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$7/gal gasoline
Old 06-30-2008, 05:41 AM   #1
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$7/gal gasoline

For US members (we know it's already more in other parts of the world), if gas prices do continue to increase more rapidly to $7/gal in 2010 as some have recently predicted, exactly what, if anything, would you do over the next two years to adapt/adjust? Not asking if it will happen, I am not pretending anyone knows for sure, just what you'd do if you believe it may happen. Our next house will be smaller and in a location where at least some services are within walking/biking distance, and our next car will probably be a plug-in hybrid in a few years. Eventually we will drop from two to one car too. May sound extreme but even if gas doesn't increase substantially, the downside to our choices are almost nil to us.

Please, this is NOT a thread about the outlook for gas prices...

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Old 06-30-2008, 06:04 AM   #2
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Going to create a very big housing boom nearer to facilities - maybe a return to "life in the big cities" as it was in the 50's and early 60's. Mom and Pop grocery stores in the middle of the "block", taverns on the corners. I doubt it will get that "good" but everyone will be trying to get in close to services, mass transit, bike trails, etc. I think most of America is in denial that prices are high and will stay there. When it sinks in and the psychology of it becomes "fact" and people come to "believe it" maybe it will actually be "change for the better" (55 MPH speed limits, 4 day (10 hour work days) work weeks). No matter what happens I do think it is going to be a very interesting time to be alive and be able to "watch" and even more amusing (or painful) if you are retired and FI.

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Old 06-30-2008, 06:05 AM   #3
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There is no doubt that economic forces change behavior.

Higher real estate prices cause people to move, higher taxes cause people to look for strategies to reduce their tax burden, and higher gasoline prices will cause people to drive and travel less, buy more fuel efficient vehicles, and look for alternative energy sources that may be less expensive.

This year I have elected not to fly anywhere. I will do more local traveling that will end up costing even less than a pre-2008 plane fare.
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:15 AM   #4
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I have added a daily 32 mile roundtrip commute for a class I am taking. Started riding my motorcycle to cut the gas in half. I can't go everywhere on it because it's hard to carry the things I need to carry, but some conservation is better than none.

We live only 8 miles from DH's work. He could easily ride his bicycle, but won't... Oh well. You win some, you lose some. Maybe there is some point at which the cost of a fill-up causes him to change that.
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:33 AM   #5
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I don't do a lot of driving as it is now, so higher gas prices won't really affect me much. But I will try to consolidate trips

By the way, this website will give you a "walking score" of how walkable your neighborhood is:

Walk Score - Helping homebuyers, renters, and real estate agents find houses and apartments in great neighborhoods.

My house rates an absolute zero, since I'd have to walk 4 or 5 miles to just about anything.
(retired 2009, age 48)
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:36 AM   #6
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If gas gets to $7, I would park the truck as it wouldn't be worth anything anyway, and use it only when required. I would then buy a more fuel effiecient vehicle for the trips to town. I don't plan on moving at this time. The problem would be the value of my house would probably drop and houses nearer town would go up. Even at $7 gas it probably wouldn't make sense for me to take a hit on my house to save gas.
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:46 AM   #7
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Within the next 2-3 years, I will be buying a small gas efficient car. Not something I was planning to do a couple of years ago, but it doesn't look like gas prices will ever retreat to acceptable levels. Probably won't be that hard to get use to but I had envisioned a retirement traveling in a SUV or a heavy car. Oh well, you adjust and move on.

Another adjustment I plan to make a few years from now will be to buy a townhouse close to my country club. I will be able to park my car and drive to the course in my electric cart. Now that's the kind of sacrifice I don't mind making. BTW, a move I was planning to make anyway to get out of this old run down neighborhood.
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:47 AM   #8
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We find that we are sitting pretty when it comes to gas. We gave up our rural lake setting two years ago when we became bored with that life. Thank goodness! The lakehouse was 60 miles from anywhere.... We now live in an over-55 that has most everything we need for recreation. We are retired so we don't have the commute costs to deal with. Except for some close by shopping, we really don't have to drive much. We utilize a golf cart about 80% of the time around here. We own a 2006 Toyota Avalon and 2007 Toyota Yaris. Our next car will replace the Avalon and will probably be a smaller hybred, but we may be ready to go to one car by that time.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:03 AM   #9
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Probably would bike it...10 miles from work on mostly rural roads...already do an incline bike everyday anyway... Might start bringing the bike in and leaving my vehicle overnight to start off this summer....wont replace vehicle for a couple of years since really dont drive enough to make it worth vehicle is going on 19 years old and could be replaced...
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:15 AM   #10
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Gas prices didn't really affect this decision (it was more car insurance), but when I buy my first house I plan for it to be in an urban location with very good access to public transportation (subway/rail, not bus) for my commute. Also, with groceries right around the corner, should be very easy to live without a car. The reason I made that decision is because the work I will be doing will require a few hours outside of work and you waste hours driving when things could be done on subways, etc. Also, I hate to deal with fixing the car, getting/paying insurance, filling up the tank, dealing with traffic, redlights, road rage and finding parking would be nearly impossible driving to and from work or anywhere nearby... just seems like too much of a hassle. I really don't care what other people do, but to OAG above, I don't think it will create a "bubble" in urban real estate, I think it will just further depress the incredible "bubble" that ALREADY exists in suburban real estate.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:43 AM   #11
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What would I do personally? Not a thing except continue on my current course... which, by then, was already going to include a house in the country with a large garden.

Was talking it over with our broker when we sold our house last month, if things continue like this, then someone could probably do very well for themselves if they picked up a neighborhood full of crack houses in northeast Minneapolis, razed them and put up a mixed-density gated community aimed at yuppies who want to cut their commute and move into town.

And, thanks to media sensationalism, we're getting word that gangs are moving out into suburbia. So, there you have it, we're just a few dollars a gallon from a social inversion.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:57 AM   #12
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Personnally? Nothing I haven't already planned.
Gas getting much more expensive is not news for anyone watching the production of oil slow and the demand continue to increase.
Add to that the national security angle and it seems it is prudent to save gas where you can.
That being said, my upgrade to a plug in Prius should be done in August (100mpg).
And as they become available I will purchase an all electric vehicle. Most of those are not expected much before 2010, although the Think holds lots of potential and may be available next year.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:12 AM   #13
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I'd probably convert the house from heating oil to natural gas. I'd also probably campaign to telecommute more if I am still at my current job (long commute), otherwise I'd look for something nearby or accessable via rail. But I wouldn't be giving up the minivan or the travel trailer, an my current commuter would continue to be driven until the wheels fall off.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:23 AM   #14
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I don't know what I'll do. Probably never go anywhere. As things stand now I am not going to places I would have before. Since I've found this board I am acutely aware of the money I've spent on stupid stuff - stuff I didn't need. Granted, I love shopping and never go to department stores (I like thrift stores ) but one can only have so many clothes and as it stands now I have three closets jam packed and still not even room.

Where I live this city is 100 square miles, so everything is very spread out. There really is no "city" to move to, as this is one giant sprawling suburb. My only option would be to move to be closer to a job, and I'd hate to do this as I like my house. Plus houses are not selling. Guess I'll just stay home.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:30 AM   #15
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We're already pretty well-positioned. The one main thing we'd change is that I'd inquire about telecommuting every day instead of 3-4 days a week. (The commute is 75 miles each way.) And fortunately, I can run errands pretty much anywhere in town on a bicycle -- or if they ever became cost-effective, neighborhood electric vehicles. And on a nice day, we can walk to anything within 1-2 miles if need be. (Not this time of year, though.)
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:38 AM   #16
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The only thing that would noticeably reduce my fuel costs more than they already have been is telecommuting and more trip consolidation.

I'm taking a driving trip in a few weeks and because of gas prices I'll be driving 60 mph instead of 80 mph. I've also adopted some of the hypermiling techniques, paid more attention to combining errands and trips, got a PenFed Visa (5% back on gas), and use the cheapest station nearby. Probably similar to what everyone else is doing.

"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:17 PM   #17
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I get pretty good mileage with my Honda Civic, but, it's been parked in my garage more lately. If the price of gas goes up to $7/pg it may be parked much much more.

If things really get bad, I can walk to my new neighborhood super market and Walgreens that's fairly close by. Wal Mart is building within three miles or so from my house, so just about anything else, I could probably find there.

I could take the city bus if I wanted to go across town instead of driving IF gas gets super super expensive. It might take me 3 or 4 hours but, I guess I have the time. I would only do that if I was getting really antsy about getting out of my neighborhood.

I like to travel, but... I'm glad I went to Germany earlier this year. The way things are, it might be my last European vacation.
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:39 PM   #18
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The higher the price of gas goes the less i drive,already gone from 500 kilometers a week to 100 kilometers a week,if it goes high enough i'll end up selling the car and taking the bus.
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:42 PM   #19
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At $7/gallon, each trip into town would cost about $9.50 in gas (60 miles, 44 mpg). Currently it costs $6.50/trip.

Each week requires:

a. 1 gig (usually make about $40)
b. 1 DW volunteer job trip + food shopping and some errands (this is her day to escape from me)
c. 1 Errands and "garage saling" trip
d. 1 DW choir trip

And in addition:

e. Other miscellaneous gig, rehearsal, dentist, etc.

We could really only eliminate c. Saving one trip/week would save us about $500/year.
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:54 PM   #20
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The commute to work would still be under $10/day, so I don't see myself biking the 12-13 miles, especially since I'd have to take it on the freeway for 1-2 miles of it (road kill!). Thank goodness we work a 9/80 schedule.

DW drives more but it's shuttling the older one to speech therapy, OC, PT, etc. and we aren't stopping that.

Our older vehicle is 6.5 years old and has about 95k on it - that's 15k a year, is that average? I just can't see even $7 gas changing our behavior

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