Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When gas hits $5.50 a gallon will still be able to afford to drive to work?

I originally posted this on Linkedin
Fact: In Europe and UK gas is avging about $8.50 a gal. and the US is at $4.00 as per AAA survey last weekend.

Last weekend I played paintball with a bunch of my friends and the group next to us was talking about high gas prices in the San Francisco bay area ($4.50 a gallon) now, though I found it for $4.31 gal this am. He said that he has a job where is has to drive all day and pays his own gas, about 60,000 miles per year. His car get 20 miles per gallon, and at $4.5 a gallon that's $13,500 a years in gas... at $5.50 a gal (which is approx equivalent to $135 a barrel) that's $16,500. He said that he can barely afford gas as it is, and is stuck in his current car cause he's upside down so his solution is to go get a desk job.

Have you seen this as a staffing trend in your area of the country yet?

Do you think this will be a bigger concern for long distance commuters?

Do you think it could have a ripple effect on the housing market as people would want to move closer to public transportation or work in general?

Could this be the coming of a mass migration back to the cities and out of the suburbs?

Jeff Weidner

Clarification added 23 hours ago:
Well I'm glad this is getting so much attention and replies. Thank you all for participating in the discussion.

A few points I'd like to make for those out of towners (international responders)
A) The United States is very large and since the industrial revolution and WWII Urban populations have been moving to more suburban areas. This makes biking to work next to impossible. 30-50 miles one way commutes are common place so walking or riding a bike is not practical.
B) In Northern climates it quite cold during fall and winter and snows and rains all the time. This further contributes to the difficulties of riding a bike to work or walking even if you are only 5 miles from your destination.
C) The gas prices in the US have been historically low because we're a huge producer of oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. Especially in comparison to say France or Spain which produce virtually no oil.
D) There has not been a significant increase in production, mostly due to lack of available oil fields ready to be tapped into for the past 10 years. But demand has increased exponentially especially overseas in places like India and China.
E) Is not just cars that use oil. Every manufacturing facility uses some type of oil or oil based lubricant for their machines. Think about all the petroleum based products you use each and every day; plastic, ink, paper, shoes, glue, clothing, paint, sporting goods, you name it and it probably involves a petroleum based product in some way shape or form.
E) Lastly, I live 5 miles from work but again it would be next to impossible for me to bike to work every day as there are a lot of foothills and one big one in between me and work. Not that I couldn't bike it, as I have but it takes about 45 mins to 1 hour depending on how hot it is. Not to mention it would be very hazardous as the road I'd have to drive on is a major artery in and out of town and it has thousands of cars.

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