The best way to manage the increasing cost of gas, in an age when the demand for gas is clearly beginning to outstrip the supply, is to use less of it.
By Jason Allen
Published May 16, 2011
By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 16, 2011 at 11:56:42
Simplest way to make people start thinking about reducing their gas usage? A little RF communication here between gas-stations and cars, a little twiddling with the odometer, and poof:
a per-trip pricetag displayed on the dashboard. That's my dream: you pull out the key and you find out how much that trip to Wal*Mart just cost you and whether the savings were really savings or the vendor just downloaded their shipping costs to you.
edit: don't write wal-mart with the asterisk. It confuses markdown.
Comment edited by Pxtl on 2011-05-16 11:57:33
By JonD (registered) | Posted May 16, 2011 at 12:29:27
Here's an interesting related article. I've never been to Winnipeg but we seem to have a lot in common with them... other than they no longer have a city council still fast asleep and dreaming of the 70's. Aerotropolis is on track????
By gopher (anonymous) | Posted May 16, 2011 at 16:54:07
I don't think Greer was "systematically dismantling the credibility of the environmental/peak oil movement". Quite the opposite, he has confirmed everything we have been saying for the last 40 years. Just because now more people can see that it's all "our" fault doesn't contradict the environmental movement at all... its what we've been saying all along. Who else do you think we've been blaming? The Russians? And peak oil is as real to Greer as it has ever been... why are you trying to spin his work?
By JasonAAllen (registered) - website | Posted May 16, 2011 at 22:11:15 in reply to Comment 63580
You are correct, in one way, that Greer has been confirming everything that the Peak Oil movement has been saying for decades - the spearing I refer to is his calling out the people who speak loudly about the perils of peak oil and environmental catastrophe, and then whose lifestyles in no way reflect that reality. People in the peak oil/environmental movement have been blaming 'consumerist culture' as the cause of all of our problems - while for the most part wholeheartedly participating in that culture - which the whole point of my essay was - is kind of an easy mistake to make.
In other words, what I meant by 'dismantling their credibility' was not that he was saying they were wrong, but that they were hypocrites. And yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but there are lots of adherents as well.
Comment edited by JasonAAllen on 2011-05-16 22:14:10
By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted May 16, 2011 at 19:20:29
I think it's important to clarify how we use cars rather than just limit the discussion to more public transit, cycling, walking - all good things of course.
But in the spirit of a book called 'factor four': http://www.earthscan.co.uk/?tabid=849
Compare a single occupancy vehicle with one carpooling 4 people or a family of 4. Once you get to this level, you're looking at around 150 passenger miles per gallon. Better than air, and approaching that of buses, rail (and more flexible), walking and cycling.
So I'm advocating carpooling as one of the first things to do, especially in less urban settings. One extra person to halving fuel consumption is an impressive marginal gain.
By JasonAAllen (registered) - website | Posted May 16, 2011 at 22:12:21 in reply to Comment 63590
I agree completely - there are even resources like www.carpoolzone.ca to help facilitate employers who would like to encourage carpooling. Great idea!
By hunter (anonymous) | Posted May 16, 2011 at 19:23:54
if you have to commute on the highway, drive the speed limit in the slow lane. makes a huge difference.
By misterque (registered) - website | Posted May 17, 2011 at 13:13:20 in reply to Comment 63591
Speed limits are an amazing way to conserve fuel. I have to commute to another city. Even in my little Honda Civic there is a very noticeable difference between the speed limit and rush rush.
By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 17, 2011 at 00:15:58
Paid $1.306 at the pump today, and it felt like a bargain. Heard that up by the 401 it was going for $1.40.
I'm really liking Greer's blog so far, but I must disagree with the notion that "it's all our fault". The choices we make aren't free - they're coerced, and that coercion is extremely well documented. From military dictatorships like Suharto which lay the groundwork for the resource extraction needed to the billion spent "inducing consumer demand" in the First World. Far too much of the environmental movement is caught up blaming people for consuming in ways that only alienate it. That way, they don't anger their corporate sponsors, they get lots of friendly media play and can resort to blaming "people" when they fail to have an effect.
We, the people, can, should, and must be the engine of change. But not because we feel guilty, but because we're really fracking angry.
By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 17, 2011 at 21:55:08
>> in an age when the demand for gas is clearly beginning to outstrip the supply, is to use less of it.
Gas/oil prices aren't high because we're running out of oil/gas, it's because we're printing too much money.
Look at home prices, since 1999 the average home price in Canada has gone from $150k to $375k, a jump of 150%...
Current gas prices are around $1.32/litre. In 1999, they were 50 cents a litre. That's a jump of 164%.
Is Canada running out of land to build homes? No. Yet the price of homes has increased at a rate 7.9% a year. In contrast, from 1989 to 1999, the average home price remained flat at $150k. Curiously enough, in that time period, the price of gold remained around $450 Canadian dollars.
If the Bank of Canada did nothing but return the value of Canadian dollar/gold ratio to 1999 levels, which was around $450/ounce, compared to the current $1,442/ounce, gas prices would fall from the current $1.32 a litre to 41.2 cents a litre.
By Greg (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2011 at 18:38:26 in reply to Comment 63628
How can the bank of Canada return the value of Canadian dollar/gold ratio to 1999 levels?
Raise interest rates to 20%, you must be joking... The bank of Canada does not just "print money" we borrow it from corporations and countries that have it as well as by issuing savings bonds to Canadians
By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2011 at 22:43:56 in reply to Comment 63698
>> The bank of Canada does not just "print money" we borrow it from corporations and countries that have it as well as by issuing savings bonds to Canadians
The Bank of Canada does print money, that's why our current GDP is $1.6 trillion, whereas in 1961 it was $41.1B. That's an average increase of 7.65% a year in new money.
If you are the government, this is great, because it allows you to borrow $100 dollars today and then have that $100 debt be diluted by an average of 7.65% every year until it is paid back. In 10 years, that $100 debt is only $51, even without any payments made to the principal. The $49 in debt is transferred to citizens in the form of a depreciated currency, a sneaky way of increasing taxes.
If the government fixes the Canadian dollar to the price of gold, it lessens their ability to dilute their debts by printing money, thus forcing them to either raise taxes, or spend less. In other words, it beings honesty back to the process of governing.
So when the Bank of Canada says it is helping the economy by devaluing the purchasing power of your dollars, they should actually say they are raising taxes to pay for wasteful government spending.
An economy doesn't grow because the government prints more dollars, it grows because businesses create new ideas. As long as there is a trusted currency, money will find its way to those businesses and the economy will prosper. Unfortunately, when the government prints money so they can spend more on unprofitable investments, resources get wasted and the economy slows.
By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 18, 2011 at 12:59:08 in reply to Comment 63628
Oil isn't priced in Canadian dollars, though, it's priced in American dollars, and we've been gaining ground over their buck for years now. I agree, we've grossly deflated the value of our dollar, but not as much as they have. Is it affecting oil and other commodity prices? Sure. But it isn't the only factor.
We've been using cheap energy to subsidize the massive inefficiencies in our economy for decades. Shortages were bound to cause economic chaos.
By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2011 at 16:25:38 in reply to Comment 63654
>> Oil isn't priced in Canadian dollars, though, it's priced in American dollars,
Gas at the pumps is priced in Canadian dollars. Since 1999, gold has gone from approx $450 CDN/ounce to $1,442 CDN/ounce, an increase of 220%. In that time, gasoline prices have gone from approximately 50 cents (CDN) a litre to $1.32 (CDN)/litre, an increase of only 140%.
In fact, over the past decade, gasoline prices (as measured in gold), have actually fallen 20%.
The reason why it doesn't feel good, is because while our GDP has gone up by 30.5% (Ontario, since 2001-02), government spending (provincial) has gone up by 74.9%. Because all spending has to be paid back through taxation (directly, or by diluting the currency), the people of Ontario have actually suffered a 44.4% tax hike over the last nine years.
By you're right! (anonymous) | Posted May 17, 2011 at 22:22:16 in reply to Comment 63628
You're totally right! I forgot that oil is a) infinite in supply and b) extracted conveniently from within our own borders!
By AndreaDee (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2011 at 14:33:42
By Penelope (registered) | Posted May 23, 2011 at 01:53:02
But the best way of all to save gas is simply to drive less. Sure, that's easy for me to say: I don't drive at all! But I know we can't all go cold turkey, so we polled our writers and friends for the best ways to cut back on driving without cutting it out of our lives altogether. There are as many ways to reduce your spending on gas as there are ways to use gas. The best advice I can give you is to be present in every decision you make. Don't grab your keys without at least first considering, just for a moment, if you really have to make that trip. Could you save it for another day when you'll be going that way, anyway? Could you do it over the phone or online, as we knew almost everything nowadays may be ordered or bought online - even cash advance? Could you walk, bike or take the bus? Are you just going out to get out of the house? (In that case, grab your walking shoes and your children/pet/significant other instead!) Could you ask my child/friend/spouse to catch a ride with someone else or find another way home?
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