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I Am Feeling The Squeeze of Rising Gas Prices

By Erik Folgate

My wife is currently doing a clinical rotation for physician assistant school in Orlando. She has to drive 30 miles each way from her parent’s house to the hospital. We budgeted out $150 dollars for her to get through two weeks, but now I am starting to rethink that budget amount. She is going through stop-and-go traffic and she’s driving an SUV. The price of gas in Jacksonville is currently right at the national average of about $3.25 a gallon. I get paid for all company mileage that I accrue each month, so it typically pays for my car, gas, and maintenance. So, this is probably the first month in a long time that we will start feeling the squeeze of rising gas prices that could get to $4.00 a gallon.

I ran across this article from Wealth Boy, and he gave a different perspective of the rising gas prices. In the mainstream media, all we hear about is how we are suffering from rising gas prices, when in reality, the prices in many other highly industrialized countries are much higher than here in the United States. He shows that we still have some of the lowest gas prices as compared to Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. I believe these figures, because I observed it first hand when I was traveling in Europe a few years back. The prices were in the $2 to $3 a LITER, not a gallon. Granted, many European countries and Asian countries drive scooters and compact cars, but this is the reason.

What’s the Solution?

I think that the only short term answer is considering travel alternatives like Europe has done. Driving more compact cars and developing more public transportation may be the only short-term solution. The train systems in Japan and Western Europe are great. Here in the United States, AmTrak is the laughing stock of public transportation. If you live in Florida or California, you don’t have good public transportation options. We only focus on downtown metro areas, but we tend to forget about the metro areas that span across hundreds of miles such as Southeast Florida and Southern California.

The long-term solution is energy independence. Why do we continue to allow The Middle East to dictate our oil consumption? Why do we continue to allow them to dominate and stronghold the oil market? The answer is never easy. There are plenty of places to drill for oil in North America, but then the environment is a concern. There is a much stronger environmentalist movement over here than there is abroad. Energy alternatives such as solar, wind, and non-fossil fuels just don’t seem like viable solutions to me. It will cost a great deal to produce the energy, and how many wind mills would it take to power New York City? Sheesh!

So, what is your take about this issue? How is the price of gasoline affecting you and your family? What do you think the solution is?

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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Comments

  • http://wealthboy.com WealthBoy

    We definitely need to become less dependent on petroleum. I think the answer may come with improved battery and solar cell technology. I think that supercapacitors show a lot of promise, as they have many advantages over batteries (longer life, quicker recharge time, higher efficiency). The combination of efficient solar cells with supercapacitors could help to produce a lot of clean, renewable energy.

    Hybrid vehicles are a nice idea, but the batteries they use are very heavy and take too long to recharge. There is still a lot of kinetic energy that is wasted when a hybrid vehicle comes to a stop, because the batteries cannot recharge quickly enough. When hybrids start using supercapacitors, we should see some major improvement in fuel economies.

  • Casey

    I currently live only 4 miles from work, but I am about to move 30 miles away from work. Needless to say I am a little stressed about the situation. I feel there is not much I personally can do since I do not have the option to work from home or take public transportation. My only option is to get a new job. It is a bad time to move to the suburbs!

  • Jacquelyn Hart-McCoy

    DH and I feel the crunch of the high gas prices for sure. We both work about 15 miles from our work and have to travel in stop and go traffic. We are just having to cut out treats, fun money, and dinners out. This stinks but at least we had a little wiggle room in our budget, if we were living pay check to pay check like a lot of families we would be in trouble. Groceries have really gone up too. We find that over the last 4 years of our marriage most of our expenses have stayed the same besides groceries and gas…and the increase is a little un-nerving.

  • author

    yeah, I hear you. You’re right about groceries. Milk, meat, vegetables, orange juice. All mucho expensivo.

  • t h rive

    Well, you’ve opened up a massive topic in energy policy and consumption. I think that the rising gas prices are only natural.

    1. The higher price factors in the costs of using fuel, both environmental, as well as what it takes to get it to you. They SHOULD go even higher given the rising impact driving a car has. As we realize more impact, prices go up. It is up to the driver to drive less.

    2. Here in BC Canada they’ve implemented a carbon tax that takes more $$ from the consumer. They estimate that each driver will (in a year) spend $85 more dollars (I think) on gas. That’s not much for one person, but the province will make some money, and it’s again, up to the driver to drive less.

    So, you’re right about the higher prices everywhere else – even slightly higher in Canada, but not much – now that the carbon tax will start to effect us. The consumption of gas in the US has been taken as a given luxury for too long.

  • Joe W

    We seem to overlook that one of the reasons our gas is cheaper and has always been cheaper than Europe’s is because we have our own oil reserves (Gulf Coast, Texas, Alaska, et al). France and Germany have none – so of course their prices are going to be higher. So whenever someone compares our prices to Europe’s – I always roll my eyes. Plus the U.S. for the most part found all the oil in the Middle East and set up the equipment (and still runs most of it) to pump it out of the ground (same with Venezuela). So yeah, if any country deserves a price break it’s the country that is responsible for finding and getting it out of the ground. We “Ate Their Milkshake” so we deserve it. If the shoe was on the other foot Europe would have the lower prices and I guarantee you none of them would be bellyaching that their prices are too low compared to Americas.

  • Stuart

    The UK has some of its own oil reserves in the North Sea, but petrol (gas) is still at the $8 per gallon mark. This is because the government gets about 70pence in the pound on petrol

  • http://takepillsdie.blogspot.com Andrew Cauthen

    abandon ship. stop participating. ride bikes. strike. retire. focus on you. talk with like minds. turn off the “popular media” turn on you. go within or go without. invest in yourself. can’t give what you don’t have. abundance culture starts now.

  • george

    i hope it goes to 10 bucks .
    hahahahaha

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Chang/100003168863010 Jason Chang

    It hasn’t made sense to build European/Asian style transit network, due to the lack of urban density in most US cities. In order to have effective and efficient transit, America needs to abandon its love of urban sprawl. Mayors and city planners need to work together to implement smart zoning and more transit oriented communities. Sadly for most places here in the U.S. it will take decades for these new developments to overtake the existing mcmansion gated community boom of the late 90s early 2000s.

    Hopefully the pain from high gas prices will motivate people to move closer to the urban centers and developers to provide innovative solutions that allow people to maintain the livability that we currently enjoy.

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