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$368/month for gas

By Vicente follow Vicente   2011 May 5, 1:36am 28,035 views   89 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


IMO here's your "inflation":

http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/05/news/economy/gas_prices_income_spending/index.htm?source=cnn_bin&hpt=Sbin

Everything you buy, is transported all over the place. Result of "just in time" inventory is trucks rolling half-full inefficiently because we need another 50 pairs of shoes and stretch pants shipped from distribution center right now. Expect the prices on all the little items you buy (and thus notice daily) to continue creeping up.

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50   American in Japan   ignore (0)   2011 May 12, 7:55pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

>"So if 178 million gallons of gasoline is consumed every day, and we import 65% of that, switching over to more fuel efficient cars like Europe, we could cut our consumption by almost 50%!”

I think most Americans won't have it (switiching to better mileage cars). Many Americans are willing to change presidents because of the price of gasoline alone!

51   seaside   ignore (0)   2011 May 13, 12:07am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

TechGromit says

the overall average of 43 MPG in Europe

I know they're working on efficiency and the stuff though, I can hardly believe they some how able to archieve almost twice the efficiency. 33MPG? I can take it, but 43... well... can that MPG possible even w/ hybrid? Or is that 43km/gal or something?

52   ih8alameda   ignore (0)   2011 May 13, 12:33am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

seaside says

TechGromit says

the overall average of 43 MPG in Europe

I know they’re working on efficiency and the stuff though, I can hardly believe they some how able to archieve almost twice the efficiency. 33MPG? I can take it, but 43… well… can that MPG possible even w/ hybrid? Or is that 43km/gal or something?

I think you are forgetting that their cars are much smaller physically and have much smaller engines. They were running smarts, minis, Benz a cars, Honda fit/jazz light years before it became available in the states. Many models sold in the us actually have larger seats than the same models in the restbof the world, larger seats people, please stop eating like pigs and go out and exercise!!

53   TechGromit   ignore (0)   2011 May 13, 1:00am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

ih8alameda says

I think you are forgetting that their cars are much smaller physically and have much smaller engines. They were running smarts, minis, Benz a cars, Honda fit/jazz light years before it became available in the states.

Some of there pollution controls are more lax as well. The Smart car in Europe is rated at 60 MPG, but by the U..S. finished adding emissions control components to it, it barely got 45 MPG in the United States. While pollution prevention is important, if your losing 25% efficiency in the process (and burning 25% more gas) does it really help pollution in the long run? The New diesel smart car in Europe is reported to get 85 mpg!

54   Cook County resident   ignore (0)   2011 May 13, 2:45am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

ih8alameda says

Many models sold in the us actually have larger seats than the same models in the restbof the world, larger seats people, please stop eating like pigs and go out and exercise!!

So what if American market cars have larger seats? It's the larger vehicles and engine displacements which are reducing gas mileage.

For what it's worth, I'm both tall and fat. But I was quite comfortable in either my Geo Metro or Dodge Colt(Mitsubishi Mirage). I have been in a Chrysler 300 and I had to bend my neck to the side or ride gangsta' to keep my head off the headliner.

In alot of cases, there's an inverse relationship between vehicle price and space efficiency. It might be that Truckzilla epidemic soothes the egos of stature challenged drivers.

55   EBGuy   ignore (1)   2011 May 13, 5:58am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

Once we fully electrify things we’ll be carrying less mass in motion, which is good.
I'm giving some thought to buying a Trek Transporter+ as a second vehicle. Check out this review where the guy was using it in the snow. The one thing holding me back is the lack of garage space (as in, I don't have one).

56   oddhack   ignore (0)   2011 May 13, 8:30am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

ih8alameda says

I think you are forgetting that their cars are much smaller physically and have much smaller engines. They were running smarts, minis, Benz a cars, Honda fit/jazz light years before it became available in the states.

The coolest car-related thing I saw in Lisbon was the enormous savings in parking space you get when most people drive something the size of a Smart Car or EuroCar - you just park head-on to the curb! Also no need to learn to parallel park :-)

57   ih8alameda2   ignore (0)   2011 May 13, 9:11am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Cook County resident says

So what if American market cars have larger seats? It’s the larger vehicles and engine displacements which are reducing gas mileage.

you're right, that was more my personal dig at fat people =) However, I think in general americans have a very entitled mentality that leads to over-indulgence. In the amount of food we eat, the amount of space we "need", the amount of comfort we "deserve" etc. All this leads to the bigger is better, and in the case of cars and their seats, the bigger, the less fuel efficient. More mass or more HP = more gas

58   Cook County resident   ignore (0)   2011 May 14, 1:19am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

ih8alameda2 says

you’re right, that was more my personal dig at fat people =) However, I think in general americans have a very entitled mentality that leads to over-indulgence. In the amount of food we eat, the amount of space we “need”, the amount of comfort we “deserve” etc. All this leads to the bigger is better, and in the case of cars and their seats, the bigger, the less fuel efficient.

Who knows? I like to make stuff up, too. I'll suggest our prosperity has allowed us to slide into a homebound lifestyle. TVs and electronic games are cheap and calories are cheaper. Used to be, before air conditioning, everybody would get out of the house just because it was too damn hot inside.

In our isolation, we seem to have grown more fearful. The outdoors seem less safe and there's no excuse for letting the kiddies walk to the school or the park -- no excuse at all, not when there's a paramilitary RoadMonster in the garage which will take them through Terra Incognito as a Conestoga through Injun Country.

But I like efficiency. I'd like to have the choice of the space and fuel efficient small cars that the rest of the world has. And I'd love to know what those foreigners are doing with the space saved by their smaller seats. Haul around an extra couple cubic feet of air, perhaps?

59   justme   ignore (0)   2011 May 14, 1:28pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

TechGromit says

Some of there pollution controls are more lax as well. The Smart car in Europe is rated at 60 MPG, but by the U..S. finished adding emissions control components to it, it barely got 45 MPG in the United States.

Are you sure about that, Gromit? I have a feeling that there may be other variables at play here.

1. US Gallon versus Imperial Gallon

2. Different driving cycle standard for mpg measurements.

From wikipedia:

In United States customary units there are the liquid (≈ 3.79 L) and the lesser used dry (≈ 4.4 L) gallons. There is also the imperial gallon (≈ 4.55 L) which is in unofficial use within the United Kingdom and Ireland and is in semi-official use within Canada.

I don't have time this moment to look into this, but maybe later.

60   justme   ignore (0)   2011 May 14, 1:29pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

Cook County resident says

In our isolation, we seem to have grown more fearful. The outdoors seem less safe and there’s no excuse for letting the kiddies walk to the school or the park — no excuse at all, not when there’s a paramilitary RoadMonster in the garage

Right on.

61   pkennedy   ignore (0)   2011 May 17, 6:16am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

The difference in some of these cars mileage comes from what @justme said. The difference in a gallon. That is huge. EPA vs whatever is used in these other countries to measure MPG is huge as well. In europe they cut down on the acid rain producing emissions, while the US dioxide output. The cars are roughly the same, it's how things are measured.

We lost most diesel cars here because our sulphur laws in diesel were far less stringent than in Europe, and the diesel engines they made simply didn't work with the diesel here. I believe that has recently changed though with diesel #2 becoming more stringent.

Cars have lots of ways of becoming more efficient still. Three big ones:
#1) Weight of pieces used. Plastic vs Steel. Lighter glass. Smaller engine, lighter transmissions, chassis, etc.
#2) More areo dynamic. The cars start to look silly, but it makes a difference, especially over 55mph.
#3) Less rolling resistance, or in other words, smaller, thinner, more inflated tires.

Remove the battery from a prius and see what happens. Not much, other than a decent loss in startup power. It's has lighter glass, lighter body parts, it's far more areo dynamic, and the tires are small and thin. It gets it's great mileage mostly from car improvements, the hybrid aspect makes it more acceptable to drive with the additional power. As they add bigger batteries and electric only modes, it might start to make a bigger difference, but up until now, it's mostly been changes to the car.

I personally think that the biggest improvement in mileage will come when someone figures out how to socially punish/socially explain why they're driving like an idiot. The mpg display in the prius is pretty good, but something that has even more feed back will likely help people drive better. Basically figuring out what the best way to convince people to drive smarter is. Better driving can change a cars EPA rating from -20% to +40%, that's a huge amount.

62   TechGromit   ignore (0)   2011 May 17, 7:11am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

justme says

TechGromit says

Some of there pollution controls are more lax as well. The Smart car in Europe is rated at 60 MPG, but by the U..S. finished adding emissions control components to it, it barely got 45 MPG in the United States.

Are you sure about that, Gromit? I have a feeling that there may be other variables at play here.

Yes pretty sure.

European Union (EU) testing rates the 999 cc Smart at 4.7 L/100 km (60 mpg-imp; 50 mpg-US)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the vehicle at 36 mpg-US (6.5 L/100 km; 43 mpg-imp) combined.

So the European testing rates the Smart car at 60 MPG (Imperial) and the US EPA rates the vehicle as 43 mpg (Imperial) after the U.S. pollution controls are applied. That's a 28% difference between the European and US models, doesn't matter if you measure it in US Gallons or Imperial Gallons, still works out to 28% difference.

63   pkennedy   ignore (0)   2011 May 17, 10:24am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

It's HOW you measure it. The rules are different here.

Wiki has some information on it, but not a lot on how the differences effect the numbers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_economy_in_automobiles#Fuel_economy_standards_and_testing_procedures

The EPA might have changed things around a bit, but they apparently used to test cars inside, which made it difficult for turbos to pass emissions. So an SUV and a Prius would have the same areo dynamics at high way speeds based on their testing.

The emissions controls on the US cars and European cars isn't that much different.

64   justme   ignore (0)   2011 May 18, 6:13am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

TechGromit says

That’s a 28% difference between the European and US models, doesn’t matter if you measure it in US Gallons or Imperial Gallons, still works out to 28% difference.

Gromit,

What pkennedy said: Don't forget the effect of how the EPA driving cycle is defined. Maybe the EPA cycle contain much brisker accelaration and harder stops and less coasting. Perhaps this is a reflection of how Americans drive, on the average.

My observation is that American drivers are prone to being acceleration freaks that race from one red light to the other, then sit and wait while I coast in just in time to catch the next green light, and often pass them in the process. You don't see many Europeans driving like that. I visited 6 countries in Europe last year and saw very little of this wasteful and misplaced macho type behavior, be it by females or males.

66   EBGuy   ignore (1)   2011 May 18, 11:21am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

Also, the UK (and, I believe, Europe) tax CO2 emissions. Cars emitting less than 100g/km of CO2 don't have to pay a road tax. Also, starting this year, cars that are registered (new, I believe) will have to pay a higher initial fee (those below 130 g/km are exempted.)

67   justme   ignore (0)   2011 May 22, 4:57pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

Bubble Bobble says

The real problem is that we are transporting our goods with trucks instead of trains

Whaat? Yeah, trains are more efficient than trucks, but what makes you think trucks are burning most of our transportation oil. How about some data? Okay, I'll look it up for you:

http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_psup_dc_nus_mbblpd_a.htm

Here one can see that diesel (trucking, marine AND trains) is less than 25% of the total. And gasoline is more than 55% of the total. So passenger cars are more to blame than trucks. Trucks are part of the problem, but they are not the most significant problem.

Or just apply common sense: Think kg(payload)*miles/gallon for trucks versus cars. And are you seeing swarms of truck clogging up our freeways as opposed to automobiles? Are they carrying only 80kg of payload per 1500kg of dead weight?

A general suggestion: If anyone wants to reduce the amount of energy wasted on trucking, stop drinking bottled water. Trucking all that bottled water around must be one of the most wasteful things imaginable. Only air travel wastes more energy relative to what is accomplished.

68   justme   ignore (0)   2011 May 23, 2:35am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

How about if all the automobile drivers were on trains? All the domestic airline passengers?

69   justme   ignore (0)   2011 May 23, 3:01am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

So we can agree then that it is more important to place passengers on trains than it is to place freight on trains.

I hope it is clear that I'm not at all against placing freight on trains. What I am saying is that using trains instead trucks for freight is not a complete solution nor the most significant solution to the overall problem of oil consumption in transportation.

70   justme   ignore (0)   2011 May 23, 4:21pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Listen, the reason I'm nagging you about this is that your original post was saying that trucking was the "real problem".

The implication being that if only trucks would cease to exist, the problem of transportation oil consumption would be gone, or at least that nothing else would be worth doing until trucking was gone.

This is clearly false, and what the claim does is to push the problem onto some other group (the trucking industry), rather than taking personal responsibility for the problem and reduce personal automobile use.

It is always easier to solve problems by demanding that some other group changes their behavior than by changing what we do ourselves. But is is not right. And in this particular case, it does not even come close to solving the problem.

Bubble Bobble says

Unfortunately, passenger trains require a certain population to make sense, and limit the freedom of the passengers who would otherwise use a car… It just doesn’t work everywhere.

Neither does rail Cargo. You may need trucks for the last few miles in many cases, and for the last hundreds of miles in some cases.

71   American in Japan   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 7, 12:02pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

I wonder how many people are still driving vehicles getting under 18MPG, especially alone most/all of the time.

72   oddhack   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 7, 1:47pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

American in Japan says

I wonder how many people are still driving vehicles getting under 18MPG, especially alone most/all of the time.

I know someone who just replaced an 18 MPG SUV for which she was paying $600/month in gas with a new Prius for which she's paying $250/month. Oh, and $500/month in car payments.

73   American in Japan   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 7, 9:34pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

If Toyota can just get the cost of that car down. Perhaps a 3-4 year old Prius?
Vicente where are you?

74   American in Japan   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 7, 9:34pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

If Toyota can just get the cost of that car down. Perhaps a 3-4 year old Prius?
Vicente where are you?

75   Vicente   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 8, 10:57am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

National Rail Shame!

We spent trillions in the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System because we followed Hitler's example. Because we wanted to be able to easily roll tanks from Detroit to Florida if Castro invaded.

Our society was forever changed by this DEFENSE decision which has distorted our society, and other transport has atrophied.

Here, look at the Confederate railroad:

Now?

I can't get by train from Atlanta to Savannah unless I go through Washington DC.

The "company town" is one solution to requiring less daily brownian motion of people. Another would be go back to single-earner economy. Mom or Dad being paid a decent wage so they can live on one salary. But I guess the billionaires wouldn't like that so forget it.

76   bob2356   ignore (4)   2011 Jun 9, 5:23am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

We spent trillions (inflation adjusted) on railroads wiping out a perfectly good canal system. We spent trillions on a canal system wiping out a perfectly good wagon road system. If the price of oil goes high enough trains might make a big comeback. The technology that makes the most sense at the time wins. Life moves on.

The interstate highway system made most of the wealth of the second half of the 20th century possible. It also caused a myriad of problems like drugs and suburban sprawl leading to destruction of most major cities. Why drugs? Because drugs were limited to a few urban areas prior to wwII. You just couldn't transport and distribute them all around the country before the interstate made it possible.

77   pkennedy   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 9, 7:09am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

The big problem with trains is the sheer number of destinations we have freight going to. In Canada, freight trains work wonders, but it's possible to draw a single line through Canada and hit every major city, or essentially 90+% of the population in one route.

Trains could reduce the trucking needs, but it would be nearly impossible to get to all of the small destination points very easily. Europe has a nice train system, but in reality, the sheer number of railroads that would need building would make it impossible to do here, at this point.

Public transit would be nice, even if it was just done in major cities, but everyone ends up going in a different direction. None of the cities here are populated in a way to allow easy commuting.

78   Cook County resident   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 10, 4:02am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

bob2356 says

It also caused a myriad of problems like drugs and suburban sprawl leading to destruction of most major cities. Why drugs? Because drugs were limited to a few urban areas prior to wwII. You just couldn’t transport and distribute them all around the country before the interstate made it possible.

There was a huge anti-drug mania in this country prior to WW1, cumulating in the Harrison act. The problem was characterized as widespread and pervasive. People could even buy cocaine though the mail.

A few years later, alcohol was widely transported in the US, despite the Prohibition laws and the lack of an interstate highway system.

79   Cook County resident   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 10, 4:37am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Bubble Bobble says

Cook County resident says

There was a huge anti-drug mania in this country

WAS??????

Sure. Manias are cyclical. That mania had pretty much run it's course by the 60s.

80   cc0   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 10, 4:43am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

I really hate to jump in here, but I think the culmination was not in the Harrison Act (1914), but in the 18th amendment (1919). The Harrison Act was primarily about taxation and control* of opium and cocaine but they continued to be prescribed and sold. It requires a constitutional amendment for the federal government to ban something from sale (i.e. "intoxicating liquors") in the U.S., or at least it did until the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. On June 17th we celebrate 40 years of Nixon's War on Drugs.

(*) Well, taxation, control, ... and to prevent blacks from raping white women and white women from sleeping with chinamen (see statements by Hamilton Wright).

81   Cook County resident   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 10, 5:18am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Vicente says

The “company town” is one solution to requiring less daily brownian motion of people.

Maybe, someday, in some enlightened society, the government will people live in the back room.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/5845600-418/city-may-let-people-live-where-they-work.html

"The zoning code currently allows only artists to live in their work space as well as those with home offices. The new ordinance would pave the way for attorneys, accountants, retailers, chefs and hairdressers to do the same."

I was surprised that the building code forces people to live elsewhere from their work. Surprised, but not shocked. Just about everything around here is illegal, but enforcement is optional.

82   Cook County resident   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 10, 5:35am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

cc0 says

I really hate to jump in here, but I think the culmination was not in the Harrison Act (1914), but in the 18th amendment (1919).

Although the logic of the anti-drug mania and Prohibition is pretty much the same, one important distinction is that alcohol Prohibition is politically dead, dead, dead and dead.

Users of intoxicants more exotic than alcohol will always risk finding themselves at the painful end of some sort of political mania, just as any other weirdos.

83   bob2356   ignore (4)   2011 Jun 10, 5:57am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

Cook County resident says

There was a huge anti-drug mania in this country prior to WW1, cumulating in the Harrison act. The problem was characterized as widespread and pervasive. People could even buy cocaine though the mail.

A few years later, alcohol was widely transported in the US, despite the Prohibition laws and the lack of an interstate highway system.

The key word is characterized. Most of the anti-drug mania was tied to the temperance mania. Again, most of the drug use was in big cities with easy access to shipping coming in. Being a drug addict in a rural area was pretty hard to do. Most people lived on farms and only visited towns occasionally.

Alcohol was much more commonly produced locally. Most of the smuggling by trucks was in a very limited area within a day's drive (200-300 miles in those days) of the Canadian border. Most came in by ship.

Look at the population distribution in the early 1900's. Most people lived on the land in rural area's. Something like 60% rural if I remember correctly. Most of the roads were terrible prior to WWI. Read about early motoring in any number of sources. The urban area's were almost all ports, which is why prohibition era alcohol moved by ship for the most part. Drugs, at least narcotics which was the main object of anti drug mania, of course had to move by ship ending up in the urban ports.

My point, which you seemed to have missed entirely, is without the interstate highway system (or at least on the roads that existed prior to WWII) the effortless distribution of drugs that started in the 1960's to every corner of America would have simply been impossible.

84   cc0   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 10, 6:34am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

bob2356 says

My point, which you seemed to have missed entirely, is without the interstate highway system (or at least on the roads that existed prior to WWII) the effortless distribution of drugs that started in the 1960’s to every corner of America would have simply been impossible.

That's simply untrue. The Sears catalog distributed goods far and wide across the nation, especially to many rural homes for whom its arrival was warmly received. From it you could buy a pound of cocaine for under $2, "horrible" roads and all. The transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869.

85   Cook County resident   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 10, 8:27am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

bob2356 says

My point, which you seemed to have missed entirely, is without the interstate highway system (or at least on the roads that existed prior to WWII) the effortless distribution of drugs that started in the 1960’s to every corner of America would have simply been impossible.

Just about any non perishable item was available to any one who could afford it by 1900. The easiest example comes from mail order operations such as Sears and Wards. Not only were such drugs as opium and cocaine distributed through the mail but patent medicines were available in stores and sold by town to town peddlers.

86   bob2356   ignore (4)   2011 Jun 10, 8:12pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Let me clarify. The current effortless ILLICIT distribution of ILLEGAL drugs would not have been possible. Everybody happy now? I know all about sears roebuck (FYI the first house I owned was a 1912 sears kit home in Castleton on Hudson, NY) and the transcontinental railroad thank you very much.

87   Cook County resident   ignore (0)   2011 Jun 11, 3:57am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag      

bob2356 says

Let me clarify. The current effortless ILLICIT distribution of ILLEGAL drugs would not have been possible.

Oh, I see. Distributing legal drugs was effortless and distributing illegal drugs became tough until they built Route 666.

Maybe, if gasoline gets expensive enough, Podunkville will again get the protection it deserves.

89   covid_shmovid   ignore (5)   2017 Jan 31, 11:20am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

bob2356 says

Let me clarify. The current effortless ILLICIT distribution of ILLEGAL drugs would not have been possible. Everybody happy now? I know all about sears roebuck (FYI the first house I owned was a 1912 sears kit home in Castleton on Hudson, NY) and the transcontinental railroad thank you very much.

Tons of illegal drugs are now moved across the border via USPS parcels.

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