When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

The Wall Street Journal says things are probably not looking up in the oil and gas crisis:

In the U.S., $200 crude would push the price of gasoline to well over $6 a gallon, causing commuters to alter their driving habits more sharply than they have already, while putting extreme strains on large sectors of the U.S. economy.

Speaking as one member of a strained-large-sector-to-be, I am wondering what I can plan ahead to do by December... or, indeed, what I can do now that I haven't done already... to make economic survival possible.

I'm already driving a car that gets 33 mpg, and, except for going the 15 miles back and forth to work 3 days a week (4 this coming fall), I have limited my driving to the half mile to the grocery and the gym.  No more exciting trips to visit friends or relatives. No vacation travel. This part of life has already been cut back and become utterly boring (but has kept me from spending money in many places where I would have before). West Virginia has little-to-no public transportation, so that's out as well.

I've cut down doing my laundry to once a week... and doing cold-water washing at that. I used to do laundry twice a week and always used hot water. I wear things for longer periods, now... and for that I hope to be forgiven by the local style mavens.

Sweaters come out of the closet this fall...heat gets cut down on, even though we're an all electric house... sooner or later the ticket goes back to the oil prices.

Most of all, I'm going to encourage everyone I know to get the Republicans who left us with this mess out of office... and I don't feel too partial to some of the Democrats who helped them when there are more progressive ones available.

Under The LobsterScope

Tags: gas, Oil, WSJ (all tags)

Comments

26 Comments

Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

There is a tipping point, where low income people can't even afford to go to work, if gas is too high a percentage of their paycheck. I would think, at 6 bucks a gallon, we will have crossed that threshold for millions and millions of Americans.

BTW, I propose we take a hint from the French Revolution, and drag Dick Cheney out of the bunker, and charge him with crimes against the American People.

Between his secret energy policy meetings, and his Iraq war, I think more blame can be laid at his feet then anyone else.

Now, I'm NOT suggesting the Guillotine, but I wouldn't object if someone else did.

by WashStateBlue 2008-07-08 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

just imagine if cities and states were encouraged to fund public transportation, like a lot of us in cities like boston have advocated for 20 + years.

by Dog Chains 2008-07-08 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

In Seattle, they have already announced a price increase for our bus system, due to the fact it's loaded to the gils at the moment.

But, hopefully, they will re-invest any increased revenue in the system.

by WashStateBlue 2008-07-08 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

Well that's the main issue, at least here, they never upgrade services until after they realize they can't handle it...Which makes people less likely to use it because they can't rely on it, which increases gas usage, which increases prices, which increases need for more transportation. it's a sick cycle.

by Dog Chains 2008-07-08 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

I'll give the Republicans a D- on handling this situation.  And I'll give everyone else an F on having the foresight to see this coming.  That includes, but is not limited to, the state of West Virginia.

No one forced us to make work and living so incompatible.  No one forced us to continue cutting public transportation.  No one forced us to build and buy cars that get next to nothing per gallon.

No one forced us to have an agricultural policy so dependent on transporting goods across the country.

The gas prices are affecting me too.  But I think we have to view this as normal.  The anomaly was the low gas prices in the '80s and '90s.

by the mollusk 2008-07-08 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

I would give the Republicans an F on this. After all, Jimmy Carter tried to start us on the right path more than 30 years ago. Reagan rolled back all of Carter's changes and by doing so guaranteed that there would not be a rational response to the coming energy crisis. The Republicans have been following Saint Ronnie's lead on this for the last 30 years.

They like nuh-clur solutions, because it means big money and lots of subsidies. Besides, it sounds cool and powerful. They like drilling as a solution, because they have always been for exploiting the natural resources of this country to benefit the few. They don't like alternative energy sources, because those change the status quo. They don't want things to change. It's one of the reasons they fight so hard against the idea of Global Warming. If they accept it, then things will have to change.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-08 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

And where were the Democrats in all of this?  Carl Levin?  Which Democratic Senators voted for the Kyoto Protocol when it was brought before the Senate?  Which Democratic Senators encouraged cities to develop mass transit infrastructure? (besides Jim Oberstar).  Which Democratic governors were ahead of the curve on insisting that we need buses and trains as much as we need new roads?

Gasoline is primarily a transportation issue.  Energy (i.e. electricity) is mostly powered by coal.  So when we talk about the impact of gas prices on the economy, we're really talking about transportation costs.  Democrats have been piss-poor in demanding that we develop an economy which is more efficient and is less reliant on cheap transportation costs.

Plus every time a hike in the gas tax was proposed, no one had the balls to stand up to the "but I don't feel like a man unless I drive my Ford F-250 85 mph" crowd.  Or the "I'm a hot housewife and I get turned on by Ford Expeditions".

The Republicans have been bad on this issue.  The rest of us have been terrible.

by the mollusk 2008-07-08 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

Most of us have been bad on this issue. The Republicans more than any others, though. I don't have a list of voting records in front of me right now, but I'll be willing to bet that there are a lot more Dems in Congress voting for things like those you mention than there are Republicans voting for them.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-08 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

Yeah, you're probably right about that.  But still, when push comes to shove, they cave on these issues.    And I'm as happy to blame the Republicans as you are, but we can't pretend like this is something that was purely of George Bush's making.  The reason I even bring this up is that to me gas prices aren't the problem, they are the most recent symptom of the bottom-line problem.

by the mollusk 2008-07-08 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

You are right, there is plenty of blame to go around on this. The sad thing is that it takes a crisis to get any kind of action on it. We still aren't seeing anything other than rhetoric from both sides.

That's what really scares me about Global Warming. People seem to think we can wait until things come to a crisis point before doing anything about it. By then, it will probably be too late.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-08 12:31PM | 0 recs
DON'T WORRY!!!

John McCain will drill for some oil, which we'll have in seven to ten years, after which we'll need to build new refineries, since we're already at capacity, and if all of that happens, we only have to rely on the oil industry to actually produce more gasoline, rather than holding onto those reserves since they're making record profits and any new supply would hurt their bottom lines.

No biggie!

by freedom78 2008-07-08 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

You can get a job that allows you to work 5 days a week, and or a job that pays a better wage.

You can car pool.  You can find a job closer to home.   You can move to a larger city that will allow for easier access to public transit and public transit friendly jobs.

Just a few ideas.

I think what we will see in the short term is a major turn over among employees in either where they work or where they live or both.

Example: An admin isn't going to drive 20 miles to make 22 grand anymore.  She will work a lower paying retail job 2 miles from instead, etc.

Or someone with a good job downtown will sell their home in the burbs and move downtown, or to the edge of the city.

by dpANDREWS 2008-07-08 11:07AM | 0 recs
we are screwed

completely and utterly screwed.  

by Brandon 2008-07-08 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

In California, Proposition 42 Tax Spillover revenue were specifically created on a percentage bases tied to gas prices.  The funds go to Public Transportation.  This was a great idea because as Gas Prices increase, the need for Public Transportation also increases.

The catch is that California is in such dire financial straights that last fiscal year they took something like 1.3 billion for better Transit and used it to balance the budget.  They are attempting to do the same thing this year.

by Sychotic1 2008-07-08 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

btchakir:  Most of all, I'm going to encourage everyone I know to get the Republicans who left us with this mess out of office... and I don't feel too partial to some of the Democrats who helped them when there are more progressive ones available.

Les:  I'm with you on this one.  Anyone who has voted to prevent drilling for oil or gas or who has over-regulated the oil and gas industry or prevented nuclear power plants from being built should be booted from office.  If we had an independent source of oil and gas, we would not need to be purchasing them as exorbitant prices and it would put more Americans to work.  In the meantime, we can seek solutions with other sources of energy.  This entire debacle does great harm to those who cannot afford the exorbitant prices and it does great harm to our economy and cost of living.

by LesGovt 2008-07-08 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

I don't disagree with everything you said in that comment, but this just isn't true.

If we had an independent source of oil and gas, we would not need to be purchasing them as exorbitant prices and it would put more Americans to work.

If we had more energy production in this country from oil and gas drilling it would be part of the global pool. The extra amount we could produce would not have any major impact on prices. The oil from the arctic is sold on the open market. Most of it was exported to Japan when they first started drilling. The price of domestic oil is set on the international market.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-08 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

This does not have to be the case.  We can drill and utilize oil and gas here and that is what we should be doing.

by LesGovt 2008-07-08 04:05PM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

How do we do that? By telling the oil producers that they aren't allowed to export their product? Do you suggest we pass laws requiring oil companies to buy domestic oil before they purchase imported oil? Those laws would never make it past the WTC. Besides, the free-traders would fight those to the death.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-08 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

No, I don't think you pass laws.  I think you could use incentives to get companies to do what you want.

by LesGovt 2008-07-08 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

Ah, bribe the corporations to do the right thing. Why didn't I think of that?

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-08 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

The tax code has often been used to bring about desired results.

by LesGovt 2008-07-09 03:28AM | 0 recs
Have you checked your tire inflation?

If you have your tires inflated to the maximum recommended pressure, you will get noticeably better fuel economy.

Also, limit your speed to 55 mph on the freeway.  You have to stay in the right lane if you do that, but it's above the legal minimum highway speed and can increase fuel economy by up to 20%.

Limit your showers to five minutes or less.  Buy a five-minute shower timer to mount in your shower--they cost about $5, but will save you loads of money by helping you reduce your hot water use significantly.

Turn down the thermostat on your water heater by about five degrees.

Cut your meat intake to one meal a week--and even then, stick to poultry.  You can substitute ground turkey for ground beef in meatballs and burgers, and buying bone-in chicken breasts to debone yourself will save you a decent amount of moola.

Use canned or frozen vegetables in place of fresh whenever possible.  Better yet, grow your own garden.  If you have no yard, some plants like tomatoes and some spices/herbs like basil can even be grown in containers on a balcony.

Give up dessert, except for special occasions like holidays or birthdays.  Likewise, give up "snack food".  Stock up on fruits and veggies instead.  If you really, really need something a little salty, buy generic brand snack crackers, spread cream cheese on them, and top them with bell pepper, canned olives, apples, spinach, or whatever other veggie/fruit is cheap and on hand.

Instead of going out to dinner on nights that you feel too tired to cook, keep a few boxes of generic brand stovetop mac and cheese on hand.  They cost only about 40-60 CENTS each, and take less than fifteen minutes to make.

Limit your grocery store runs to once a week.  Plan out your meals for each week in advance, and buy only the ingredients you need.

Whenever you go clothes shopping, check the local thrift store FIRST.  If you can't find what you need there, only then move on to other stores.  Even then, check the clearance rack before anything else.

Replace your disposable products with durable ones.  Replace paper lunch bags with cloth ones, plastic cutlery with cheap silverware (you can often pick up really cheap utensils at rummage sales), paper towels with dish towels, and paper napkins with cloth bandannas (at a dollar each, a much better deal than fancy cloth napkins).

Turn off the dishwasher.  Buy a pack of sponges and some generic dish soap, and wash your dishes by hand in the sink.  Let them air dry on a rack, or dry them with a dish towel.

Don't use overhead lights in your house during daylight hours.  If you need extra light during the day, turn on a lamp instead.  Always turn lights off when you aren't using them--and unplug lamps and other appliances when not in use, since appliances suck electricity even when turned off.

Replace all your lightbulbs with energy saver bulbs.

Replace your shower head with a water saver head.

If you can bear to, sell your TV.  It is one of the biggest energy vampires in your house.

Finally, and this is a biggie: ALWAYS BUY GENERIC.  Brand loyalty costs a bundle.  Buy generic brand food, toiletries, over-the-counter medicines, and durable goods whenever possible.  (The exception?  Sometimes name brands temporarily go on sale for cheaper than the generics.  Pay attention to any sales, and always clip coupons!)

Hope that helps.

by Elsinora 2008-07-08 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Have you checked your tire inflation?

wow, that was like a flashback to my childhood.

by the mollusk 2008-07-08 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Have you checked your tire inflation?
Just teasing you a little bit with this reply, Elsinora. There are actually quite a few good ideas in your list, but I couldn't resist.

  • Go barefoot. This will save on buying shoes and socks and has the added benefit that you don't have to wash socks.

  • Better yet, become a nudist so you don't have to buy clothes.

  • Live in a pup-tent in a friend's backyard. If you open a flap on both ends you won't even miss air-conditioning because you will have a nice breeze. If you can't afford a pup-tent then find a big cardboard box and cut out a door and windows.

  • Walk everywhere. It's great for the figure and will save you tons of money.

  • Eat dandelions, wild rice that you harvest yourself, cattails, etc... You can trap squirrels, rabbits, and field mice for all of your protein needs.

  • You can find water in mud puddles, bird baths and public fountains

  • Bath in the public fountain in the town square. This cuts out the cost of bathing completely.

  • Entertainment is easy. During the day, count the blades of grass in one square yard of lawn. At night, count stars. This will keep you busy for quite awhile.


So there you have it - food, water, shelter, transportation, and entertainment. What more do you need?
by MS01 Indie 2008-07-08 04:25PM | 0 recs
LOL!

Unfortunately, having to buy computer screen wipes because I just spat a mouthful of Sprite on mine is NOT a good way to save money...

Nonetheless, that comment=win.

by Elsinora 2008-07-08 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: When gas goes to $6.00 a gallon.

$6 gas? Hell, make it TEN!!

I mean, face it, we are not going to get off oil until it hurts - bad.  So I say, Bring on the Hurt!

In 1973, when gas went up from 32 CENTS a gallon to 50 CENTS a gallon people were screaming!  But soon enough they got used to it and didn't care a lick.

Then in 1979, when gas went up from 45 CENTS a gallon to ONE DOLLAR !!  People were trading brand new Cadillacs for Volkswagen Rabbit Diesels that were marked up $5,000!

That was one reason why Jimmy Carter lost reelection and that goon, Reagan got in.

But... over time, everyone gets used to the higher prices and just bends over and goes back to their old wasteful ways.

The world will never "run out" of oil.  So for those who are waiting to run out, give up.  It's not going to happen.

But, make the price high enough and people will abandon oil and look for realistic alternatives.

Now finally, Solar Electric, Solar Waterheating, and Wind Electric can easily be fitted to more than half the houses in America.

We have Hybrid cars today that get 50 mpg and the coming generations will get 100-150.  Soon we'll have all-electric vehicles that could be charged by the solar panels on your house.

The goal has to be "No" Oil.  Save the oil for airplanes and plastics and let's get our houses and cars off the damned stuff.

$10 gas?  Bring it on!

by wblynch 2008-07-09 02:05PM | 0 recs

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