can be delivered by bicycle. All kinds of restaurant food is already delivered by bicycle in New York City, and in other large cities; it is the most efficient way in many cases. In fact, as less people drive to eat out, restaurants will be forced to consider other alternatives.
In many parts of the world, Europe and Japan for example, gas is already close to $10 a gallon. People still survive, and adjust to their economies. By the time gas reaches $10 in the US, $10 will be worth a lot less in terms of what it will buy.
American consumers have been spoiled for so many years by cheap gas, welcome to the real world.
Read the complete article
Posted by Dave Moulton at 5/19/2008 03:28:00 AM