National Gas Price Average, $2.78

With gas prices getting cheaper, it seems more and more people are not as reluctant to fill up their tanks and drive more. My concern would be is that the prices would drop so much, making bike commuting an unpopular alternative.

What’s interesting with what I’m reading on the news. Though prices may be lower, the demand for oil hasn’t risen. Perhaps that is the hope that people are taking to the bike or public transportation and possibly sticking with it.


  1. Tony Bullard October 24, 2008 7:31 am 

    I hate to admit that as soon as the gas got cheaper, the bus got a lot more empty than it was. Part of me likes having more seat choice, but I can’t help but feel like everyone is a fair-weather commuter. Or I guess a non-fair-weather commuter. Something…

  2. Abhishek October 24, 2008 7:49 am 

    I definitely see more SUVs and trucks stomping around loudly. Other than that, the gas price is still $2.78 pricier than what I would like to pay.

  3. Iron_Man October 24, 2008 7:59 am 

    I was giving a friend of mine on Facebook a hard time. She proclaimed in her status that it only took $45 to fill up her truck. I pointed out that just three years ago gas was at the same price, but going up, and that same $45 price would have brought cursing rather than elation. Funny how perspectives change so quickly.

    I pretty much think Winter is for the hardcore commuter anyway. No matter what gas was going to do, I thought folks were gonna hang it up until the Spring. Personally I think it’s easier to stay comfortable with temps in the 30’s than it is for the high 90’s, but that’s me I guess. Now you folks in Florida and Southern Cal better not give up. No excuses there boys and girls.

  4. john the bicyclist October 24, 2008 8:15 am 

    People may not be driving more, despite cheap gas. Lots of people have lost their jobs thus have no place to go.

    Lots of people have lost their homes, too, so that SUV makes a nice mobile home.

    I see a landscape full of SUVs on cinderblocks, where people are camped out, waiting for something to happen. Just like in the great 1980 commedy, AMERICATHON with John Ritter, Meatloaf, et al.

  5. Ghost Rider October 24, 2008 8:23 am 

    A lot of folks are torching their cars to get out from the high monthly payments…and then trying to claim insurance for the “loss”. I read a series of articles on this in various papers.

    Cheap gas will catch the “casual commuter”, but the serious ones keep on doing it no matter what the price is.

    @Iron Man — have no fear — the SoCal and Florida contingents will be out there winter and summer (I’ve been doing it since 1988, with a couple of gaps). We will persevere during the brutal winters we have 😉

  6. Ben C October 24, 2008 9:04 am 

    I will continue to bike commute to work. I get the benefit of enjoying the So. Cal weather. Winter is obviously not as cold as other places.

    I am sure our crystal balls share the same prediction that gas prices will decrease even more. Some commuters who have gone back to driving their cars may not have experienced all the great benefits of bike commuting.

    Will gas get so cheap that the plans for seeking alternative energy will no longer be beneficial? Only time will tell.

  7. MattG October 24, 2008 9:17 am 

    My prediction for the price of fuel (which has so far been accurate for 15 years) is that the price will go way up and people will complain. Then the price will come down, but not all the way back to where it was. Then it’ll go up to new heights… and so on.

    Eventually more and more people will get tired of playing the game. Meanwhile, I have to figure out what’s wrong with my derailleur… SS is looking really attractive right now! GRRR

  8. Val October 24, 2008 9:42 am 

    Cheap?! How quickly they forget….as Iron Man mentions, I can still recall the gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair, the vitriolic letters to the editor, the grim looks at the pumps when the price went over…wait for it…$2.00 per gallon! Why, it was outrageous! MattG has it right – this is careful manipulation by the petrol vendors, and has been going on since the Great Gas Shortage of the 1970s. The price went up then, because gas was scarce. Then the situation stabilized, gas was no longer scarce, and the price remained the same. They’ve gotten a bit more sophisticated since then, but it’s still the same scam. Bragging about filling your tank for only (!) $45.00? I can’t remember the last time I bought gas (probably about a year ago), and I try to only use the most delicious biofuel.

  9. Fritz October 24, 2008 9:52 am 

    Historically, the number of bike commuters that I see drops to near zero after cold weather becomes a factor (like right about now). I’ve seen a substantial drop in bike commuters and transit users, but it’s still *way* above what I’ve seen in previous years.

    In spite of gas prices dropping over the past couple of weeks, the economy is in the doldrums — people aren’t buying anything so they’re not driving, and tens of thousands of Americans have people have lost their jobs over the past month.

    Maybe I’ll post about this to Cyclelicious after the weekend, but: expect gas prices to fall for a while, but the credit crunch means investment in oil production and delivery will drop SUBSTANTIALLY. Canada (#1 exporter of oil to USA) has already stopped investment in their Alberta fields; Mexico (#3) is quickly running short on cash and expertise for further development.

  10. Bob October 24, 2008 10:43 am 

    OPEC announced they will cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day beginning in November. Maybe there still is hope gas prices will stay high and people will continue to conserve.

    Since the prices have begun to drop I have noticed people driving faster , less people on public transportation, and some folks even giddy when they fill up. How sad.

  11. Kind1 October 24, 2008 11:01 am 

    The reason oil continues to drop is that other sectors and countries are demanding it less due to the economic downturn. While US reserves have increased and in turn affected oil pricing, remember, much of the run up was based less on fundamentals and more on frenzied buying at the top, not unlike other “bubbles” we have seen.

    I agree though, this is a cyclical commodity and prices will eventually bottom out and begin to go back up. Just when that is though is anyones guess.

    We should not focus on the price of oil though to encourage cycling like so many do. It has to be about the bike and ease of using it whether that is parking, safety, whatever – not factors we can’t control.

  12. Ghost Rider October 24, 2008 11:22 am 

    Kind1, I totally agree — bike commuting is about SO MUCH more than saving gas money…whether gas is 10 cents a gallon or 10 dollars, there are so many more positive benefits to using a bicycle as transportation. Thanks for reminding everyone!

    The downturn in gas prices is sure to be temporary, at best…folks better get used to paying more and more!

  13. Iron_Man October 24, 2008 12:13 pm 

    As I see it the bike solves or relieves three of the biggest problems facing the average Joe. First is cost savings, no matter what fuel costs, driving will always have costs and if you can eliminate a car you have no fuel, maintenance, taxes/tags, or car payments attacking your wallet each month. Second is pollution. Drive less, less pollutants in the air. That’s easy math. Third is obesity and lack of exercise. America and the U.K. have weight and health issues out of control and biking to work is an obvious solution to burning fat and increasing health. I challenge folks to come up with one thing they can do that offers the same “bang for the buck” that cycling offers. I haven’t heard a good answer yet.

  14. David Hembrow October 24, 2008 1:14 pm 

    The problem you face is making cycling more attractive than driving. While the subjective feeling of safety isn’t adequate, people will only cycle under duress. Once cycling is made sufficiently attractive, people will cycle for preference.

    Each of us has a level of unpleasantness due to other traffic that we will put up with, and hardened cycle commuters have a higher level than the average member of the public.

  15. LJ October 24, 2008 1:27 pm 

    I bike commute because it’s fun, leaving my truck in the garage is fun, and doing something others only wish they could do is fun.

    Zero gallons/mile is fun at $2.78, $3.78 or even $1.78.


  16. Rapps October 24, 2008 3:13 pm 

    Here the weather has turned cold, leaves in full color/falling off the trees, no one out on their bikes like during the summer and I heard the weather report for the weekend had a nasty word SNOW! Other than keeping the backs of my hands warm, biking is still the way to go. But most other riders have disappeared. One thing that would make so much difference is a covered elevated bike path on the main road connecting so many of the local cities. I think many more people would ride if they didn’t have to deal with snow and ice. Gas prices are still way more than budgets can handle. Everything has gone up, mega increases all the while people don’t know if they will have a pay check next week. Biking is so reliable and good for you to boot.

  17. Drew October 25, 2008 6:57 am 

    I saw an online poll yesterday (CNN maybe?) that asked whether the lower fuel prices were changing people’s new habit of driving less. Sixty-three percent (of some 75,500+ people) responded that they were still driving less! Lets hope this trend continues.

    We shall see whether I make it past my typical bicycle commute quitting point this year. Except for the occasional commute, my daily rides have never continued beyond late November. It is scary riding around here in the darker months (and I’m no “fraidy-cat”). The Cape Cod roads are particularly narrow and the motoring traffic accelerates and gets much closer under cover of darkness for some reason.

  18. john t October 25, 2008 9:03 pm 

    For me, it isn’t just the price per gallon that determines whether I will bicycle commute or not. I sold our 2nd car and now, we have just one. We only use that rarely. I like not having a 2nd car to pay for, maintain, insure, find a place to park… If gas were totally free, I would not commute in an automobile, because I would have to buy one first.

  19. Chip Haynes October 27, 2008 9:18 am 

    I’ve been studying the global oil market for over ten years now. Yeah, the current “cheap” gas is nice, but every time I see the price ofoil and gas go down, I worry that it’s just backing up to get a good run at the next big spike. Don’t worry: Us practical cyclists types will be the honored guests on the highway again soon.

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