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What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Posted by skagmobile (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 2, 05 at 13:47

How high will gas have to go before traffic cuts back even a little bit? I thought around $2.00 a gallon would make a difference in the amount of traffic. WRONG!! At this point I have no idea, $3.00? $5.00? More? Who knows? I live about 60 miles from D.C. which means there is plenty of sugar money around, so all that money probably makes a difference here but I was wondering how it is in areas that have none of this influx of big bucks in other words in the real world and not in a taxpayer funded economy like here. Is there any difference there in traffic because of gas prices? When I was a teenager in the '50's you could go out on the road around 10pm on a weeknight and the road was practically yours, today forget it. Its almost as bad as Pennsyvania Ave. in D.C. The traffic finally slacks up somewhere around 2am or so. Any thoughts?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

High Gas prices.
It's an Italian/Asian conspiracy.
To sell more Vespa's, Chinese scooters, and cell phones.
And force the (trucks)now called Sports Util Vehicles,
with the cell phone women drivers to run over the little guys.
Scooter drivers will then use the insurace money to buy more small cars and more cell phones.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

The "experts" say that driving won't decrease in any major way until gas prices go over $3 a gallon. In historical terms, gas prices aren't actually that high right now. Back in 1981, the average price of a gallon of gas was $2.90 after you allow for inflation and adjust it to 2005 dollars.

Traffic is bad in all heavily populated areas. The number of vehicle miles driven has doubled since 1990. It's nothing nowadays for people to commute 40, 50, even 75 miles to work. Back 25 or 30 years ago, this was all but unheard of. As roads have gotten better, people have just adjusted their driving habits to allow for the ability to travel greater distances in less time, which means they've drastically increased the number of miles they drive.

The solution to build ever more roads has tended to make the traffic problems worse rather than better. Traffic just expands to fill all available roads to beyond capacity. The solution is probably to stop building more roads and to allow the marketplace to solve the problem. Companies could make greater efforts to use telecommuting, flex-time, and other alternatives to the daily morning and evening commute. With less demand for far-flung suburban housing developments, developers could concentrate on building desirable, affordable housing closer to areas where people work.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

i think when it hits 4.00 a gal. people wil cut back on driving and move to small cars. being in the petroleum buisness for a living, i have a idea when this will happen. but thats info i cant give out sorry.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Regardless if it's $2.25 or $5.25 ... we still have to get to work, right? We don't have much option but to pay.

Another question would be if high gas prices would force some to carpool to work (thereby less traffic)? Unfortunately, that option doesn't work for most of us. My job involves driving to various job sites (need my car). And my work hours are not the norm. You almost need a traditional job (9:00 - 5:00, M thru F), in order for carpooling to work effectively.

I do my part by telecommuting from home on some days. But not everyone has that luxury.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

...I wanted to add that I agree with Bill, in that higher prices will force us to seek vehicles that get better gas mileage. But not necessarily smaller vehicles. We refuse to downsize.

But we will consider the hybrid SUV vehicles. For example, I am eyeing the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. It's a beautiful vehicle and gets good mileage for an SUV. Granted, it's not going to get the mileage of a Toyota Prius. But then, I'm not willing to give up the comfort and roominess of an SUV. Not just yet.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid stats:
Engine: V6
Horsepower: 268
MPG: 31 / 27 (city/highway)


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I wonder how close it comes to those mileage estimates in actual driving. The record of hybrids for delivering their rated mileage hasn't been too good so far. A lot of it depends on how you'll drive it. As the mileage estimates show, the real savings you get with hybrids comes in the form of higher city mileage. Highway mileage is usually only slightly better than a non-hybrid. So, for someone who commutes a long way to work, a hybrid may not be the answer, since much of the commute is probably on the highway.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

First, I don't think the quantity of traffic is a function of the quantity of available roads. I live in an area where we foolishly hope in vain that if we don't build it they won't come. It doesn't work. We end up having to retrofit infrastructure and that's expensive.

I don't think you'll ever see a decrease in rush-hour traffic. As another poster said, people have to get to work. It would take generations of exorbitant transportaion costs to change our culture enough to change where we live in relation to where we work. And even that scenario would never happen. We're not going to suddenly be like Europe three months after gas hits $5/gallon. And we shouldn't.

As gas prices rise, you'll see more alternative fuels, not less driving. And that will come about when it's economically feasible. It hopefully will be a market-driven thing; hopefully not some government mandate.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Answer your original question - blame the good ole government for spending much much more on highways and roadways instead of public transportation.

Amtrak is bankrupt while drivers on I95 sit in hours and hours of traffic.

It should be a requirement as they continually expand/build new developments further expanding the suburbs the builders are forced to set aside funds or land exclusively for public transportation. That is the ONLY way to quench our oil requirements.

The common man will say it is a lifestyle thing but if one goes to most cities in Europe the norm is public transportation or moped.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

That's right; lifestyle choices are highly changeable, and economics is one of the biggest factors affecting them.

If gas were to go to $5 a gallon, you can predict these things with absolute certainty:

-Big SUVs will be all but unheard of
-The only people who will drive full-size pickup trucks to work will be those who use them in their job
-Traffic will decrease significantly as people move closer to work, carpool, and eliminate unnecessary driving
-Public transportation options will increase almost immediately, starting with shuttle and commuter buses

The bottom line is, Europeans can better afford their $5 a gallon gas than Americans could, since most Europeans actually save a little money rather than spending every last penny, and because quite a few European countries have a higher per-capita income and standard of living than we do. If $5 gas makes it here, you'll probably see MORE attempts to economize than what you now see in Europe, because people here can less afford those high prices.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

... "The bottom line is, Europeans can better afford their $5 a gallon gas than Americans could, since most Europeans actually save a little money rather than spending every last penny" ...

Cowboy, where do you base that statement from? Personal experience or actual data? Sorry, but I seriously doubt that logic.

Look at the ridiculous cost of cigarettes. You think the high price affected demand? Not by the number of smokers I see around here. I wonder, how in the world can these people afford to smoke??? But they do, and they pay a premium price to enjoy that luxury.

If gas prices were at $5 a gallon, I know most of us could afford to pay it. We wouldn't like it, but we would pay it. But other items would have to be reduced or eliminated from our monthly budgets, in order to make up for the gas price increases. (like cigarettes). ;-)


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Whatever the price has to be to bring the economy to a complete stop putting most people out of work. Then they won't have reason to drive daily, nor means to drive for pleasure. What's sick is there seems to be a segment of the population that hopes for that to happen for some reason.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I actually have done a price comparison on buying online and mailing deposits to the bank versus driving. To date it is still cheaper for me to spend the gas instead of postage or a shopping trip. Keep in mind though that my bank, Target, Walmart and a mall are within 5 miles of where I live.

If gas was 5.00 a gallon I would internet shop for everything but groceries. I would find a job closer to home as my commute is 50 miles per day. I wouldn't get to see my friends as much.

I WOULD like to see less traffic, but don't want to pay high gas prices either. Loose loose situation I think?


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Zofie, I base the per-capita income and rate of savings on articles I've seen. I don't have any personal experience with how Europeans live.

If the cost of fuel doesn't affect demand, then they'll have to go back and re-write all of the economics textbooks, because it'll be the first time in history that that has occurred. The cost of everything affects the quantity demanded.

Cigarette consumption has decreased markedly over the last 20 years, even though as you say, many people still do smoke. Cost is one factor affecting cigarette consumption, but surely not the only one.

Every incremental increase in the price of anything causes people to re-evaluate how much of that product they use. There isn't any "magic number" after which people will just say, "No more." Demand adjusts gradually. People don't trade in the 3/4 ton pickup because gas went up this morning, but if it stays high for months, those things start to happen.

Yet it's completely untrue to say that higher prices will bankrupt the economy, make driving impossible, or completely change our way of life. Europeans love cars and drive all the time -- at $5 or $6 a gallon. Besides, I thought our way of life was based on freedom, democracy, and a free market economy. There is nothing in the Constitution that guarantees that everyone will be able to afford to drive an SUV. I have one, and I like it, but if gas goes to $5 a gallon, I'll buy something else. Saying that you can and will adjust to a higher price does not equate to wanting prices to go up.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

"blame the good ole government for spending much much more on highways and roadways instead of public transportation."

That isn't what happened in the DC area. In the DC area, most of the highway money that would've gone to building roads in the 60s and 70s was spent on Metro instead.

The result? #3 worst metro area for traffic in the entire country.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

That's true as I couldn't take public transportation to my job. It's just outside of the city where buses don't go.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I appreciate all the responses however I was hoping for someone from say the midwest or somewhere outside of a city where the area is not subsidized by sugar money (government money)to write in and give their opinion as to how gas prices have affected their area. Mass transit or buses are fine IF its available but a large portion of this country is not privy to such things. One writer said they have no choice but to pay because they have to go to work. I think thats true. There are lots of people around here who drive the 60 or so miles every day to D.C. going to work (120 miles round trip) and in the near future I fully expect Uncle Sugar to start paying them additional "gas money" because they consider it a hardship on the poor federal worker. This may not happen but if it does how about the rest of the country that doesn't make that kind of money or have their benefits. Sound crazy? Well consider what Maryland did several years ago. Md. employees hadn't received a raise in several years due to budget constraints. Some of the state employees were required to wear uniforms that had to be dry cleaned so Md. officials decided to slip them additional "dry cleaning money" which was the same thing as a raise, thinking no one on the outside would notice it. Talk about the games people play! So the hardship gas money is a real possibility but there are lots of people out there who have no access to any of these types of benefits and thats who I would like to hear from. Thanks


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

No extra money here in the Midwest.I drive 15 miles oneway.My boss could careless about the price of gas and how much more I pay for gas.

You will not see traffic getting less.You have to drive to work.So I dought many will cut back on leisure time driving.If the prices continue you will see less large vehicals on the road and more compact cars.But the average Joe will not give up the large gas gussler.Its a igo trip they must keep up.

However the under paid working to survive and barley getting by.Are the ones that its huting.Young people with a family.That have to drive old beaters that get poor gas milage.Nothing they can do about it.They might be making less then $300.00 a week and paying $50.00 for gas.They can not afford to get a vehical that gets better gas mileage.There bosses that are under paying them.Could care less about the problem.Because they can be replaced.

I dought there will be less traffic.But more crime is sure to happen.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I'm from the Midwest, too, and no one I know of here gets any extra money in their pay to compensate for fuel costs. I would be surprised if the government anywhere gives anyone money to pay for fuel. In fact, in a lot of big cities, the government has for years been encouraging employers to charge employees for parking and to provide fewer parking spaces in an effort to encourage fewer people to drive to work. Just another fine example of your tax dollars at work for the betterment of us all. (Kidding)

There's no question that the impact of higher fuel costs will fall harder on the people who don't make big incomes. But, then again, the higher cost of anything falls harder on lower income people.

However, the market will provide solutions if the price of gas goes up a lot higher. People do not have to live 60 miles from work; that's a choice they make. Granted, people can't move or change jobs instantly, and some people cannot afford to trade in their gas guzzlers for more efficient vehicles, but a lot of people can do some or all of those things. As those who can make changes do so, that reduces demand for gasoline, and causes prices to stabilize or go down. This, in turn, helps people who aren't able to conserve.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

The purpose of hybrid vehicles is not merely higher fuel economy,but also to pollute the air less.Unless that burnt rubber smell in the air of all major cities is normal!


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I must have missed the burnt rubber smell in the air of the last major city I visited.

As far as automotive pollution goes, it is a fact that the most significant percentage of pollution (80% or so) comes from a comparatively small number of "gross polluter" vehicles (10% or so).

Although a RAND report states that "Nobody knows what causes cars to become gross polluters", I believe that the answer is "lack of proper maintenance", to include not changing the oil on a regular basis.

They also say that "When they are repaired, gross polluters may run clean for a little while, then degrade again."

That is likely because the "repair" consists of changing the catalytic convertor, which works fine for a short period of time and then suffers an efficiency loss because the source of the problem has not been addressed. It is widely known in the automotive service field that if a catalytic convertor has failed, with few exceptions, something CAUSED it to fail and simply replacing the convertor with a new one will doom the new convertor to the same fate as the old one. Two problems that can cause a convertor to fail are: Excessive oil burning (caused by failure to change oil on a regular basis) and excessive raw fuel due to misfiring (caused by failure to change plugs and wires on a regular basis).

Here is a link that might be useful: Rx for Urban Smog: Find and Fix Those `Clunker' Cars


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Besides that, hybrid vehicles won't deliver on their much-hyped environmental benefits if they don't deliver their rated economy. If I'm not mistaken, 28 mpg in a non-hybrid vehicle is the same as 28 mpg in a hybrid. Just having the "hybrid" nameplate on there doesn't make it clean.

Of course, you could also consider the environmental effects of tens of thousands of tons of spent batteries filled with caustic fluids and other toxic chemicals, which might to some degree negate the fact that a hybrid is probably marginally cleaner at the tailpipe.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I live 34 miles from the carpet store I work out of. I live where I live cuz I can't afforord a house where I work that is big enough for my family. My van gets 13 miles to the gallon. Most days I drive a 1991 Ford Festiva back and forth, it gets 39 mpg, and I only gave $1,500 for it. My van was $24,000, wich I bought new. The cabbies in Chicago got a rate increase about a year ago cuz of gas prices.

I would really like to see hydrogen powered cars available tommorow. If we were not dependant on oil, we would not have to support governments that p.o. "their people" then they blame us.

Bob


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Go to New York City or Los Angeles and take a deep wiff of air so thick with pollution you can actually smell and taste it.I used to drive a delivery truck into NYC on a regular basis and couldn't wait to leave that polluted toilet of city!If hybrids burn no cleaner than conventional vehicles,then why does the U.S. government give a $2000 clean fuel tax deduction for the purchase of a hybrid? And we don't live in the 1950s anymore,nowdays batteries are recycled,not stored in landfills.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hybrid Tax Deduction


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I want one of these flying contraptions. Wouldn't it be fun to commute to work every day in one of these? What a blast! ... wheeeeeeeeee!!! ... GET OUTTA MY WAY!!!!!! ;-)

Of course they'd have to last longer than 20 seconds. I hope they have improved on the devices (and distance) by now.

Here is a link that might be useful: Personal Rocket Belt


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

We dont live in the 50's thats for sure.Gas was cheap then I here?I was not born until 1960.But everything was cheap back then.Look at how much a car or a house has went up since the 50's?Gas is cheap and you could not get 29mpg on a Buick in the 50's either.Probably more like 9mpg?

As for moving closer to work to save gas and money?Most people work in the cities.Sure they could move closer.But then there going to pay the inflated cost of living and higher taxes and the same price for a house on a tiny lot as you can have a small farm that can generate a small income to pay the property tax rather then a house and a lawn that will not make you any money period and is just a tax burden.

Atleast out here we escape some of the saftey and polution BS.We can grow a garden and have real red tomatoes.Rather then the picked green and injected with a red die.Because there safer and the goverment BS regulations say thats the way it has to be to protect the consumer.Stupid things like that just tick me off.Along with all the saftey BS like seat belt laws.But they did away with the 55 mph law?Why?Because the saftey natzis are still in a hurry and do not say a thing about speed littering are roads with crosses.Its just a seat belt thing.BS just like smoking kills?Then why did my uncles and gradfathers live to be 90 and smoked nonfiltered cigaretes.But the next generation are dropping like flies at 70 and start going to the Dr at 40 for problems with this and that?But statistics say?BS I say.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I agree with the seat belt laws being total BS! Right now there is a massive nationwide push to ticket people who don't buckle up.I was doing around 54-55 in a 50 mph zone when a NJ state cop going the opposite direction saw I wasn't buckled and pulled me over with the lie that he had me clocked at 67 mph just so he could ticket me for no seatbelt,as they can't pull you over for not being buckled! Of course it was pouring down rain at the time ,making radar inaccurate. If seatbelts are so friggan important why don't all buses have them?And where is the seatbelt on my motorcycle?

Laws like that one and laws that take guns away from law abiding citizens are the worst!God save us from the idiot politicians who pass laws to protect people from themselves!


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

As for moving closer to work to save gas and money?Most people work in the cities.Sure they could move closer.But then there going to pay the inflated cost of living and higher taxes and the same price for a house on a tiny lot as you can have a small farm that can generate a small income to pay the property tax rather then a house and a lawn that will not make you any money period and is just a tax burden.

Atleast out here we escape some of the saftey and polution BS.We can grow a garden and have real red tomatoes.

I don't know where you live, johndeere, but around here, most of the work now is in the suburbs, not within city limits. Coupled with a mass-transit system that has been targeted for death by the ruling political party and a highway system slowly being strangled by the Governor's decree that there be no tax increases during his watch, commuting has become a joke.

As a result, people who feel they have better things to do than sit in their car listening to traffic reports are moving to more central locations within city limits. I can (and do) walk to the grocery store, to my doctor, to parks, to several restaurants (not all fast food or chains, either), to two different bus lines (while they still exist), and more. My next-door neighbor lives on a standard city lot (as I do) and grows dozens of tomato plants every year. I can't remember the last time I ate a green tomato that wasn't fried or pickled. If I get up early in the morning, there are times all I hear are the birds and the leaves rustling in the breeze. All this a 20-minute walk from downtown. Good ol' supply-and-demand has kicked in and housing prices have been going up (prices in my neighborhood have increased 20-25% in the last two years; that wouldn't be happening if no one wanted to live here). City living isn't for everyone. But more and more people are coming to the conclusion that it can work for them.

To answer the original poster, I think you'll see people start making some different choices when gas hits (and stays at) $3/gallon. Those looking to buy new vehicles may think about replacing the SUV with something that gets better mileage. They may knock out some mileage by shopping closer to home or shopping less (don't forget, if gas goes to $3/gallon, the price of everything will be going up). Some jobs will take a direct hit, which will change what people do for a living. If gas hits $4/gallon for a while, I would expect to see a distinct slowdown in home-building in the far-flung suburbs and discussion on how to improve mass transit where it really counts (between suburbs, not intracity). I disagree with those who say that the budget cuts will come from elsewhere -- at least at the municipal government level and above, there is little discretionary spending left to cut while entitlement spending continues to go up. Given the political mood of the country to privatize public costs regardless of the inefficiency of doing that, I doubt revenue will increase to cover costs. Of course, prices for most goods will go up yet again, and sources of energy that were not economically feasible before will start to look better. Unfortunately, the infrastructure for alternative energies (electric, hydrogen, whatever science fiction you believe in) won't be built overnight, either.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Johndeere and Nine7xbam, I'm glad to see someone else is sick of the "Click it or ticket" nonsense. Yes, I usually wear my seatbelt because I think you're better off with it on than with it off. But that's a personal decision that people should be free to make. I know quite a few police officers, and most of them don't support the seatbelt laws anymore than you or I. They realize that writing people tickets for not wearing a seatbelt is a gross waste of police resources.

I wonder where people got the idea that "free" only means "free to make the 'right' choice," because that's where we are now.


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Here is a something a little lighter and to me its funny. I was talking to a good ole boy a few years ago about seat belts and mentioned that I didn't like to wear seat belts but if I knew I was going to go up the road and have an accident I would rather have it on than not. He thought for a few minutes and in his slow southern drawl replied, "well if I knew I was going to go up the road and nave an accident I wouldn't go up the road!" Country boys sometimes have a lot of common sense.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I live about 70 miles from Chicago.I live in a rural area.I farm a little 220 acres and work on a large farm operation.So I stay in the rural area.

But most people around here drive to the suburbs or even Chicago to work.Because thats where the money is.The cost of living is high there.So bringing home the pay check from the Concret jungle is not a bad idea.Because you can live a lot cheaper in this area.Plus not have to worry as much about getting murdered or mugged or if your a women rapped.

There is a housing boom in this area.City people getting away from the jungle.They drive the 70 miles one way and gladly pay for the gas.Many drive SUV'S or other large vehicals to and from.I can not say that I blame them however.They drive like there nuts in the Jungle.Its even that way here now.But they slow down pass and honk and show me a finger at times.When im driving past a field of corn and im taking a look.I do not get in a hurry for no one.Life is to short and this Country Boy just has more common sence then the maniac going 80 in a 65 and 90 in a 55.I drive the speed limit that is posted and thats what I go.Not under it and not over it.But im classified as a pokie driver.I take off slower also to get to cruising speed.Except on a merge lane on the interstate.I go as fast as needed not to get rammed in the rear end.I also believe in costing to a stop.Rather then slamming on the breaks and hoping it stops in time.

If the city people would drive right.Like us good ole country boys.Look at how much gas could be saved and how much of your hard earned money?All you would have to do is leave a few minutes earlier for work.I learned early its just as easy to be 10 minutes early as it is to be 10 minutes late.


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***Amtrak is bankrupt while drivers on I95 sit in hours and hours of traffic.****

That's because the train only runs from city to city and the corporations aren't anywhere NEAR a train platform. The train stops in Noork, NJ and all the corporate campuses are in Parsnippity! As a matter of fact, there is NO public transporattion to such a major commercial area of the state. If you work there, you drive!


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I'm starting to see the affects. I've seen quite a few ads giving VERY big discounts on large 2004 SUVs. Diesel vehicles (even older ones) are starting to command a premium, and my son who buys, sells, trades and works on mopeds and scooters, is starting to see the prices on them rise.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

johndeere, your post reminded me of a conversation I had at the lake many years ago....This guy struck up a conversation with me about my mode of transportation. I was driving a vw rabbit diesel with an unknown # of miles (odometer broke at 250,000 3 years before we bought it) I said the only complaint I had was the lack of pick-up (zero to sixty in under 10 minutes!) He said, "Why would that bother you? I think it would be a whole lotta fun to p*ss off the tourists...and they can't tailgate you without getting a big lungfull of diesel exhaust!"


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

City people getting away from the jungle.They drive the 70 miles one way and gladly pay for the gas.Many drive SUV'S or other large vehicals to and from.

So those folks are spending $75-100 in fuel (plus parking) every week to live that far away? They must really hate the city. I wonder if the whining will begin when the price of fuel goes up to $3/gallon and their weekly spend grows to $125-150 a week. Or more.

they can't tailgate you without getting a big lungfull of diesel exhaust!"

Too bad the new VW diesels can't do that -- there are times I certainly have wanted to ... :-)


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

But $75.00 to $100.00 or $125.00 to $150.00 for gas is cheap compared to living in the concrete jungle.Because a $100.000 house out here is a $250.00 house in the city.If you rent its about $400.00 per month out here.But would be $800.00 in the city.Groceries are cheaper out here.Plus you can grow some of your own.You have to pay for water and sewer in the city.Out here you have a septic tank and a well.Only upkeep expenses rather then a water bill.

My nephew who was a Country kid.Now works and lives in the city.He bought a Duplex.He owns the inside walls but not the outside.He does not own the lawn or the outside of the Duplex.He pays a manitanace fee for outside maintance and makes a big monthly mortgage payment for the inside he supposibly owns.They have a neighborhood block meeting to keep the ordinances from allowing them to do anything with there inside land they own?How could anyone live like that?


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

johndeere I also live 70 miles from Chicago, in Kempton, IL. Just wondering in wich direction are you 70 miles from Chicago?

Bob


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I've got a better question.

What price gas before people demand that their local/state governments due their job with respect to traffic light maintenance and synchronization?

Apparently, for some of them, if it glows and changes colors, there's nothing wrong with it. Others know that there's something wrong, they just don't feel it to be a priority to fix.

As one example, VDOT has a traffic light on US17 just north of I95 which has had a malfunctioning loop detector for a YEAR. The bids to fix it have been coming back "too expensive" according to the local paper. The result is that it's on a fixed timed mode, giving a green to traffic on the side street even when there are no cars waiting.

I wonder how much gas has been wasted over the course of a year by motorists stopping needlessly for this malfunctioning traffic light, and how the dollar value of that amount of gas compares to the cost of fixing the light.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

He owns the inside walls but not the outside.He does not own the lawn or the outside of the Duplex.He pays a manitanace fee for outside maintance and makes a big monthly mortgage payment for the inside he supposibly owns.They have a neighborhood block meeting to keep the ordinances from allowing them to do anything with there inside land they own?How could anyone live like that?

You're comparing apples to oranges. Country kid may like the fact that he doesn't have to spend his evenings and weekends mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, etc. My job does not leave me much time for yard work, so I'm happy I don't have to sacrifice what little free time I have to maintaining half an acre of a golf course. Paying someone else to do the work always costs, but if one's time is worth anything, it's worth thinking about. Country kid also isn't spending at least two hours of his life every day sitting in a car listening to the stereo and watching the gas gauge go to zero. His money; his choice, just as it is yours.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

bob411 im near Dwight.

Steve o I guess some just do not need much space.I just can not spend my free time behind walls.I guess it would be fine in the winter?But this time of year I would go nuts.

Also in the city you burn most of your gas going no place.I live where if you drive 60 mph.In one hour your 60 miles down the road.Unless you have a few stop sighns.In the city they do not go by miles.They go by minutes.Some times it takes 1 hour to go 10 miles on a low traffic day.Thats a real gas buring way to live.Also keeps the break shops busy.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

That's for sure. I think you can wear out a set of brakes in one rush hour on the Dan Ryan.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

"Some times it takes 1 hour to go 10 miles on a low traffic day."

Yes, and your car's engine will produce a lot more NOx, too. NOx is perhaps one of the most troublesome automotive pollutants. So much so that many states have switched over to a dyno emissions test so they can measure it. (NOx can't be measured with an idle test, since NOx is produced when the engine is under load and more so when the engine is accelerating).

This, by the way, is why anyone that truely cares about the environment isn't trying to force people out of their cars by creating traffic congestion.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I haven't heard of any self-styled environmentalists advocating traffic congestion. What I have heard is people saying that taxpayers as a whole shouldn't need to continue to spend money to build more and more roads so that people in a relatively few urban areas can continue to move farther and farther from work, with the result being that traffic doesn't improve but instead just gets worse.

That doesn't necessarily mean that they want traffic congestion. Toll roads or local/regional taxes might be options to consider, as would better planning of development so that traffic flow is managed more effectively.

You mentioned before that in the DC area a lot of the money that was supposed to be spent on the roads was diverted to the Metro. Okay, so that may explain the problem there, but how then do you explain why highways just keep getting more and more lanes everywhere else, yet according to any study you look at, people spend more time than ever sitting in slow moving traffic? If simply increasing the amount of pavement were the answer, traffic would not be a problem.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Traffic does not seem slow in the DC area.I went there a few years ago on vacation.Scared this country boy half to death.

They drive fast there.Forget the rt.But when you get in the area.Its a wagon wheel spoke.You drive in a big circle and when you need to get off the rt.You just take one of the spokes in to DC or where ever.I drove in a circle because I missed my turn off.Had to go clear back around.Im sure I did not have to.But it sure beat getting lost.

They have sighns that said.''In a accident push it off the road and call 911''Something like that.My wife and my self laughed for miles about that sighn.Then a guy towing a speed boat lost the fiberglass boat in the middle of the road just a head of us.Not much slowing down took place.People just used a different lane.Im still shaking over that vacation 5 years ago.Atleast Chicago the traffic slows to a crawl.

I remember getting to the motel.Forget the mame of the City near DC maybe Mansaa or something like that?We never drove until we snuck out late at night to head home.We took that under ground train.That color coded Blue line Yellow line so on and on etc.We got off the train at the Cemetary Arlington.Then could not figure out where the holes were to go under ground to get back on.So we walked from Arlington cemeatary to the capitol all the sights.The Washington monument looked close.I about was ready for a swim at that reflecting pool.Still can not figure how the train could have went any further.Because of the Potomic river or what ever they call it.That long bridge was a hike also.Stumbled on to the White House and some how missed the Jefferson Memorial.Until we were passed it and I was not going back to see it.I thought the Mall was a shopping center?But was nice after all.My wife could not spend money there.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

"Okay, so that may explain the problem there, but how then do you explain why highways just keep getting more and more lanes everywhere else, yet according to any study you look at, people spend more time than ever sitting in slow moving traffic?"

First, I don't know what studies you are looking at, nor do I know what highways "just keep getting more and more lanes everywhere else". But that might explain why people are still sitting in traffic.

Beyond a certain number of lanes, adding additional lanes to a highway does not do very much to increase it's capacity. The bottlenecks are at interchanges, looking at the situation logically one would conclude that adding lanes is not going to resolve that problem.

One thing that is seemingly never brought up in this discussion is population growth from immigration. I don't know if that's a taboo subject or what, but the fact is that we are adding the equivalent of a large city to our population each year through immigration. I don't know how one could be for "smart growth" and overlook or ignore the impact from that. Maybe if "smart growth" is about increasing population density by any available means, that could be an explanation.

As far as getting people out of their cars by creating congestion, I've actually heard some "environmentalists" come right out and say that's what they intend to do.


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Gas tax

Any thoughts on using the gasoline tax for public transportation?


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I've ridden the "T" in Metro Boston during rush hour....Not a fun experience. My sister rides the commuter rail from Concord to Cambridge every morning and evening....also a nightmare. How would you increase the capacity of public transportation with very old infrastructure?


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Interesting stat: 70% of all transit users have neither a car nor a driver's license.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Contribution of Highways and Transit to Congestion Relief: A Realistic View


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I ride public transportation and gave up my car.

Answer some previous postings:
"That isn't what happened in the DC area. In the DC area, most of the highway money that would've gone to building roads in the 60s and 70s was spent on Metro instead.

The result? #3 worst metro area for traffic in the entire country. "

You are describing a poorly constructed and very overpriced project. You like many fail to understand there is never enough roads and DC is a perfect example.
They expand I495 - and more people use it, they expand I395 and more population and the same goes for the TollWay, 66, etc. Whereas, instead of building another lane they should build a train route allowing commuters to drive to a park/ride and jump on a train to their destination. I don't care how far the suburb definition goes on Route 7 - there will not be enough roadway to accomodate the people. However, you can easily add another train cart to accomodate another 150 people which removes 150 cars from the roadway.

If hybrids burn no cleaner than conventional vehicles,then why does the U.S. government give a $2000 clean fuel tax deduction for the purchase of a hybrid?

Are you kidding or simply being silly? Do you not realize the US government was allowing FULL deduction for SUV vehicles over x tons - so if you owned a business it would be cheaper to buy a gas guzzling SUV over a hybrid or regular car.

Some of the other postings regarding public transportation - Amtrak is going bankrupt because our society decided to give into the Big Three instead of maintaining a far extensive train system prior to the 50s. We are probably the ONLY large country in the world without high-speed train service.

Yet, we continue to expand roadways which adds more cars and traffic - it is a never ending cycle. Gas prices will not make much change because our spoiled society would rather spend $5 for 10 miles vs. $5 for a train to take them 30 miles and faster!


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

"I ride public transportation and gave up my car."

Did you give up your driver's license too?

"You are describing a poorly constructed and very overpriced project."

That description certainly applies to Metro. $2 million for that custom-designed-for-Metro additional car, which will not seat anywhere near another 150 people. $2 million! Why should a Metro car cost $2 million?

"They expand I495 - and more people use it"

What a surprise. Tell me you're not seriously surprised that a road expansion leads to more utilization of the road. (What expansion of I495 are you specifically referencing, anyway? I'm not aware of any expansion of I495 that has taken place in the last 10 years other than the Springfield Interchange and the Wilson Bridge project, and both of those were so far overdue that it wasn't funny).

Another interesting stat: DC has the fewest lane miles per capita of any major metropolitan area. DC also has comparatively few lane miles of major arterials as compared to interstates, with the predictable result that the interstates take the place of the major arterials that were never built.

Another problem is that much of the public transportation in this area is from the suburbs to the central city. That worked fine when most of the jobs were in the central city, or at least located within the beltway, but that is no longer the case. The suburbs of Herndon, Tyson's Corner, Reston, Springfield, are all major employment centers now, with the Manassas area coming up fast in that category as well.


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Amtrak

"Amtrak is going bankrupt"

They're more expensive than Greyhound, they take just as long, often you can get a plane ticket for $20-$40 more than the Amtrak fare and get there in a 10th of the time.

I can't imagine why Amtrak would be going bankrupt. I guess it's because we aren't given them enough funding.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

**Gas prices will not make much change because our spoiled society would rather spend $5 for 10 miles vs. $5 for a train to take them 30 miles and faster!**

If you're talking about gasoline, $5 will take my sport ute 40 miles in less than 40 minutes, my car 55 miles or more. They also get me to my destinations on time, not an hour too soon or an hour and a half too late. I'm sure that $5 train ticket really costs more like $200. I doubt $5 would move a train 10'.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

it will be interesting to see what happens. being in the petroleum buisness, i can tell you prices wil go up. and it would only take one major incident, explosion at a refinery, break in a main pipline, etc to double gas prices. so i wouldnt suggest taking a long term loan on a hummer. haha myself although i make my living in the gas and oil industry. i dont use much of it, i drive less than 6k a yr, given the choice most the time i ride a bike or walk, i hate driving.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I just seen a program.On FX about a hurrican wiping out a gas line.Then gas going up and all the panic that was created.Made me wonder just how close to reality it was to what could happen?It was a myth and not true but made me think.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I've ridden the "T" in Metro Boston during rush hour....Not a fun experience. My sister rides the commuter rail from Concord to Cambridge every morning and evening....also a nightmare. How would you increase the capacity of public transportation with very old infrastructure?

It is a problem. You're probably familiar with the cost overruns associated with the "Big Dig" (costs which every taxpayer in the Boston area -- driver or not -- got to pay). I would imagine that a serious modernization of older subway systems like the T and the NYC subway system would cost a fortune -- even before overruns. Maybe the answer is that going underground to fix things is not cost-effective, and that new routes/upgrades should be on land (on-grade light rail). Without that modernization, though, how does a mass transit system attract riders? Who covers those costs? They're strangling mass transit here in the Twin Cities because they're good at assigning the costs of roads to every taxpayer, but they want mass transit to pay its own way (!).

Interesting stat: 70% of all transit users have neither a car nor a driver's license.

That whole article is another example of being able to say anything with statistics. They refuse to examine "the chicken and the egg" of the situation: do folks not own cars because mass transit meets their needs, or do they make do with mass transit because they can't afford a car? Driving 12,000 miles a year at the IRS reimbursement rates costs around $4,000 a year, money in just about anyone's book.

Also, given the "non-person" status one has without a driver's license as identification, many states (if not all of them) offer state ID cards (my non-driving mother and non-driving brother each have one). Those cards probably don't count for the TTI's purposes. But you have to spend $$ for a driver's license; why bother if you cannot legally drive or if it's money you don't need to spend? It makes me wonder what point they're trying to make.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

**being in the petroleum buisness, i can tell you prices wil go up. and it would only take one major incident, explosion at a refinery, break in a main pipline, etc to double gas prices.**

Lest you create some kind of panic with that remark, everyone should remember an explosion occurred at a BP refinery in Texas not long ago. It was the 3rd largest refinery in the country, and produces 3% of the gasoline used in this country...something like that. I can't see a 3% drop in capacity immediately causing a 100% increase in price myself. That explosion was expected to reduce that one refinery's capacity by only 5% for a time while they repair it. The price of fuel has dropped since that incident.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

i was thinking more in terms of a large incident done on purpose. a anti american group, terrorists or tree huggers causing major damage to a refinery or pipeline, say during a slow time near holidays, when these places have a reduced crew. yes they had an explosion at the b.p. refinery yes it was bad, but from my point of veiw, not a major incident. and it wasnt done with the purpose of bringing the econemy to its knees. never the less costs go up and those costs will be passed to the consumer in the form of higher prices. so as i said you wil pay more in the long run.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

**but from my point of veiw, not a major incident.**

What constitutes a major incident? That sounds like a pretty major facillity. Say that explosion wiped it clear off the map, it still only produces 3%.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

****What constitutes a major incident? That sounds like a pretty major facillity. Say that explosion wiped it clear off the map, it still only produces 3%.****

A lot of price is factored in from psychology. I saw crude oil prices rise over a dollar in one day because an oil tanker capsized in the Gulf of Mexico - just one tanker! Of course, that was only a temporary inflation and subsided within a few days. However, if there was a terrorist attack against one of the refineries, the merchantile exchanges would go nuts. Gas would go through the roof as people would become increasingly afraid. Add the fact that we haven't built a gas refinery in about three decades, and that slight constraint in supply in an already contrained market would add even more "fuel" (pardon the pun) to inflation. My advice: By oil stocks. The price isn't about to go down anytime soon.

There is no magic price at which people will stop driving. As the price level rises, people will look at more fuel-efficient options when they go to purchase another vehicle. Gradually overtime, gas engines will be phased out in favor of Hydrogen fuel cells, with many steps in between. Anyone who has seen a supply & demand chart in Economics 101 can follow that logic.

As for seatbelt laws, there is one thing that hasn't been considered by posters in this forum: Negative Externalities, that is, those little cost that arrive from negligence at cost to the public. The reason for ticketing is the same reason for taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. The inevitable costs that arise from their use is going to be paid for by the public. Example: Someone drinks & drives, smashes into a guardrail and takes out a few signs. This driver doesn't have insurance either, so the public will have to pay to replace the signs, guardrail, and his rehabilitation in a state funded program, which will be mandated by a public court. The same is true with seatbelts, the same guy in this drinking and driving accident suffers greater injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt, and doesn't have health insurance. We end up bearing the cost to the tune of an estimated $14 million a year.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

*However, if there was a terrorist attack against one of the refineries, the merchantile exchanges would go nuts.*

I agree. That's what annoys me. Even the currant price isn't based on supply and demand. It's middle men playing games. I won't be buying oil stock, at least not much. Sure, their profits are up, but that doesn't translate into a giant dividend for common share holders. Like you say, perception and speculation drives the stock price up and down. Since oil companies have been cutting a fat hog for a few years already, I'm guessing a bunch of people already loaded up on oil stock and now there's a good chance it's over priced. Bubble pops and late comers get stuck holding the bag. I half way think the stock market exists so rich people can rip off the rest, Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Andy Fastow, Martha Stewart, to name a few.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I agree with you assertion that large oil companies are far overvalued. The money to be had is in drilling & exploration companies that are acquistion targets or are expanding at a faster than average rate. But why play stocks? Most quality index funds have eleven-percent ten year annualized returns. That beats eighty-percent of money managers.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Another problem is that much of the public transportation in this area is from the suburbs to the central city. That worked fine when most of the jobs were in the central city, or at least located within the beltway, but that is no longer the case. The suburbs of Herndon, Tyson's Corner, Reston, Springfield, are all major employment centers now, with the Manassas area coming up fast in that category as well.

This is the point, as these mostly newer suburbs have expanded tremendously in recent decades - no consideration whatsoever was made for public transportation. As a result, each highway becomes immediately obsolete. If trains were build with the expanding suburbs line it would NEVER become obsolete. Poor planning and the more this country continues to do the same thing we will continue to get the same results.

Consider the current expansion in the SW, and FL - which will only result in the same traffic complaints of DC, Atlanta, etc.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Regarding driver's licenses, it seems to me that someone who could get a driver's license WOULD even if they didn't drive a car on a regular basis just in case they might need to.

Someone who couldn't get a driver's license, for whatever reason, would have to get an ID card instead.

It's worth noting that the only people I've ever known to have ID cards instead of driver's licenses had either never had a driver's license before or couldn't get a driver's license (due to unpaid tickets, for example).

As far as the costs for a driver's license vs. an ID card, here in Virginia a driver's license costs $4 per year (with a 5-year expiration) A photo ID card costs $10, also with a 5-year expiration.

That makes the incremental cost of a driver's license over a photo ID card just $10 over 5 years. It doesn't seem reasonable to believe that the additional $2 per year for a driver's license would be a reason not to get one in anything approaching normal circumstances. Certainly, very few of those who gave up their car for public transportation would be in that category, especially given the much-touted cost savings of doing so.

Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need car insurance to have a driver's license. So the additional costs of a driver's license are miniscule, and the benefits of being able to legally drive a car in an emergency or something would seem to far outweigh those costs.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Here is a bit of information which should help those who think anything can be done about traffic until real public transportation alternatives are available:

NJ Turnpike & CT Turnpike along I95 are basically identical roadways in distance 111-112 miles. Both are full of trucks, cars and traffic going north and south along the most congested population grid of the US.

Some think NJ has the cheapest gas in the region but here are some stats to calculate the cost per mile and note - the turnpike is still the fastest/easiest route (including Amtrak or NJ Transit).

Some data:
.Toll on the NJT from NY to Exit 1 (Delaware) is $6.45 (Cash). The distance covered is 111 miles
.The CT Turnpike turnpike from NY State line to Rhode Island is 112 miles. However, it charges no toll.

The price of gas in NJ due to reduced taxes on the turnpike for regular is about $2.00 p/gallon
The price of gas in CT due to regular taxes is approximately $2.20 p/gallon.

If you are in a 32 mpg mid-size sedan (Impala or VW Passat) your gas cost would be:
$6.93 in NJ one way
$7.63 in CT one way
(This excludes traffic slow-downs)

In NJ one would think they are paying 20 cents less per gallon but in reality are paying a MUCH MUCH higher cost per mile because the cost of spread out via EZ-Pass or toll. The point is, everyone in NJ or those traveling through NJ accept this because it is the only option. Now, if the government really invested in a high-speed train line (ie. Japan has 250 mile p/hr trains) and charged more taxes on gas - it would greatly reduce traffic as you would pay the same amount and get there faster.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I support toll roads. That is the nicest example of "pay as you go" there is. That is of course assuming that the toll money actually goes into maintaining the road.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

toll roads are about the same as gas taxes, as the less you use or use it, the less you pay. so tuseage would depend on personal choices, as to what kind of vehical you drive, if you drive, how far you a willing to commute, etc. i decide to drive a small car live in the city and walk to work, i save. you decide to live in the burbs, drive a hummer you pay. works for me.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Sounds fair to me. I also support high occupancy toll lanes, too. I think Virginia should build more toll roads, as Illinois has done.


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Toll road pricing

Indiana turnpike: $4.15 to go 129 miles (3.2 cents/mile)

Ohio Turnpike: $8.95 to go 239 miles (3.7 cents/mile)

NJ Turnpike: $6.45 to go 113 miles (5.7 cents/mile)

The prices charged on the NJ turnpike seem high at first glance, but things in general are more expensive on the east coast than they are in the midwest.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

i would rather pay a few cents a mile to drive a smoothe well kept road, than drive the crappy crater filled roads we have in mich. last time i went to cleveland on the oh turnpike it was a smooth drive.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I'd rather pay a few cents a mile than to have to sit in traffic congestion. High occupancy toll lanes, anyone?

(By the way,they've been dubbed "Lexus lanes" by social commentators who believe that they are unfair to poor people. I haven't heard this argument about regular toll roads.)


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

No toll roads in OR. Everyone I've talked to that drove somewhere that has toll roads comes back and says we absolutely don't want that no matter what. They say it would be better to pay a higher fuel tax or something. The hov lane idea has been tried here and it didn't work. It just takes one lane pretty much out of service making the other lanes more crowded.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

If the choice is between a toll road or no road at all, I'm going with the toll road.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Toll roads are unfair unless they are evenly spread across a region with viable alternate routes. Those who have to commute along the Dulles corridor in Virginia pay extra for the privilege of sitting in traffic. The Toll Road is just as congested as 66, 95, and the beltway. And it's the only east-west highway in that area (unless you're willing to drive an extra half hour south to 66, which is useless if you need to get into/out of DC during rush hour and don't have enough people for HOV). And they just raised the tolls--not to pay for road maintenance, but to pay for a shortsighted Metro extension that will be decades in coming and designed to be underutilized. Craziness.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Public transportation is a blessing vs. highways if it runs in parallel.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Tolls should not be used to subsidize public transportation. Neither should gas taxes, for that matter.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Tolls should not be used to subsidize public transportation. Neither should gas taxes, for that matter.

Why not? Public transportation in the form of buses and vanpools use gasoline or diesel fuel, too. And if mass transit can be appealing enough to take drivers off the road, that's that much less traffic that you have to contend with if you have to keep driving your car. What do you think be used to subsidize public transportation?


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

The function of mass transit is to provide transportation for people who cannot or choose not to drive.

Mass transit has NEVER been shown to make enough of an impact in traffic congestion to make that it's primary function. Except, perhaps, when a bus breaks down in the middle of an intersection--then it creates traffic congestion when none existed before.

To summarize, mass transit's function is NOT to reduce traffic congestion.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

To summarize, mass transit's function is NOT to reduce traffic congestion.

Says who? Seriously, if that's the case, then maybe the whole thing should be re-examined. Maybe we're better off financially just giving vouchers to people who can't afford to buy a car, and maintaining fleets of on-call vehicles for those who cannot drive. Who needs schedules and buses and trains that can handle 60 passengers in one vehicle?

Congested metropolitan areas cannot build themselves out of the congestion by building more roads. Most of the California coast and Atlanta are testaments to the failure of that idea. What's left is either spreading out the load (traffic reports in LA start at 4 am) or finding some way to move people more efficiently. There are bonuses in the quality of air and in how much land is spared the steamroller and concrete mixer, too.

Frankly, if mass transit is only supposed to provide transportation for those who don't otherwise have it, we are wasting some serious money buying buses and rail cars and hiring expensive employees with special licenses to run and maintain them. But I don't think that's what mass transit is for. And you still didn't answer my question. :-) Even assuming your purpose for mass transit, how would you pay for it?


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

There actually is a study showing that it would cost less to just give a car to someone who couldn't afford one.

As far as paying for mass transit, fare increases. Metro hasn't wanted to increase their fares at all. I suspect that's because if they do, they might invoke some public inquiry into exactly how the money is getting spent. I know it was quite a shock to me to find out that one of their railcars--just a single railcar--costs $2 million.

On that note, research done by Randal O'Toole has shown that busses are far more cost effective than heavy rail transit, which is what Metro is. Gasoline taxes which fund road improvements benefit transit riders who use busses as well as other road users.

Gasoline taxes which fund heavy rail transit mainly benefit heavy rail transit users (owing to the limited congestion relief that provides), and not as much as if those funds were spend on bus transit.

I don't know about California and Atlanta, but I would NOT call DC a congested metropolitan area. Certainly, it does not have nearly the population density of Chicagoland, which, while it certainly has congestion, it has many non-interstate alternative routes (owing to it's larger number of principal arterial lane-miles per capita than the DC metro area) so there's no need to sit in the congestion if you can read a map.

In fact, my old neighbor lived in LA and he said, "I can't believe this place. Even in LA, if the interstate was congested, you could still take the surface streets to get where you want to go." He's right. For much of this area, the interstate is the only way to get around. There is no parallel, non-interstate road for the Beltway. There's only one for I95 (US1). For I66, it's US50. That's IT.

Finally, there's another way of looking at the problem: This area is not arranged in a grid pattern, but you can still look at block sizes. How's a 15-mile trip around the "block"? That's how far I'd have to drive leaving my house and making nothing but right turns to get back to where I started. That's typical for this metro area..not typical for even rural portions of, for example, Ohio (which have roads on at least a 1 mile by 1 mile grid pattern, making a 4-mile trip around the block).


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

You asked, "What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?"

We goning to find out if gasoline prices keep rising at the current rate, aren't we.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

***Now, if the government really invested in a high-speed train line (ie. Japan has 250 mile p/hr trains)***

Ever since Route 80 was built in NJ I heard that there was going to be a monorail down the center median. It ain't gonna happen!
But why should the GOVERNMENT build trains? Do they build automobiles? The only change I would make is to have the feds own the tracks (as opposed to the rail companies) like they own the roads. But let the rail companies find investors to build the trains. NOT the government!


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

There actually is a study showing that it would cost less to just give a car to someone who couldn't afford one.

As far as paying for mass transit, fare increases. Metro hasn't wanted to increase their fares at all. I suspect that's because if they do, they might invoke some public inquiry into exactly how the money is getting spent. I know it was quite a shock to me to find out that one of their railcars--just a single railcar--costs $2 million.

I think, as with so many other areas of public spending, we need to examine with some new eyes. We've been shaving and trimming for a couple of decades now, yet we have not seemed to address some basic problems. It is obvious to me that some long-held beliefs ("Let's just add a lane in each direction") have proved themselves not to work; in the same light, maybe it should no longer be a given that mass transit is worth the large amount that is spent on it. That does not necessarily solve the problem of 15-mile trips round the block. But maybe we need to have the political courage to declare what we want as a goal and to see how to best meet it, not just perpetuate what is. I think we have a vested interest in some forms of public transit from the standpoints of congestion, fuel usage, and pollution (both air and eventual disposal). Whether than needs to take the form of $2 million rail cars or half-empty buses is something that ought to be discussed.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

A goal? Wouldn't that mean that some politician actually had the cajones to actually take a stand on something that they consider important rather than listen to what the latest polls say? Guess you hit a nerve there....probably on my way to the teacups....


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

"I think we have a vested interest in some forms of public transit from the standpoints of congestion, fuel usage, and pollution (both air and eventual disposal)."

Traffic signal synchronization and even routine maintenance would reduce congestion, fuel usage, and pollution. These benefits are real, proven, and immediate, and they do not depend on changing driver behavior or "social engineering" (to get drivers to use public transportation instead).

Yet, many jurisdictions don't seem to consider their traffic signals a priority. Consider that the nation scored an average grade of D-minus for it's traffic signal systems, as the excerpt below from a letter sent by VDOT shows:

"Did you know that VDOT in Northern Virginia received an A-minus for it traffic signal system while the nation scored an overall grade of D-minus? Earlier this spring a group of transportation associations known as the National Transportation Operations Coalition released The National Traffic Signal Report Card. About 380 agencies in 49 states participated in the national traffic signal operation self-assessment that asked 50 questions in the areas of proactive management, signal system coordination, specialized operations, detection and maintenance."

The report here is here:

http://www.ite.org/reportcard/

Studies have shown that traffic signal optimization and maintenance is an inexpensive way to reduce traffic congestion, compared to the alternatives.

But, I suppose, it's easier for the average person to understand how public transportation is enivironmentally friendly..it's a "duh, everyone knows that" sort of idea. The mental image of an electric-powered Metro train filled with people goes right along with it.

It's far more difficult for the average person to understand an abstract concept like traffic light synchronization and the environmental benefits it provides. There is no warm-and-fuzzy mental image to go along with it. It's just a traffic light, it changes colors, what more is it supposed to do? Witness, even, the desire of some people to add red-light cameras to traffic signals. That the red-light violations are likely a symptom of a problem with the traffic signal itself is never considered--it must be a problem with the driver, to be addressed by enforcement.

That, I suppose, is why the average grade is a D minus. They just do what the general public wants them to do. If that's a D minus level of effort, that's what they get.

Here is a link that might be useful: Letter from VDOT


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Only some traffic is people commuting to work. A lot of it is ego trips - driving the kids to soccer instead of them riding their bikes, and same in driving them to school. Also, some folks don't plan their shopping, and buy something almost every day. I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who expect to spend money every day.

Here's a question for you - how come traffic is so much busier during the school year? You can't convince me that many more people are going to work every day!

I put $20 cash in my wallet for "emergencies". I buy gasoline on a debit card, same with groceries. That $20 will be there in a year from now. My purchases are all prety much planned.

In 1980, the median price of a new car was $3500. Today, it's not quite $35,000. People tend to ratio their transportation costs. In 1980, gasoline hit $1.20 per gallon, and most of the year, it was about 95 cents. When it hit $1.20 per gallon, you saw a slight reduction in driving, but not a lot.

Ratioing the price of fuel to the price of the vehicle, then, we won't see any visible reduction in driving until gasoline exceeds $10 per gallon.

Dramatic reduction in driving will happen when people once again concern themselves with how long their commute is, and select job or house accordingly.

We just bought a house and really struggled with the concept that it's almost (not quite) ten miles from work. But that was the closest we could find, and still get some land. To us, 10 miles each way seems very long. To combat this, we are going to look for one of those marvelous little Japanese cars from the mid-80s that got 60mpg. And on good weather days, I want to start cycling to work, but I'm pretty out of shape. Hopefully, I can use the cycling to get back into shape, too.

The only thing that will make a significant impact on traffic and fossil fuel usage is flat-out changes in personal lifestyles. And we Amercians have gotten ugly about that. I cannot remember a time when folks were more addicted to not changing their lifestyles than today.

WCB


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I can guarantee you that the summer weekend traffic jams on I95 between Dumfries, VA and Fredericksburg, VA are NOT caused by people commuting to work. I think most of them are going to the beach, actually, although I am not sure.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

"To combat this, we are going to look for one of those marvelous little Japanese cars from the mid-80s that got 60mpg."

I wish you luck. The closest I could find is a 1985 Civic Coupe HF, which I've never heard of or knew about until now. 54 highway MPG. It's a 2-seater. Nothing else I've found, save for a diesel Toyota (47 highway MPG), even comes close. I also hope you'll be happy with a manual transmission.

Most everything else with a manual transmission gets around 38MPG, which you can easily find in a car that isn't 20 years old...if you want an automatic I suggest skipping the 20-year-old cars because they mostly have 3-speed automatics and get worse fuel economy than many modern vehicles with 4 and 5/6 speed automatics.

Here is a link that might be useful: EPA Fuel Economy Guide


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Seeing that this thread is still alive here is the bottom line. It will never happen. Nobody will walk or ride a bike
if they can use a car. Use a bike or walk in the pouring
rain ? I don't think so. People will just pay. Complain about it but pay. What about all the new-bees that just got their licence ? Do you think they will not use the car or truck they saved for years to get. NOT.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Traffic signal synchronization and even routine maintenance would reduce congestion, fuel usage, and pollution. These benefits are real, proven, and immediate, and they do not depend on changing driver behavior or "social engineering" (to get drivers to use public transportation instead).

I don't doubt that improving synchronization is a good idea, having experienced poorly-timed lights frequently myself. Routine maintenance, however, would require changing driver behavior. Cars, fuels, and lubricants have gotten much better, so the effects of poor maintenance are much less harmful than they used to be. But getting a vehicle serviced properly and on time obviously is something many people don't want to bother with.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Sorry, I mean routine maintenance for traffic lights--like checking on a regular basis that the vehicle detectors are functioning, that the signal controller is configured the way it should be, etc. A lot of jurisdictions rely upon complaints, instead of being proactive about these problems.

As far as routine maintenance for cars, emissions inspection programs make routine maintenance (particularly oil changes) even more important. I've heard about cars failing simply because the oil hadn't been changed and had too much fuel dilution, leading to a high HC reading.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Posted by: cowboyind (My Page) on Sat, Jun 4, 05 at 7:59

That's right; lifestyle choices are highly changeable, and economics is one of the biggest factors affecting them.
If gas were to go to $5 a gallon, you can predict these things with absolute certainty:

-Big SUVs will be all but unheard of
-The only people who will drive full-size pickup trucks to work will be those who use them in their job
-Traffic will decrease significantly as people move closer to work, carpool, and eliminate unnecessary driving
-Public transportation options will increase almost immediately, starting with shuttle and commuter buses

The bottom line is, Europeans can better afford their $5 a gallon gas than Americans could, since most Europeans actually save a little money rather than spending every last penny, and because quite a few European countries have a higher per-capita income and standard of living than we do. If $5 gas makes it here, you'll probably see MORE attempts to economize than what you now see in Europe, because people here can less afford those high prices.

I agree 99 % with the cowboy , which is pretty good for me.

Economics will force our nation to be more and more like Europe - not a bad thing....

I disagree about the idea of toll roads - to directly pay someone sitting on his butt to use "his" road is wrong now and was wrong 100 years ago..

The highways belong to the people - they are ours - the present system (gas tax) is the best way of maintenance and new highways.

Around here, SE PA, traffic is not really too bad, growth seems to be regulated some, but we definitely and obviously need another lane surrounding Harrisburg . The "highway/traffic designers" seem to have a penchant for creating congestion rather than fixing it..


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

brian703, I have had a CRX HF and also a Toyota Starlet. With careful attention paid to driving style, you can achieve 60 regularly.

Re: The EPA economy guide - I have always EXCEEDED EPA estimates with a manual transmission, and never been able to achieve them with an automatic. Fundamentally, I look at the weight of the vehicle, and coefficient of drag, and then make sure it doesn't have an oversize engine, and I know it's going to be OK.

As far as a manual, you bet. I HATE automatics. Can't stand 'em. GM, Ford, and Chrysler got the US public to dislike manuals by making only awful ones, with heavy clutches, and rubber-banding shift linkages. That's the only reason manuals are getting hard to find.

If you buy about a 20 year old car, it typically weighs 500-800 pounds less than a modern model, due to the absence of airbags. My 1983 Audi 4000S (a fairly luxurious car), routinely delivered 42-44 MPG. That's not a diesel, but it was fairly sluggish on acceleration. But it was light - only about 2300 pounds. today, it's hard to find a car that weighs so little.

Today's cars also have too many frills - every electric motor adds weight. I fundamentally don't like anything built new today.

I've never been spooked at older vehicles. the Japanese cars just go and go and go, and then when they finally have trouble, they are fixable, and then they go and go and go. I've had numererous Japanese vehicles with 400k, 500K, etc, miles on the original, non-rebuilt engine.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

-Big SUVs will be all but unheard of
**-The only people who will drive full-size pickup trucks to work will be those who use them in their job
-Traffic will decrease significantly as people move closer to work, carpool, and eliminate unnecessary driving
-Public transportation options will increase almost immediately, starting with shuttle and commuter buses**

earthworm, imo that might happen with a sudden large increase in fuel cost, but only temporarilly. Your prediction is based on what I believe is the false assumption that we are incabable of building personal vehicles powered by something other than petrolium. We use petrolium because it's here and it's cheep. Take it away and we'll be using something else in no time. jmo

westcoast, What a bunch of nonsense. 800 lb airbags, jeesh. You've had numerous 500k mile jap cars with original engines? Uh huh. Portland, OR. That says it all. Run for city counsel, you have the same grip on reality as they do.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

It's a chemically-enchanced grip on reality, I'm sure.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

I can tell you that gas prices have adversely impacted small business people.
The local furniture store has instituted a $35 for all deliveries, even local (less than 6 miles round trip).

A deli owner I know now closes on Mondays because his business has dropped off considerably and it's too costly for him to stay open 7 days a week.

A garden center with which I am familiar has also instituted a charge, albeit $20 for local deliveries. However, overall, their business is down by 10% as are most garden center businesses.

I just got hit with a fuel surcharge for a vacation trip I am taking with a group.

People might not stop driving, but they will adjust their spending.

As another poster did, I have looked at the fuel cost to go to the grocery store in another town vs. staying in town and paying higher prices at the local supermarket. It's still more economical for me to drive 10 miles to the less expensive store, but if prices keep going up that might not be the case. Of course, it would depend on how much the supermarkets raise their prices also.

I believe if gas prices can go much above $3/gal., we will enter into a recession; $5/gal. would bring on a depression.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

>>I believe if gas prices can go much above $3/gal., we will enter into a recession; $5/gal. would bring on a depression.<<

Bingo. Most of the suppositions seem to work in a vacuum. (no, not a Miele:)
Social engineering by adjusting prices doesn't work, never has and never will. It WILL hurt the economy and individuals. All these high prices will cause inflation, a new round of COLA's and even more distress for Ford and GM. Welcome to he new world, just like the old one.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Well, we beat $3 per gallon and no recession. I don't think we'll see traffic patterns change before $10 per gallon.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

ok, as far as gas prices effecting driving habits, 3.00 was my limit. I refused to pay above 2.99 and with my BIG SUV, I was able to hold out during the 3.39 price hikes. a little economy driving kept me over 'till the gas prices went down. I have not had to pay over 2.98 at all.
now on the trafic patterns and wasting fuel. I live in NC in the charlotte area. around here all freeway exchanges have traffic lights at the exit ramps. traffic always backs up for the left turns traffic during heavy times ALWAYS piles up onto the freeway and cloggs flow. if the government would pay for cloverleaf interchanges and limit development directly adjacent to interchanges traffic would not back up and flow would be MUCH smoother, reducing wasted fuel and emmissions.
a large vehicle that gets 18-26 MPG with a 42Gallon tank can travel quite a long time to wait out the temporary price hikes.
now if the prices actually went up, not just fearmongering temp hikes, I would have to dump my Suburban and drive a more economic vehicle.
this thing takes over 120.00 to fill with regular, a continous price hike in gas would be impossible for me.
John


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

**Well, we beat $3 per gallon and no recession.**

Too early to make that claim. It takes months to determine when a recession has started and when it ends.

IMO, if the government would get behind nuclear power for electricity, and make a goal of developing an alternate fuel such as hydrogen for cars, the entire energy issue would go away. I'd bet just announcing the impementation of such a plan would make the price of gas/oil fall 50% in no time. Not going to happen though with all the money the oil industry throws at elected officials. It really won't happen with a guy with ties to the industry in the white house.


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RE: What Price Gas Before Traffic Subsides?

Nuclear power scares me. I admit I am not the most educated on the subject, but I think it would of best if we hadn't discovered it for a few hundred years, when everyone is smarter, and understands what to do with the waist, and how to do everything safe. I think you are right about hydrogen, making gas/oil worth a lot less. I also think it would have a dramatic effect on our foreign policy. Both Republican, and Democratic administrations have had to turn a blind eye to what ticks off the people that hate America so much.

Bob


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