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Your Take: Will Your Frugal Fuel Changes Stick?

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Gas PricesThe price of gas has dropped by a significant amount the last month or so (though a barrel of oil popped up $6 yesterday!), we might be looking at the beginning of oil slipping out of the stratosphere (could be lowered demand, could be speculators running for the exits, who knows!?). This begs the question, will all of our energy consumption habit changes stick?

Whenever people think of high fuel prices, they think back to the energy crisis of the 70s. One big difference between this last energy crisis and the 70s was that in the 70s, there was rationing. If you wanted fuel, you couldn’t necessarily get any. In the energy crisis today, and I loathe to even call it a crisis, you can buy gasoline anytime you wanted to. It might have been close to four dollars a gallon but you didn’t have to wait in lines or wait for the right day to buy. I think that’s a huge difference.

Here’s the scary part. The last energy crisis should’ve been a wake up call … but we hit the snooze button. Here we are, dealing with our reliance on oil, and there’s nothing that says our changes and the presidential campaign rhetoric this will result in action. I never lived through the last energy crisis but the stories I’ve read show a time when that crisis had a greater impact on one’s life.

As a naturally frugal person, I didn’t make many changes to my life to conserve energy. I’ve always had an eye on the recurring costs of things like my car, so I’ve never had a gas guzzler. I own a Toyota Celica and my first car was an Acura Integra, both are efficient with fuel. I try to use as little energy as possible, even before electricity prices spiked dramatically in Maryland, simply because I didn’t want to pay for something I didn’t need to. Let’s be honest, I need the money more than the power company!

So I’m fairly confident that any changes I have made will stick because they’ve been so tightly integrated, I feel as though I never changed in the first place! How about you?

(Photo: notjake13)

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6 Responses to “Your Take: Will Your Frugal Fuel Changes Stick?”

  1. Glenn Lasher says:

    I come at this from a different perspective than that of a frugal person, specifically, that of an environmentalist. As such, I do enjoy the savings I get from driving a Chevy Prizm (30 MPG) on the occasion that I do drive, and I use our local public transit system (which, miraculously, only charges $1 per trip, though I purchase the monthly pass, which works out to even less).

    At the same time, I do spend extra on electricity, so as to purchase electricity from renewable sources. This costs me an extra 1¢ per kilowatt-hour, and really only adds a few dollars to my bill.

    That said, let me get to the point of the question. No, these gas prices will not stick. Unlike the 70′s crisis, the current problem is a supply and demand problem, whereas before it was purely a supply problem. Also unlike the 70′s, the supply problem is natural, whereas it was, at least partially, artificial.

    I should detail that a tad.

    In the 70′s, there were two root causes. US oil production had peeked and was in decline, which was the natural part of the problem. At the same time, our actions had offended a critical supplier of oil, and they responded by telling us that they no longer wanted our business, and getting their allies to do likewise. The solution to this problem was diplomacy.

    At the present, there is a question of whether or not world oil production has peaked. I believe it has, but I am not an expert in the appropriate field to know for sure. Assuming that this is the case, the stuff is only going to get more and more rare, even in the face of increasing world demand, and so the price has no option but to trend up. Diplomacy can provide temporary relief, but neither diplomacy, nor its evil twin, war, can solve it.

    There is much complaint about the profits being made by the oil companies right now. If you look at it, though, the oil companies are behaving rationally. They can see that they are approaching the end of their ability to supply their core product, and are socking away money so as to make it possible for them to transition to something else, rather than meeting their otherwise-inevitable demise.

    Now for the cynical part of this comment. I suspect very strongly that, if there is not political wrangling going on right now, that there is at least political consensus. Maybe the Bush family did not call their friends in the oil industry, who knows. Even if they did not, however, it goes unquestioned in my mind that the oil producers would like to see a Republican still in the White House next year. As such, dipping into their profits a tad, they can temporarily lower prices, so that it looks like the Republicans came through for us. As such, I expect the prices to rise again, starting in mid-November.

  2. Amber Jones says:

    I would say personally, yes. My friend and I do a lot of carpooling when going grocery shopping for each of our households and things – in fact, almost every weekend, when we go shopping, we do it together. It saves gas – but it also makes it fun. We always have a blast! And we help each other watch out for great sales/deals.

    Also, we don’t go very far away from home when we want to get out of the house. If we can walk there, we do it. And that’s great because the boys would rather be outside walking than riding in their car seat any day.

  3. Kevin says:

    We haven’t changed that much either since we were already pretty good about it – taking my wife’s Protege on the weekends instead of my Cherokee, carpooling together on days she works, combining errands, etc.

    We are looking at another 30mpg or higher car to replace my Jeep when it dies though. Previously we had been thinking another SUV, so I guess that qualifies.

  4. muckdog says:

    I’ve been conserving for years via working from home, carpooling, mass transit, etc. What I’ve quit buying is bottled water, sodas and coffee drinks.

    I think I’m net ahead… Geez.

  5. Jon says:

    Gas Prices? Not so bad…

    Bogged down
    Most expensive places to buy gas
    Rank Country Price/gal
    1. Eritrea $9.58
    2. Norway $8.73
    3. United Kingdom $8.38
    4. Netherlands $8.37
    5. Monaco $8.31
    6. Iceland $8.28
    7. Belgium $8.22
    8. France $8.07
    9. Germany $7.86
    10. Portugal $7.84
    108. United States $3.45

  6. Patrick says:

    Gas is a huge problem that is going to continue to rise until we move to more renewable sources of energy. This should be a wakeup call for our country and we should really start investing heavily in alternative energy sources. It really sucks that neither presidential candidate seem like they will take significant action to move our country away from oil…


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