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November 25, 2008

Gas prices are down - will car mileage go back up?

Posted: 11:43 AM ET

On the eve of the busiest travel day of the year, AAA is predicting an overall drop in Thanksgiving travel.   The projected 1.2-percent dip in holiday trips would be the first decline since 2001 and 2002, the first post-9/11 Thanksgivings.

In recent weeks gas prices have fallen to less than half of what they were last summer.

But this year is also the first holiday we'll celebrate in the grips of the financial meltdown, and the first in the wake of this summer's $4-plus-a-gallon fuel prices.  It'll be interesting to see who flies, who drives, and who stays close to home over the long weekend ahead.

It's also a good time to take stock of The Year in Petroleum so far:

The gas-price spike really hit home in July, with about a three to five percent decline in vehicle miles traveled over the previous July.   The American Public Transit Association also reported that midsummer commuter bus and train trips jumped about 5 percent over last year.  (Althought the Los Angeles MTA and its commuter rail counterpart, Metrolink, just announced that ridership is back down by as much as 3 percent since mid-summer). 

The summer also saw two more correlated pieces of healthy news:

As prices rose in early '08, the National Safety Council noted a 9 percent drop in vehicle-related deaths (See, OPEC and the oil companies were just looking out for our safety!).

And the EPA reported that ground-level ozone levels (a.k.a. "smog") fell this summer in all but two major metro areas in the U.S.  Ground-level ozone is a warm-weather pollution threat, caused mainly by tailpipe emissions reacting with heat to create smog.  Fewer tailpipes on the road = less smog.   (This one may also be due in large part to very active wind patterns through the summer, according to CNN Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras).

Here in the Southeast, we've seen perhaps some of the wildest price swings in gas:  The refinery shutdowns following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike caused widespread shortages in September, and prices shot up to $4.30 a gallon in my neighborhood.   Yesterday I saw one of the same stations selling the same gasoline for $1.62.  Which begs the question:  Did you change your driving habits this summer when prices went through the roof?   And are you changing back now?

I'll start:  I'm finding it a little harder to drag myself to the bus stop and am driving more often.   What about you?

–Peter Dykstra, Executive Producer, CNN Science, Tech & Weather

Filed under: Cars • climate change • environment • Fuel • Gasoline

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Annie from Tennessee   November 25th, 2008 1:53 pm ET

To Miles O'Brien and other die hard Repubs:

Gas prices will soon go back up!

This was only a temporary 'Bush thing' for the election to push for McCain and the Pub party!

Now, just as Bush will continue to make many things rough for Obama, he also will get prices up at the gas pump again!

Repubs cannot stand this election being lost to them and will not give up on saying that EVERYTHING and ANYTHING that Obama says will be WRONG and we all know that you will all do that!

But get over it.! Dems won by a landslide.... Pubs lost!

That is what you all said when Bush stole the election of 2000 but the only difference NOW is that Dems didn' STEAL this election They won this by a landslide and you beter start to realize that Obama will be making things a lot BETTER in this country regardless of WHAT your party continually says on TV out of being vindictive.

Annie from Tennessee   November 25th, 2008 1:57 pm ET


Gas prices WILL go back up!

This was only done for election purposes for the Republicans to push

McCain,but it didn't work. Obama still a landslide!

However, Obama KNOWS that and is working on it already.

Annie from Tennessee   November 25th, 2008 2:09 pm ET

When Al Gore spoke of this environment problem, they called him crazy,but now that a Repub (Miles O'Brian) is into this, all of a sudden it is great!

Probabaly the Repubs will STILL say that Al Gore is wrong,but he is FAR from being wrong!

Brittney, Silver Spring Maryland   November 25th, 2008 2:41 pm ET

I'm still driving less... and will continue to cut back in any way I can. I believe some of the increase in gasoline usage is because of people running the heat in their cars, but I know that it's too optimistic to think all of it is from the cold weather. I've never been much of an environmentalist but I understand supply and demand. As soon as we start using more gasoline the price will start rising again. It may rise even if we don't start using more (remember the gas tanker that's been hijacked?).
You won't see me out on the corner crying out that people should drive less or handling them pamphlets about global warming... but cutting back would benefit more than just the environment. By the way, if anyone is wondering, gas prices probably aren't going to climb up slowly. As soon as banking stabilizes they're going to shoot up like a rocket because the banks will have money to re-assert their positions again. Just because oil didn't go up because you drove an extra hundred miles last week doesn't mean the price adjustment isn't coming.

Jose   November 25th, 2008 7:47 pm ET

My family and I have not changed are driving habits. We still own two cars but the vehicle I use for work is strictly for work. We just replaced our family car with a minivan but made sure we got one that had the highest rated city MPG which turned out to be the same as our old family car. During the weekends the work car sits on the drive way and we do not use it at all. All of our weekend events are still managed and if we feel the expense will be too much, our family car will sit on the drive way as well. We still only fill the gas tank on our family car up to 75% and on my car I only fill up to 7 gallons. I doubt we will ever go back since we started once gasoline hit two dollars a gallon. Finally, when I am ready to get a new vehicle I will be looking for a car with high fuel efficiency instead of one that is inexpensive. I figure that I will be making up the difference in cost on the fuel savings instead on how much I saved from the MSRP.

Carlston   November 25th, 2008 7:54 pm ET

Honestly Gas never should have gone that high to start with.
This is the price of gas people...not 4 bucks, and no matter what political plate spinning to look at rep/demo will not change it.

As gas drops we are reminded that people gouge the American consumer, other countries and even our own...housing crisis anyone? Not much a crisis is it is greed. The supply is the same the demand is the same yet the people who control prices just don't say "hey we are gonna leech you for a while for no reason other than to increase our profit and we know you can't cut down on going to work..." Aren't going to be honest, they can just do it.

Just like the 70's fake gas shortage, oh and the brief one in the 80's the failed one at the start of the first Desert Storm, how this went on for 7 years just cause 9/11 was simple leeching. Nothing more, as 400% more drivers didn't magicly appear if they did, well the big 3 and the wasteful 500k type of cars a year they make would have sold.

Simple they are killing the golden goose thinking they will get more eggs. Just like the housing market, all the money is great when it means nothing in a ruined economy.

Frank   November 25th, 2008 10:16 pm ET

Fraud ,and the corruption of cartels, regulators - parasitic behaviour
If the parasites kill you, then they die also

Wall street fraud siphons the benefits of your maximized productivity
Then you are hypnotized to guilt for driving to work

Beavis   November 25th, 2008 11:09 pm ET

Huh hu hu Huh ...he said gas...Uchh ha

Jason   November 26th, 2008 4:35 am ET

Annie from Tennessee:
Calm down the election is over you can stop being an obama fanatic. Please start taking your Prozac again for the safety of all those around you. Not everything is a republican conspiracy like the liberal media will lead you to believe. It wasn't just Bush and the Republican party that screwed this country. There were plenty of Democrats that had there greedy little hands in on it. Thank you and Have a wonderful day.

Signed Jason (proud republican and former Marine combat Veteran)

Jason   November 26th, 2008 4:39 am ET

No to post something actually relevant to the topic at hand. I personally am stay close to home this year and not making the usual trip from North Carolina to New York this year. Instead I'm taking my Wife and Son out to a restaurant nearby thats serving Turkey.

S Callahan   November 26th, 2008 8:54 am ET

For me, I've actually decreased my driving and find I like it this way and will continue to have less dependence on the car. I think if we consider the long term value to our community (less smog, fumes, etc) ,and in turn to our planet , most sensible citizens will continue to find alternatives, and cheaper modes, in transportation. The lesson is big...get out of self desire and think of the bigger picture..your impact on the world and what it leaves for the next generation.

Jim from Morehead City , NC   November 26th, 2008 9:52 am ET

Of course, they will go up. This is not only a failed attempt to affect the voting public, but, also a kneejerk reaction by the Oil Companies to the SERIOUS consideration of the use of E-cars. It appears, thank God, that the new administation IS serious about alternative fuels and automobiles. The oil companies/ and their bed partners,OPEC, know how short the American memory is. If a drop in gas prices is what is needed to keep the sale of oil up– so be it. This is a " bottom line" business move for future survival of the oil companies. If we don't continue to pursue alternative fuels, etc.– watch how the prices of oil and gasoline slowly come back up.

Brooke DeClue   November 26th, 2008 10:12 am ET

Thanks for keeping us posted on whats happening in the world!!

Amelia from Austin   November 26th, 2008 10:43 am ET

I personally sold my car in 2007 – I found it was getting too expensive, with gas prices back then (hovering around 2.50-3.00 dollars per gallon). It's been difficult without a car at time, but I bike or take a bus everywhere now and I really enjoy it. It's true – relying on public transit can be a pain sometimes, and a car does give you a measure of freedom you miss during the first few months. At the same time, biking has been wonderful – I'm more awake when I get to work, definitely in better physical shape and have found new friends through going on some group bike rides. It gives me more financial freedom than owning a car – maintenance is minimal and inexpensive, and I don't have to worry about insurance (though if a company offered bike insurance I'd purchase it).

Most people will probably resume driving more – it is easier, especially in a lot of urban and suburban areas with lagging public transit and minimal bike facilities. There will be a few for whom this inspires a car-free or car-lite lifestyle more permanently though, and oil will probably go up in cost again within a year or two.

B   November 26th, 2008 10:57 am ET

Wow Annie!! Way to not have a clue.

First I will address the matter at hand. Gas prices are down a ton. The spike was not caused by politicians. It was caused by speculation and hedge funds. There is no regulation on hedge funds. They can short futures and commodities without planning on actually going long the securities. They drove commodities up as a whole. Oil, fertilizer, gold, corn etc.

The bubble burst and oil went from $145 a barrel to under $50. Now it is likely oil will climb back up but probably a while before it hits $145 again. When Mexico sold a ton of oil futures at $145, investors realized that was probably the top of the market near term. I would imagine oil would settle closer to $70-80 a barrell.

I never slowed my driving habits. I don't know why people are still so worried about buying their hybrids and mopeds etc with gas prices down almost 50%!! I am a car guy. I drive regardless of gas prices.

I do think we need to become less dependant on petroleum but I don't think the need for it will ever go away. There are plenty of other car guys that would pay a lot for gas if need be to continue with our passion.

In regards to Annie the irate...... If you think Republicans got us in this mess, look into what the Carter and Clinton administration did to this country. Specifically the sub-prime housing debaucle and many of our jobs going overseas. The Dems put legislation in place that penalized lending institutions for not doing sub-prime loans. They basically said "Hey.... You can't exclude low income individuals from buying a house just b/c they don't make enough. That's not fair"

What a croc!!! If you can't afford something then don't buy it!!! How are all these people who make $30k a year living in $250k houses??!!! Ridiculous.

Next look at Clinton and NAFTA. What a great idea to get in bed with foreign nations and give away our jobs. And people wonder about unemployment here.

Let's move on to the big 3. The democrats have been in bed with the union leaders forever. If you want to do some research on your precious Obama, why don't you look into where he got the majority of his money. Meanwhile lying and stating he would never let his campaign account get that big. To top it off, Obama represenst change yet over 70% of his admin is from the Clinton admin. I see no change. Looks like Clintons 3rd term to me.

Maybe you should understand both sides of the table before you go into a rant and waste 3 consecutive posts!!!

just my $.02

Emma from Chicago   November 26th, 2008 11:04 am ET

I would hope that people would curtail their driving, even with $1.70/gal gasoline, but they won't.

Our culture is wasteful; we spend! spend! spend! when times are good and leave little protection for ourselves in a downswing. It's the reason July's gas prices were so crippling to the working- and middle classes, it's the reason for the mortgage crisis, it's the reason families are having to choose between paying the utilities and providing Christmas presents this year.

When things are good, the American mentality is "Sure, buy the gas-guzzling $40K SUV. Sure, take out a $500,000 mortgage with 0 down when your household income is less than $100K/year. Your kids deserve expensive video games and clothes; put it on plastic." People managed to maintain these lifestyles for so long that they became complacent but it was never sustainable. The financial setbacks of the past year have sent these houses of cards crashing down. The middle class has lived an economic lie for a decade now.

The best part about all this? WE NEVER LEARN FROM THE HARD TIMES - people are right back up fueling their GMC Yukon Denalis and Chevy Suburbans now that gas prices have dropped when they could be spending that money to build a financial cushion for themselves and their families. It's insanity.

Ladies and gentleman, the writing is on the wall. Your job is not secure. Our economy is not secure. Your accumulating debt will get you in over your head. Gas prices WILL go back up. Our kids deserve better - cut back on the waste, excessive spending, and greed NOW before it's too late.

Bob from Missouri   November 26th, 2008 11:43 am ET

I now carpool to work and will continue to do so. Enjoy the lower prices now but, I anticipate gas prices will rise again as the economy turns around. Hopefully the next car I buy will get 40-50 mpg. Regarding politics, I am grateful that Obama won. I agree we should not see evil Republican conspiracies in everything – otherwise we will look like wackos! Having said that, I think the last Republican leader who truly cared for the environment was Teddy Roosevelt who set aside National Parks. I am concerned that our present-day Republican leaders have lost that spirit – instead all those who oppose them are labeled as crazy tree-huggers. Just look at all the regulations Bush wants to overturn in his last couple months in office, they are in the paper today, uranioum mining near the Grand canyon, dirtier coal power plants, oil shale near Utah Parks, Mountain-top decapitation in W. Virginia, rules to prevent climate change consideration. It's one last desperate anti-envronmental surge.

Michael   November 26th, 2008 11:44 am ET

I have been driving less. But more due to the price of parking and the fact that work provides a free bus pass then to the cost of gas.

Eric Roberts   November 26th, 2008 12:03 pm ET

If I had better access to public transportation, I would not use my car at all. I could take a bus and a train to get to work, only problem is that there is not bus going home in the evening (last one runs about 3 or 4 pm...makes no sense). We only have 1 car and once the weather gets bad here in Chicago, my fiance will be using hte car more to get to work. I used to work in hte city and would take the train in and then a bus to where I worked. I thouhgt that was great. Now with my new position that is probably about 5 miles away, i drive and it takes as long to drive 5 miles as it did to take the train and bus 40 miles. I hate driving.

AndyO   November 26th, 2008 1:20 pm ET

I personally do not believe that supply and demand had much to do with the prices... I think the whole thing was based on traders in the futures market. At it's peak, GAS prices in my area (Louisville, KY) were about $4.35 at the highest point. 5 months later they are now at about $1.65. That amounts to a 62% decrease in price. There is NO WAY there has been anywhere near a 62% decrease in usage...

My wife and I never really drove any less per se... But we both greatly changed our general driving habbits. Now we drive better planned routes, and combine our errand trips. We also started driving a lot slower and making good use of cruise control. We unloaded all the stuff from the trunks of our cars that did not "need" to be in there as well. By changing these few things, we dropped our fuel consumption by about 12%. The nice thing is that we find it easy to continue with these new habbits even though GAS prices have dropped considerably.

its all a conspiracy for bush!   November 26th, 2008 1:22 pm ET

You have to be kidding me, do any of you know how the price of gas is determined? Do you actually think that evil president Bush and the republican demons just increase and decrese the prices at their political leisure?

Gas dropped for a number of reasons recently, the #1 reason being that people were driving less. Go back to econ 101, Supply and DEMAND, decrease the demand on oil, prices drop. Now that prices are low if people start driving more and conserving less the prices will go back up. Its pretty basic and much less complicated than your conspiracy theroys. Let me guess Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks too?...ha

Also keep in mind we still have some of the cheapest gas in the world, increased prices will force people to drive less, conserve more, think about their driving and spending, pressure cities to increase public transportation and push car companies to deliver better MPG in ...maybe its not all that bad..

That said, i dont think i have cut back my driving, but I am more consious of when and where i drive and I drive more CONSERVATIVELY which helps as well.

Rudy   November 26th, 2008 3:34 pm ET

It will go back up eventually so I am planning on continuing to drive less. The way I look at it, that additional $100 to $200 I was spending on gas a month or so ago I can now put towards my families emergency fund before prices go up again.

Drizzt   November 26th, 2008 4:57 pm ET

I will continue to drive my limited ed. Mustang GT. When it was 4/gallon I was driving no less then I am now. Only difference is I am now able to start climbing out of debt. Gas is where we all started to get into debt. Think about this. 1.25 A gallon and lets says 20 gallons a week thats $25 bucks. About what I was spending in 2000. Now lets see 4/gallon is $80. Thats $60 a week more then what I was spending before the Bush Empire took over. Thats $240 more a month then 8 years ago. For a year thats almost 3g's more in fuel. Times that by 4 years minus the ave of gas or even eight years and it adds up. This year alone its something like $2880.00 more more in gas then last. I am betting if we add that up for the last 8 years it would be something like 15K to 25k. Now I don't know about you but that would have paid off my student loans, my credit cards, and other debt, but because the BUSH empire and Republicains continue to rape us up to the last minute we shall continue to stay in debt untill O'bama gets into office and gives us are BAIL OUT away from the BUSH\McCain empires!

Joe from Tennessee   November 26th, 2008 8:06 pm ET

Sure I cut my driving down to bare bones. Then I found a station in town that sells gas with no ethanol. My milage in both my cars has jumped BIG TIME! and the engine runs smoother.

Kevin   November 27th, 2008 10:41 am ET

Annie, I'm afraid your grand conspiracy theory on gas prices is just that. It's supply and demand. A downturn in energy requirements for both automotive and manufacturing reduces speculation in the oil market. Get a grip.

James in Arizona   November 27th, 2008 1:18 pm ET

Unfortunately I believe they will go back up. My car has been netting me an average of 44 mpg while my wife's car averages 36 mpg. Even with that good of mileage my wife started taking the bus to work since there is a rapid route that gets her there. So whether the gas prices stay low, or go back up we have made a decision to limit our driving and keep our little cars.

If they started making newer cars that achieved 40+ mpg on a mix of city and highway driving and didn't cost over $13k then I would consider one.

Bubba from Kansas   November 27th, 2008 9:09 pm ET

Hey Annie – you might want to check your math. Winning 53% of the vote is hardly a "landslide".

Carl   November 28th, 2008 1:14 pm ET

Maybe instead of whining about high gas prices and OH MY GOD public transportation, maybe you should, as CNN's Science Producer, start the discussion of suburban sprawl and how this has almost guaranteed our pathetic dependence on motorized transport and oil in general.

The rest of the world has no problem with taking the bus, the train, or, here's a crazy idea, walking to work instead of living in a futureless suburban environment. Suck it up.

Mathew, Indianapolis   November 28th, 2008 1:52 pm ET

I am still driving less than I was a year ago. I also tend to ride share with friends more, car pool when I can or ride my bike. I make a point to stop and think ahead of time about my shopping trips to minimize my driving.

Richard   November 28th, 2008 11:17 pm ET

opic will drive price up just becouse it down. so how do u,s, win?
we cut back and the cut back hits us for it. we need to get off gas go eletric and leve foren oil behind.

Calvin, ATLANTA,GA   November 29th, 2008 2:36 am ET

I can't tell you how much I am glad that gas is the price that it should be. I'll be getting a motorcycle soon because there is no doubt in my mind that the prices will get out of wack as soon as there is an excuse to do so. If gas really costed 4 dollars a gallon the prices would have stayed there. Why is it that the price for things, meaning goods and services keep escalating but our wages do not? It's isn't because of demand it is because of artifical inflation that the people in power have created. Someone should read an economics book here and there. If the cost is fixed at 4 dollars, then regardless of our economy would the price of gas would remain fixed.

Chris   November 29th, 2008 9:11 am ET

Annie, that is an ignorant thing to say. I am a liberal 17 year old and even I know it's due to supply and demand. Please show me where the Republican party in any way shape or form can control gas prices.

Jim K   November 29th, 2008 9:12 am ET

The gas prices got me to join a van pool, and I love it. Saves me about 40 gallons of fuel a month, some money, and lots of miles on my car.

It's also nice to be able to take a nap on the trip to work and on the trip back home.

Franko   November 30th, 2008 3:32 am ET

Oil prices will percolate
Bubbles of Toxic Corruption, Toxic Greed, house prices, ?
Bubbles of Toxic Fraud, Add Toxic Debth, and other hypnotics ?
Not driven by demand, or constrained by supply,
Which Toxic is the real driver of Oil prices ?

CW   November 30th, 2008 6:37 am ET

Its so funny that you Americans can't pull you heads out of your collective a**es (with the petty political bickering) long enough to see that there is a whole world out there beyond your borders. Your county provides less than 5% of the worlds oil – and can not control the price of a barrel of crude oil any more than I can. (ok, maybe by taxing it when it hits your borders – but that didn't change during the crisis)

If you bothered to look around you would have noticed that oil prices rose (and is falling) all over the world. Remember supply and demand from economics 101? If you kept looking you'd notice that what you used to call emerging markets are now becoming economic superpowers as technology jobs in the information age don't require as much infrastructure as factory jobs did back in the industrial age when you guys came to power.

What does that have to do with the "Price of oil in China", you ask?
Let's do the math together. While you left it up to your government to "Leave your child behind" (cut it out – there you go again with the bickering – its been going on long enough now for BOTH parties to be responsible) , parents in these countries where preparing their children to take your children's jobs. Your kids are now dropping out of school at records rates to play video games and play on 'MYSPACE' – while theirs are using the same internet technology to take freelance programming jobs to help feed their families. They are willing to work other technical jobs for less than our kids would take to work at Burger King. (Have you called customer support lately?) In this new world economy they don't have to go to the US to "steal your jobs".(more on this later) So stop obsessing about that.

Back to oil;
Now that this has been happening for a little while – THEIR economies have grown to a point where their average family there can now afford to buy ....... what? (say it with me) CARS!!!! If that wasn't enough – they are even building their own major car companies. China now has 5 to our "big 4" even India now has one (and way more people to buy and drive them). China is now massively expanding their national highway system to handle the growth. (Like your "Interstates") They didn't need to before. Let me draw the line for you; more jobs = more money = more cars = more roads = more travel = more gas = more oil = more demand.

Has your oil light started to flicker on yet? It's simple SUPPLY and DEMAND people. (YOU taught it to US) Prices are dropping now because the OPEC nations flooded the market to meet the demand while people al over the world parked their cars, pooled or simply traveled less. So get over yourselves – its not all about you. Now it didn't help at all that the Gas retailers were slow to drop their prices as their crude costs dropped (taking record profits) But that's the 'normal' sort of greed that your capitalist dogma kinda breeds and rewards now isn't it? But that's a discussion for another blog. (in other words – don't get me started on that.)

If you guys stop your partisan bickering long enough, you'd take notice that the world is getting bigger and smaller at the same time. What I mean is – while you guys are fighting trying to figure out who's to blame (and not fixing anything), other countries are getting rich providing cheaper services in markets you (the U.S.) invented.

Now, this is not about shipping jobs overseas – even you'd go an extra block to save a dollar on toothpaste – so don't blame our CEOs for doing the same. Not only are they are paid to do it, they are obligated to their stock holders to cut costs and make bigger profits ( that stockholder is you too, btw – 401k anyone? ). So, they have to to keep their costs down, as long as you insist on buying the cheaper product. So that's not your Government's fault either, if companies don't stay competitive – YOU'd put them out of business by buying cheaper elsewhere.

You make their roles even more difficult with your unions demanding non-competitive salaries for the same jobs foreign companies get done for less, as CNN recently reported: your average union auto worker gets $71k where Toyota USA pays $41k (or was that dollars p hour – doesn't matter – it scales the same) – They can get even it done for less in their own counties. Now, that is just one example – but you buy ALL their cheaper products over U.S. made products everyday. So don't blame your government (or the "other" party) for something Economy 101 force companies to do (outsource to survive) – But I digress

Now, it may seem that I am having trouble staying on subject – but what I am really saying is that it is all connected. The questions are MUCH BIGGER than the ones you guys are asking – so are the answers.

So, while you guys continue to "drop the ball" and pass on to your kids a slovenly, non-competitive lifestyle (where everyone's a winner if they only try) – The rest of the world is teaching their kids to kick your a**es and get rich while doing it. – I am not warning you about a "bad future" that "could happen" if you "sit back and do nothing" – its too late – this is already happening RIGHT NOW.

The fact that their Oil demand is now effecting your Gas prices proves my point ( ahhhhh see, I was on subject the whole time ) Its only a matter of time before it effects more than oil.

Now, I don't have the answers – but I know the problem is not where John Q. American is looking. Blaming "election strategy" for oil prices is like blaming the rooster for the sunrise. This is not to say that all the talk about finding "alternative energy solutions" didn't scare the b'geese out of the OPEC nations. But that talk was gathering steam on the table all over the world long before your presidential candidates brought it up. So OPEC floods the market and lower prices just long enough for you jump back into your SUVs and start forgetting that we needed to save environment too. It worked in the 70s it will work today.

You Americans do amuse me, thought. You are so powerful yet short-sighted and easily distracted. But I like you – so I'll give this piece of important advice: if you don't get global in your everyday thinking and planning (and soon), you are going to lose the whole game. Some may say its already too late for you to save yourselves in this new global, uber-connected economy. But you are great as underdogs – always have been. So my long money is on you.

Good Luck – and God Bless

PS. Confession: OK I am an American – and I love my country. Maybe the fact that I wasn't born here gives me a more global perspective. All my facts aren't perfect but they are close enough to be true. We all should still take heed, see whats coming and take individual responsibility for fixing it. I am loving the change that Obama represents. But the truth is neither political party can fix this mess until we change our collective economic perspective to include the rest of the countries on the planet. They are about to start affecting us a lot more that we affect them. In this new global economy, their purchasing power will lay waste to companies (and countries ) that can't (or won't) compete. Soon it won't matter if we "buy American" if they don't. We have to consider that as we make demands of our Government, our Unions, our Companies our Schools and ourselves.It gives a whole new importance and meaning to the saying "Think Globally – Act Locally."

John   November 30th, 2008 8:18 am ET

Annie from Tenn.;

I suggest you learn what you're talking about before you come out spewing that nonsense. I probably hate Bush and the Reps more than you, but your explanation is completely ABSURD.

The prices of gas were drove up by speculators out to make a quick buck. They could only take the bubble so high, to the point where we saw it pop and the prices begin to fall again.

It was nothing but the elite of this world playing the population to get richer, plain and simple.

Franko   November 30th, 2008 4:56 pm ET

"It’s simple SUPPLY and DEMAND"
Wild swings are not driven by near steady state Supply or Demand.
Look at the Oil price chart of Toxic fraud, manipulation, and corruption

"elite of this world playing the population to get richer, plain and simple"
Toxic Oil market manipulation by the cartels,
Always winning - Always conveniently blaming SUV speculaters
But the top Dog Arabs do need swimming pools on aeroplane harems ?
Absolutely - Allah, the Wassabee, Commandeth !

Was Top Dog Toxic US - Now Top Pig Arabs
Elite of one or the other - poor of one or the other
Human worth going to emerge, as the oil price driver ?

Steve   November 30th, 2008 5:44 pm ET

I still drive the same amount, but now I have more money to put back into our economy rather than putting it into the exxonomy.

Cat   November 30th, 2008 9:14 pm ET

I am so SICK of everyone saying gas prices went up because of Bush and his republican party. You're all idiots if you think that. And as far as Obama goes, he wont change sh**. I dont like him one bit ... But it wouldn't have mattered who won, neither of them are going to change anything. It sure as hell will take longer than 4 years to get this economy going how it should be. So everyone who is bowing down to Obama thinking he is going to do all this changing....are dumb.

T1 from Ohio   December 1st, 2008 8:29 am ET

My greatest fear was fuel prices would come down and everyone would forget about alternative energy. Incredible amounts of money flow out of the USA to countries that harbor people who hate us. If Washington wants to bail something out, let's start with subsidizing an energy plan that would keep money in this country, create an industry and new jobs.

Lawrence Walker   December 1st, 2008 10:14 am ET

Back in the early '90s, I averaged 20,000 miles/year. But since 2000, I have cut down on my travel business and drive about 9,000 miles/year. And I live in Texas, 70 miles from a city.

Water is precious, but it is, if we are careful, a renewable resource. But no matter how careful (or wasteful) we are, oil is not a renewable resource. And it is so convenient for so many things besides burning up in big cars, such as lubricants and plastics. Think of the importance of plastic. Thus, oil is worth a lot, a whole heck of a lot. And it is a terrible thing to waste.

The more efficient we become, the more proud we can be.

brandon   December 1st, 2008 11:45 am ET

let these big companies fail, its not the taxpayers fault that these companies gave loans to people who couldnt pay, gas has gone down by half in some areas.

The big car companies have known for a long time that they needed to make vehicles that get better gas mileage, but they said nah we have until 2020 to do that. But when the demand requires work trucks and giant suvs, that people need to learn to park, yep, i do key those vehicles that dont let me get in to my own car, which i park in the proper space.
Venesuela based their recent goverment spending on gas being 75 dollars a barrel, now its hovering around 50 dollars what is their economy going to do fail because they based it on speculation which is where these oil prices have gone , one ground speculates and it shoots up to over 4 dollars a gallon. which is weird. I am happy with my TOYOTA car that gets around 30 mpg for a full size car. Why buy american. they have way more recalls then the foriegn cars. Until they can restore faith in the automobile industry then i will buy american.

About the bailouts, why are we helping failing CREDIT CARD companies and MORTGAGE companies they knew what they were doing, I recently tried to get a house and my monthly payment was set at 900 or 1000. But i was ok, the deal fell through and didnt work. So i went to a differnet mortgage company, and he was saying 1420 a month, I thought about it and said no because that is way to much and didnt want to put myself in a hole, which is exactly what other people are doing and these companies did it, look at all the bank take overs this is out of hand, why is the federal goverment using our tax money to help these companies, who's leadership is taking huge paychecks and helping the company lose money, i say let them fail, and let all the credit they issued out be cleared teach other companies a lesson

Wisdom   December 1st, 2008 12:49 pm ET

I'm loving it...
Bought a 48K dollar truck (needed for work) for 25K...
I've got to pay the gas anyway... (need the truck)...
But saving this much cause of the gas scare worked out fine!!!

butthead   December 1st, 2008 1:47 pm ET

I make my own gas.,hhahaa hha hhaa

he said gas

BIll   December 1st, 2008 3:49 pm ET

Here in Houston, TX my wife and I cut driving and combined trips. We were a one car family, and we just bought second fuel efficient car.

This will give us more flexibility with our jobs, and we are working hard not to drive much more. There is no public transportation where we live and work, so driving is a necessity.

I expect for gas prices to shoot up again soon, and I would rather that cash go into our pockets than out the tailpipe..

brandon   December 1st, 2008 3:57 pm ET

thats good though its teaching these auto industry people that they need to actually price the vehicles for what they are worth not marking up the price cause it has harley davidson on the side of it. But eventually the vehicles will be priced at a normal price that everyone can afford and drive around in a reliable vehicle. Gas prices need to be stable like they are now, not helping other countries profit off of our SUV's

SF Guy   December 1st, 2008 6:22 pm ET

American's have a short attention span – think ADD here folks.

Gas prices are down – you can buy jumbo V8 rolling boxes for virtually half their value just a year ago. People are buying them and more will buy them as credit frees up.

A very – very small percentage of people who will not make so much as a smudge on the numbers will continue to replace their current cars with more fuel efficient vehicles.

I've never owned a Mercedes but their R 320 CDI AWD which is basically a very large wagon with a mini van type lay out gets around 28-29mpg on the high way and mid 20's around town with an engine that puts down some serious power. Vs my small 4d – 4 cylinder AWD car that gets 25mpg in mixed use and 27mpg highway. Not a single Domestic auto builder has a 6 passenger large vehicle that gets more than 21mpg with a tail wind.

Wisdom   December 2nd, 2008 11:10 am ET

SF Guy

The R Class gets 18/24 which is fairly good although it's a 50K car...

Fernando   December 2nd, 2008 1:10 pm ET

I work for an oil company and I did change my driving habits. Even with the price of oil dropping, I have not gone back to my "old ways" of driving.

If my wife and I need to run errands, we choose to go in our more fuel efficient car rather than our SUV. I've tried to make sure I don't drive over 65mph anymore.

We'll be getting rid of our SUV once our Smart car arrives.

Franko   December 3rd, 2008 2:00 am ET

I was ready to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle
But now, the present gas cost, and vehicle size is convenient

The future of flexibility will be
Free-piston-diesel -to- battery -to- wheel enclosed (hub) electric motor
Diesel electric is common in large applications,
Locomotives, ships, and mining trucks

But, will Obama spend the money propping up Union Chiefs
And Car Company Executives, travelling in private jets ?
Cannot afford the future ? The future cannot afford US

Pissed of American   December 3rd, 2008 2:02 am ET

BUSH can't control the price of gas people!!!!! Stop being so ignorant. I read alot of the blogs on this web sit, and most of them are DEMs spreading hate and discontent towards REPs. They try to make every thing a conspiracy. Wake up people gas prices rose to record highs across the planet. Not just in your town. Bush nor the rest of the republican party has enough power to control that. Gas prices will surely go back up but I don't think that they will clime to as high as they were. I personaly drive my POS regardless of the price as much as I want to. I sometimes just go for a nice drive through the rural areas near by. I'm not a very green person, I personally could care less about this planet and what my actions do to it. The planet is billions of years old and will be here several billion years to come. where as I only have about 40 or so years to go if I'm lucky. So screw mother earth and enjoy life. To all those that are offended suck it up. Iv served my country faithfully through 2 combat deployments and personally belive I have a right to do as I wish becuse of it. Iv earned my rights as an american where as many of you people on here take those rights for granted until someone try's to use theres then you get all pissed.

For all of you fanatical Oboma supporters out there he's not going to change a whole lot. The presidence is more just a figure head position then any thing eles. Its the House and Senate that we need to change things in this country. unfortunatly most people in those positions are still in the pockets of lobbiest. That goes for both DEMs ans REPs. If that is ever going to change then they need to put a limit on how long you can serve in those positons. Similar to the limit there is on the presidency.

Chazz   December 3rd, 2008 8:07 am ET

It is amazing what slowing down while driving can do for your fuel economy. I drive on the Autobahn in Germany and increased my gas mileage by four miles per gallon by driving only 75 mph compared to 85. I noticed I wasn't the only driver slowing down.

As a service member stationed in Germany, we purchase rationed gas at a current rate of $0.55 per liter ($2.10/gallon). The Germans are paying 1.14 Euro per liter. At today's exchange rate that is about $5.50 per gallon, down from over $9.00 over the summer.

If you see a big SUV or pick-up truck here, it is probably registered to an American. Most Germans have smaller, more fuel efficient cars. Maybe we can learn something from the European way of life.

Franko   December 4th, 2008 2:14 am ET

The technology is so near that you can taste it.
The need, the capability for quickly turning on a technological dime,
Is prevented by Toxic Debth, Toxic Corruption, Toxic Fraud

In the Unions Lunch Bucket, the future is delayed ?
Executives deserve to fly to government beggings in private jets ?
Union, Executive, Government by special Corruption interests.
The poor, non-union, and destitute, were meant to be Frauded
Says where in the Bible - somewhere in the constitution ?

Bludney Plud   December 8th, 2008 11:58 am ET

Brittney, Silver Spring Maryland: FYI: The heat in your car comes from the waste heat in the engine's cooling system. You produce this heat just as much if not more so in the summar than in the winter.

Brian, Detroit, MI   December 9th, 2008 9:34 am ET

Let us not forget, when the economy heats back up, so will gas prices. The reason for the high prices in the first place were all those "day-traders" out there who were convinced that putting money into the oil industry was a fool-proof plan. Well I hope they all learned their lessons. No industry is fool-proof. Day trading should be outlawed. We, by we I mean our economy, do not need a bunch of fools out there trading stocks based on rumors and heresay. That is a far less publicized reason for the fall our economy has taken. Well, that and the Bush administration. Now that gas prices have gone back down it is time to stop all this "let's turn our food into fuel for the entire world" nonsense, and bring the world's food prices back to a reasonable level. Whose idea was it anyway to make corn into fuel when there are much better and cheaper ways to produce the same product. Corn is a food staple of much of the planet. I think it was the Bush administration's attempt to starve the poor to death and let the wealthy rule the world.

Howard, Los Angeles, CA   December 13th, 2008 6:29 am ET


This is freaking ridiculous that we are below two bucks in gas now when 4 months ago I was selling my soul to just fill up. I'm sick of this! I'm not going to buy an eco-car but no way am I going to go on a road trip or a driving spree because I can now. For all the money that I save now I rather donate this to people that can't feed their family.

Look I love my car. Actually, I worship my car, but this is wrong. I agree with everyone else that gas prices are going to go up but in the meantime don't support those gas company bastards.

Jose in Carrollton, TX   December 13th, 2008 12:37 pm ET

I have significantly cut my driving a lot. I've gone from refueling weekly, to refueling every 3 weeks. I compensated for gas buy acquiring a DSL Internet access. All the things I would go to the store for I can download via iTunes. All the games I can download via Xbox Live. I have full access to news and information. I keep up with friends via email and instant messenger.

Many people here are not driving in Texas. I think Americans are at "Fool me twice, Shame on me." My parents hardly go out anymore. My brother and his friends are now homebodies. Everyone here is driving less. I think they want to make the oil companies suffer for the price gouging of the last couple of years.

We've all made the conscious decision to buy hybrids, flex fuel, or electric cars the next time around. Consumers must insist that Detroit discontinue gasoline powered vehicles. We need to tell the Saudis, "Thanks, but my car doesn't use gas." The soon we get off oil/gas monopoly, the better it will be for our nation's security.

heroofusa   December 15th, 2008 7:33 am ET

yes gas prices are sure to shoot up. just a matter of time. and nothing else. it is because the gas prices in the usa are based on supply and demand. and because the usa is in worst financial conditions since the great depression the demand for gas prices have gone down as the supply has also reduced.

Dave   December 18th, 2008 10:47 pm ET

Ethonol is not responsibe for the food prices. Oil prices are. Growing pu on a farm I know what really goes into the prices of food. Farmers only get paid once for their grain. The oil companies get paid over and over and over.

Julia Mason   May 11th, 2010 5:31 pm ET

Gas prices these days are just getting higher, i think the government should focus more on alternative energy.–~

Laundry Sorter    October 18th, 2010 5:00 pm ET

gas prices would steadily go up and the supply dwindle and the saudis like to increase their profit margin`–

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