The Effect Of High Oil Prices On People

gas-prices-01.gifWe've written a few articles related to peak oil (here and here - you can read a primer here) and we believe that even if the currently high price of oil is not due directly to peak oil, that it certainly will be high in the future. Because of that, it is interesting to see how people are reacting to high gas prices. Do they make positive changes in their lives? Is conservation and more responsible consumption of fuel among the common reactions or is it all just complaining, anger and cutting back in other areas of their lives while driving just as much in cars that are just as big? MSNBC has created a page called "Pinched at the Pump" where people can tell their stories. While many of them are interesting and uplifting, others are just sad. We would appreciate it if you readers would comment on how rising gas prices have affected them and people they know.Here are a few stories from "Pinched at the Pump":

Fuel costs have me using my motorcycle as my primary source of transportation these days. The price at the pump inspires me to use my bicycle more often as well. Come on America, dust off those bicycles in the garage and hit the streets, it's good exercise too!
--Jason, New Franklin, Ohio

I think that families with two incomes are not feeling the gas price pinch as those on a single income. I am a stay at home mom and I have been keeping track of how much we spend a month in gas and it is anywhere from $430 to $465 dollars a month. My husband drives 45 miles one way to work, and has a six cylinder pick-up. I drive a mini-van for groceries and taking kids places. The gas prices around me are up to $2.78 per gallon. This causes me a lot of anxiety and I think the only place to make up the difference is in our grocery spending which is already less than the gas we spend each month. The disposable income is now in the gas tank!
--Tammy Higgins, Howell, Mich.

I used to drive a Nissan Pathfinder, 11-15 mpg, but traded it on a a Toyota RAV4, 22-28 mpg. I also used to make a 30 miles roundtrip drive to work and I bought a house less than a mile from my workplace. I also purchased a motorcycle that gets 50-60 mpg. I ride bicycles to work most of the time when weather permitting. [...] I am seriously looking into solar energy. The days of driving whatever anyone wants is over. My next car will be a Honda Insight. Or I am seriously thinking of moving to a warm climate and just using a motorcycle to get around.
--M. Leonard, Presque Isle, Maine

These high gas prices have all but ruined my chance to go back to college, I'm a single mom who receives no child support so all the money I make goes toward bills and 3 teenagers, they have jobs and help, but it's still tough. You can get a shopping card at Wal-Mart that knocks of 3 cents, so gas is now $2.05 (after the 3 cents off). I drive a Jeep Cherokee and it drinks gas like a wino drinks wine! lol. I agree with the person who wrote about people increasing the population, while I understand that many people already have 2-4 children, I have 3 as I stated before, but that was long before this crises developed. The people in this country need to step back and look at the big picture, large families are a thing of the past, and once our resources have been depleted, there's no turning back. We all need to take stock in what's happening to our beloved country, take care of it!
--Lana Fincher, Leitchfield, Ky.

Well, gas prices have certainly changed my life and oddly I can say it sometimes is for the better. I used to drive a mile or two to get groceries or lottery tickets, but with gas so expensive I just take a backpack and walk. I even walk to work now because my job is only about fifteen minutes away on foot and I save my car from the wear and tear of stop and go driving in the city. It's also less pollution on the environment and I get good exercise doing it. I don't think I would have done so if gas wasn't so expensive, I imagine I would have continued the use of my car for destinations I could have easily arrived at on foot. I do wish gas was not so pricey, as do we all, but it has made me realize that I can still accomplish all of my daily activities with out the need to use an automobile.
--Steven Martin, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Here's one from someone with a decidedly optimistic attitude:

The only way it changed my life is that it lowered the price on 4x4's. My 8-year-old sports car was due to retire and my wife's 4x4 had 40,000 miles on it since we bought it 1.5 years ago. So off to the dealership we went and home we came, with two brand new gas guzzlers. Did I mention that I drive 74 miles each way to work. That's 150 a day. Can you think of a more comfortable way to spend those hours than in a big, comfortable vehicle? Me neither.
--Rob Campbell, Marietta, Ga.

*Comic by Tony Auth. He's good.

::MSNBC: Pinched at the Pump, via ::The Oil Drum

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