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Gas Prices “Seriously Impacting” Quality of Life: Poll

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A national poll conducted by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute concluded 78% Americans believe gas prices are very seriously or somewhat seriously impacting their quality of life.

Jerry Lindsley, director of the Polling Institute, thinks politicians should be wary. “Spiraling gas and home heating oil prices may be the ‘stealth issue’ that will impact the careers of incumbent elected officials in ’06 and possibly ’08 as much as they are impacting Americans’ quality of life,” he said. “With our survey showing the President’s approval rating down to 42% positive and recent ratings of Congress down to 29% positive — it may be ‘incumbents beware.’ Consumer anger may impact both political parties alike if they don’t get it together on this quality-of-life issue.”

Over half of those surveyed, 56%, indicated they will travel less this coming holiday season as a direct result of higher gasoline prices. In addition, Americans are using their credit cards to pay for gas much more frequently today than a year ago: 31% of respondents who have a car, truck or SUV said they are using credit cards to pay for gas more frequently today than they were one year ago as a result of higher prices – who carries that much cash around all the time?

Increasing numbers of Americans surveyed believe their next car will be smaller and more gas-efficient. Among those currently owning a car, 56% report their next car will be smaller and more gas-efficient, and 45% said they will consider a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, such as the Toyota Prius which now has a four-month waiting list for purchase. The latest Prius gets 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, according to the U.S. government.

John Gerlach, associate professor in the Economics and Finance Department at Sacred Heart University, said, “The new survey clearly shows that the continuation of high gas prices is forcing Americans to change their lifestyle. More of us are also planning to buy more fuel-efficient cars than was the case five months ago, and the sales of large SUVs have already declined from their highs of a year ago.

“This is not good news for U.S. auto makers,” he continued, “who have relied on the sales of these vehicles to offset losses on their automobiles.” He also mentioned home heating bills this winter as a potential cause of concern.

Researchers also asked respondents if they supported or opposed a number of possible strategies to reduce the impact of higher gasoline prices. A large majority, 80%, strongly or somewhat support allowing the Federal Government to permit new oil refineries throughout the United States as needed. 68% strongly or somewhat support allowing expanded drilling for oil in places such as Utah, Alaska and Colorado (ugh, pointless).

57% indicated they strongly or somewhat support lowering highway speed limits to 55 miles per hour (anything but that, please, time is precious).

However, 64% said they strongly or somewhat oppose adding 20 cents per gallon in Federal gasoline tax to support research on energy alternatives. We need much stronger leadership on this issue, which strikes me as the best longterm solution: even at 5 or 10 cents per gallon much could be accomplished.

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About Eric Olsen

  • Jon Mirsky

    Eric-

    I’m sorry to post this here, but I’m wondering, how does one go about contacting you?

    I urgently need to ask you about a post that went up on these boards a month and a half ago.

    Thanks so much,

    Jon

  • JR

    68% strongly or somewhat support allowing expanded drilling for oil in places such as Utah, Alaska and Colorado.

    57% indicated they strongly or somewhat support lowering highway speed limits to 55 miles per hour.

    However, 64% said they strongly or somewhat oppose adding 20 cents per gallon in Federal gasoline tax to support research on energy alternatives.

    Trust Americans to do the right thing. But only after they’ve tried everything else.

    This is depressing.

  • Eric Olsen

    I agree JR, but they can be led – there hasn’t been much of that on energy topics thus far, or at least of late

  • Eric Olsen

    Jon, my email is available here

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>However, 64% said they strongly or somewhat oppose adding 20 cents per gallon in Federal gasoline tax to support research on energy alternatives. We need much stronger leadership on this issue, which strikes me as the best longterm solution: even at 5 or 10 cents per gallon much could be accomplished.<<

    This last bit is the real bad news. Screw 5 or 10 cents a gallon. I want a minimum of $1 per gallon in added tax.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Why not do something that might help the auto industry, the environment, AND consumers: start pushing alternative-fuel vehicles; converting current gas-fueled cars to ethanol or cooking oil; etc.

    Oh, I forgot: most of the current administration worked/is bought & paid for by the oil industry. Never mind.

  • JR

    It’s true those margins aren’t that large, except for the refineries question on which most of seem to agree anyway. So I do believe strong leadership could swing people in the right direction.

    But where is that leadership? The current administration has, in as much as they’ve done anything at all, pushed us in the wrong direction on both the environmental side and the tax side of the issue. And nobody on the horizon has the courage to promote the tax increase, so whoever does take a leadership position is that much more likely to push for the lousy alternatives which will further impact our quality of life. (Surely Dave doesn’t want to have to drive around Texas at 55 mph.)

    Bird flu is our best hope.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    My Bigass tax increase is the simple way to get the alternative fuel vehicles and research you’re all crying out for, but to do it through the marketplace. With gas prices that high the auto manufacturers will get off their asses and respond to conumer demand and produce the hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles we want. It would also make alternative fuels more economically competitive, leaving the price of Ethanol and Biodiesel below the price of gas – it’s currently marginally higher for both – and encouraging the development of more alternative fuel stations, distribution and production.

    And yes, I certainly don’t want to drive through some of the wastelands around here at anything less than 70mph.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    The way this government is, it wouldn’t matter: the oil multinationals own it anyway, and they wouldn’t allow themselves to be displaced – unless they also owned the alternative fuels being developed so they could continue their price-gouging via artificial shortages (helped out by occasional real ones).

  • Eric Olsen

    makes sense to me Dave, although I’m a little afraid of the economy-wide repercussions of that drastic an increase. But it would have an, um, impact.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    One of the effects would be to revitalize public transportation, especially by encoruaging those with lower incomes to use buses and trains, which can only be a good thing for their pocketbooks and for those suffering modes of transport.

    Dave

  • Eric Olsen

    Dave, you’re sounding positively European

  • JR

    The lower income people are the ones who will suffer most. They tend not to be able to afford housing near mass transit, as those areas become attractive to middle and upper income people concerned about commute times and access to big city culture. So the working poor are stuck in a vicious cycle of having to move farther out to find housing they can afford after paying the cost of commuting greater distances.

    The big gas tax gives us the financial means to address this problem; now we need a plan that’s actually going to work. (It’s somewhat similar to the problem we have of providing affordable housing for teachers and other civil servants in places like Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia. Programs like subsidized housing often create more problems and are prone to abuse.) I’m on board, but we need something probably pretty ambitious that the Socialist-phobes can live with.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    One of the effects would be to revitalize public transportation

    Considering the number of people living in sprawlville in this country, revitalizing public transportation will be a long hard slog. I myself am an example of how this can work, though. My wife and I live in New York City but frequently visit our families in the suburbs. Until recently, commuter rail, although easy and convenient, has not been the economical way to make these visits. Driving has always been significantly cheaper – especially for two people. $3 in gas vs. $20 for two round-trip train fares? No contest. But now that the gas costs closer to $10 and probably going higher… well, that’s a pretty major change.

  • Eric Olsen

    JR – an “energy Marshall plan”?

    very interesting points Jon

  • Guppusmaximus

    Ha…Keep Dreaming!! Public Transportation doesn’t get supported enough by the Government to make the ends meet. The commuter rails aren’t even owned by the State and if you live in Boston(like I do) you already know that it’s uncomfortable and loud to actually utilize the “T”(Boston’s T is one of the oldest in the country) to do everything you want. Plus, they don’t run late except for weekends and 1am isn’t really late.If that many people in the US resorted to Public Transportation, it would be a nightmare.It’s already a mess at “Rush” hour. People aren’t respectful or kind on these damn things and honestly, how many of you could be packed in a Sardine can for that long? So… Because I am a working class stiff, I should have to resort to riding the sh*tty T because of all the F*cking yuppies that want to keep raping the earth with their SUV’s? NO THANKS!! I think everyone should use their cars far less than what they do. Be forced to buy economical cars!!…Boycotting the use of Gasoline would make more of an impact than more taxes!!Plus, the T uses electric…So why don’t we just kill that resource as well.. Maybe people should start walking and riding bikes again, then we wouldn’t have such an Obesity Epidemic going on here in the US… Sounds like someone fed you guys the “Irrational Pills”….

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>The lower income people are the ones who will suffer most. They tend not to be able to afford housing near mass transit, as those areas become attractive to middle and upper income people concerned about commute times and access to big city culture. So the working poor are stuck in a vicious cycle of having to move farther out to find housing they can afford after paying the cost of commuting greater distances.< <

    But all it takes is a few satellite bus lines to solve this problem, and with money from a gas tax to underwrite that development the problem could be solved very quickly. I'd also support a state by state tax of up to 50 cents a gallon for public transportation.

    >>The big gas tax gives us the financial means to address this problem; now we need a plan that’s actually going to work. (It’s somewhat similar to the problem we have of providing affordable housing for teachers and other civil servants in places like Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia. Programs like subsidized housing often create more problems and are prone to abuse.) I’m on board, but we need something probably pretty ambitious that the Socialist-phobes can live with.<<

    Speaking as one of the biggest socialist-phobes you’re likely to meet, I’m all for it. It’s not socialism. It’s fee for service. It’s not taking money at gunpoint and redistributing it, it’s fee for service based. You pay for the gas and pay the tax to support the transportation infrastructure that goes with it, including highways AND measures that reduce traffic on those highways like making it possible for the poor to take busses or trains to work.

    Dave

  • Eric Olsen

    other than directly addressing the short-to-medium range adverse impact on the economy, your plan makes a lot of sense to me, Dave

  • Guppusmaximus

    Is it just the middle to lower class that will pay these gas taxes and if so, I thought the fare(Buses & Subway)is what covered these issues. Now the working class will pay for the gas and the fare….No Thanks. Why don’t the Big Wigs at the T start investing in Hybrid Buses?? Or why don’t we tax the shit out of the rich seeing how they are the ones sucking all the fuel with their big Earth Raping POS SUVs!! Last time I checked US Corporation CEOs were making 300% more a year than us working schmucks!! The cost of living in Boston demands a $15.00/hr minimum wage but the state fucks turned down a dollar increase. All the while we turn our backs on all the illegal immigration so that comapnies can hire [edited] at way less than what the US citizens are worth so places like Target and Walmart can fucking kill on profits… If this is an emergency about resources we should get the money from these Greedy Money Mongers!! They should start sacrificing especially in the wake of Katrina which started this rip-off at the pump!! I get to pay through the nose while dealing with fucking assholes who don’t speak the fucking language…..You guys are smoking way too much weed!!

  • Eric Olsen

    the price of gas has been going up steadily for some time, Katrina was just a spike. In addition to the false dichotomy of class warfare, you seem to be lumping together a lot of resentments that don’t derive from the same sources, and urely you can’t blame immigrants for trying to participate in the American dream

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Where on earth did you get the idea it was the rich driving SUVs? The preferred vehicle of the working class is a pickup truck, which is basically an SUV without seats or a roof in the back. Same engine, same gas mileage.

    Rich people are FAR more likely to drive hybrid cars and fuel efficient cars, because these vehicles are more expensive, higher-end models that are well suited to urban o rusburban dwellers, which includes most of the wealthy.

    Dave

  • Eric Olsen

    yes, it’s the luxury of having money to “invest” in such things that pay off over time in energy savings, etc

  • Guppusmaximus

    “the price of gas has been going up steadily for some time”, but so hasn’t the price of groceries…Your Point?? My point is that the Oil industry leaped onto the Katrina bandwagon, using the natural disaster as an excuse to swell prices above and beyond! When oil company CEOs make up a good portion of the rich in this country I don’t understand why we need to pay for repairs of their refineries through gas prices. If you’re not seeing the overwhelming gap between the rich and the middle class in this country then you’re being naive and if the American Dream assimilates to breaking the law(hiring illegal immigrants)to “blow up” your profit margin than you’re no different than Haliburton. Public transportation had raised their prices quicker in a ten year span than the oil industry with their gas prices and on top of that(especially here in Boston) there hasn’t been any work on the infrastructure to upgrade the quality. So, you tell me how more taxes are going to change this dilemma??

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>I don’t understand why we need to pay for repairs of their refineries through gas prices<<

    Because the reason things like Katrina can cause gas prices to go up is because our refinery capacity has been kept at exactly the minimum level to provide our needed gas with no room for flexibility or growth. We need surplus/backup refinery capacity and we need it as quickly as possible so that when disasters strike we can weather them more effectively.

    Dave

  • Guppusmaximus

    Dave, I think you need to do more research…

  • Guppusmaximus

    Again, why do we need to pay for that?? That would be disaster preperation. Disaster Preperation=Insurance which all people pay for at some time(Car,Home,etc..)So, the Oil Industry should have insurance…right?? Did Mobil pay for the houses that were destroyed during Katrina?? SUVs aren’t built with the same MPG ratings as 4x4s and Heavy Duty trucks plus they cost twice as much as a standard work truck which means only rich materialistic snobs purchase them.As far as I am concerned, The people I see driving these road hogs don’t actually have a need for that size of a vehicle.

  • http://trishwilson.typepad.com/blog The Countess (Trish Wilson)

    I know we’re feeling it in Massachusetts. We don’t drive nearly as much as we used to, and only when it is absolutely necessary. We also have oil heat, and I read that heating prices are going to increase 90% this winter. Sorry, I don’t have a source, so don’t quote me on that. We have blankets up by the front door to cut down on the drafts. We plan to keep the thermostat at 65 degrees and bundle up with lots of sweaters. Even one of my cats sits in my lap all the time, and I suspect it’s because she wants to keep warm.

    I don’t know how efficient or expensive wood heating is, but we have a wood stove. We’re going to hire someone to clean it out so we can use it this winter. It’s already cold here, and we refuse to turn on the heat. Lots of other families in the area are doing the same thing because heating prices are ridiculously high.

    I think the gas and heating prices could easily sink Bush. People are going to get even more pissed off than they already are.

    When I need to go to Boston I always take public transportation. Anyone who has ever tried to drive in Boston knows how insane that can be. The commuter rail and the subway are Godsends. The problem is that a round-trip ticket, including the subway, costs about $15.00. It’s cheaper to drive, but driving in Boston is a nightmare.

    I agree with Dave Nalle that the “T” in Boston can be rough. People during Rush Hour are rude. I live on the ocean in Cape Ann, and the ride is too damned long. I don’t want to deeal with cramped cars and rude people on my commute, but I don’t have much of a choice.

    I own a Saab, and it gets great gas mileage. Thankfully we have not put gas on our credit cards. We don’t use credit cards much to begin with, but we are making a point to avoid using them now. One of my friends owns a hybrid, and she’s immensely happy with it. I don’t want to trade it my Saab for a hybrid, though. I’m very happy with my car.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Dave, I think you need to do more research…< <

    Spoken like someone who knows nothing about the subject, as demonstrated by your following post.

    >>Again, why do we need to pay for that?? That would be disaster preperation. Disaster Preperation=Insurance which all people pay for at some time(Car,Home,etc..)So, the Oil Industry should have insurance…right?? < <

    You think that insurance somehow magically rebuilds things instantaneously? The refineries had to be shut down for the duration of both hurricanes, then repaired and reopened. In a tight market like we have now 3 or 4 weeks with substantial numbers of refineries shut down there's going to be an impact on the market.

    >>Did Mobil pay for the houses that were destroyed during Katrina?? < <

    Why would they? But then, the feds are paying to rebuild a lot of them, because they didn't have adequate insurance. In the same way, if it takes federal money to get more refinery capacity built so that a disaster can't incapacitate our production, then that makes as much sense as rebuilding peoples houses. Not that I'm necessarily wildly supportive of either.

    >>SUVs aren’t built with the same MPG ratings as 4x4s and Heavy Duty trucks plus they cost twice as much as a standard work truck which means only rich materialistic snobs purchase them.< <

    Check the numbers. A serious pickup truck outpowers most SUVs and gets worse gas mileage. And plenty of pickups are driven by working people. For that matter, so are many SUVs. The people who are rich and drive SUVs can easily afford the gas. Poorer people who drive SUVs and pickups in equally large proportions are going to find that practice increasingly challenging.

    >>As far as I am concerned, The people I see driving these road hogs don’t actually have a need for that size of a vehicle.<<

    But you see, we live in America where THEY decide what they need, not you or the government.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>I don’t want to trade it my Saab for a hybrid, though. I’m very happy with my car.<<

    What you need is for Saab to make a hybrid. And that’s what a big gas tax is all about – raising the price of gas to the point where every manufacturer sees the value in making a hybrid version of their popular models sooner rather than later.

    Dave

  • Eric Olsen

    and government money to spur research into the NEXT generation

  • Guppusmaximus

    Dave, Just because you use big words and long sentences doesn’t mean you have a valid point. I’m pretty sure that insurance doesn’t magically rebuild things and I’m also pretty sure that having A REFINERY damaged doesn’t call for surging gas prices as there wasn’t a shortage of gas that the oil companies had projected.Especially,the gas prices staying high for this long.

    I was looking into buying a truck for sometime and I have checked the numbers.Most 4x4s actually get more mpg because they use a 6 cylinder engine and for most 4x2s they get more mpg with a v8 than the Escalade.

    Escalade:12/16mpg, Tundra:16/20.

    I’m pretty sure that when you look at more of the other models you’ll see the same thing. Why do the Escalades need a bigger liter engine when work trucks were built to do work while the escalade was built to capitalize on size?Because,(ex.Tundra) a work truck can pull a bigger load at an efficient rate and the Escalade is just a Materialistic statement. Dave, you should do your research!! Most working class people with trucks also don’t buy mad rims as well as a crazy sound system with DVD players and LCD screens. That would be the yuppies and I have dealt with them in my line of work(retail hell)…Man, if you can’t see who actually buys these SUVs then you’re blind!! You are right about one thing…The rich don’t care about gas prices and this gas tax is only going to hurt the working class!! When did raising the price ever work effectively,huh? Did the raising of cigarette prices make people quit? I’m pretty sure that raising the gas prices won’t make the automotive industry budge in the least!!

    “But you see, we live in America where THEY decide what they need, not you or the government.” So how does this mindset support what you’re proposing,Dave?

    It’s pretty sad that the only manufacturers of these Hybrids are the Japanese

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Dave, Just because you use big words and long sentences doesn’t mean you have a valid point. I’m pretty sure that insurance doesn’t magically rebuild things and I’m also pretty sure that having A REFINERY damaged doesn’t call for surging gas prices as there wasn’t a shortage of gas that the oil companies had projected.Especially,the gas prices staying high for this long. < <

    I never said there wasn't gouging going on, but the lack of refinery capacity makes the oil supply more vulnerable than it would be otherwise, cuts into reserves, and ultimately can only lead to higher prices. We need to solve this problem.

    >>I was looking into buying a truck for sometime and I have checked the numbers.Most 4x4s actually get more mpg because they use a 6 cylinder engine and for most 4x2s they get more mpg with a v8 than the Escalade.

    Escalade:12/16mpg, Tundra:16/20.< <

    They make 4x4 pickups too. Comparing the Escalade to the Tundra makes no sense at all. The Escalade is enormous and the Tundra is a much smaller vehicle. GVW is a key factor in gas mileage.

    >>I’m pretty sure that when you look at more of the other models you’ll see the same thing. Why do the Escalades need a bigger liter engine when work trucks were built to do work while the escalade was built to capitalize on size?Because,(ex.Tundra) a work truck can pull a bigger load at an efficient rate and the Escalade is just a Materialistic statement. < <

    Can't argue with you there. The Escalade is a big, expensive and overpowered vehicle. It makes a lot more sense to compare the Tundra to a more equivalent vehicle like the Toyota Highlander which gets 18/25.

    >>Dave, you should do your research!! Most working class people with trucks also don’t buy mad rims as well as a crazy sound system with DVD players and LCD screens. That would be the yuppies and I have dealt with them in my line of work(retail hell)…Man, if you can’t see who actually buys these SUVs then you’re blind!! < <

    I realize that rich people buy SUVs, but so do average people. I know a guy who works for the local sewage treatment plant. He drives a Ford Escape. It's an SUV, but it's cheap and gets relatively good gas mileage. Most of the other lower income folks around here drive large, older model pickup trucks, which as I said also have low gas mileage compared to cars or the more fuel efficient SUVs.

    >>You are right about one thing…The rich don’t care about gas prices and this gas tax is only going to hurt the working class!! When did raising the price ever work effectively,huh? Did the raising of cigarette prices make people quit? I’m pretty sure that raising the gas prices won’t make the automotive industry budge in the least!! < <

    Higher gas prices will create more demand for fuel efficient cars, thereby driving the market to respond by producing more. As for the impact on the poor, they already use public transportation more. This will also encourage them to use it even more extensively which will help revitalize failing mass transit systems.

    >>It’s pretty sad that the only manufacturers of these Hybrids are the Japanese< <

    Ford, Dodge and GMC all have hybrid vehicles. The Ford Escape is the dominant hybrid SUV in the marketplace right now. GMC is offering a whole line of hybrid pickups and SUVs which are available with the new models being released this month. Dodge actually has some of the best hybrid technology, but for reasons which are unclear to me they've been very slow getting them to the marketplace, although the hybrid ram pickup has been available in California for 2 years if you buy 30 or more at a time;.

    You should check out hybridcars.com

    Dave

  • Guppusmaximus

    “I never said there wasn’t gouging going on, but the lack of refinery capacity makes the oil supply more vulnerable than it would be otherwise, cuts into reserves, and ultimately can only lead to higher prices. We need to solve this problem.”

    But, just like an Extremist you never mentioned it either. This problem isn’t the lack of resources, it’s people in power taking advantage of a natural disaster!

    “They make 4×4 pickups too. Comparing the Escalade to the Tundra makes no sense at all. The Escalade is enormous and the Tundra is a much smaller vehicle. GVW is a key factor in gas mileage.”

    No…the Tundra is a 4×2 which is the same size vehicle just not as tall. They both utilize V8s and actually the Tundra can handle a bigger load and has more towing power.(you’re thinking of the Tacoma)We were talking about middle class versus the upper class not specs of vehicles! Anyone with a brain that gets dirty for a living wouldn’t buy a gas guzzling waste of space like the Escalade to do real work.

    “Higher gas prices will create more demand for fuel efficient cars, thereby driving the market to respond by producing more. As for the impact on the poor, they already use public transportation more. This will also encourage them to use it even more extensively which will help revitalize failing mass transit systems.”

    Again…for the people who have the money to spend on those Hybrid cars.(In fact the Toyota Prius is the top seling Hybrid and I believe there is a 3year waiting list)On the site you mentioned Toyota is burying Ford in that market. Back to the issue,Boston doesn’t spend money to upgrade the T in poor areas which doesn’t leave much excitement about utilizing it and the fact that the Transit Police hardly do there job doesn’t leave much Security.

    I don’t have the time anymore for this…By your proposal: The rich will get the privileges of privacy and comfort due to their inability to manage resources and I will have to pay more to do what I do less of now anyways…Which is driving to work.

    Welcome to America!!

  • Guppusmaximus
  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>Again…for the people who have the money to spend on those Hybrid cars.(In fact the Toyota Prius is the top seling Hybrid and I believe there is a 3year waiting list)On the site you mentioned Toyota is burying Ford in that market. Back to the issue,Boston doesn’t spend money to upgrade the T in poor areas which doesn’t leave much excitement about utilizing it and the fact that the Transit Police hardly do there job doesn’t leave much Security. <<

    You don’t understand the marketplace at all. The reason you want to motivate marketplace demand – even if it starts among the rich – is to increase production of these vehicles. Higher levels of production will lead to lower prices. The current high price of hybrids is the result of the limited numbers being produced.

    And yes, the Prius is hot. It’s a 3 month waiting list, not a 3 year one, however. There are other inexpensive hybrids available which IMO are nicer than the Prius. The Honda Civic gets equally good mileage and isn’t a hideous piece of crap like the Prius and the Ford Escape.

    As for Boston, it’s not the entire world. But its mass transit system is still one of the best in the country. You can get whever you want to go at a fairly reasonable price or at least that was the case when I lived there some years ago and I doubt it’s gotten worse since then.

    Your constant bashing of the rich and playing up the gap between rich and poor is ludicrous. You don’t have to be rich to buy a hybrid car. You just need to have them available at a reasonable price and in reasonable numbers.

    And BTW, the gap between rich and poor isn’t actually a gap between rich and poor, it’s a gap between the ultra-rich and everyone else. The fact is that people who earn more than $500,000 a year really aren’t part of the same economic structure as the rest of us, and no matter how much richer they get, it’s not going to make the rest of us richer or poorer. The rest of us, from the poorest to the richest who aren’t in that range aren’t getting farther apart and are continuing to gain gradually in income.

    Dave

  • Guppusmaximus

    Yes, I understand the Marketplace… If alot of people rich or poor buy products when they are new in design then it lowers the price over a certain time period because the company producing this product can spend money on research and development to find more efficient ways of building said product but that doesn’t always mean the product is going to get less expensive, it sometimes mean that the really inexpensive versions are plain fucking garbage just like the PC computers we use today…. Your proposal has nothing to do with the Marketplace..Jackass!! Your proposal would bring more money in for the oil companies with the hopes that the car companies would be pressured to build these hybrid cars because the people will eventually get tired of paying the fucking gouged prices!! My example was Cigarettes because they raised the prices hoping that people would get tired of paying alot of money for an addiction…It didn’t work and if driving expensive vehicles that take alot of gas because they are luxurious and convenient is an addicition(Materialism) then your idea will have the same fate. If the car companies really cared about resources then the porcelain engine would’ve made a bigger impact 10 years ago!!

    Maybe you should do some more reading about this new bounce back in the economy…Yes it has risen with new jobs but the companies aren’t paying the same as they used to…The Ultra-Rich?? Ha!! Those are the CEOs in charge of the payroll for their employees so, if you aren’t in business for yourself than you are the gap between the rich and the poor!!!

    GET A CLUE!!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Your proposal would bring more money in for the oil companies with the hopes that the car companies would be pressured to build these hybrid cars because the people will eventually get tired of paying the fucking gouged prices!!< <

    A tax on gas would NOT bring in more money for the oil companies. It would, in fact, put them in a position where they had to cut profits to the bone to keep prices down. Again, you're exactly wrong.

    >> My example was Cigarettes because they raised the prices hoping that people would get tired of paying alot of money for an addiction…It didn’t work and if driving expensive vehicles that take alot of gas because they are luxurious and convenient is an addicition(Materialism) then your idea will have the same fate.< <

    Bullshit. Driving expensive cars isn't an addiction. How much more ridiculous and illogical can you get?

    >> If the car companies really cared about resources then the porcelain engine would’ve made a bigger impact 10 years ago!!< <

    Now I never said the car companies cared about resources - they care about profits and the profits will be in hybrid cars if the consumer price for gas goes up. And as for caring about resources, are you aware that there are about a dozen vehicles on the market right now that will run on Ethanol and even more which will run on Biodiesel, and in fact a couple which will run on CNG or Propane with no modification - right off the rack.

    >>Maybe you should do some more reading about this new bounce back in the economy…< <

    Or perhaps you should. I recommend The Bureau of Labor Statistics – that’s where I get my info.

    >>Yes it has risen with new jobs but the companies aren’t paying the same as they used to…< <

    True. Wages are up substantially in almost every employment area.

    >>The Ultra-Rich?? Ha!! Those are the CEOs in charge of the payroll for their employees so, if you aren’t in business for yourself than you are the gap between the rich and the poor!!!<<

    If you took the pay of the average large company CEO away and divided it among the employees of his company they would get $30 more a year on average.

    And yes, I’m in business for myself, which is why I’m so concerned about people promoting extremist interpretations of the economy based on what are basically lies – because that suggests an agenda to put more controls on the marketplace which will really hammer entrepreneurs and small businesses even more than they are now.

    Dave

  • JR

    Guppusmaximus: By your proposal: The rich will get the privileges of privacy and comfort due to their inability to manage resources and I will have to pay more to do what I do less of now anyways…Which is driving to work.

    What the hell do you think is happening now?

    If you want the resources managed, don’t look to the rich to do it. It’s going to be our problem, not theirs; we’ve got to collectively take it on.

    Transportation is one of, if not the, largest drain on resources. With the semiconductor revolution entertainment, communication and knowledge are damn near free. Moving ourselves and our stuff around is always going to take a good deal of energy, and we are far from a sustainable lifestyle in that regard. There is no getting around it, it is going to cost us to deal with the problem.

    As I see it, you have two possible futures: one in which the rich drive around in armoured cars equipped with flamethrowers and you ride a mule or walk along shit-covered streets, or one in which the rich drive around in ostentatious cars while you ride a rail system hooked up to a nuclear powerplant and can afford not to live in a Pullmantown.

    There is no denying that a gas tax hits the working class hard, but that kind of revenue can add a lot of bus routes very quickly. And it gives us the opportunity to start on more sustainable transit, which is a lot cheaper to construct now while the petroleum is more readily available than when it’s already running out. Plus, that big of a tax gives us a lot of administrative options, from enlarging the Department of Transportation itself to simply dispersing the money to local authorities or private contractors; all while remaining independent of other government revenue streams and entitlement programs, which at least gives us a chance of making the program both transparent and accountable – you pay the tax on transportation to pay for the improvements in transportation. It could work well or poorly; doing nothing simply won’t work.

    Oh, and guess which future still has trees?

  • Guppusmaximus

    Exactly…Very well put with the grammar and all but that’s my point…It could fail and just because I don’t believe in your system does not mean I’m ignorant nor does it mean that I don’t want to find a solution. Taxes in general are not such a bad thing but considering you are already getting taxed enough to drive a vehicle and the town and state governments don’t utilize those dollars effectively doesn’t lead me to believe that this new increase would solve anything. Plus, I live in Boston now and with the beautiful but horribly done Big Dig that lasted pretty close to Ten years I don’t have the faith in the sub-contractors that would do the work on the T considering they shut down the Lechmere stop last year and they are still not done doing that work…..

  • MCH

    Has the price of gas gone up more than anything else?

    When I worked the retail grocery business in the mid-’70s, a box of cereal was about 35 cents, a pack of cigarettes was about 35 cents and a gallon of gas was about 35 cents.

    Now, a box of cereal is about $4, a pack of cigarettes is about $4, and a gallon of gas is about $3.

    Isn’t it just inflation?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    MCH, don’t ask intelligent questions, it’s disorienting. You’re supposed to only talk about chickenhawks. Now I’m all confused and don’t not what to do.

    You cigarette comparison doesn’t work, because most of the price increase there is from new taxes. And as far as cereal, I think that’s mostly price gouging. Generic cereal is about $1.50 compared to the $4 equivalent name brand.

    According to the BEA, products priced at 35 cents in 1967 should cost about $2 now. So gas has gone up more than average, but not that much.

    Dave

  • Eric Olsen

    Guppus, “When did raising the price ever work effectively,huh? Did the raising of cigarette prices make people quit?”

    Actually, yes, taxing tobacco heavily is one of the factors that has brought smoking rates down to the lowest levels in a century

  • Eric Olsen

    Also, Guppus, Dave has in no way personally insulted you in this discussion – there is no need for you to do so to him.

    Something needs to be done about energy policy and now, with some opinion fluidity created by high prices and instability, is the time to do it, but I fear Bush is not the leader to do it, although anything is possible, and it would do wonders for his legacy, especially in light of his pretty awful last year or so.

  • JR

    Guppusmaximus: Taxes in general are not such a bad thing but considering you are already getting taxed enough to drive a vehicle and the town and state governments don’t utilize those dollars effectively doesn’t lead me to believe that this new increase would solve anything.

    I don’t believe we are paying enough to drive. There are massive hidden costs which we don’t pay at the pump and which are foisted upon society as a whole, including pollution and the political and military costs of maintaining access to the oil supply. We are subsidized to drive, and it’s allowing us to make stupid lifestyle choices.

    Inefficiency and corruption in government is a valid concern. But are we just going to give up and admit we are powerless? Every once in a while the government can be forced to deal with an issue, you know.

    Eric Olsen: Something needs to be done about energy policy and now, with some opinion fluidity created by high prices and instability, is the time to do it, but I fear Bush is not the leader to do it, although anything is possible, and it would do wonders for his legacy, especially in light of his pretty awful last year or so.

    Ah, but his failing fortunes are the perfect opening for someone else to take the lead. We seem to expect the President to set the direction of the country, and the narrow focus of the media makes it difficult for anyone else to command the attention the “Leader of the Free World” gets; but it is Congress which is tasked with making the laws, particularly in setting taxes. Bush is far too conflicted to deal with this problem – he’s an oil man and close family friends with the House of Saud. With him distracted and neutralized, and with other staunch supporters of the oil industry on their own “bridge to nowhere”, now is an opportunity for some high-profile Congressmen to step forward and push a solution. On this one, look for leaders outside the White House.

    Not that I’m optimistic, mind you.

  • gonzo marx

    greetings once again, gentle Readers…

    yes, i have been on extended hiatus, minor health things tend to keep me away from the mad keyboard pecking you all know and loathe….

    so i am scanning around, and what do i come across…Mr Nalle advocating a tax increase?

    oh my stars and garters…does Hell have a hockey team now?….can someone check for me quickly..?

    but i digress…

    the fact is, even as Mr Nalle stated above..yes, Virginia, there has been a lot of gouging going on…and rather than check into, as well as prosecute that, all kinds of moonbat tinfoil hat shit is being spewed…

    the Answer is truly simplicity itself…you see, most of the country has no infrastructure for mass transit, and the population per square mile makes such cost prohibitive as a private concern..so either we follow tax and spend GOP members, like Mr Nalle, and create an entire new branch of government subsidy…we need a better Answer…

    let’s see, oil seems to be at the curx of this, good old supply and demand..

    how about this one for a Fun Fact…the first diesel engine ran on peanut oil?

    you have eard about bio diesel..and some say it is too cost prohibitive…well, i am betting our farmers can grow, and american business can refine organic matter into grease at least as well as we refine oil….and this owuld allow our own farmers to grow the base material…

    but wait…there’s more

    since a common complain of diesel engines is performance….and we all know Americans like to stomp the pedal on occasion….try this

    bio diesel hybrids!!

    small effecient engine burning organic matter to generate the electric for motive power and vehicular systems

    you heard it here first, kiddies

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    I just want to say… hey, it’s gonzo! Have some Vitamin C on me, gonzo.

  • Eric Olsen

    good point JR, makes sense

    and welcome back Gonzo! always less interesting and sub-excelsior around here in your absence.

    We need to pursue ALL alternatives vigorously at this point becuase we have to open our options, which are now pretty limited

  • Guppusmaximus

    Dave,
    I apologize for my abusive language towards you. I get very passionate about this stuff because from my standpoint I see the richies destroying everything. But, I do not agree with your “facts” as you already have misinterpreted one site that you suggested I research(hybridcars.com).Same with you Eric,Where are you getting you’re information… I do not believe Cigarette use has dropped as much as you say.Both of you can make great sounding propaganda with erroneous information. So, In defense of my best interests, I will agree to disagree and say good day…Good Day

  • Eric Olsen

    Gup, please see this report from teh American Lung Association: the percentage of American adults who smoke has dropped from 42.4% in 1965 to 22.5% in ’02

  • http://trishwilson.typepad.com/blog The Countess (Trish Wilson)

    I knew someone who drove a diesel-powered Mercedes, and that has to be one of the best-performing cars I’ve ever seen. It didn’t have the get-up-and-go that some American drivers seem to like, but it was a very good car.

    A bio diesel hybrid. What an interesting idea.