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Stagflation?
Old 05-06-2004, 10:26 AM   #1
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Stagflation?

Purely hypothetical question: if oil prices were to climb, the economy to sputter, and inflation to rise, where would you invest?

Also, at what price of gasoline would you change your driving behavior?

At what gas price would you consider replacing your current car with a hybrid?
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-06-2004, 01:13 PM   #2
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Re: Stagflation?

1) Oil companies, exploration, gas pumpers, and alternate energy companies. Vanguard Energy or that "new age" fund someone mentioned earlier this year if I was lazy. And I am.

2) I drive very little, so any price isnt going to change much. I do my grocery shopping almost daily...I'd probably go to twice a week if gas hit some exhorbitant rate. My parents live 30 minutes away, and we visit each other once a week. That might become problematic if gas hit $5+ a gallon.

3) Not anytime soon. I'd probably slip back into a smaller diesel car to get the same or better mileage without the funny new technology and uncertainties. If someone made a very inexpensive purely electric car that had at least a 20 mile range, could manage a decent city speed, and had a reliability expectation at least as good or better than a current gas econobox, I'd probably buy one of those as our second car as that would suit me for most of my use. Heck, a bike with a couple of big baskets on the back a la the newspaper delivery people would almost suit me.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-06-2004, 01:45 PM   #3
 
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Re: Stagflation?

I used to shop gas prices. At some point I stopped.
Now, I ignore the price and buy where I happen to be
when I need gas. I assume there is a pain threshold
which would cause me to alter my driving habits.
Have not seen it yet.

John Galt
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-06-2004, 02:11 PM   #4
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Re: Stagflation?

The last couple of "studies" I saw suggested that three bucks is where people might reconsider their larger gas hogs and how much and when they drive.

We should likely be putting that to the test pretty soon...
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-06-2004, 02:28 PM   #5
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Re: Stagflation?

Yeah, $3 would be my guess. For me, it's going something like this:

$1.80: anger
$2.00: denial
$2.20: acceptance
$2.50: looking to buy my own gas station
$3.00: revenge
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-06-2004, 02:48 PM   #6
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Re: Stagflation?

I've been buying my gas at the warehouse clubs (costco, sams). I'm paying about $1.94 a gallon for regular and $2.17 for premium this week. Thats pretty good for CA.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-06-2004, 03:18 PM   #7
 
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Re: Stagflation?

Yeah, $3.00 would give me pause. Neither of our
every day vehicles is all that fuel efficient and mine
is a downright gas hog. I do have the motorcycle
but that has limitations. I suspect that we would
seriously curtail our driving first and switch to other
more efficient vehicles later.

John Galt
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-06-2004, 03:21 PM   #8
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Re: Stagflation?

TH, I'm guessing it's been a week since you last filled up, right?

I'm pretty sure I paid a $1.94 at Costco a week or so ago in WA, and WA prices are generally cheaper than CA. Prices are well above $2 in WA now.

In March, I drove from WA to SoCal (in my 12 mpg monster truck). The trip started at around $1.65/gal, and it hit about $2.20 by the time I hit Grapevine. It was a pretty smooth price gradient -- the further south I went, the higher the price.

In any case, it's a disturbing trend and potentially bad timing. I just hope the Arabs still love us enough not to turn the screws too tight.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-06-2004, 04:16 PM   #9
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Re: Stagflation?

Thats todays price. The yuba city sams club has the lowest prices I've seen around this area (tahoe to san francisco) for the last few years.

Of course, they may be squeezing the oil out of the leftover pizza into the gas tanks to fill them up a bit.

I guess living near the 3rd largest welfare area in the country has its advantages
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-07-2004, 08:49 AM   #10
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Re: Stagflation?

I'd stay in stock and bond major index funds unless and until I became comfortable with another type of investment. Cash and metals don't appeal to me; nor does market timing.

I dumped my 350 V8 truck a couple of years ago partially in anticipation of rising gas prices and largely to halve immediate car payment expences.

The 2.8L V6 sedan I'm driving now seemed mighty economical at the time, but now I'm wondering if I'll want yet a higher MPG engine.

I don't see myself buying a hybrid in the near to medium future; I worry about the crash survivability and resale value. Bicycling and motorcycling for economy are beginning to enter my "starting to ponder it for the future" area at $2 per gallon, but they aren't serious considerations yet except for fun and bicycling for fitness.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-07-2004, 09:20 AM   #11
 
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Re: Stagflation?

Apparently gas is about the only thing that isn't more expensive in northern NJ. I just paid $1.73/gallon for regular last friday.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-07-2004, 09:48 AM   #12
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Re: Stagflation?

Quote:
I don't see myself buying a hybrid in the near to medium future; I worry about the crash survivability and resale value.
I haven't heard any negatives about either crash survivability or resale, but I have heard one unexpected negative.

Rescue workers are afraid to use the "jaws of life" to cut you out of a hybrid. Apparently, the battery generates something like 500V, and the wiring goes through the door. The only safe way to cut you out is via the roof.
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-07-2004, 09:52 AM   #13
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Re: Stagflation?

If/when hybrid cars are cost competitive, I will probably
get one. By that time (5 years?) I won't need my
pickup anymore and it will be 10 years old anyway.

BTW, I have been interested in alternate sources of
energy long before the "greenies" invented themselves.

My laundromat uses mucho energy and I, in my
engineering mode, have drawn plans for all sorts
of solar panels, heat absorbing walls, dryer exhaust
heat exchangers, heat exchangers to extract heat
from waste water, etc., etc. I never implemented
any of them because it would have required a new
stand alone building and I did not have the capital or
personal energy. It was fun to think about it though.

My brother has been working with an engineer who
has designed a special electric motor for an all
electric car. It has been on the boards and in prototype testing for years, but they have not yet landed the "big investor" to get off the ground. I helped out a little bit by evaluating the electronic motor controller design. He is an eternal optimist and expects to be a zillionaire any year now.

I am by no means a "tree hugger" but for the life of
me I don't see why we can't do a full court press on
producing hybrid cars. The car industry is just pharting
around and letting the Japanese get the upper hand
again.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-07-2004, 10:09 AM   #14
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Re: Stagflation?

Wab, I would be greatlly surprised if anybody would
design a hybrid car requiring 500 volts. It would be
a criminally stupid thing to do, IMHO. Please let me
know your source if you can dig it up.

Thanks,

Charlie
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-07-2004, 10:33 AM   #15
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Re: Stagflation?

Charlie, I've considered including an annotated bibliography in each of my posts (I often forget myself where I read these things), but I've been too lazy.

For you, however, I'll make an exception

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor..._car_rescues_5

And there's already been one correction to this story:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...s_corrective_1
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Re:  Not such a dumb design, after all?
Old 05-07-2004, 02:09 PM   #16
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Re:  Not such a dumb design, after all?

Thanks, Wab, I've been having this same "discussion" with my spouse & kid. No wonder firefighters wear gloves & boots with the Jaws of Life.

C'mon, Charlie, we've all seen dumb designs before. The reason I couldn't immediately terminate the above-mentioned discussion is because my family's listened to too many of my bad-design stories. Putting 500V through a doorpost may seem hazardous but it could be very efficient! Then the Accounting Dept gets a bootleg copy of the cost numbers and the next thing you know...

http://www.baddesigns.com
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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-07-2004, 04:40 PM   #17
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Re: Stagflation?

Thanks, Wab

I am going to look into this some more and will let
you know if the 500v report is accurate.

Nords, the only reason I can think of to run a motor
on 500v would be to cut down the size of the motor
windings, but then the insulation would bulk up the
windings. Maybe there has been a big breakthrough
in efficiency at 500v, but conventional motors operate
in the high 90% range. There may have been a
breakthrough in battery technology that I have not
heard about but can you imagine 42 batteries stacked
in series to achieve 500v? The thought staggers me.

Cheers,

Charlie

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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-07-2004, 05:37 PM   #18
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Re: Stagflation?

Well, I checked out the Toyota Prius on the web and
found out that the battery pack is 201.6 volts and
the motor is rated at 500v "max". What this means,
I think, is that the motor can produce 500v when it
is in the "generator" mode if not loaded by the battery.
For this to happen, the battery cable feed to the
motor/generator would have to be disconnected and
the gas engine would have to be running flat out.
This could theoretically happen in a wreck if you cut
the cable with a saw while the motor was running.

You would certainly notice a 200v shock not to mention
500v so the advise to be careful is well put.

Cheers,

Charlie

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Re: Stagflation?
Old 05-07-2004, 07:33 PM   #19
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Re: Stagflation?

Quote:
Wab, I would be greatlly surprised if anybody would
design a hybrid car requiring 500 volts. It would be
a criminally stupid thing to do, IMHO.
The reason relatively high voltages are used has to do with current draw. This defines the size of the necessary conductors and electrical control elements.

Since 1 horsepower = 746 watts, a 30 horsepower electric motor would draw 22.38 kw if it was 100% efficient. Let's say the actual draw is 25 kW ... even at 200V, this is 125 amps of current. A 20V motor with the same power output would require 1,250 amps, rather impractical.

Peter
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Alternative Transportation
Old 05-10-2004, 07:12 AM   #20
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Alternative Transportation

The price of gas around here isn't $2 yet, but I'm roundnig up because I figure it will be there soon. I saw $1.84 on one of the signs on the way to work today.

I came across another interesting form of transportation this weekend: electric-assist bicycles. Some have a motorcycle twist-grip, and some just sense your pedaling and help. I live 5 miles from work and have thought of biking for fitness, but I don't want to wear myself out or get sweatty on the way to work. (I'm very out of shape at the moment.) Supposedly these electric assist bikes can flatten the hills and cancel out headwinds and make biking a more even form of workout.

Search Google for electric assist bicycles for more info. I don't know yet if this is just a new toy I'm big-eyed over or if this will be my first big purchase post-debt-elimination. ($600 for a low-end bike, $1200 and up for good ones; $300-$500 for conversion kits.)

At this price for gas, though, I think the motivation here is still fitness over budget.
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