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seicer

High gasoline prices a blessing in disguise?

High gasoline prices a blessing in disguise?   54 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you believe that high gasoline/petrol prices are a blessing in disguise? In other words, do you believe that higher prices for this item would return short-term and long-term benefits or losses?

    • Short-term gain
      7
    • Short-term loss
      20
    • Long-term gain
      39
    • Long-term loss
      12

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17 posts in this topic

Do you believe that high gasoline/petrol prices are a blessing in disguise? In other words, do you believe that higher prices for this item would return short-term and long-term benefits or losses?

My opinion:

If you view funding for mass-transit, you will see it has been nothing short of a roller-coaster. Funding for these items were quite moderate in the 1980s and early 1990s, but waned into the Clinton presidency only to rebound with the advent of our current president (Bush). As most are now aware, gasoline prices are approaching $3/gallon and have been over $4/gallon in certain markets for a while now. The days of $.99 cent days or even $1.99 days are over, it seems.

Open up the paper and read the Letters to the Editor. Gasoline prices are because of Iraq. Iran. Saudi Arabia. Haliburton. Exxon. Shell. And whoever else we can point our finger at. But have we really looked at ourselves for the cause? We drive to go to the convenience store, supermarket, school, work and to our friend's house down the block. We drive 15-MPG sport-utility-vehicles with 4WD systems that suck gas -- because, we will need those heavy systems in the event of ice, snow, or in the event we become lost in the wilderness. We whine and complain when bicyclists block part of a traffic lane. We wince when those damn environmentalists try to push their agenda in mass-transit. And we label those who care about the environment hippies.

Yes, this is geared towards the United States because I read about it daily in many newspapers. It is quite sickening, to see that instead of changing their commuting habits, making sacrifices, being environmentally conscious, or advocating for transit, that they would rather blame someone. But the times are changing. People are coming to the realization that cheap gasoline is no longer a reality. $5-6/gallon is already common place elsewhere in the world -- and it's quite higher in Canada than the United States, remember that. You have greater throbs of people wanting to rid their reliance on the automobile. Mass-transit is now the new buzzword. Bicycles are now hip. So is exercise. In a nation where the obesity rate threatens to reverse our life expectancy, and where kids aged 10 now have Type-II diabetes, the need for our riddance of the auto is ever more important.

And the change is already happening. Denver is constructing a 151-mile system. Utah has an impressive light-rail system in-place that carries nearly 60,000 riders daily -- four times over initial projections -- and their system is rapidly expanding with more light-rail and heavy commuter lines being constructed. New York City is constructing a new north-south route on the west side. Cincinnati is gearing up for a streetcar system and a proposed light-rail line may come to light again. Cleveland is seeing expansions of their light-rail and subway systems. Chicago is gearing up for expansions and renovations after years of overburden and very high ridership. And the list goes on.

High gasoline prices will have short-term impacts -- 5 to 10 year spans. The cost of food will certainly rise as most food is shipped in refrigerated trucks from source points 1,000 miles away. Stores and even universities (such as UK) are making a commitment to buy locally grown food for the sheer fact that its cheaper. People who commute one to two hours by car will have to shell out more from their pocket to fund their excessive driving habit. People will take less far-flung vacations. And so on.

Long-term? Less dependence on the auto. More goods will be shipped by rail, in intermodal containers on double-stacked corridors (i.e. Heartland Corridor) being sent and received in massive intermodal complexes. Heavy rail will be upgraded -- most of the system already at or near capacity -- and lines will be added. Dark lines will be lit, and routes upgraded to handle larger intermodal containers. Light-rail and streetcars will become favorable for many commuters and urban dwellers. And so on.

What are your opinions?

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If higher gasoline prices were a result of taxes levied to improve public transit, add bike lanes and improve roads, I would have no problem with paying higher gas costs. Instead, oil companies are reaping sickening profits. In the end, it may have the same effect of causing people to conserve and seek out alternative ways of getting from point A to point B, but it still makes me sick to think these oil companies are really the ones directly benefiting.

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whatever it takes to cut our dependeance on the auto. seicer, you are correct about how sickening it is that we americans always want to point the finger every-which-way except within. i can only hope you predictions for rail will come true.

P.S.- NYC's planned 2nd ave. subway line will be on the eastside.

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Taking public transportation is seen as demeaning, it takes people back to childhood where they had to ride the bus to school. If more communities had efficient mass transit systems, citizens wouldn't use their cars so much. The problem is that mass transit doesn't expand to the suburbs of major metro areas. Suburbanites would gladly use mass transit if it expanded to the suburbs, but until it does, expect people to be car dependent.

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High gas prices are here to stay folks. The price of oil will continue to rise as demand increases and supply fails to keep up.

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Lets face it folks, we are occupying a Arab/Islamic Country and this is just their way of putting the screws to us. The current administration has a BIG part in why oil is at these record prices.....if you don't think so you are fooling yourself!!!!

Ocoeerunner

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The problem with high gas prices or even a high gas tax, is that it hurts mostly the people who can least afford it. The price right now has little affect on my budget, especially considering I spend atleast four times on food a week than I do on gas. Unfortunately, high gas prices also have an affect on food prices when you consider the farmer and the distributor is paying more in variable expenses.

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The problem with high gas prices or even a high gas tax, is that it hurts mostly the people who can least afford it. The price right now has little affect on my budget, especially considering I spend atleast four times on food a week than I do on gas. Unfortunately, high gas prices also have an affect on food prices when you consider the farmer and the distributor is paying more in variable expenses.

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I know this sounds horrible, but I wish that gas prices reached $4-5/gallon here. Americans would have to then realize that they can't be wasteful and just use gas in their Cadillac Escalades like it was water. I think it would also force muncipalities to rethink alternative transit options. That is why I am actually for increasing gas taxes in order to fund alternative energy research and innovation.

What I think people in this country do not realize is that tariffs placed on oil are insanely LOW while, for example, imported ethanol has incredibly HIGH tariffs. This is one reason why trying to switch over to other fuels is so difficult - it isn't cost effective. You could probabluy double the import tax on oil and still make out well. It needs to be done. I know people hate paying more, but how else can we achieve energy independence?

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I know this sounds horrible, but I wish that gas prices reached $4-5/gallon here. Americans would have to then realize that they can't be wasteful and just use gas in their Cadillac Escalades like it was water. I think it would also force muncipalities to rethink alternative transit options. That is why I am actually for increasing gas taxes in order to fund alternative energy research and innovation.

What I think people in this country do not realize is that tariffs placed on oil are insanely LOW while, for example, imported ethanol has incredibly HIGH tariffs. This is one reason why trying to switch over to other fuels is so difficult - it isn't cost effective. You could probabluy double the import tax on oil and still make out well. It needs to be done. I know people hate paying more, but how else can we achieve energy independence?

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I wouldn't have a problem if it went towards energy research, all forms of energy. But, I think if gas prices went that high, few things would change, except prices going up, and the poor would feel that more than anyone.

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I completely agree that the higher gasoline prices are allowing oil companies to reap revolting profits. That said, I do think that high gasoline prices- possibly much higher prices than we have now, might be the only way to get Americans out of their cars. As James Howard Kunstler has noted, our whole pattern of suburban, autocentric, living is simply unsustainable. Perhaps an extreme hike in gas prices will be the only way to force people to think outside the chassis. Public transport shouldn't just mean more buses. Trains of all types must seriously be considered and actually built across the nation. No one is going to take a train from New York to LA. but a system of regional rapid rail systems could easily be built for a fraction of what we are spending in Iraq.

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if the taxes actually went towards things like mass transit and researching alternative fuels, i would have no problem with raising the gas tax. however, the way it stands now, that money goes to the general fund in most places with only a portion of it going to mass transit. that needs to be fixed.

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The federal fuel tax and state taxes for the most part go to dedicated highway funds with a small portion to mass transit. In MI, the state fuel tax and license fees are the only funding for roads and transit (very little local finding).

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Two answers weren't allowed, but it's clearly a short term hardship on many people, especially the working poor. They don't care about the addiction to foreign oil, or carbon offsets, or any of that. They only care about getting to work and trying to feed their family, both of which are getting more difficult. We must be aware of the social impacts of rapidly increasing oil prices and inflation on the poorest among us.

That said, oil prices going up are most definitely a good thing (my vote) for our long term future... sustainability, green buildings, hybrids, investment in clean energy, mass transit, intercity (high-spd) rail, etc. All of these things are clearly going to become increasingly important and easier to justify as a result, and frankly, the $4+ gas issue only puts the unequivocal exclamation point on just how far behind we are as a nation in dealing with comprehensive energy and sustainability issues. With his pro-war, pro-big oil, anti-climate change, anti-transit, anti-rail, anti-sustainable policies, Bush has probably been about the worst President we could have had W/R/T energy policy over the past 7-8 years. He has been a complete failure as a leader.

Personally, I feel vindicated for some of the personal choices I've made over the past few years to live in an urban walkable environment (walk to work/transit accessible), so that now, I am not feeling the same pinch that most others are feeling at the moment. My personal opinion is that going forward, the energy problem will self select individuals, cities, states, who are prepared for how to deal with it. If you live in an urban environment where you can walk, bike, or take transit to various destinations (work, shopping, etc) than you are somewhat ahead of the curve. If you live in a city or region that has a strong multimodal transportation network, then I think you can build a stronger long term economic case than can auto-dependant, sprawling cities. States that are moving forward with a comprehensive energy policy are also ahead of the game. I plan to make future living, working and other related decisions based on these types of issues.

This oil spike is much different than the oil embargos and Katrina's of the past, as they were based on short term limits on supply, either politically-driven or by weather. The current rise in prices is mostly being driven by global economic demand, demand that is sure to increase over time. While gas prices may come back down in the near future, I am 100% convinced that over the long term, we will never see cheap gas again, so I would plan for it... you will be ahead of the game.

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I thought I'd chime in here and mention that with gas prices falling, it appears that demand is still not increasing and people are not reverting back to SUVs, thus showing that people are getting used to driving less, more efficient and they do not trust that gas prices are going to stay low. It has no doubt had an effect.

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