Man this sucks…

Gas prices are so friggin’ expensive!

Sure I’m a bike commuter and I ride my bike when ever I can, but still….GAS IS SOOOOO EXPENSIVE! But from what the media is telling European gas prices are more expensive…some say it’s up to $9.00/gallon!

At some point, you would think people would drive less because gas prices keep going up. But I’m still not seeing a flood of bike commuters out there that are taking advantage of a fuel free way of transport. I know that some need to drive for a living, at the same time, people are going to go broke because they’ll be spending money towards gas that was already alloted for their groceries, medical, and personal expenses.

Ok, rant over…


  1. Russ Roca March 21, 2008 1:40 pm 

    I think that people are re-active rather than pro-active by nature….which basically means, changing behavior is very difficult unless there is an imminent threat…

    True, gas is getting expensive, but it doesn’t quite hurt ENOUGH to get people in the US thinking differently. We’re VERY adaptable, which is both a good and bad trait. We’ll compensate for the higher price of goods by spending less somewhere, I think, until gas is SO high that it just can’t be ignored anymore….

    Think of it in terms of eating and getting overweight. A little more won’t hurt. One more piece of cake. Another soda won’t kill me. It’s not until the threat of heart attack is staring you right in the face, will most people change.

  2. danielo March 21, 2008 1:59 pm 

    I’ve never believed that higher gas prices would affect people’s driving significantly. Auto-addiction is worth ANY price to the addict.

  3. Erik Hovland March 21, 2008 2:02 pm 

    I think that gas is expensive. And gas is about $6 to $9 a gallon depending on where you go in Europe. The big difference between Europe and here is that in Europe the difference in price is almost all due to tax on that fuel. While here tax makes up less then 10% of the cost of fuel.

    What I find incredible is that people will stand for $4 a gallon in gas when all of it is profit taking for some one (Saudi Sheik, Fuel Executive, Shipping executive) but they scream bloody murder when anyone attempts to tax fuel more. At least with a tax you (or more likely a bus rider) will see some benefit from the fuel tax.

    And I happen to disagree with you on the ‘flood’ of new bike commuters. I have in general seen a steady rise of bike commuters both on the road and at my place of work (I happen to track bike commuters at my work for my RideShare office). The flood has not happened, but the increase is happening and it has been sustained.

  4. Ghost Rider March 21, 2008 2:39 pm 

    Erik, I wonder if the increase in bike commuters is regional, because although I don’t track bicyclists for a living, I sure haven’t seen more out on the roads here in the Tampa area.

    What I have noticed, though, is a tremendous increase in bitching about gas prices. I have quite a few coworkers who live even closer to the library than me, yet they fire up their cars AND pay $7.00 to park every day!

    I really agree with Russ’s thoughts — and his analogy is very accurate. People don’t change unless there is a life-threatening confrontation to spur that change…

    Rest assured, that pain WILL come…with the increase in fuel, we’re going to start seeing price increases in consumer goods, groceries and everything else that gets shipped from one place to another. The cumulative price increases are going to be felt (and painfully) by more and more folks every day…only then might we see some real behavior changes!

  5. Ben Castaneda March 21, 2008 5:10 pm 

    My commute is 9 milest from Fullerton/Brea to Disneyland. In the last couple of weeks, I have seen an increase in people riding their bikes in the morning and late afternoon. I have even seen an increase in bikes on the corners where the guys waiting are. All their bikes are leaning against trees.

    I paid $40 for 11 gallons. I could not believe it! $3.43 a GALLON! The last time I got fuel, it was was $3.35 a gallon. And my car gets 25mpg. At work, we have added a ‘fuel surcharge’ for all our guests. I am in the charter/transportation industry. This is cover the increase of fuel. EVERTHING IS GOING UP!!

    Keep Riding!

  6. KingSlug March 21, 2008 9:23 pm 

    I think it has to do with the belief/hope in the “everything will be ok”. I had a business woman in front of me at Vons get turn down for $10 on her Visa, when the clerk asked if she would prefer to use debit she walked. MasterCard and Visa posted that in previous 3 months consumer spending on credit cards had shifted from discretionary descressionary to necessities. People are so brainwashed by media do you think anyone in SoCal will give up there cars? Maybe Char-bucks… Slightly OT: There was an interesting article in the WSJ about the people that were being foreclosed or were feeling monetary stress, the writer had complied how many time people said they would be giving up there Starbucks or cutting back and low and behold Starbuck is unveiling a new plan to fix their lagging sales. I think people will actually need a trout to the face, cutoff of all credit cards, a car repo, job loss or bankruptcy to realize they need to stop spending.

    My BIL is a LBS manager; his shop is feeling a slowdown of sorts, smaller sales. He thinks people are waiting until their tax returns or rebates checks come in to buy their new 2008 bikes, because its “free money” they don’t account for so it’s free to spend on any desire or whim. Everyone knows you are only a patriot if you consume and for g#dsake spend that rebate check.

    Screw the grasshoppers. Viva la ants.

  7. Mike Myers March 21, 2008 9:40 pm 

    I haven’t seen an increase in bike commuters, either—but I live in an area where the bike commuting population is tiny. I mean like out of a population of 100,000 in the entire county there are probably fewer than 20. And a majority of those are DUI cyclists.

    The car lots are full of unsold inventory. It’s sad and frustrating to see what the big three US carmakers have spent their R&D money on—-huge trucks, SUVs, and pony cars with big V-8s. Case in point—the upcoming Dodge Challenger. Is it really smart to invest so much in a $40K car with a 6 liter Hemi? Meanwhile, Honda is selling as many Fits as they can produce, and Nissan/Toyota/Scion are doing gangbusters with their small cars. Americans are pretty fat people, so I would imagine there are families which would not fit comfortably in anything but a big vehicle. As for driving less—-how many people live an unbikeable distance from work, and live in areas with no public transportation? I live 18 miles by car from work, and I think my 22 miles by bike commute is at the extreme edge of what’s doable. It’s tough.

    The housing market is only going to get worse. There are billions of dollars of mortgages which are going to fail. Then the credit cards people have been using to keep themselves afloat in the face of increasing ARM payments will become unmanageable for most families and will be defaulted upon. The pending credit card implosion will make the housing market look like a cake walk. But that’s probably why the W adminstration let the credit card companies draft the new bankruptcy laws. Tens of millions of people will be trapped with debt they cannot escape.

    Do people save? Of course not. Americans have been sold the “American Dream”—and told that they can have it RIGHT NOW. My parents are baby boomers, and it took them a long time to end up with their nice house, flat screen TV, and two nice cars. There were many years of saving and living responsibly before that. I know young married couples who see nothing wrong with having a mortgage, two car payments, AND credit card debt. They overextend themselves so much that credit is used to afford necessities, and that’s not how things are supposed to be.

    What’s the price gas must reach to spur behavior change? I don’t think you will see people park their cars unless gas hits $10/gallon. OR if the supply is interrupted ala 1972. That is a distinct possibility, if the Bush adminstration manages to go to war with Iran. If the Straits of Hormuz are shut due to naval conflict, then you WILL see how America runs on $10/gallon gas and $11-13 /gallon diesel. Once the independent truckers can’t afford to do business, the grocery stores will be empty.

    Shotguns and canned food, folks. Shotguns and canned food. :-)

  8. Antoine March 22, 2008 4:01 am 

    USD$5.39 a gallon for regular in New Zealand. You guys have got it good!

    There are more people commuting on bikes in Auckland than ever before, but they are still a tiny minority. I am the only bike commuter in a staff of 70 and most colleagues just think I am crazy or poor. A few have asked if I do it to keep in shape, but I always reply I ride because it’s so much fun.

  9. Jamis_Bater March 22, 2008 11:01 am 

    I’m out of Springfield MO. I’ve seen an ever so slight increase. Interest is high, but we’ll see once the weather changes if folks give it a try. We don’t really have what is perceived to be a bike friendly town, but I’ve found it to be pretty easy. Many college campuses in town help to ensure that.

    I really don’t see any form of cost cutting happening. I don’t see more folks carpooling. I don’t see larger numbers at the bus stops. I don’t see folks riding or walking more. They are all just blind to it.

    I’ve been riding since before gas went all haywire. Before it was about pure enjoyment, but now necessity has crept in to the equation. I have to admit that necessity is spoiling some of the bike commute joy…until I pass a gas station.

  10. Ghost Rider March 22, 2008 11:03 am 

    “I have to admit that necessity is spoiling some of the bike commute joy…until I pass a gas station.”

    THAT is priceless…I totally feel the same way!

  11. Smudgemo March 22, 2008 1:59 pm 

    I think I’m seeing more bike commuters, but with the Bay Area weather, abundant bike boulevards and mostly tolerant drivers, I absolutely should be.

    Heck, yesterday I zipped down the hill to get take-out pizza and some beers, and I passed another person on an Xtracycle.

  12. Marrock March 22, 2008 10:46 pm 

    I’ve noticed a few more x-mart rides rolling on the roads lately what with both gas prices and the temperature both going up.

  13. Avi May 2, 2008 8:56 am 

    The shift in how Amercians transport themselves won’t happen overnight.
    It will take years, maybe a generation.
    And then it will have to be slow shift made by the law makers.
    Just like the food business, we realized long ago that 60% of americans are overweight and slowly the leglislation came out about banning trans fat, and then slowly they started putting up nutrition info everywhere and now my 6 year old reads nutrition labels before she eats something.

    Hopefuly, with the governments help, our kids will be able to make the right choice when it comes to transportation.
    The majority of people will not change unless they are forced ( except for the people reading and writing here) .

    I bike to work 22 miles round trip, three seasons. Winter hurts my head.

  14. Mike M May 2, 2008 10:52 am 

    In suburban Chicago it’s everyone complains but doesn’t change a thing. As an ex smoker it’s the same as with cigarettes. Everybody was going to quit at $2.00 a pack, then $2.50, etc. Complaining is easy, change isn’t. As gas prices continue going up I keep expecting to see more people on bikes, but nothing yet. Getting people to quit smoking is hard enough, quiting gas may be impossible. I’ll keep hopeing, and biking.

  15. Colin June 5, 2008 8:01 pm 

    The change may not be widespread, but it is on the way. I live 6.4 miles from work and my new bike arrives on Monday. I have been reading everything I can find about commuting to work and now I can’t wait for my bike to get here so I can start riding. I can save money and get exercise and only increase my round-trip commute by about 20-30 minutes. When I started looking into bike commuting I started to remember how much fun I had riding my bike as a kid. That made me wonder why I hadn’t started doing this a long time ago.

  16. majalane June 17, 2008 6:43 am 

    The gas prices are only going to get worse with increasing global demand. It would be interesting to find out the tipping points for people that just now considering commuting by bike. Attention graduate students looking for a thesis idea…

  17. mark June 17, 2008 9:01 am 

    I have been noticing more people on bikes-I am actually one of them! I started commuting a little over 2 weeks ago. I have 20 mile round trip. Primary goals are fitness and principle-there is really no good reason why I can’t be doing it. First day was the hardest, but now it is great! Everyone has a different point when they reach that ‘ahah! moment that it all clicks. I am gradually getting more aware of ingredients, prices, purchases, possessions, etc, and making adustments to be a better person overall. My ‘ahah’ moment is more of a process…

  18. Ghost Rider June 17, 2008 9:15 am 

    Right on, Mark! You’re right — that first day is the toughest, but you survived and kept on going. Good on ya, mate!

    I think the “Ahah” moment should be a continual process of discovery — it means that you’re keeping your mind open to new things.

  19. Iron Man June 17, 2008 10:39 am 

    An interesting discussion would be how the bike commute actually forces us into a more simplified lifestyle. I’ve noticed with myself that I’ve really had to slow things down and reevaluate what I had to accomplish each day. The auto really skews the “gotta do this” lists in life. Know what I mean?

  20. Paul June 26, 2008 10:44 am 

    In Sweden gas price is around $8.60/gallon now. And there are other countries in Europe with even higher prices, but people are still riding their cars and the government is planning new freeways. So assuming people all over the world work more or less the same you Americans will be riding your cars even when the price is over $9/gallon.

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