We've seen gas prices rise about 75 cents in the last few months here in CA, the land of (un) plenty.
Thus far it seems to have had little impact on our car crazed culture, but as the four dollar a gallon mark is becoming the norm, I was wondering who out there among the Insiders have changed their travel plans based on fuel costs?
I know that some trips that involve driving longer distances have been postponed as a result. The larger issue for many of us is which trips are essential and which are not.
Well, that's an interesting question. Although the rising price of fuel hasn't hampered our travels yet, I can see that possibility if it keeps going. We have just arrived in Annapolis after driving from IA yesterday with a stop at the Air Force Base near Dayton overnight. Gas, when we left home was $3.42/gal, was pretty close to that across I-70, and is actually around $3.39 here in Annapolis near the SHS. Two weeks ago we flew to SC and paid $2.83 for gas for the rental car. Wow! What a difference a couple of weeks can make!
This is a great question. I, too, haven't yet begun to make any definite changes, but suspect that when (no longer "if" unfortunately) the price gets to $3.75 and up per gallon, I will. Obviously, this situation impacts those of us for whom travel is more discretionary than mandatory. I have already cancelled a trip to CA for a four-day program I really wanted to attend based partly on the increasing added costs involved once I got there. I'm not sure what bothers me more - missing the program, or losing out on the elite nights credits I would have earned!
We have topped the mythical four bucks a gallon mark for Regular Unleaded here in northern California and it's starting to be noticeable on the roads as people decide not to head to multiple places when they don't have to. Monterey has very scant traffic other than during major events so I can't say that the traffic is decreased since it is seldom increased!
But, as with a couple years ago, the tide of rising prices is coming to bear on people's decisions to use their cars in a careless (ie, normal) fashion.
It's a bummer to hear that the $4 level has been breached in CA. especially since I am scheduled to drive from Long Beach to SF and back to Anaheim in April. I'm going to the Long Beach Grand Prix and to SF to see my Red Sox play Oakland and back to LA to see them play the Angels of Anaheim.
What is most bothersome is that when we see the price of crude being quoted in the markets it is never quoted for the day we are living. Prices quoted on the NYMEX today are for April delivery. But yet, we see these astronomical increases just after they are being talked about....even though the contract pricing quoted is for a month in the future.
Crude prices didn't see a big increase during the Egyptian uprising (March pricing), it spiked when Libya and others broke out in conflict...when crude was selling for April delivery. The question begs for 'why now' and before April when the pricing contracts are for? It's a mystery to me and has been since I was a young lad.......
It takes me back to my younger years in the 70's as a college kid who worked for a petroleum/refining company (refinery in Louisiana) that owned about 130 locations and supplied many others. My Job? Filling underground tanks at closed stations during the oil embargo of the mid 70's (remember the gas lines?) and locking the tanks shut. I will never forget the Pres. of the company I worked for telling me one day that he had 60 closed stations filled with gas; four (4) tankers sitting in international waters off Boston that could not be off-loaded because the tank farm in Chelsea was filled to capacity and there was nowhere to put the oil..... and he was limited to selling a specific amount of gasoline and having stations close when that quota was met.....every day. I never quite grasped the lunacy of what was happening in the gas crisis....until that conversation. A moment I'll never forget.
The end game was he decided to quit just after our little chat (obviously he had already made that decision when he was talking to me) and I decided that the industry was not for me when I completed my schooling. The way they continue to run it today, I'm glad I made the decision I did.
We suffer from "designer blended" types of gasoline here in CA, almost all counties have differing requirements for the mix of their smog producing and fighting fuel types. In addition we have a state tax and a county determined sales tax added to the cost per gallon. It adds about 75 cents to each gallon. Who knows what the federal tax is?
I have noticed in the last few days that there are fewer people out and about in their cars, the same thing that happened a few years back when we neared 4 dollars.
Eventually this will impact us all, if not in our driving then in the items we buy that come to the stores by truck--in other words virtually all of those things.