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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

When gas get to _________ will you stop driving?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (20270 points ) April 23rd, 2011

Seems like every time gas goes up people lament or rage about the cost of it, I remember this going on way back to when I was in Jr. high. When gas got over a buck people said they would stop buying it; they didn’t. When gas hit 2 bucks and over people said they would stop buying it; again they didn’t. Then it moved to $2.70, then $3.25 but still they bought, they griped like hell but they purchased gas and/or drove their vehicles. Where is the line in the sand for you? Once the price of gas hit where would you absolutely not pay, and would it be because you simply refuse or it would start to take food off the table or put bills at risk?

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31 Answers

creative1's avatar

I got a hybrid so I won’t feel it as badly because I never plan to stop driving. I enjoy driving places and doing things with my kids.

wundayatta's avatar

At ten bucks a gallon, when a fill-up costs $140 or so, I’d be finding ways to cut back my driving even further. We already drive fairly little.

FluffyChicken's avatar

I never started.

janbb's avatar

What is the alternative?

knitfroggy's avatar

I couldn’t quit driving. My daughter’s school is several miles from the house and my work is even farther. As it is, I don’t drive around as much as I would like. When gas is $3.69, going to visit someone or taking the kids to the big park downtown isn’t necessary.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I just spent three months in England with my fiancé who doesn’t own a car anymore. He walks to work and either takes the bus, train or the occasional taxi when he wants to go somewhere outside of town. With the ability to shop online (he gets his major grocery orders this way), it’s quite doable. And the benefits are better health and a bit more money in the sock drawer.

janbb's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer That is great provided public transportation is available. So many American lives are dependent on cars. We can reduce our driving and combine trips, but it would be impossible for many of us to give up driving completely. If I lived in a city, I would not have a car.

john65pennington's avatar

Wife and I are already searching the want ads for a good horse and buggy.

I wonder how many miles a horse gets from a bale of hay?

Seelix's avatar

Living in the middle of the big city, I don’t drive much at all. The only time I drive is to get to the box stores that are inconvenient to get to by subway, or if I’m doing a big grocery run and it’ll be inconvenient to bring all my stuff back on the subway. Then, or if I’m going to visit my hometown.

I don’t know that gas prices will ever make me stop driving, but they might make my trips home less frequent.

sakura's avatar

I teach and I really cant imagine carrying all the stuff I need on daily basis on the bus… I live about a 30 min drive from the school I work in, it is starting to become to expensive to get to work!! Time to start looking for more local work but none available at the moment!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@janbb I agree with you on a whole. Here in the US, places tend to be much more spread out, and it can come down to weighing the pros and cons of location vs. cost.

jonsblond's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer

Our entire county consists of 30,000 people spread out over 590 square miles. Most of the people in this county need a vehicle to get to work, well those that don’t live on a farm, but then the farmers need fuel for their tractors and combines.

There are no alternatives. We need to drive. Is everyone in this county supposed to up and leave to a city so we don’t have to drive anymore? Rural America is always forgotten in this argument. Rural America is usually the poorest also. High gas prices hurt rural America the most, but everyone in the big cities need us. Where else are you going to get your food from when we are your largest supplier?

deni's avatar

I bike. Don’t care. :)

Actually I do care since gas costs affect road tripping and airplane ticket costs….but it’s nice on a day to day basis not to get upset every time I see that gas has gone up again.

JLeslie's avatar

Actually, if we all striked, the price probably would come down. Power to the people! Seriously, it seems from what I have heard OPEC just charges whatever they feel like. But, to answer the question more directly, it would have to get up to $6 I think for me to really change anything. I already hate using oil and gas, am trying to sell my house partly to use less and lower my heating bills, and I hope my next car will have better gas mileage.

XOIIO's avatar

Gas? Where we’re going we wont need gas.

I don’t drive yet, but I’ll probably not really care because I won’t drive much

incendiary_dan's avatar

Can’t really say a hard number. It really depends on how it compares to how much people are making. If it starts costing $100 a gallon but people start making $150 an hour, it’d still be okay. People will stop buying so much of it when it doesn’t make financial sense to go to work.

Hopefully we’ll wise up and re-localize before that happens.

JLeslie's avatar

@incendiary_dan So if gas costs ⅔rds of your hourly wage per gallon it’s acceptable?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@JLeslie I guess assuming you don’t have to commute far and don’t have a fuel guzzler. That’s what I was thinking, since it’s the position I’m in for half the year. When I thought about it more, though, I realized it wouldn’t take much more of an increase for someone getting paid minimum wage and with a long commute to just not be worth it any more.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@jonsblond The US is paying less for gas/petrol than many other countries. An increase in price of any product/service should be anticipated based upon economy changes.

It is up to us to find alternative methods of going about our daily duties in order to survive and take care of our loved ones when the current situation is not working from a financial aspect.

flutherother's avatar

I haven’t owned a car for 12 years. Where I live now I don’t need one. I walk, cycle and use buses to get around. Occasionally I take a taxi and I know I can hire a car if I ever want to but I do that less than once a year. I don’t miss the hassle of owning a car, the payments, the repairs, the garages, the rip offs. I feel it is a mode of transport without a future and I don’t want to be part of it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie Actually, if we all striked[sic], the price probably would come down. Power to the people! That would be an ”In your face” moment for the petro companies etc, but it will never work. As you have heard here many would not suffer inconvenience for a week or maybe a month for long term relief. The classic case of a dime holding up a dollar. There will always be too many people would think they can’t give up driving but for those who want to go fight for them to have lesser gas prices they are more than happy to reap the rewards. If for a week BP, Chevron, Shell, et al seen gas usage plummet by 70% or 8 million less barrels a day being used for that week I suspect they are too greedy to say ”We will just wait them out, they will come back to the pump”, they would do something. IN the US we are just too pampered, most would see being offered a car with no A/C, power windows and locks, navigation and stereo with CD and MP3 jack as a step back. To many the car is like a second roll around house. A strike would in the long run help everyone out in spades but everyone would want someone else to fight it out; not them.

@flutherother I haven’t owned a car for 12 years. Where I live now I don’t need one. I walk, cycle and use buses to get around. HA! You think Yankees will do that by choice? Most won’t. Walking means you have to move your body in directions other than the fridge. If people are too lazy to walk a quarter mile to the 7–11 to get a slushy they won’t walk to travel, if they are in a the mall and don’t have moving walk ways they might make an exception. The bus? A few choice news blurbs about mental homeless people stabbing people at random with kitchen knives or a bunch of young thugs beating up on people and the masses are scared off; believing public transportation is a hot bed for crime and criminals. Use a bike? Many nations do it to great success, but again, it requires one to use their muscle and not on the back 9 either. You can’t have fancy leather seats, A/C, 20in chrome wheels etc on a bike. Seeing that only kids and the poor here in the US are suppose to be stuck on bikes no body with money would give up their Maybech, Range Rover, or their Benz.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Until there’s a fundamental reorganization of how we live and how our communities are arranged, we can’t just kick the oil habit. With worldwide oil production in decline, this will mean hard times for anyone who doesn’t have some degree of independence from the oil economy. Personally, I’d rather localize now while I have a choice rather than later when it’s a necessity.

meiosis's avatar

The demand for fuel is fairly inelastic, so teeh price can go up significantly and many people will keep on driving. Other products and services will be cut back before fuel. Now diesel is £1.42 per litre I spend a bit less on beer…

flutherother's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I have lived in the US and I know what you are saying. In America I cycled walked and used public transport most of the time to get around but I was the only one in our neighbourhood. I hardly ever saw anyone walking, though I saw a few joggers. I thought it very peculiar, though I am sure I was thought odd in turn. Everyone (except me) had a car but I liked to use my own two legs to get around.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, I will stop driving when there are reasonable alternatives in public transportation. Right now, it takes 25 minutes to drive to my son’s house, and about two hours plus two bus changes to get there. How could I make that trip with two toddlers and their gear?

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central It is true that Americans love their cars, and it is going to take a huge cultural shift for transportation to drastically change in a large way. Comparing us to some other countries is a little unfair, because we are a vast country with wider, more open spaces with longer travel time from one place to another. Public transit is not practical in those settings. In most of our larger cities we do have public transportation to some extent, NYC is the best example, few people own a car there. San Francisco is another, Chicago also decent system, I haven’t been to Boston, but figure it must be OK there, but other medium sized cities have a poor public system, or the city is very divided economically and the middle and upper class don’t use the systems. Some developers in suburbs are trying to build neighborhoods and buildings that are mixed use, and cut down the need for a car, relying on golf carts, bycicles, and walking (I personally really like this master planned type of community). Although, I do agree that even in suburbs that have conviences close buy many American still choose to drive.

It would take some sacrifice, but people could organize and drastically reduce their fuel consumption. People could carpool to the supermarkets and to work. Not let any high school kids drive to school, but take the bus. Everyone agree not to travel by car on just one holiday like Thanksgiving, and it would be huge. Similar to what happened in Montgomery when the black citizens refused to use the buses. It showed incredible fortitude and committment.

However, after saying all of this. It might be good for prices to go up, because that might just be the thing that forces the cultural shift. Not so much about having to forgo seeing family on Thanksgiving, but to stop buying big gas guzzlers, and for car manufacturers to produce cars with better MPG. It seems to be happening a little now.

jca's avatar

I think when people said “when the price of gas goes over a buck I will stop driving” was when gas was below a buck and that was in the 70’s. The hourly wage was not much, and I know our rent was under $100 per month. Now it’s relative. The price of gas is over $4 but the hourly wage (at least mine) is way up in comparison.

I would curtail my weekend driving but I must commute to work and that could not change. For me to take taxi to train and then take a bus from there would be about a two hour commute each way at least. That makes no sense for me.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie Comparing us to some other countries is a little unfair, because we are a vast country with wider, more open spaces with longer travel time from one place to another. Public transit is not practical in those settings. Points taken, the US is a vastly larger and spread out place then other places like Spain or Japan, but most of the nation isn’t really populated, it is open range, national parks or military bases not areas where high numbers of people live. But in a way if you look at Russia in the Soviet Era they were the larges nation, still is, but under the Soviets hardly no private vehicles and yet they went to work, carried on with business and seen family. I am not saying we should all go down to Amish travel but as you said, even with conveniences in close walking distance people will not walk. Maybe because they don’t have cup holders, or heated and air conditioned seats, a 6 speaker entertainment system walking that makes them not want to walk. Maybe they think their neighbor’s roses will cause a bee to buzz them or a dog will get from the back yard to attack them I don’t know they just do not want to walk. There are times you need a vehicle, trying to get all that home improvement supply home you need a vehicle, more so an SUV, truck or van, but there are many more places one can ditch the car and leave it at home.

It would take some sacrifice, but people could organize and drastically reduce their fuel consumption. Sadly I don’t think the populace has the moxie to do that. The fortitude they had in Montgomery left the building 3 hours before Elvis. That since of purpose is DOA here, no one would want to make that deep of a sacrifice even if they were going to come out 15 times better in the end.

Not so much about having to forgo seeing family on Thanksgiving, but to stop buying big gas guzzlers, and for car manufacturers to produce cars with better MPG. It seems to be happening a little now. I don’t say a complete boycott is possible or desired but people can make a pledge to not use more than 20gal a week and stick to it. I think even that would make the oil companies take notice. People don’t mind bending over and taking it dry so long as when it’s done they can ride home in leather seats and have their cup holders.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I pretty much agree. Imagine the entire US didn’t go to church on Sunday, I bet that would cut into gas sales a little bit. Or, maybe people would just go somewhere else?

Where I grew up it was a Master Planned Community and we did a lot of walking. We walked to Elementary and Jr High. We walked to the pool, tennis courts, local neighborhood mall, grocery store, friends houses. There were bike paths throughout the communities, and tunnels beneath the roads so kids did not have to cross the big ones where intersections were far away.

jonsblond's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central even with conveniences in close walking distance people will not walk

This is very true and sad. We lived less than a ¼ mile from the grade school in the town we just moved from. I walked my daughter to school every day. There was a mother that lived literally 5 houses down the road from the school and she would drive her two children to school in her SUV. I couldn’t believe it. What is wrong with these people? She was young and fit. I just didn’t get it. :/

JLeslie's avatar

Where I live most of the neighborhood does walk their children to school, or the kids walk themselves.

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