General Question

flutherother's avatar

How would you manage if the price of gas doubled, redoubled and then doubled again?

Asked by flutherother (22319 points ) June 22nd, 2011

Gas (petrol) is still cheap but as it becomes increasingly expensive will you be able to cope?
Listen to Kurt Vonnegut on the subject

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48 Answers

Paul's avatar

Walk and try to use my bike as much as possible.

jrpowell's avatar

Well, my bike and feet and skateboard don’t use gas so I don’t really care. But I do worry about food prices since that is shipped to stores.

marinelife's avatar

Stop driving as much as possible and pay for it.

tedd's avatar

I would have to give up my part time job, it runs me ~85 miles each trip. I live less than a mile from my main job, about 1.5 miles from groceries. Visits with the g/f would probably drop off.

I’m getting pretty decent gas mileage in my new car though, so I could manage I think.

wundayatta's avatar

We have a good public transportation system. If gas cost that much, maybe I’d use it on the days I couldn’t bike.

I partly hope it would go up that much because it would make other forms of energy much more competitive. But the price rise is not going to happen that fast.

Monico's avatar

cry, what can you do? Bills have to be paid either way.

JLeslie's avatar

For sure my next car would be one that gives great gas mileage. I already do my errands fairly efficiently. I already want to move, there is a community that has not broken ground yet 2 miles from me that I want to live in that will be like a small village with shopping, restaurants, business offices and residential all in one area, something like Celebration in Orlando, but even more commercial oriented. Most everything will be in walking distance or a golf cart ride away.

Maybe I would be motivated more to work again, although just getting to work will cost money.

Coloma's avatar

It’s not cheap in my zone. Down from over $4.50 ish to about $3.65 depending on where I go.
I live in a tourist community and those motor homes and RV’s HAVE to have fuel to travel into the wilderness zone here. There is ONE gas station in a 30 mile radius, so…gas up or get stuck on a tiny, windey, two lane highway. haha

I have been conserving forever now, the last 3–4 months. It’s outta control.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I wouldn’t be able to keep my seasonal job teaching wilderness skills, or would have to find a place closer to do so (I expect with the rising costs of everything that would follow petroleum price increases, I’d be able to get more people interested in it, anyway). I’d have to start biking when possible to my other job, or again get another closer one. As for food and such, I grow some of my own and often forage, hunt, trap, and fish for some. I’d just have to increase that all, which is just fine by me (might do it anyway over the summer). The big issue would be rent, which I’m already paying a bit more than I’d like for.

lillycoyote's avatar

I would certainly drive a lot less, and cut back on my little excursions and road trips. It would be hard to get used to, but it would be manageable. I live in the burbs but there is a small strip mall within walking distance that has reasonably good sized grocery store, a good little old-fashioned hometown hardware store, a liquor store, a Radio Shack, and other shops, several restaurants, banks, etc. so much of my shopping could be done on foot or on a bicycle. I’m also lucky to live right smack dab in the middle of Amtrak’s eastern corridor and the train service is very good would be very convenient for me to use. I have close friends in NYC and Connecticut and taking the train to visit them is something I do sometimes anyway instead of driving. I’m not working right now but will be in the future and hopefully I would have a job that is convenient to get to on public transportation. I would also maybe get a Vespa or something like that and use the car only when necessary. I have a small travel trailer and a Vespa just wouldn’t cut it as a tow vehicle. :-)

It would be difficult to get used to not driving everywhere but I am pretty well situated by my location in terms of filling most of my needs on foot, bicycle, bus and train. So, really why am I driving everywhere most of the time? Lazy I guess.

Though that’s just in terms of getting around myself. What would happen to the economy, to the price of goods and services that are heavy users of gasoline, I can’t predict that. Maybe that would make us invest in our railroads again, for shipping and transporting goods and materials, rather than depending on the trucking industry.

WasCy's avatar

I could answer this from the perspective of “What did you do when that happened?” Because it has happened repeatedly in my (driving) lifetime.

When I first started buying gasoline I was buying it for less than 50ยข per gallon, and I’m now paying about 8 times that amount.

So I’ll continue to do what I’ve done for the past 40 years: economize on travel, rationalize trips, walk more, take alternate transportation, do more work on the Web, buy a bicycle, and stay home more and read.

faye's avatar

Pack 10 errands into one day in map order. Which I do now.

trickface's avatar

Simply say to yourself:

“Ah, the life of a european!”

SpatzieLover's avatar

Keep the Prius filled up, but stop mowing my lawn.
EDIT: Here in Wis we generally have the highest gas prices in the Nation (due in part to our gas taxes)

jonsblond's avatar

Not everyone is the US lives in a city with public transportation. These are the people that would (and have) had a hard time with rising gas prices. My family is one of these families. My husband was recently traveling 110 miles a day (round trip) for work. It was killing us.

Luckily he just found a job only 4 miles from our home. We can breathe a little easier now.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@jonsblond We have the same issue here. My husband has to travel to clients.

Coloma's avatar

@jonsblond

Right. I live in a rural area as well, the nearest grocery stores are 16 -18 miles in several different directions. No public transport up in these hills.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would become far more active in transportation politics to improve public transport.
I already buy local as much as possible.
I would like to see a new energy source developed.
In some countries, pedal power is available for hire.

TexasDude's avatar

Sell my Jeep.

gorillapaws's avatar

This is inevitable. The question is how long can we go before this happens. Supply and demand dictate that as gas becomes more and more scarce so will the price. I’m going to keep driving the wheels off of my Jeep until there is an affordable plug-in hybrid with a reasonable range.

lillycoyote's avatar

@WasCy I am also of an age where gas prices are so much higher than when I started driving. In the 70s, doing that 70s cruising around thing we did back then, you could get 50 cents, a quarter, from everyone in the car and be good to go for the night, even in the gas guzzlers of the day.

But the thing that really shaped my view about gas in its many facets was the 1973 oil crisis. I got my drivers license at 16, in April of 1973, when gasoline supplies were already getting pretty tight, and I’m not sure when Delaware instituted odd-even day gas rationing but I think it was sometime in 1974, not sure when. So, pretty much from the moment I started driving I received an extremely valuable eduction regarding the world of petroleum, so I never had the luxury or the illusion that gas was something that would always be available and plentiful. It may have been cheap then but not necessarily plentiful, at least not at the pump level. And I learned very young that it came from somewhere, it was controlled and supplied by people, and that we and our gasoline supply were at the mercy of those people and a number of other forces that were out of our control, apparently. And that it was not at all something you could take for granted. A very valuable lesson that I learned back then I think.

WasCy's avatar

Yep. I recall even at that tender age doing back-of-the-napkin calculations (I always liked math) on the literal lakes of gasoline that were being burned every day by American drivers.

whitenoise's avatar

I would then pay about 40 US$ per full tank of gas.

I guess I’d feel right back at home in Holland. Oh no…. wait…. a full tank of gas there costs 80 US$ already.

hmmm…. to me I guess it won’t matter. 40 US$ per full tank would still be pretty cheap.

(edit: gas prices where I live are around US$ 0.50 per gallon)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

We’d move, adjust our work schedules and then carpool.

Coloma's avatar

Well, the propane scene is just as bad up here, where everyone almost is on natural gas heating, ranges, water heaters.
With the late spring and cool temps, I used much more than usual. I just had a tank fill a few days ago, $648 !!! The prior bill in March was $642.

This tank should easily last me through the summer, but, holy shit…! :-?

blueiiznh's avatar

It depends on what the time element is.
Since I started driving it has already done that and I have managed by doing things smarter. I certainly can’t just take as many joy rides as I used to.
If it is a relatively short time frame and my income does not increase proportionate, I would ride my bike more and car pool more (which to some extent I already do).

faye's avatar

We used to go on ‘Sunday Drives’. Just roaming about like the song- no particular place to go. Have a snack or a beer in some small town. Haven’t done that in a few years now.

tranquilsea's avatar

From what I’ve researched when oil reaches $200 a barrel we are pretty much screwed. Our distribution systems for food have gone from local to being global. The problem with that is it would take a while to re-establish the local systems.

lillycoyote's avatar

@faye We kind of did the “Sunday Drive” thing too, when I was a kid, but my father was not a man given to idle and aimless wandering so there always had to be a destination; a purpose. I bet I have visited every Revolutionary War battlefield and every historical monument, memorial and marker within a 100 mile plus radius of Wilmington, Delaware. Including who know how many trips to and picnics at Valley Forge. And the Civil War ones too, though those are fewer and farther between up here. Gettysburg is a biggie, though. We went there more than a few times.

Coloma's avatar

@lillycoyote

I’m envious! Trade ya my California Goldrush zone for Gettyberg..whattya say, house swap? lol

faye's avatar

@lillycoyote sounds wonderful!

woodcutter's avatar

That would be a scenario where nobody will use gas. It would be over. My rough public math comes to about $16.00 per gallon using your question. Driving would be the least of everyone’s problem. It would be over.

bkcunningham's avatar

I drive an electric golf cart 99 percent of the time. I can go anywhere I need to go.

roundsquare's avatar

I live in a place with great public transportation, so no worries. But in my hometown, where there really isn’t much, I’d talk to local officials to get it started. Get buses on the roads right away for major routes and then add to them as needed. Setup campaigns to convince people that the bus is not so bad, etc… (Actually, I hope prices do go up so that there is pressure on local politicians to do this.)

In the meantime, carpool and plan ahead more.

roundsquare's avatar

Also, what @bkcunningham said is perfect. We don’t need our massive cars most of the time. Switch to small electric vehicles for daily use and only use big gas guzzlers when they are needed.

dannyc's avatar

Read a book by Jeff Rubin, we will adapt, but there will be fundamental changes to our lifestyle. Local will be the rage again. The end of waste, the beginning of real camaraderie.

flutherother's avatar

@Coloma You should consider getting a wood burning stove (and a man to chop the logs);-)

gorillapaws's avatar

Another interesting corollary is that it will be cost-prohibitive to outsource many types of manufacturing, which will result in many more domestic jobs and likely a big manufacturing boost to the Mexican economy. The result of that may greatly reduce the number of people illegally crossing into the US along its southern border looking for work.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Coloma You should consider getting a hybrid HVAC. Wood stoves are pretty inefficient unless you have them heating a water boiler (outside)...we went from oil heat to our hybrid 2yrs ago and the savings in incredible, as is the efficiency

incendiary_dan's avatar

@SpatzieLover Traditional iron wood stoves are inefficient because most of those designs don’t take advantage of thermal masses to have consistent radiant heating. In Europe, large stone and clay wood stoves were commonly used to make the most of wood burned. Even by stacking heat retaining stones like soapstone around an iron wood stove would help a lot.

whitenoise's avatar

@incendiary_dan In Europe?
In Europe, most people would not consider a wood furnace/stove/burner an efficient way of heating ones house. Maybe some die hards in Sweden or Switzerland like them, but overall they are regarded as quite inefficient.

Good isolation of roof, walls, basement and windows with balanced ventilation and heat exchange filter for out- and ingoing air.

Using heat pumps to store excess heat (in summer) in ground water layers and use that energy in winter. This provides cooling as well as heat.

Use solar and wind energy to make the house energy neutral or even positive.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@whitenoise Note the phrase ”were commonly used”. The period I was referring to was pre-industrial. Forgot to mention that. The same designs didn’t catch on in the U.S. because we’ve never had as much problems with deforestation compounded with population density, at least not until after most people started using oil heat.

The combination of ideal ventilation and thermal mass made for extremely efficient wood stoves.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@incendiary_dan even “efficient” wood stoves cause one room to be uber hot, while other parts of the house is cold. My uncle had the brainy idea that he’d use his wood stove to heat his house. He now closes off the upper part of his home for winter because his stove only heats three rooms. —he uses corn pellets besides wood BTW…..One of our neighbors used to heat their home with their wood stove. Great idea in theory…until they had a house fire and had to move themselves and their 8 kids out for almost a year during the rebuilding process—

whitenoise's avatar

@SpatzieLover

@incendiary_dan was right to a great extend, that in Europe they made heating systems fueled by wood that were extremely efficient for their time.

In Switzerland, Aistria and The Nordics for instance. They pretty much built the whole house around it though. (And therefore it heated the whole house as well)

Anyone going skiing in Europe can view for themselves. (We had one in our Swiss chalet, when I was young)

WasCy's avatar

I didn’t see the jump from gasoline to home heating, but here’s a link for the Russian Fireplace that seems to be the current topic of discussion.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@WasCy Those are similar to the ones I was talking about. Thanks. I’ve seen some pictures of huge ones built in elaborate church buildings, the stoves as elaborate as the buildings. Some work in principles similar to rocket stoves to get maximum fuel use and minimal smoke. Others, like @whitenoise mentions, were integral to some homes. I’ve seen them build out of cob in the center of houses, which is what I think I’m going to do when I build myself a hobbit-hole.

whitenoise's avatar

nice thought… A hobbit hole. GA :-)

incendiary_dan's avatar

@whitenoise Well if I’m talking about thermal mass and insulation, nothing beats a couple feet of dirt, particularly in terms of price. Plus, I could graze sheep and goats on my roof. :)

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