G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 65 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Have you noticed that the gas companies have been increasing prices by 50 cents or so and there is this big hub-bub and then it goes down about 25 cents and everybody feels better and it all quiets down?

I think they have figured out how to continually increase prices, yet evade a Congressional investigation this way. When the price goes up, everybody gets all up in arms and Representatives and Senators start threatening official hearings and such, but then the price drops about half of what it went up and they all forget about it. YET, it is still up about 25 cents over what it was.

If it had just gone up the 25 cents and stayed there, there would be that investigation, but because it decreases half of what it went up nothing happens

Anybody else notice that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
Yep, It happens all the time, and just about everywhere else as well.Mark it up a whole bunch, then advertise it "on sale" and people happily gobble it up for more than the old price.

In fact, I sort of noticed something similar with um, brass track on here as well, lol.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
105 Posts
Here in Michigan we have a furniture chain that continuously advertises everything at "HALF-OFF" because they "bought too many, bought another closed out furniture store, got a great deal on brazilian coco plants" you name it, they got a reason to make it half off.

A couple of years ago, I went into one of their stores when there wasn't a sale going on and all of the furniture was the same price as when it was on sale, the difference being that the marked up "real price" tag wasn't on the furniture.

Mark
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
That kind of pricing is illegal in some communities.

edit: It is also illegal in some communities to have a continuous "Going out of business" sale. You even have to get a "permit" to have one and it must be completed in some period of time or the company can be fined.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Mostly I've just noticed gas prices going UP. Two days ago it was $3.47 at Wal-Mart. Yesterday it was $3.61. Sort of makes you want to fill up even if your not empty before it goes up again. Lets see, $3.61 x 5 = $18.05 to fill the gas can for my lawn mower. Gee, it wasn't all that long ago that would fill my car.

How about coffee? Folgers was a lttle over $3 for the 39 oz. container before Katrina. Then it went to just over $5 because the port was closed and it had to be rerouted. Now the port is open and it is $7.49. What's that about???? Maybe greed?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,976 Posts
Charles,

What can you do? Don't buy gas, don't drive a car. Our society is gasoline based. I have to go to work, so I don't have time to go picket a gas station. I have started to carpool with a co-worker, but she's about 1/3 the way to work, so I still have to drive at least part way every day. I do have a bike (2 of them), and have considered riding the 26+ miles each way to work, but home life dictates a speedy return home in the evening, so an hour and a half ride home is out of the question.

I was reading a blog the other day about fuel prices and the potential for oil to go to $200/ barrel in the near future. That'd mean $7 or higher for a gallon of gas. What will that do to our economy? I still have to go to work, so guess what? I'll have to pay that.

Maybe you guys that lived through the 60s can teach us young guys how to beat the Man. Oh wait, I forgot, most of you are the Man!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,432 Posts
"Maybe you guys that lived through the 60s can teach us young guys how to beat the Man. Oh wait, I forgot, most of you are the Man!! "

Actually we need to be thinking farther back to our history books for us Mark. Back to the late 20's and the early thirties during the Great Depression. Im afraid things will likely get that bad!

Chas
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,297 Posts
What milage does your car get?

If it gets less than 25mpg, your part of the problem.

If it gets less than 15mpg, you ARE the problem.

There are several cars out there that get over 30mpg, a few that get 40mpg, even some SUVs and trucks that get 25+mpg. Motorcycle sales are going way up, as are Vespa scooters. and according to the paper this weekend here in LA, traffic is down in many areas as more people take the commuter trains to work. There are alternatives out there.

Face it, its OUR addiction as a nation to big gas guzzling vehicles thats a huge chunk of the problem, experts have been saying for decades that Americans need to change their driving habits, but everyone has been more than willing to follow the Pied Piper of Detroit right over the cheap fuel dependant cliff. I grew up and remember the Gas Crisis vividly, waiting in lines for gas, the ration cards, I really dont think my fellow Americans will "get it" until they have to go through something that cathartic again. I grew up in the era of small cars, they were slow, not the greatest in comfort but we got by, we lived with the small car, in fact with a couple exceptions, I have ALWAYS had a small car, and I'm not exactly petit, so it isnt this great impossibility, and modern small cars are lightyears ahead of the econo-crappers of the 70-80's in comfort and performance.

Most of our local and all of our federal leaders have for decades flaked out on the issue, especially on mass transit. There are in reality ony TWO serious method to get from point A to point B in this country, drive or fly, what happens this summer when high fuel prices either make flying painfully expensive, and/or airlines start dropping like flies? Drive? Hmm...cross country at $5 a gallon? Doesnt sound pretty, lots of Happy Meals and camp grounds to save costs? Amtrak needs a SERIOUS overhaul as part of a national transit policy that begins to de-emphisis automobiles and air traffic.

When I traded in my truck for my Scion Xb, some of the people I know were saying, "why did you trade it in, it was so big and comfortable?" when I said I didnt like paying $70 to fill it, they would still reply "but it was so big and comfortable?" Despite the fact that my Scion is far MORE comfortable than the truck and has much MORE passenger room inside, I still get, "its so small looking...."

$5 this summer, ready for it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,742 Posts
"Attention Attention News Alert!! they have now developed a vehicle which is powered by SAND!! Just in time oh holy crap "Guess who owns all the sand?!!"
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,432 Posts
Posted By vsmith on 05/13/2008 9:00 AM
What milage does your car get?
If it gets less than 25mpg, your part of the problem.


Both vehicles do. Minivan and Full size van. Minivan averages right now about 20 to 23 MPG. It used to get more but it's getting older now.

If it gets less than 15mpg, you ARE the problem.


One does. So Yes I'm part of the problem as you define it. Still I only put about 40 gallons of gas in it a month.


There are several cars out there that get over 30mpg, a few that get 40mpg, even some SUVs and trucks that get 25+mpg. Motorcycle sales are going way up, as are Vespa scooters. and according to the paper this weekend here in LA, traffic is down in many areas as more people take the commuter trains to work. There are alternatives out there.


Not for what I paid or can afford. Brand new Full size vans or SUV's are in the range of $30,000 to as much as $60,000, I got my big van for hauling the whole family and our camping gear in a utility trailer. I paid $3000 for it a year ago and it will be paid off this fall if all goes well. I drive it to and from work and when we need to drive other wise we take the minivan. On a regualr basis I only put gas in the big van twice a month. Where as my wife drives the minivan and puts gas in it at least once a week. She drives to work much farther than I do though. There is NO public transportation available for either of us and I'm not quite close enough to ride my bicycle. Two years ago when prices spiked because of Katrina I rode my bicycle a LOT. Even had a trailer to pick up the girls from teh sitters in. They no longer fit in the bike trailer and I've got double the distance (& elevation) to ride to get home with or without them even if they did fit in the bike trailer.


Face it, its OUR addiction as a nation to big gas guzzling vehicles thats a huge chunk of the problem, experts have been saying for decades that Americans need to change their driving habits, but everyone has been more than willing to follow the Pied Piper of Detroit right over the cheap fuel dependant cliff. I grew up and remember the Gas Crisis vividly, waiting in lines for gas, the ration cards, I really dont think my fellow Americans will "get it" until they have to go through something that cathartic again.
$5 this summer, ready for it?


Yup I've dratically changed my driving habits as my life has changed. When I was single and Gas was cheap road trips were awesome! Then I got married and trips to visit family were budgetted in and roadtrips were out. Divorced and remarried and had kids and roadtrips are totally out. Vacations are scheduled and budgetted to within pennies and un-neccesary trips are generally cancelled. Camping is even limited to once a summer anymore. As my life changes my driving habits and vehicles have changed. Just fact, not really anything to do with the economy. I'm already budgetting $4 to $5 a gallon for gas.

Chas
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,472 Posts
The big wigs are always talking about taking buses/commuter trains, but there ain't no such animal here in central Neb. It's drive or nothing. 3 hours to an airport, can catch Amtrak at 3am about 40 miles from here, otherwise that's it, and every administration tries to get rid of Amtrak, our only alternative to flying.
Sheeesh, . Jerry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
Hi Jerry,

Nebraskans and ex Nebraskans (like me) may need to go back to oat burners (horses for the rest of you). I would love to see the tie rails show up in front of businesses again.

Jack B
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
759 Posts
Posted By vsmith on 05/13/2008 9:00 AM
What milage does your car get?
If it gets less than 25mpg, your part of the problem.
If it gets less than 15mpg, you ARE the problem.
There are several cars out there that get over 30mpg, a few that get 40mpg, even some SUVs and trucks that get 25+mpg. Motorcycle sales are going way up, as are Vespa scooters. and according to the paper this weekend here in LA, traffic is down in many areas as more people take the commuter trains to work. There are alternatives out there.


AMEN! Our cars get 32 & 40 mpg, cost $12K & &15K, and we don't let ourselves gripe about the cost of fuel. When I hear people at work (usually the ones driving the trucks & SUVs) complain, I remind them that they are the ones who bought the huge truck as a commuter vehicle.

I'm sorry, but trucks and vans just don't make sense in most cases. Our Scion xA can easily haul 4 or 5 adults, and with a single axle trailer or roof rack can handle all the camping gear needed for a trip of several weeks. All while getting around 40 mpg. You want a truck/SUV/van? Fine, I won't stop you, but I don't want to hear complaints about the cost of gasoline.

The way I see it, fuel prices are up, are going up, and will stay up. The result will eventually be a shift to smaller cars, and hopefully greater dependance on mass transit. If we as a country are really dumb, we won't have learned anything from the '70s, in which case we all buy fuel efficient cars, gas prices go down, and we all buy gas guzzlers again. 30-40 years from now, our kids will have to go through the same thing over again. Let's hope we're collectively smarter than that.

I, for one, intend to ignore the cost as far as practical, and just go on building model trains. I just hope the rising oil prices don't send Plastruct and Evergreen prices through the roof. Then I will be mad!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,432 Posts
Kenneth,
What even midsize vehicel will carry 4 or 5 (preferably 6) AND tow a vehicle at 32 to 40 MPG? AND will convince me to spend 30K on it?

currently I'll keep my big old Van and NOT complain about the gas I put in it at any cost. I'm offended when someone tells me that "I am the problem" though. Sorry Vic. No easy solution here in the hills of W NY. 4 & 6 bangers don't haul up and down our hills.

Chas
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,093 Posts
Shifting the discussion slightly, I don't think smaller, more fuel efficient cars are the solution...they're JUST part of it. I live in a heavily urbanized area...and frankly, I think a concentrated plan to shift us from cars to GOOD public transit must become part of the solution.

In Southern California, we're seeing freeway widening projects costing over $100,000,000 per mile these days. There is a $1.4 billion widening project finishing up now that widened I-15 here...for 9 miles...to reduce commute times for 10's of thousands of people. And that's just the beginning. CALTRANS is budgeting for miles and miles of more freeway widening to handle MORE cars...that are not fuel efficient when compared to rail transit...nor are they speedy.

Somehow, we need to shift from driving to work to driving to high speed train stations and riding the train to a station that offers both public and private transportation to work. It also means HUGE parking facilities at stations.

California is pursuing it's High Speed Transportation system which is strongly supported by the environmental groups...because it is SO energy efficient...and so polution reducing...and it's far less distruptive than these HUGE, multiyear freeway widening projects. In fact, it's elevated on a bridge in urban areas and uses the existing freeway right of way. The latest twist to the project is a study to see if the whole high speed train initiative can be made energy neutral...perhaps energy positive...by leasing right of way to solar power generation facilities.

But...the train is only the long haul part of the solution. How to get from the destination to your job is the other part that must be solved. That's either more buses/trolleys, electric cars, or regional shuttles. That is NOT part of the high speed train solution...in fact, I don't see that the HST commission is even looking at the train as a commuter solution...something it could be.

But with housing prices driving people away from where they work, someone needs to think about how to get those folks to work...without building more freeways...and more fuel efficiently. I look at the housing that is being built north of me in Riverside...and see the thousands of cars driving south to San Diego. The math for transportation says that a high speed rail line running at load factors of 85% is equal to a 4 lane freeway running at a 45 mph average speed...that's about 8500 people per hour...and that's with only 8 trains per hour on one track. But, it's six times faster in commute time...shrinking the long haul part of a commute of 50 miles from just over an hour to under 15 minutes.

That time savings provides lots of time for people to disembark and wait/take local transit to their job...and, is far more relaxing.

The solution to this oil price increase needs a LOT more out of the box thinking than it's getting. More efficient cars is one piece of the solution...but it's NOT a solution when you look at the big picture. Further, more efficient cars still use oil. Others forms of power need to be used to stabilize costs of getting around...because I don't see anything other than trains that competitively uses other energy forms to contain the rising price of oil. Right now, there are no alterntives...so oil being a seller's market will stay...and oil prices will continue to go up...simple supply and demand.

And, this isn't rocket science...Japan, Germany, and France already do this...because they dealt with the energy cost issues before the US did. It's time to think outside the box...and look for a solution in a different solution space...and as a bonus, for those that need the van for the family might be able to keep it...if all it was used for daily was to drive a short distance to the train station and drop someone off...maybe several people.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,976 Posts
Mike,

I agree with you! I believe that finding solutions will be the challenge for us. I think part of the problem is the flexibility of the automobile. We have become accostomed to providing our own transportation, and our shopping habits and lifestyles are tied to them. Personal transportation is not something we're going to be able to give up easily. I shudder when I think of toting groceries home from the supermarket on public transit (if we had it) or on a bike trailer. It is not impossible, but it would take some detailed planning, that's for sure! And no impulse buying! That'd be the killer!

My point is that transportation solutions are going to have to come from local groups. Wider roads to accomodate bicycles and sidewalks, etc... What works in one place may work in another with some tweaking.

Here in central PA, the populations are not concentrated in the cities, but rather, we're all scattered around. There is a high speed train line from Harrisburg to Philadelphia (and connecting to the North East Corridor) that runs through Lancaster. They have done a major upgrade to the line recently and decreased transit time between Lancaster and Philly by 15 minutes or so, while keeping the ticket price low ($14 one way to Philly, $48 to Penn Station, New York). The decreased transit time meant that more trains could be operated over the two track line, resulting in more frequent (and convinient) service. If I worked in Harrisburg or Philly, that would be a major draw to ride. The trains are highly patronized and ridership is growing. That's good news for that line and selfish me! I have an alternate to the toll roads of PA, NY, and NJ when traveling to see my parents. While it will take me a grand total of 1 hour longer to get to my parents house in CT, I have a more enjoyable trip, and I get one more visit to Grand Central Terminal. When Luke is older, it'll be more practical to take that route. Right now, however, it is the SUV for the weekend road trips. I don't have a trailer and didn't like hauling one that one time I used the suburban to tow 12 tons of stone to the house.

I looked in to riding the bus system here as well (and NO, they are not pulled by mules!!). The problem is that I would have to connect to 4 different busses, and the resulting commute time was something like 90 minutes for a 26 mile commute, all but 5 miles of which is low traffic highway driving. There used to be a railroad line from Lancaster to York. The tracks crossed the Susquehanna River at Columbia/Wrightsville, a mile wide crossing. There are currently two road bridges there, and the old piers for the railroad still exist. The tracks from Lancaster west were double or triple tracked at one point, but it is currently single tracked. Norfolk Southern owns that line and uses it daily. Theoretically, a new bridge could be built on the old piers and a second, dedicated track could be laid adjacent to the NS line in place. Train service to an from York could be possible, but in this area, folks tend to shoot down anything that doesn't benefit them directly. Case in point, Lancaster county voted against a $25/100,000 property assesment tax that would fund libraries. As a result, several libraries closed. Maybe it was the Amish vote, I don't know, but it seems pretty short sighted and foolish to me.


I have started to carpool with a co-worker, and that has worked out pretty well. We have the same hours and drive to the same office (that sounds weird, but we have 4 offices in York).

Part of the problem for me is I got lucky and found an affordable house in the best school district in Lancaster Co (and one of the top 500 in the US). Now that I have been here for 5 years, I am reluctant to move from here so that I could have a shorter commute to work (and theoretically use less fuel).

There's not an easy way to turn the clock back to 1890, unfortunately.

Mark
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
62 Posts
Last time I checked, this is a free country and a person is allowed to spend his/her money as they like. If he/she wants to buy a SUV or a pickup truck, it is his/her right to do so. If you want to buy one of those little cars, go for it. Don't tell me that I have to buy one of them.

We have plenty of oil, coal, and natural gas to use -- but the environmental extremists block us from getting at it. 85% of off shore oil is off limits!!!

Terry
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,297 Posts
Terry I agree with you 100%, I firmly beleive one should drive what they like and like what they drive.

Where I draw the line is when I have to listen to people who have knowingly bought costly-to-own poor milage vehicles for the "Gotta impress the crowd" Bling-Bling factor, giant SUV's, 4x4s, luxo-coupes, then publicly whine and bemoan about having to pour $100 twice a week into the fuel tank!

You would be surprised how many people I have run into that seam to think they have some god-given entitlement to cheap gasoline. When I reply that the writting has been on the wall for over 3 years now that gas was going to go nowhere but up, and that they are either going to have to suck it up and pay the price to keep their Ford Expedition, or trade it in for something more practical like a Ford Escape, they react with a shock like I just declared to their 2 year old that Santa isnt real. I really do feel we will have to thru another cathartic gas crisis before people "get it" this time...

I'm already expecting Ford and GM to suffer badly in the coming 5 years and Chrylser may completely disappear, considering the PT Cruiser is the ONLY small car in their lineup.

I hope the silver lining is that maybe, just maybe, we'll start to really build a national co-hesive passenger rail system, California has a start with Amtrak California, Metrorail and Calrail, but the HST project has repeatly been stonewalled by the highway and airline special interests. Oil may reach such a painfull level that airfare and gas prices become prohibitivlly costly to travel, rail may become the only true viable option. But I suspect we are only a few years away from some serious planning to electrify many miles of the national network...powered by nuclear powerplants.

I'm saying it now, if your even thinking of trading in that low milage car for a higher milage model, better consider doing it this year, next year if gas does indeed break $5 a gallon, anything that gets less than 15mpg and isnt running on vegitable oil, isnt going to be worth the metal its made out of...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,071 Posts
Actually I lived through the 60's. Gas was $0.32 a gallon most places and you got full service at the pump. Then the Arab Oil Embargo hit in 1973 and it went to $1.20 (or so) overnight. Four fold increase, that really hurt. I solved that problem by buying a smaller car and driving less. It was an immediate, effective solution.

Here in Vegas, there is no shortage of Escalade, Navigator, F350 (and larger)etc, and yet people complain.

I don't want to hear a word out of any politician on the high price of gas. If they really cared, they could cut all the taxes out gas and prices would plummet.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
62 Posts
One thing to consider -- In the 70's the cost of gas was 0.50 / gal and the hourly wage was $5 and hour. Wages have gone up faster than the cost of gas and the ratio is lower now.

The government makes a very large profit on a gallon of gas -- much more than the oil companies.

Terry
 
1 - 20 of 65 Posts
Top