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10 Reasons Why Expensive Gas Was Good

Updated on January 25, 2013

The Cost Of Fuel Is On The Rise Again...

As we inch toward another summer gas prices are starting to creep upward but, did we learn anything?

No.

Suddenly being "GREEN" isn't so popular and in fact some are laughing it off as a political ruse, the HHO spam has died down, people have forgotten who Ozzy Freedom even is. Those who do remember, laugh. Why?

The effects of high gas prices on our wallet, was painful, but this could have led to a better environment. Learning how to save fuel and making adaptations to weather out the expensive gas we were beginning to realize how this could have possibly been good.

If we had learned our lesson then the effects would have kept prices down, because our usage was down. Supply and demand. It's that simple. And now with such a down economy, is our trucking industry going to be able to stay in transit, should fuel prices climb higher?

Also, with the recent shift toward downsizing to smaller, more efficient cars, new concerns about safety are becoming an issue. Now that the government's "Cash For Clunkers" joke has died down and all it was good for was a very short burst of new car sales. In the meantime, thousands of decent cars found there way to an early retirement in a crusher because of the stipulation that these cars could not be resold as used, they had to be recycled. Rubbish...

But even hot rodders like me could appreciate the effects of going green.

Here are the top 10:

Jobs Return Home

Sprawl Stalls

4 day workweek

Less Pollution

Frugality

Fewer Traffic Deaths

Cheaper Insurance

Less Traffic

More Cops on the Beat

Less Obesity

"All areas in the boxes are direct quotes from the stated articles, just in case they should expire on TIME's website. The articles were written by Amanda Ripley with reporting by Maya Curry.

Photo courtesy of Alvimann

Globalized Jobs Return Home

"The world suddenly seems big again. A family of four can't fly cross-country for much less than $2,000. The cost of shipping a standard 40-ft. (12 m) container of couches from Shanghai to New Jersey has tripled since 2000. Trucking carrots from Mexico to Georgia makes less and less economic sense.

When John Smith started a high-end furniture company in Washington in 2003, he couldn't make everything in the U.S. and stay competitive. So his company, Willem Smith, started operations in Vietnam and Ecuador. He found himself visiting factories 11 time zones away from his four small daughters.

By last year, the cost of making and importing one of his favorite pieces, the Caballero chair, was ballooning. He was shipping Italian leather to Vietnam and then shipping the large chair back to the States. There were other problems too, like inflation in Vietnam. So last January, Willem Smith "repatriated" the Caballero to Hickory, N.C. That shift helps contain shipping costs and has other perks. "People are happy to buy American," Smith says. "And it felt kind of nice to bring this one home."

In more industries, such as steel, lawn-mower batteries and upscale furniture, doing business in the U.S. is starting to look slightly more feasible."

-from a TIME article found here

This is a big deal for me. Every day I look at electrical components that say American Made, but then all of the internal parts are stamped China or Taiwan. And that the one's that aren't made in China to start with. Our wonderful "spring lamp" compact fluorescent bulbs can't even be made in the USA because OSHA has strict regulations about mercury content on the jobsite now.

American Made just doesn't mean anything anymore. And that's a sad fact, we just don't have the quality we used to. We have gotten to the point where we would rather buy a new refrigerator every five years, or worse, we just buy a new one for our new house every three years. And we wonder why we are all going bankrupt. I'm guilty just as much as you are.

I'm convinced that soon our economy will have to be based on used cars now, rather than new. I know people who still drive Chevy Suburbans and Lincoln Town Cars, because $500 per month at the gas station, is still better than: more expensive insurance, $400-500 per month at the car lot, and you still have to put gas in those new one's... most of which still barely get better milage than the one's we're trying to get rid of. And usually the old clunker is paid for....

I recently heard the comment that rather than going in debt for a new car, we could make due with a $500 car until we ran it into the ground three months later, and come out better than if we had a $500 per month payment on a new car. Think of the insurance money saved. And who knows if it may be one of those Herbie's or KITT's that just won't give up no matter how much you'd like to blow it up and move on to the next one!

UPDATE! This lens was built a few years ago. I was safely employed at a construction supplier of heating/cooling-electrical-plumbing supplies. January 1st, 2010 I was unemployed and headed back into floorcovering.

Anyway, what has changed? I see more and more old cars on the highways. It is a good time to be an ASE certified mechanic right now, you would be buried by the work load of people keeping the vehicles on the road that have 250,000 miles plus on the odometer. But why?

I recently bought a 1978 Ford van to work from. For $700.00. 135,000 "guesstimated" miles. Needed four tires, rebuilt the power steering pump and has a massive oil leak around the valve cover gasket, the heater motor has now burned up, it has a hole in the heater core, it has no choke on the old carburetor. It is very cold natured.

It only gets about 12 MPG.

BUT...

It's paid for. And my $70 to $100 per week doesn't have to stretch so far when I don't have a $550.00 per month payment and $300.00 insurance on top of it. If I didn't use it for work, I could have opted for even cheaper insurance and a pay-one-time antique tag.

Sprawl Stalls

"Across the country, real estate agents are reporting that many home buyers are looking to move closer to cities. Gas prices are shaping their decisions. A May study that examined housing values in five cities found prices had fared worse in more-distant neighborhoods. "The collapse of America's housing bubble - and its reverberations in financial markets - has obscured a tectonic shift in housing demand," wrote economist Joe Cortright in the study, sponsored by CEOs for Cities, a nonprofit group that promotes cities. "Housing in cities and neighborhoods that require lengthy commutes and provide few transportation alternatives to the private vehicle are falling in value more precipitously than in more central, compact and accessible places."-from a TIME article found Here

This is where I get preachy... Even if you haven't yet heard what I'm talking about when I say sprawl or new urbanist view, you can understand these concepts.

But sadly, there are too many people that feel the way my wife does. "I could never live that close to somebody."

If you'd like some information on what in the world I'm talking about, The New Urbanism website is an excellent resource.

I will be listing many more ideas, including my designs on my own village that I would like to start, in later lenses and blogs.

Four Day Week

"Companies, colleges and governments are moving to four-day weeks. Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Fla., went to four days for the 2007 summer session and saved $268,000 in energy costs. There were unforeseen benefits too. Over the year, sick leave fell 50%, and turnover among the 1,500-person staff dropped 44%. "We thought the energy savings would be a plus. But the reaction was about what it meant to people's family lives and their ability to take care of themselves," says college president Jim Drake. Brevard is doing four-day weeks again this summer and may make the change year-round."-from a TIME article found Here

A recent job hunt for my father-in-law after we lost my carpet store, turned up a job that allowed him to still install flooring over a three to four day period. The job? A warehouse that was looking to implement a new schedule. Two shifts instead of three for the weekend crews. Friday through sunday, he puts in a 12 to 14 hour day and nearly gets all of his hours in 3 days plus even a couple of hours overtime if he gets 14 per day.

Now apply that to what this article piece is talking about and you have more time to yourself, less drive time to work, less heating and cooling the building, as well as less lighting, The computers won't have to be turned on for the other part of the week, and even if you did have to leave servers running, computers don't need lights and they are much more forgiving of hot and cold areas than we, humans are.

Some Statistics

By Eric M. Weiss Washington Post

"Cheap oil, which helped push the American Dream away from the city center, isn't so cheap anymore. As more and more families reconsider their dreams, land-use experts are beginning to ask whether $4-a-gallon gas is enough to change the way Americans have thought for half a century about where they live."

"Since the end of World War II, government policy has funded and encouraged the suburban lifestyle, subsidizing highways while starving mass transit and keeping gas taxes much lower than in some other countries."

"Federal spending is about 4 to 1 in favor of highways over transit. Today, more than 99 percent of the trips taken by U.S. residents are in cars or some other non-transit vehicle, largely as a result of decades of such unbalanced spending."

"The policies -- building so many highways and building so many houses near those highways -- have had a direct bearing on how and where people live and work. More Americans, 52 percent, live in the suburbs than anywhere else. The suburban growth rate exceeded 90 percent in the past decade."

"But there's been a radical shift in recent months. Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer highway miles in May than a year earlier. In the Washington area and elsewhere, mass transit ridership is setting records. Last year, transit trips nationwide topped 10.3 billion, a 50-year high."

Less Polution

As people consume less fuel in America, vehicle emissions should drop. Less pollution means bluer skies and longer lives - and the potential to slow global warming, albeit slightly. Lower energy demand means the air will contain fewer toxic agents, like particle pollution, which can get deep into your lungs and cause serious health problems. Bottom line? About 2,220 lives have already been saved over the past year because of higher gas prices and less pollution, according to an estimate calculated for TIME by J. Paul Leigh, a University of California at Davis health-economics professor who co-wrote a study on the topic in the March 2008 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. If prices remain high, we can expect some 2,000 people to avoid dying from pollution in the next 12 months."-from a TIME article found Here

This one has several lenses that I will promote that have already been written. Look for more on ALL of these topics later!

More Frugality!

Trucking companies are using software to help identify optimal places for drivers to refuel and the most efficient delivery routes. Waste haulers are checking tire pressure twice a day instead of every couple of days. We're all wasting less. Vespa scooter sales increased 106% in May compared with the same time last year; Ford SUV sales dropped 55% in June. Columbia, Md., resident Glenn Conrad, 58, bought a Honda Insight a few years ago and, like many so-called hypermilers, became obsessed with his miles-per-gallon gauge. "That thing is really addictive," he says. Although a police officer recently gave him a warning for going too slowly, he is undeterred. "If I roll both of my windows up," he says, "I instantly get about two more miles per gallon." From a TIME article found Here

I will definately be adding more to this in the future! Like the way I added a vaccuum gauge to my 93 Ford Ranger Splash for keeping up with my "instant" mileage several years ago. The Splash "DeepSixx" was wrecked in 1999.

Fewer Traffic Deaths

"Every year, about 40,000 people die in traffic accidents in the U.S. If you are age 5 through 34, you are more likely to die this way than any other way. Ordinary things we do - or don't do - have extraordinary consequences. We know that higher gas prices cause many of us to slow down and drive less - which means fewer people die. Early research into 2006 accident data suggests that many lives have already been spared. If gas remains at $4 per gallon for a year or more, expect as many as 1,000 fewer fatalities a month, according to professor Michael Morrisey at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and associate professor David Grabowski at Harvard Medical School, who calculated that estimate for TIME. That means annual deaths could be cut by almost one-third - a public-health triumph."From a TIME article found Here

A really good part of this series of articles! I don't have too much more to add!

Cheaper Insurance!

If you are driving less, you could qualify for lower car-insurance rates. For example, if you have stopped driving to work, your classification has changed to "pleasure driver," and you could save 10% to 15% (or $94 to $142 on an average premium), according to the Consumer Federation of America. So if you're parked more, call your insurer."

From a TIME article found Here

Something I might already have to check into. I go through about a 1/4 tank of gas per week because I drive to our local WalMart parking lot, and ride to my job with a freind. And in the process, pay for about half of his gas as well. Which, by both of us splitting the costs, his truck (which gets about 2 miles per gallon better than mine) only gets a fill up every two weeks.

Of course, the flip side is, that once I get to work, I drive a one ton delivery truck for the supply company that I work for...

There again though our company is adamant about cutting the costs there too. Our Electrical Supply manager is thinking of letting her one ton go back to Enterprise and just using the little 3/4 ton she has for her deliveries. HVAC and Plumbing can't do that too well because of the pipe lengths and hauling tubs and AC units.

Less Traffic

"Travel on all roads dropped 2.1% in the first four months of 2008, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Wherever people can take public transit, they are doing so. Even before the biggest gas-price hikes, a Congressional Budget Office study of California freeways from 2003 to 2006 showed that the number of freeway trips went down 0.7% for every 50-cent increase in gas prices - but only in areas near public transit. Cities are struggling to keep up. BART, the San Francisco Bay Area rail system, removed seats to open up more standing room. In Boston, where turnpike use declined by 600,000 cars in May, officials are pleading with public-transit passengers to travel at nonpeak times." From a TIME article found Here

This I can really talk about. Having done traffic studies in designing programs for traffic lights so that I could pass my tests in programable controls, I learned some very valuable statistics. I will get into those in another lens though.

More Cops on the Beat

"Across the country, police bike and foot patrols are up, and cops are being told to cut down on idling their cruisers - which is sort of like telling a teenager to stop using his cell phone. Georgia state police have been told to cut driving time 25%. In Shelby, N.C., police officers have been ordered to park their cars for 15 min. every two hours and to stop taking patrol cars out for lunch. In May the city government's fuel consumption decreased. The longer-term effects may include better community relations - and slimmer police." From a TIME article found Here

Also:

Not just cops, but city officials are cutting back on the amount of seat time in city trucks as well, which, whether you have though about it or not, will cut back on expenses. Which will cut back on taxes, or at least how those taxes are spent.

When city trucks aren't being used, the repair schedule gets spread out. Less oil changes, less maintenance, and of course the ever popular less fuel.

Also:

In respect to saving gas by vehicles not being run constantly; Truckers are starting to see more options for keeping cool without running their truck's motor all night. From smaller generators keeping the electrical systems at peak power to truck stops with air conditioning vents that attach to the window at night. This saves many gallons of fuel every night for each truck! Now think of how many trucks are on the road.

Less Obesity

"People walk more, bike more and eat out less when gas is pricey. A permanent $1 hike in prices may cut obesity 10%, saving thousands of lives and billions of dollars a year, estimates Charles Courtemanche, an assistant professor of economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. At Orange Cycle, the largest bike store in Orlando, Fla., sales of upright urban bikes from March to June rose 57% compared with the same period last year. The shop was around for the 1970s gas crisis too, but this feels different, says co-owner Deena Breed. "I don't think it's just gas," she says. "It has to do with weight, exercise, community - a general sense of not being so wasteful."

from a TIME article found Here

Now I know alot of people who diet and can never lose the weight. Doctors have suggested exercise for years. And now so many of them have permanent damage that can't be reversed by diet and exercise. Several can barely walk from one end of their house to the other.

But, before that stage, so many of all of us, including me, could benefit from the exercise from not driving so much.

About The Author

Just a ramble about keystone

If you have made it this far then you are probably wondering just who this nut is...

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    • jp1978 profile image

      jp1978 6 years ago

      Fascinating lens. Habits are hard to break, let's hope we learn these lessons more permanently. We live as if oil prices are going to come down eventually, but someday they won't.

    • sirkeystone lm profile image
      Author

      sirkeystone lm 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Makes you sick doesn't it. Especially for some one like me who can see the immediate potential in so many cars. 55 saves gas too. Reducing from 65 to 55 can save as much as 15%. And on the divided high ways, you would be surprised how much you can help sort out congestion by keeping a solid 55 or 60 in a 70 MPH zone. On top of that you would be surprised how many people subconsciously slow down to your same speed once they have passed you. I've seen it happen. (now bear in mind I am an avid hot rodder. There is just a time and a place.) When I commuted to a job 40 minutes a way a couple of years ago. I slowed down and noticed I saved myself as much as $20 per week in fuel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Preach it! So many of us who would love to have a car that actually runs where heartsick with the cash for clunkers craziness, can't imagine destroying so many good cars. The thing is there was a year cut-off, so a lot of real clunkers didn't make the cut. We really haven't learned and are just finding ways to keep doing whet we're doing. I was astounded to hear that the speed limit may go up. What happened to "55 saves lives"?

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 8 years ago

      Some good points, I'm using my car less, and when I do use it, I try to plan my trips better.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 8 years ago from Arkansas USA

      It's interesting what motivates us. Nice lens!

    • sirkeystone lm profile image
      Author

      sirkeystone lm 9 years ago

      @dad1104 I agree totally. Sometimes it's choosing whether to eat for the entire day or drive my 40 miles to work.

      Just trying to stay positive. Thanks for your input!

    • DAD1104 profile image

      DAD1104 9 years ago

      One reason why $4. gas is bad... it takes money from the poor and gives to the very wealthy.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 9 years ago from Canada

      Multi-tasking. That's what I keep telling my family...if we're going in this direction, then let's do this errand while we're in the right area...if I buy something to sell on eBay while we are travelling then it helps to pay for the gas...and so on! Interesting lens on a HOT topic.

      Brenda

    • Webcodes LM profile image

      Webcodes LM 9 years ago

      Great job on this lens. I hope you get to the top 100 for your category. 5* and favorited it.

    • RichLeighHD profile image

      RichLeighHD 9 years ago

      Enjoyed your take on this lens, provided for a good read and I feel that it's extremely well laid out also. Nice work!

    • profile image

      Joan4 9 years ago

      Very interesting and informative. Thank you. We need to find new ways to look at the fuel issue, for sure!

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 9 years ago

      Definately more frugality and that is a good thing!

    • jeffshy profile image

      jeffshy 9 years ago

      You even make $5 gas sound like a good thing. Great Lens

    • GreenRevolution profile image

      GreenRevolution 9 years ago

      Nice lens! It's good to hear some good news about gas prices for a change. Thanks for sharing this great information. I enjoyed my stay. Cheers!