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TODAY'S QUESTION: How will you budget for increased gas prices?

Monday, January 3, 2011 | 12:22 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The price you pay at the pumps is expected to rise past $4 a gallon by the time summer rolls around.

As the global economy bounces back, the price of oil is expected to reach $100 a barrel. The U.S. is currently the world's largest oil consumer, but prices have been more influenced by developing countries, especially China. China's oil consumption is expected to rise by nearly 5 percent next year.

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The prices you'll be paying to fill your tank won't be the only thing that will require more dough. Expect increases in airfare, shipping costs and pizza delivery, to name just a few.

The higher oil prices have increased oil company profits. Exxon Mobile Corp., Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron Corp. and Total SA have had a 49 percent increase in profits from the previous year. Even BP, which was fined $39.9 billion for the largest oil spill in U.S. history, is expected to earn $20.2 billion in 2010.

According to MissouriGasPrices.com, the low price for regular gas in Columbia is $2.89 per gallon. Just a dollar increase per gallon would be a nearly $750 more per year for each motorist, according to an AP report.

So, how will you budget for increased gas prices?


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Comments

Amy DeGraff Swiney January 3, 2011 | 12:27 p.m.

We're going to mow less (currently have ~5 acres around our house) and instead fence it off and get sheep and/or goats to graze.

As for the vehicles, we have to drive to get to work, so we don't have a choice. I guess it will be budgeting.

(Report Comment)
Ed South January 3, 2011 | 1:09 p.m.

Yeah, getting the people ready for another recession. This is nothing but pure greed and one of the reasons the last 2 years have been so tough on the middleclass. Why are Americans so naive toward big business and their monopolies. The media has been remiss in calling out these huge cartels.

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Paul Allaire January 3, 2011 | 1:38 p.m.

I see eight responses, and they indicate what I had just said in the other article about this. Not one person said that they would invest in a more efficient car or hybrid.
It is not a case of greed. There is a certain amount being produced and there is a demand for it. If the demand increases more than what can be readily produced then the price will increase. There are several years lead time in developing new fields and the options become more limited and more expensive as time progresses. Rather than say it is a case of greed one might generalize that it is a failure of the population to adapt to the reality of their situation. Wells that are coming online now are most likely to be wells that would not have been economically feasible previously because prices would not have allowed their exploration and construction.
Look above at the five percent figure for China, which just eclipsed the United States as the largest car market last year. That amount is not an anomaly. Consumption has likely increased that much every year for over a decade and will continue to increase. Compound that and you can plan on the country doubling it's use of oil every ten to twelve years until it's citizens can no longer afford to. Other countries are experiencing similar increases in their use of the product. Traditionally the United states increased a little over two percent, and I'm thinking more if you go back far enough. Recently we used one third of the world supply. Now we use one quarter. But we have less than five percent of the world population and the world is gaining the same habit now much faster than we. There is nothing shocking about this. There is essentially no way to stop this and it would be morally reprehensible to attempt to without first bringing our own usage in line with that of the rest of the world. There is also essentially no way to make that happen.
I have repeatedly advocated the selection of the cars that I have found to be the most durable and economical and mainly for no apparent reason most people have chosen otherwise. It has been a while since I have studied the latest offerings, largely because I have lost interest. The gains have been essentially nothing for the last 30 years. There are efficient cars and trucks in all sizes and shapes and people largely choose to ignore them.

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Marina Shane January 3, 2011 | 1:59 p.m.

I don't think many people will invest in hybrid cars until the prices come down tremendously. Personally, last year when my SUV was giving out, I traded in for a more fuel efficient Chevy Cobalt. I really miss the cargo space, but now I get 28 miles to the gallon instead of 18. Our family has always tried to make sure we combine trips so we are not needlessly making multiple trips to the same area. We will probably make more of an effort to consolidate trips again.
With 10% unemployment numbers, I think most people will cut down again on luxury items or step down a tier in lifestyle for a while to compensate for higher gas prices. The people it hurts most though are the poor that have no place else in their budgets to cut from. I feel terribly sorry for those people.

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Paul Allaire January 3, 2011 | 2:13 p.m.

I will list some of the smaller cars first. Toyota developed an excellent 1.5 liter engine to compete with Honda. It was first found here in the Tercel, sometime in the nineties. It has been improved slightly since then. The Tercel began it's life before that as a downscale corolla in the 70's likely with a smaller and less efficient engine. It became renamed and I now fail to remember the name of the car, but it sold poorly despite making a consistent 40 miles to the gallon and having over 100 horsepower. It was then restyled and sold as the Yaris, which I believe is still in production. The yaris is more substantial but maybe one mpg less efficient. Scion appeared with the intent of marketing to young people. The same engine powered the XA and XB. Neither car got the same mileage as the Yaris, but they were sturdier and looked better. They initially sold well, but to all types of customers other than who they were intended for. Toyota, trying for an end game around Honda, offered them in dealer tricked out packages with options like stainless headers and cold air intakes and large exhausts, producing as much as 140 horsepower with no loss in efficiency or durability or warranty. They also offered accessories to make the cars look snazzier. Eventually both cars got larger engines instead and a more generic packaging with reduced horsepower and mileage, but more torque, meaning that any idiot could figure out how to make it roll simply by mashing the gas pedal, as is the norm with American cars. I don't know if there is any scion currently offered with the 1.5 liter engine. I know that none needed a larger engine. The consumer spoke. The consumer said they were stupid. Toyota listened to the consumer. The consumer got what it deserved.

Honda followed suit. Toyota was never a match for Honda in gaining unreal speed from diminutive power plants. Their earliest serious accomplishment was when nobody even knew about the company. I believe they put a 1200 cc motorcycle engine on four wheels in the form of a tiny convertible. Few can be found today. Their civics generally flirted with the fifty mpg range, at least on the highway. They tended to increase in size and displacement gradually while retaining the same excellent mileage and getting more durable as time passed. By the early eighties the 1.5 liter engine was standard. They produced it in a two seat version called the CRX which was quicker and more efficient and sportier. Any of them could be counted on for over 40 mpg and over 200,000 miles. In 1986 they offered the Integra. It was based on the same platform but much larger and sturdier. They came with a 1.6 that got in almost 40 mpg and more on the highway. They were officially rated at 113 horsepower and two years later at 118.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 3, 2011 | 2:41 p.m.

And they were good for more horsepower than that. They were also more durable than the civic. You could take the engine and drivetrain and suspension and stick it in the little CRX if you really wanted to drive fast. You could tune more horsepower out of the engine half as easy as you could an old Chevy. The Integra was offered in a two door or four door package and either was good for a consistent 37.5 mpg intown delivery driving with me and I drove them HARD. The car was FAST. If someone needed more car they either had a large family or a need to pull something like a boat or carry a massive amount of cargo. 200,000 miles and the engines look new when you open them up. They were that good.

But Honda wasn't satisfied. In 1988 he rolled out the new Civic and CRX, both larger and more efficient and durable than before. The standard engine was officially rated at 92 horsepower and in reality was good for more than that at the wheels untuned. They usually gained horsepower with age. A whole market developed around tuning the engine, largely out of a crossing of businesses and customers in California and Japan. They gained a cult like status. The trend spilled into other similar automobiles. I used one for intown delivery and was able to consistently get 50 mpg with it despite it having over 200,000 miles on it. I drove it as hard as could be and took it four wheeling all over the Ozarks. The suspension was the sportiest available and most people couldn't handle it, so Honda detuned the passive rear steering and left it unchanged until the engine rotation was reversed after 2000. The company detuned other things about the car because most American consumers were not willing to pay for the level of quality offered in a package that small. After that point, most Japanese companies would not offer their best engines in cars directed at the American market because most of the consumers were unable to comprehend what they were being offered. Honda was one of the few companies to continually try breaking the trend. The last and most major attempts were the Integra type R and the S2000. A type R Integra was good for around 200 horsepower and got a bit over 30 miles to the gallon and drove like you wouldn't believe. They are extremely rare because few people were willing to pay for the essentially hand built quality. Tuners eventually figured out how to get even more horsepower out of the lower offerings by mixing and matching parts from more standard models and aftermarket parts. Again, they also stuffed these drivetrains into little CRX two seaters, to be even faster. At the time, few eight cylinder cars were able to keep up with even a standard Integra that had a manual transmission. And the standard Integra was larger than it ever had been.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 3, 2011 | 3:09 p.m.

Of course, this was nothing compared to the S2000. Pioneering an aluminum body, it was Honda's newest attempt at a production economical sports car. It was only rated at a bit over 25 miles per gallon but I'm fairly confident the thing probably delivered more like 30. It squeezed 240 horsepower out of two liters, or 2000 cc. This was without a turbocharger or supercharger. It set a new record for the most horsepower per liter, which had been previously held by the Integra type R. It was available new for well under 30,000 dollars and fewer than 15000 had been sold here after ten years, mostly in the first year or two. Again, Honda dumbed the engine down to make it more appealable to the masses but the masses were too dumb to respond. I fail to note if the car is still in production.

If you need an executive size car, some full size Buicks were available with a 3.8 liter V6 that could approach 30 mpg on the highway. The engine has been in production since the 70's. I see them commonly with over 200,000 miles. The engine attained 195 horsepower sometime in the eighties and stayed there since. It is available in many cars, both front and rear drive. Somehow GM never saw fit to make it standard and use it to replace less efficient less durable less powerful smaller engines because the public who was doing the car shopping WAS TOO INEPT TO CARE!!! In a full size car, it had ample power and reliability to pull a boat. It probably should have been the standard engine for police cars as well. It should have been the standard engine for the Camaro/Firebird. It should have been offered in trucks. Many people stuffed them in trucks and used them as such.
I believe that the 4.3 liter engine that was standard for the Camaro and optional for the S10 based vehicles is based on the same, but it has no more horsepower or durability and gets less mileage. It only has a bit more torque, making it work easier with the slower more costly easily damageable automatic transmissions,which is the only thing most consumers seen to be willing or able to drive. You can tune it to get as much power as the eight cylinder that got even less mileage if you want to. Few people bothered.

Now do you have the idea. Most of the comparably sized crap that most people drive is slower, less durable, and less efficient and most people are walking around blaming the oil companies for their problems. I can't stand it.

And you never needed a hybrid.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 3, 2011 | 4:12 p.m.

Alright. I checked.
I would not recommend the civic that is newer than 2002. The FIT, however, is a great car, but a bit pricey. The Scions all seem to have much larger engines now, so they are out. The Toyota Yaris is the only logical choice.

It starts at a little over 12,000 bucks and comes in three variations, a two door or four door hatch or a four door sedan. The hatchbacks look the best. Sedans are said to be safer if you are carrying cargo and get rear ended. All are said to get the same mileage but are said to lose one mile per gallon on the highway if you get an automatic. They all come standard with power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning. If you have driven any Civic, Integra, Tercel, or Corolla made between the mid early eighties and around 2000 you will get in and turn the key and start driving it like you had been driving it your whole life. The only difference is that the seat is a little higher. Some of the cars I just compared will have suspensions that are firmer or softer but the geometry will feel identical. You will drive it by instinct, almost as if there is nothing between you and the road. I recommend the standard transmission if possible because that will make all the difference in the world between the car being just a cute reliable predictable durable utility item and something that is actually downright FUN to drive. The EPA only rates it at 29 in the city and 36 or 35 on the highway based on the transmission, but they have got tighter recently because consumers had been complaining about their estimates. (They had always skewed the results to show American cars getting more than reality.) The body has gained quite a bit of weight since it was introduced, so I would think that it would be quite tight and firm handling. I would think it would stand up to 33 in the city doing severely hard delivery work, maybe 35.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 3, 2011 | 4:55 p.m.

And it will stand up for well over 200,000 miles. It will probably stand up as good as anything on the road. NONE of the headers, flywheels, and goodies that Toyota would dealer install on the old Scions are available, but I suspect that if that was your thing you might be able to go aftermarket and probably still tune over 140 horsepower out of the motor with no loss of anything except a bunch of time and money. Again, I have not pursued that stuff for years. I mainly play with bicycles now. The engine still produces the same 106 horsepower and 103 pounds of torque, which is really really incredible given it's size and tractability. Again, you will want the stick (manual) if you actually want to get the performance out of it. I'm guessing it still uses the 4 x 100 bolt pattern so there are millions of alloy wheels in junkyards or online that will fit it. Try to get wheels that are actually light if you are going to go to the trouble. If you add one inch to the wheel diameter, add one mm to the tire width and go down one notch in profile. For example, if it has 185 65 r 14 tires and you get 15" wheels, use 195 55 r 15 tires. Your speedometer will read the same and everything will be the same except that you will have a firmer handling better feeling car, especially if you use light wheels. It probably still comes with a 45 mm offset, and you will want to keep it no less than 40 mm offset. If you treat the car well it may be the last car you ever need to buy. At ten dollars a gallon you would need to drive a hybrid for a half a million miles or more to recoup the extra investment, if the batteries lasted that long. I suspect the hybrid would be less fun and would require more maintenance.
If you need a small truck, the old rabbit diesels got upwards of 40 mpg and there was an isuzu diesel that was also branded as a Chevy LUV that did even better. If you fail to change the oil and timing belt at regular interval the engine WILL break. Otherwise they are somewhat permanent. Good luck finding one of them, however. They are all at least 30 years old. If you need a large truck, I don't know what to tell you unless you are willing to go ancient and primitive, which means kind of smaller and lighter than what is the standard for a large truck today. If I had a serious use, I would consider something like a Mitsubisi Fuso Diesel, or a similar cab over style. They are infinitely easier to drive, have more cargo capacity and handle tighter. Some of the serious moving truck rental places use them and sell them from time to time. I can remember some Toyota cab over trucks and getting 14 on the highway with many many tons of junk in the back and a car on a trailer behind it. There are plenty of cars riding around that won't do the same even when they are empty, and won't last half as long either.
But for most of you, a Yaris is what you actually need.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 3, 2011 | 5:02 p.m.

Toyota also has made the best small four wheel drive pickup ever since they first started selling them. By a longshot. However, the bodies of their small trucks are as delicate as their handling is perfect. You will want to be extremely careful to avoid banging rocks and trees if you actually USE a four wheel drive truck for four wheeling. The engines get DECENT (not incredible) mileage, still probably better than other four wheel drive vehicles these days. I hope this helps. I think you all will need it soon.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 3, 2011 | 5:11 p.m.

Oops. Fatal error. You would need to drive your prius for one hundred thousand miles at ten bucks a gallon in the city to break even on the extra investment, more on the highway. You would need to drive it around twice that long at five bucks a gallon and three times as long at current prices of around three and one third. OK I'm done. Go get your Yaris tomorrow.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks January 3, 2011 | 6:27 p.m.

So much speculation going on.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks January 3, 2011 | 6:32 p.m.

But to answer the question. Assuming fuel prices increase at much as the ex CEO mentioned last week I would probably consolidate trips into town and make less pleasure trips out of town.
If you remember the last time the prices went up they pushed things like AMTRAK but with the huge subsidies they get and the price increases from the last 2 years it is still cheaper at 5 dollars a gallon to drive.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 3, 2011 | 8:27 p.m.

Well here's the thing. The US economy is heating up a little, but nothing like the rest of the world. It is said that the US economy will have to heat up for a long time in order to bring unemployment back to levels considered acceptable. This implies either more "quantitative easing" or more borrowing, barring some miracle, because there aren't going to be any more taxes. Either way, this will impact our currency above and beyond the way that it is already being impacted. The last time it was four dollars was kind of a peak. This time four dollars will be business as usual, the same as a dollar was for a long time. I see no reason that it will stop there. If you view the early advance of the price of metals, before they started really soaring a few months ago, the prices were rising steadily but not in relation to many nation's currencies.
This is likely the case here. For instance, Europe is already adapted to paying more than twice the price we do and that is business as usual there. Countries such as China, with short exceptions, have had their economies growing at such a rapid rate that they could see ten percent increases every year and it would still take a smaller portion of the gross national product than now even with increased consumption. Traditionally, when the prices rose a little bit, someone in Saudi Arabia would say "enough is enough" and ease a quota. But right now I don't think there is a quota to ease and that means that as soon as the economy takes off anywhere that the prices are free to climb like you never thought about seeing them climb.

And it won't be because anybody is running out. It will be because more people will be running IN to the market. Some of them will be people who had never been in the market before. And that will cause other people's economies to heat up. And so on. I think we will see that the situation now is as it has never been for us before.

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Corey Parks January 4, 2011 | 11:04 a.m.

you cant really compare prices in Europe or the rest of the world to the US system Saying they are used to it or that we can not complain because everyone else pays more is a moot point. Our entire system is set up to be open and our prices though slightly manipulative move with the economy and supply and demand. In other counties it is the taxes that set the prices as high as they are. This helps keep car ownership low and traveling by govt. transportation the only option for most. Could you imagine that in the US? I think many forget how large the US really is. Especially those on the coasts Hell Texas is larger the France and Germany combined.
If the govt. wants to regulate something they should require their federal employees at the Post Office to set up a better distribution system and cut down on the daily trips to every single neighborhood in the country. If every neighborhood like Thornbrook or Old Hawthorn set up a mailbox building at the entrance it could save the Postman hours a day without having to drive around.
When our economy improves. If it improves which I don't see happening I don't think the price of fuel will change in relation as the higher the price the worst the economy will become.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks January 4, 2011 | 11:17 a.m.

Lots to consider though. All I can control is my own household and be the most efficient I can with my time, vehicles and money. Plus it helps when you invest in oil stock that was at a recent low just about 2 years ago :)

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 4, 2011 | 11:48 a.m.

I will try to explain my last post more coherently. But first I should note that you are still experiencing the somewhat geocentric perspective that the US economy is still the world economy. That had been the case for a long time. I believe that the first Iraq war was a successful and morally reprehensible attempt to maintain that status quo. The second was a miserable failure and we have lost our status faster because of it than what would have been in it's absence. That much is not apparent to most people.
I should also remind everyone that the Japanese essentially effected their revenge that they started with the bombing of Pearl Harbor by organizing their industry in such a manner that they could overtake our industry one sector at a time. They started simply by imitating things that were made here and building them in a bit less costly manner. I believe that in the 1950's American industry was fairly unchallenged and complacency became widespread. However, the Japanese government and industrialists maintained the same sense of urgency that they had during the war. Every effort was made to improve the product to the point where it was indistinguishable or perhaps even better than that which it was intended to replace. One at a time the Japanese government selected products that had attained their mark and subsidized the industry, allowing them to sell us competitive products at prices below their actual cost of production. It was a tactic of the government collecting revenue from all industry and investing it in select industry with the intention of expanding each industrial base one at a time. It is known as "dumping" and it worked.
You can think of electronics, transportation, optics, and just about anything you want. As things progressed, the Japanese captured enough market share to employ more than it's entire populace. So they looked to neighbors to farm out the lowest skilled lowest paying portions of the manufacture of those goods, further reducing their costs and allowing them to set their sights on higher goals. Taiwan and then Korea began manufacturing components of the Japanese goods. At some point the same countries began manufacturing the entire goods. These countries then farmed out some of their labor to other countries, such as Indonesia, China, Thailand, and so on. The Japanese did likewise, and lately the US has been trying to compete with the Japanese in this, exporting American jobs in the process. At some point, an intelligent entrepreneur learns the trade and decides "To hell with those Americans/Japanese/Taiwanese/whoever, and sets out on his own. Some had had the plan to do so all along.
In short, the United States, Europe, and Japan have succeeded in exporting nearly their entire industrial base to "third world" countries.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 4, 2011 | 12:14 p.m.

For the longest time we have been able to avoid many of the consequences of this in a number of ways, both ethical and unethical. That is too much for the discussion. I will state that the largest factor that the US has been able to use in avoiding the reality of the situation is that it had stored more wealth, not having fought a war on it's own soil. That, an abundance of natural resources, and a continuation of the same type of "unfair" trade practices - the type that the Japanese protested so vigorously in the second world war - with other countries allowed The US to continue functioning as the economic powerhouse of the world. This meant that essentially anything notable that was mass produced in any part of the world for export was intended primarily for the American consumer and any where else as an afterthought.
This is no longer the case. The US has sold almost all of it's gold reserves, maxed out it's oil producing capacity, lost it's industrial base, borrowed it's way to hell, and tied up it's military in a way that makes no sense. When you open a box containing a product that invariably comes from who knows where, it or at least the instruction booklet is now printed in many different languages and you are lucky if English is the first one. That is because per capita income in many "third world" counties has been growing at a rate of over ten percent in real terms for a long long time and will continue to do so.
China has superseded the United States as being the largest CONSUMER of automobiles. Other countries are experiencing similar growth in consumption, which is the end result of their successful endeavors in production. At some point, I feel that there will not even be a desire to send the best students here for graduate studies. They will go elsewhere, or study within their own borders.
What I'm telling you is that this was the LAST time that the United States will be able to plunge the world economy into an economic recession. The world economy has reached a critical mass to where it no longer needs the US economy for ANYTHING. The economy will and is recuperating in other countries before it is and will recuperate here. The world economy no longer gives a damn how much YOU have to pay to drive to work, or if you work.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 4, 2011 | 12:29 p.m.

It should be apparent at this point that there's a much more pressing reason for investment in renewable and other domestic energy sources than global climate change. We've GOT to insulate ourselves from growing global energy demands, or face even worse financial problems than we've been facing.

I already ride a bike for transportation, and my wife walks to work. But we still have 2 vehicles and end up doing a fair amount of driving - primarily getting kids to school and back, plus other longer or cargo-intensive trips. We've bought our vehicles with a very heavy focus on fuel mileage, and own 'best in class' on that.

The bigger picture is the fact that nobody, not even the bicyclists and walkers, are really insulated from the effects of high energy prices. We still rely on everyone else to use their vehicles so we can have jobs.

As I've ferreted on about numerous times on the Trib blogs, we need to start working on automating vehicle transportation:

http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2010...

Just a computer-controlled throttle system on a normal car already gets better gas mileage than a hybrid. Automating transportation would save 30,000+ lives a year, cut hospital trauma admissions by 3 million - 5 million per year (that'll bring down healthcare costs!), and possibly cut transportation fuel consumption by 25% or more.

As far as I can tell, automating our transportation system would be the 2nd best bang for the buck in terms of becoming energy independent. And it's pretty darned "green," too. (The first would be a lot more telecommuting.)

The technology is nearly mature for this. The need is undeniable. But, where's the will of the American people to do anything but zoom around in personal vehicles under their own control, and be entertained?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 4, 2011 | 12:50 p.m.

Now at this point, many people who think they know SQUAT about me identify me as a leftist leaning liberal type. I may be inclined that way at the moment because I currently find more sense in much or most of what they say, but before the second Bush came in to office I was more aligned with the Republicans than I was the Democrats. What made me rail so profoundly against Bush and everything else the Republicans started doing at that point was that it made absolutely NO sense.
What Bush did was squander the last chance of having a balanced budget on a stupid war that has made us a laughing stock of the entire world, both the eastern half and the western half. He did so in an inept manner and proudly. He showed the entire world the ineptness of our political system by engaging support for his folly by both sides of the political spectrum, at least initially. We are less than half the superpower we were before he took office and this is mostly because of him.
In the distant past our use of Oil had no bearing on anything because we produced most of it. At some point we began to use more than we produced. At some point we began to need or want more than we could produce and correctly developed sources in the Mideast. In protest of our foreign policy, namely our support for the establishment and the continuation of the abusive state of Israel, we experienced the 1973 oil embargo. Saudi Arabia has taken a pragmatic position of being agreeable with our stupidity, and has moderated and lulled us into complacency. In 1973 the embargo was easily and obviously directed at this country because the United States was essentially the entire Oil market, with the remainder of western world taking up most of the remainder of the market. This is no longer the case. Now other countries and especially China compete aggressively with the US for a larger share of the same market, one which is essentially maxed out.

http://energy.senate.gov/legislation/ene...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_cr...

Google around yourself. I get frustrated trying to recover what I already know.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 4, 2011 | 12:55 p.m.

Here's another website worth a gander: http://www.wtrg.com/prices.htm

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 4, 2011 | 1:12 p.m.

What we are looking at is the fact that we still increase our use of petroleum while our market share of that which we use diminishes because the remainder of the world is increasing their own use at a much faster clip. Much of the sources that we developed as an alternative to those in the mid east are already becoming depleted. Many of our largest sources are some of the oldest fields which are in a state of decline. Pumping at too rapid a rate damages the field and makes the remainder less recoverable.

Now back to attempting to explain that which I poorly explained yesterday.

We have reached a point where Saudi Arabia can no longer intelligently simply "turn up the spigot" any longer. I question the wisdom of it's government's actions in the past. Much of the new development is going to come from that which had been considered unrecoverable in the past because an increased price will allow the economic ability to recover some portion of it. But this and other new sources are essentially barely being found. We have barely found any new sources since the early eighties.

So with the world economy growing at a clip beyond most people's ability to comprehend, we are going to try to maintain the same or increased consumption level of a shrinking supply based on our own economy, and we have left our economy dependent on our ability to do this. We have chosen this plan rather than make any attempt to conserve. We have made a million rationalizations for our behavior and we continue to do so in the most reprehensibly stupid manner possible. We drag down each other with our own collective stupidity.

Now here's the biggest punchline. The economies of some of the emerging industrial powerhouses have been growing at such a pace that the incomes of their citizens has been increasing at a greater rate that the price they pay for their portion of the world's oil supply that they use. They are not suffering one bit when the price rises here because either the strength of their currency or the amount of their income offsets this. It will impact EVERYONE, but it will impact people HERE FIRST. I believe that this time a large portion of the remainder of the rest of the world will be able to simply shrug this off. For how long depends on the policies of their own government and that which I cannot accurately envision.
The fact that our actions have made our own currency weak will heighten the effect that it has locally. Myself and Mark and many others have been warning of this for a LONG LONG time. Enjoy.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 4, 2011 | 10:39 p.m.

Gas Prices Going Up: Paul sez, "[we've] been waring of this for a LONG LONG time."

That bears repeating.

I recently ran across a 1988 National Geographic Magazine map publication entitled, "Endangered Earth." It's a roughly 3ft by 5ft, two-sided publication with a political map on one side, plus a large biological composite on the other, as well as several smaller comparison maps and text outlining ecological concerns for the planet.

Near the bottom of the "endangerment" side is a timeline of the earth's population, titled "Population Explosion." It starts with ~4 Million in 1600 BC. The population curve is nearly a flat line until around 1700 AD, when, with a current population of about 600 million, it starts a noticeable upward slope. It reaches a 45 degree upward slope shortly after 1950, with about 3 billion people. The map switches to projections after 1988 with a then-current population of just over 5 billion.

23 years later, world population is about 7 billion; almost exactly the "middle" projection on the population curve.

The main themes of the publication are population pressure, climate change due to carbon emissions, ozone depletion, acid rain, water pollution and diversion, toxic waste, radiation, species extinction, resource depletion, deforestation, and desertification.

Clearly, some of the fears postulated in the publication are a bit overblown. We've actually gotten control of acid rain through scrubber technology. The climate has continued to warm, but not quite as much as predicted. But other concerns back then have turned out to be very well-founded. The most accurate concern turns out to be world population, and the strain it places on the planet.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 4, 2011 | 11:06 p.m.

More Gas Prices Going Up: A generation ago, nearly a third of the world's population still used animal dung as their primary fuel source. Today, they are starting to buy automobiles, consuming hundreds of times more energy than they used to.

Perhaps the bitterest pill is the fact that both aspects of the emerging world economy are negative impacts on ours. The fact that their standard of living is still lower than ours, but globalization forces us to compete with them, drags our standard of living down. At the same time, as they raise their standard of living, essentially by using more energy, we are forced to compete with them for those resources. A double-edge sword, and both sides of the blade are cutting away at our standard of living and economic dominance.

I know a lot of people are convinced that all we need to do is get out of the way of private enterprise, and they will solve these problems. But the harsh reality is that we've essentially done quite a bit of that over the last 30 years, and what have we got to show for it? We obviously did it all wrong, because our country's industry has collapsed to the point that we only really produce 2 things: Entertainment, and weaponry. And we've done this by borrowing money. Our current economic policies, and all the politics that surround it, are part of our entertainment industry, nothing more. It's almost worthless.

Yes, a number of people have been trying to get everyone's attention about these issues for a long long time. We've been written off as goofballs, hippies, chicken-littles, liberals, socialists, America-haters, whatever. In a way, I'm rather bitter about the fact that this hasn't happened sooner. I've spent my entire life riding a bicycle, doing my part to conserve energy, and staying prepared. But energy demand will truly reach a crisis about the time I get to old for a bicycle to work for me. Death panels will be a harsh reality.

It's not too late, but our procrastination has cost us dearly. The worst part is, we've basically handed all our wealth to a small group of people who really don't care what happens to the rest of us. They will all take all our country's money to play in emerging economies, whether or not we tax the living bejeesus out of them. Now we're faced with cramming for a big test, when we're already hung over from too much partying.

As Paul says, "Enjoy."

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 5, 2011 | 12:55 a.m.

Given that gasoline is a commodity, what SHOULD the price in 2011 be, relative to the value of one dollar in 1955? In 1955 the price of regular gasoline here in Missouri, taxes included, was 25.9 CENTS per gallon. Some other Midwest states had similar prices.

In buying power (name what you want to buy), what is a 2011 dollar worth in 1955 dollars? Takes quite a few 2011 dollars to equal one 1955 dollar, doesn't it?

Don't get me wrong, I am no more enthused about paying $5 a gallon for gasoline than you are.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 5, 2011 | 7:59 a.m.

Derrick Fogle wrote:

"I know a lot of people are convinced that all we need to do is get out of the way of private enterprise, and they will solve these problems."

People who are convinced of that should realize that China is still in many ways a planned economy with majority state ownership of major industry. Their economic performance has easily outstripped ours for the last two decades.

Good post, Derrick.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 5, 2011 | 8:45 a.m.

I agree, Mark. Regardless of what we may think of them the current Chinese government has done an excellent job of manipulating their economy, not to mention influencing (if not outright manipulating) the economies of other countries, including ours.

This is their second "economic miracle." From ancient times until the 1950s periodic famines were endemic in China. It didn't make any difference WHO was in charge, from some ancient dynasty to the Chinese Nationalists, nobody was able to solve the problem. But the Communists did solve it, and without having done that China would not be what it is today.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 5, 2011 | 9:03 a.m.

Gas Prices: 25.9 cents/gal. in 1955 = $2.11/gal. today. (depending on what method you use to calculate 'constant' dollars; I used the BLS calculator)

How much should it cost, indeed. "What the market will bear" is the inevitable answer, but how do we get there? On one hand, we hear about how overbearing government regulations are choking the industry and driving up prices. On the other hand, the industry is extremely heavily subsidized by collective (government / socialist) spending. How much would gas cost if the infrastructure for autos had not been built with tax money? How much would it cost without decades of military intervention in the middle east? How much, if oil weren't traded in US dollars?

Just like agriculture, there are so many fingers in the pie, so many controls, subsidies, inter-related factors, that nobody really knows the "truth" right now.

But I think we're going to find out soon enough; rapidly growing global energy demand will quickly marginalize the US control and influence on the market. You'll know we've been benched when oil futures start being traded in yen (just a decade ago the fear was that it would start being traded in euros).

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm January 5, 2011 | 9:56 a.m.

“This helps keep car ownership low and traveling by govt. transportation the only option for most. Could you imagine that in the US? I think many forget how large the US really is. Especially those on the coasts Hell Texas is larger the France and Germany combined.”

First, Texas is not even close to as large as France and Germany combined (Germany and France combined is about 80,000 sq miles larger than Texas). Second, the excuse that the US is too big for mass transportation is a joke. The continental US is about 1.5 MILLION square miles SMALLER than main land Europe and they have fantastic mass transit. Russia’s mass transit system is horrible by international standards but is still light years ahead of us and Russia is 3 times the size of the US.

What government transportation are you talking about being the only option for most? The privately owned Deutsche Bahn that serves over 2 billion customers a year and is rated the number one mass transit system in the world year after year? British Rail is also privately owned as is the majority of the Japanese rail system. Most nationally owned rail systems in Europe are slowly switching over to privately owned systems after seeing the success in Germany and Japan.

“When our economy improves. If it improves which I don't see happening I don't think the price of fuel will change in relation as the higher the price the worst the economy will become.”

What? This makes no sense.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote January 5, 2011 | 10:14 a.m.

Adding to Derrick's comment, roads themselves are heavily subsidized as well. "User fees" account for only about half of the cost of building and maintaining the nation’s network of highways, roads and streets.(study from here: http://www.uspirg.org/home/reports/repor...).
If we are going to so heavily subsidize our transportation infrastructure, we should do so intelligently. We should not follow our current path of investing mainly in antiquated technology that further exacerbates both environmental and social ills and will end up costing us (individually and collectively) more money in the long run. See the new parking garage at 5th and Broadway as an example of this mentality. That $15 million could, in my opinion, have been spent much more wisely (or not spent at all). Unfortunately, nothing will change until gas prices go north of $7-$8 a gallon, and people start to realize how inefficiently we consume energy.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 5, 2011 | 11:12 a.m.

As hard as I have been these last few days, I'm not sure the parking garages are a bad idea. It isn't as unsightly as I feared and I believe the lower portion IS rented already. There are several reasons for my opinion. One is that I can remember coming here for summer school and getting horrible mileage out of an otherwise great Civic while I cruised around looking for a place to park it. I can remember missing a couple classes because of that.

(I had just been rear ended by a truck a month earlier while on my bike and was feeling less than inclined to navigate the then two lane Rangeline drive on a bike. The accident also left me much less in shape to ride. In fact, I almost gave up on bikes for several years.)

That event, the severe weather, the poor state of the road, and the impact of the collision made me painfully aware that many people are in no shape to do anything other than drive or ride. I drew a mental picture of individuals twice my age or more traveling twice the distance or more and in with half of my health or less. I don't believe that public transportation was any option and if it was it would have required several times the expenditure of time and money to travel the same distance. Then, there are any number of individuals who are in a perfect state of fitness who will not use any method other than driving no matter how many bus routes become available, no matter how many bikes are given away. These are just facts.

Another is that the amount of people willing to do business downtown is limited by the availability of parking and that problem is SEVERELY heightened by the number of students attempting to park near the campus. Most of us hate being tied up in traffic looking for a place to park, feeding meters, and getting tickets.

The main thing the garage accomplishes is that it keeps the downtown vibrant, allowing the storefronts to be fully utilized, eliminating the need for more sprawl at every outer edge of the city. A good business district allows one to park in, bike to, or otherwise start in one spot and then accomplish multiple activities on foot. This cannot be said about much of the outer development. The vitality of the downtown business district encourages the vitality of the area around it. It is more desirable to build up and fully utilize the area around the center of the city than to encourage the city to expand like a mushroom cloud. So, while it seems counter intuitive, it is a sensible investment. It will still be needed in ten years even with high gas prices. Hopefully it will be full of Civics, Insights, Priuses, and the like.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 5, 2011 | 11:14 a.m.

Christopher Foote:

Agreed. We are also caught in what has become a self-induced trap: the considerable expense involved in just maintaining the existing highway network. A substantial portion of the Interstate highway system was built in a relatively short time, and has now aged considerably. It's not a matter of just the highways but also the many bridges and viaducts involved.

Of course this can also be true of other public works projects: we don't fully account for maintenance costs until we're hit with them.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote January 5, 2011 | 12:33 p.m.

@Mr. Allaire,

The other 3 downtown garages are seldom at full capacity. The parking model the city developed to determine whether to build the garage is premised on the notion that consumers prefer walking less than 300 ft and will tolerate spaces up to 600 ft from their destination. It seems cheaper and more reasonable for the city to address this issue; invest in infrastructure that makes people more likely to want to walk through downtown (change the 600 ft tolerance to 1200 ft) than to build additional parking capacity, that is not needed. Additionally, there are not that many businesses within 600 ft. of the new parking garage, so I don't think downtown businesses would have seen a measurable drop in customers due to a lack of parking at 5th and Broadway. (But what do I know, I just bike up to whatever establishment I want to go to anyway.)

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 5, 2011 | 12:45 p.m.

Yeah, China sure is a miracle: http://blogs.forbes.com/greatspeculation...

I agree that we need more density, but it ain't gonna happen. Most Columbians simply don't want to be able to walk to a store, restaurant, bank, etc. Need proof? One recent example is the neighborhood opposition to rezoning the Great Hangups Framing store and adjacent two properties. No, they'd rather drive to everything and then whine about gas prices and traffic.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 5, 2011 | 2:54 p.m.

Chris, I know that the garage on eighth street is often full. At this point it is late to argue as the new one is almost finished. Let's just agree to >>>>OBSTRUCT<<<< any move by the city to build another.

Jimmy, I think China manages their imports and exports well and that they are doing an excellent job of replacing our industry. I also think that it is a fascist government that disregards the rights of it's citizens and that it SUCKS.
Please explain what the hell Great Hangups has to do with this. If I lived right next to it I still might not go in more than once every ten years. Their customer base probably consists of the entire city/county. If it were a hardware store or a grocery store or a soda shop I probably would visit often. Perhaps there needs to be more than one category of business zoning, something that would depend on the size of the area the business was intended to serve. Presently, as far as I know, zoning does not recognize the difference between that which is intended primarily to serve a very localized market and one which is not. While I can understand someone wanting a quiet backyard or not wanting a smelly dumpster next to their kitchen, I tend to dislike the whole concept of zoning. It feels like theft. It feels like you have the right to pay your property tax and then everyone except for you has the right to tell you what to do with your property. I believe that zoning effectively limits the number of businesses and drives up cost. I think that people who most favor zoning include owners of established businesses who don't want competition and busybody property owners who value their views more than your rights.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 5, 2011 | 3:08 p.m.

Paul, if you'd spend more time reading Missourian and Trib stories, instead of alternating between rambling missives and "Send them to IRAQ!!!" you'd know what Great Hangups has to do with density, walkability and demand for gas. So here is the clue phone ringing: www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2010/... Please pick up.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 5, 2011 | 3:56 p.m.

I'm aware of the great hangup that some property owners have with the effort. That much was described in my post above. Maybe if you spent more time reading my post instead of alternating between rambling missives and personal attacks you'd know that I was essentially in agreement with most of your opinion. The phone already rang and you weren't home.

The corner is quite a distance from the downtown and simply changing the zoning status of a property in no way guarantees that anyone within walking distance of the property will elect to do business with whatever establishment eventually occupies the first floor of the building. The business inside might be one that is used by people who have to drive there from every end of town. A person running errands might end up stopping there, at a shopping mall somewhere, and then downtown. I agree with the essence of your argument, but if the business that is to be located in the lot in question is not something that is primarily intended for the use of residents nearby then I would consider it to be "business sprawl" for lack of a better word. I consider the drugstore across the street a neighborhood fixture because you could get most of the items at a similar store a mile down Broadway in either direction or at the Forum shopping center in a third direction. At present nobody has any idea what would be located inside the new building. I think it would have probably gone differently had they came forward with a developer and a user. When they have that they might try again. But that's like, my opinion, man. Is it your pet project?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 5, 2011 | 4:43 p.m.

Paul, you can try to backpedal all you want, but it's clear to everyone that when you wrote, "Please explain what the hell Great Hangups has to do with this. If I lived right next to it I still might not go in more than once every ten years," you had no idea what I was referring to.

Do try to keep up, 'kay?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 5, 2011 | 5:27 p.m.

Son of Gas Prices: Talk about density and Great Hangups totally misses the point, making things way too complicated. Jimmy hit the simple nail on the head: "...they'd rather drive to everything and then whine about gas prices and traffic."

This is our lifestyle. This is what we believe we deserve. Most people will get in their car to drive to something 2 blocks away, just because that's how we do things around here. It really will take $10/gal gas to change that, and then people will complain bitterly about it. We'll blame the auto companies for giving us what we want, instead of an efficient electric vehicle which we would whine about not having enough power or range (and which our production capacity and grid couldn't support anyway). We'll blame the energy companies for gouging us, and blame the Wall Street hacks for getting rich speculating on our misery.

But, that's about all we'll do, isn't it?

I love my country, but we've become a nation of 5-year-olds emotionally, and about as intelligent as a box of rocks. We produce nothing but mindless entertainment and war, and we're kind of confused about which is which at this point. Even those who rail against "freeloaders" are just projecting. Everybody is looking for a external savior. Good luck with that.

Drastic change will be forced on us against our desires. I'm as ready as I'm gonna get. What about you?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 5, 2011 | 6:08 p.m.

Derrick and 10 buck gas:

Hope not. There are lots of other nasty ramifications. Transportation of goods by truck being one of them. If gas was 10 bucks, I wonder how much diesel would be?

Also, consider farming....the production of our foodstuffs. Again, the diesel problem.

And shipping from abroad. And airlines.

And how many St Louisians and KCMOians live close to work...that is, less than 10 miles? Probably 1/2. That leaves a very large "other" half.

There's a reason high oil prices are such a "downer" when it comes to world economics. And we may take another "hit" real soon.....I doubt the oil pumpers will tolerate any economic growth without taking their pound of flesh (GO NUCS!)

The world is far larger than any discussion of getting Columbians to cycle a mile or two for their jobs and purchases.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock January 5, 2011 | 8:02 p.m.

High gas prices are the fault of our oil man president! We need to close down the speculator loop holes.

http://www.barackobama.com/2008/06/22/ob...

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 6, 2011 | 11:37 a.m.

Jimmy Bearfield says...

"Paul, you can try to backpedal all you want, but it's clear to everyone that when you wrote, "Please explain what the hell Great Hangups has to do with this. If I lived right next to it I still might not go in more than once every ten years," you had no idea what I was referring to.
Do try to keep up, 'kay?"

You still can't understand what I said. Putting just any business in a place outside of a business district almost guarantees that the most of the customers will drive to it. If, on the other hand someone allowed a small grocery store or convenience store every so many blocks, much of the customer base would be foot traffic. Since the people just wanted business zoning and had no idea what type of business would occupy the projected structure nothing has been lost. The three houses next to the existing building are fairly large in comparison to the size of their lots.
Most likely they could not even be built under the current zoning laws. So as far as density is concerned, the property in question is essentially "maxed out". Let's suppose for instance that it became occupied by a financial consulting firm and an outpatient specialist. The customer base of such businesses is decided by who needs such services and the customer base may come from a circle larger than the size of the county. There would be no benefit to the neighborhood and especially not to the city by scattering such businesses in diverse locations. In fact, scattering businesses of that type around the community instead of in a central location or two probably would cause people to drive MORE miles then if they were located in a business district. Unfortunately, a similar business might elect to occupy a suite in the theoretical building because of a few dollars less rent.
Go on, get even stupider and chide me once again. The next time I get on here I will actually be talking about something dealing with the price of gas.

The answer to my question about what your problem had to do with the price of gas is "NOT A DAMN THING".

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 6, 2011 | 11:51 a.m.

Paul, the rezoning request would have increased the site's density and the types of businesses it could support, including ones that nearby residents likely would patronize on a regular basis. For example, the property's owner said a coffee shop and bookstore were two possibilities: www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2010/...

This site is hardly maxed out. Anyone who thinks so, or who fears living near commercial developments, needs to go spend some time in even the suburbs of a major city (e.g., Waukegan, IL; Prairie Village, KS), where homes within walking distance of a shopping center command a premium.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 6, 2011 | 12:12 p.m.

"Could" support, Jim.

But I bet that the three houses are built closer to the property lines than what the current zoning allows. I have seen many places where an apartment building is damaged and then bulldozed and the zoning regulations that then apply to the lot disallow any new construction or force the owner to build something much smaller than what was lost.

I understand and agree with your argument regarding the proximity of people to businesses. However it is a complicated one and I think we are off topic.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 6, 2011 | 1:15 p.m.

@Derrick Fogle:

We performed that "inflation calculation" a while back in the Tribune and obtained a somewhat higher "theoretical current price," but the difference wasn't that much.

So, at a current $2.89 per gallon retail price we are above where we should be IF only inflation. were the factor - but not hugely so. You have correctly pointed out that other factors exist. One bothersome factor is the age of our domestic refineries and the fact that there's no financial incentive to build new ones*. That can affect retail prices, but it also means that an outage in a major refinery can effect gasoline availability. Price of gasoline quickly becomes secondary if there is no gasoline!

Here's an interesting "homework" problem. What today is financially required to get the same level of either university education or major health care versus 1955?

We all know those two items have spiraled far beyond the years of inflation involved.

Yes, but think how much better education you are afforded today versus 1955! :)

*- We haven't exactly set the world on fire building new nuclear power plants, yet several countries have continued to build them.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 6, 2011 | 4:53 p.m.

Paul, our part of the discussion is not off topic at all. In fact, we're discussing the heart of the problem: Public transportation, walking and biking all flounder when density is low. That's why rail is a non-starter in KC and hasn't put a dent in STL's traffic.

If zoning requirements (e.g., setbacks) dictate that you can't go out any farther with a building, then you have to go up, and if zoning and NIMBYs won't allow that, then we'll remain as dependent on gas as we are today. Density is a tough sell here. I don't see that changing.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 6, 2011 | 5:25 p.m.

@Jimmy: I used to bike through Prairie Village every day between my home in KCMO and my job in Leawood, KS. I also used to live in the Waukegan area when I was a kid. So your choice of locations is kinda spooky.

For one, I recall a lot of grousing from homeowners in the PV area, resisting commercial development, saying it was going to bring down their home values. Several homes just across State Line from the Ward Parkway shopping mall were ruined because gas from the service station tanks at 85th St. leaked into soil and infiltrated the houses. I rode past them every day for years.

For two, even the people who live right next door to the stores will still get in their cars and drive the block it takes to get there. Especially if it's too hot or too cold, which it always is in the midwest. The default of getting into your car to go anywhere is thoroughly ingrained.

For the record, I supported the 2nd rezoning request for Great Hangups. I live on W. Broadway a few blocks east. I don't believe *any* business there would spur or promote non-motorized transportation. Whatever is put there, people will drive to it, not walk or bike. But I do believe the consequences of not allowing the property to be re-developed will be greater than allowing *something* to happen.

It still got shot down because people were afraid of that question mark: Exactly what business WOULD wind up being developed there? Fear of the unknown, and fear that if there was a blank to be filled in later, we would have no control over what got put there. Hogwash, I say. The neighborhood associations in the area are fairly powerful, and would still exert a great deal of control over whatever someone tried to put there.

Now, all we have is the property continuing to deteriorate and decay. Choosing blight over allowing something to happen, even if that something isn't exactly specified, seems crazy to me. I call it irrational risk assessment.

But back to gas prices and the issue at hand: there simply isn't a business that could be put there that would promote non-motorized transportation. The addiction to the automobile is magnitudes greater than any "local" business force. The best scenario is a business that is, perhaps, a minimal traffic business. I wouldn't want a gas station or fast food joint there, but almost any kind of office would be fine. No coffee shop or boutique eatery would make it there, precisely because not enough locals will walk there, and not enough non-locals will bother drive to a one-shop destination.

Thus, gas prices will continue to go up as long as there's a decent probability that demand will continue to go up, and especially more so as long as speculators have the money and the ability to speculate in the market.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 6, 2011 | 5:41 p.m.

I think the public and who a portion of them elect is more receptive to high density housing when it is in the center of town and especially when it is next to other high density housing. I can remember some cities passing legislation to keep the minimum lot size a quarter an acre. I remember a city that annexed a whole county and then made it illegal to subdivide unless it was being split among family members, in order to "preserve the rural character of the..." You could also subdivide it you paid for sewer services to be extended to the property, but then the state constitution required sewer service to be provided to anyone in a city. I remember a third city nearby had to draw a "green line" beyond which water services would not be extended because a neighboring state had been suing the city for a couple decades to block their construction of a pipeline to drew water from a huge upstate lake because it flowed into their state afterward. I can remember the city in the center of it all "thinning out" neighborhoods by buying them and demolishing every home so that new homes could be built on larger lots.
That is also going on in St. Louis. Americans really don't seem to like high density housing and unfortunately really don't seem to be able to handle it either. One of my favorite places to ride my bike was in Spain. You could be in an orange grove one minute and then breezing by a seven story skyscraper in the middle of a small village the next and then back into farmland the next. I suppose people are really resistant to good plans when they have seen the results of so many failed examples of bad ones.
Another problem is that nobody objects to the subsidizing of street maintenance and utility services for developers but many people object to the subsidies required to attempt to start public transportation. Most people prefer to keep themselves segregated by any means possible. I think that I probably did also, at least at one point in time. It will probably be economics reasons that force and end to this all. It will probably be dire economic - the result of people refusing to change until being broadsided by the results of their own choices. And at that point there will still be resistance to change.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 6, 2011 | 6:17 p.m.

@Ellis: Here's a graph regarding Medical vs. Educational inflation:

http://www.fogles.net/mostuff/med_edu_in...

Courtesy of the Left Business Observer http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/

I might reply to other parts later...

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 7, 2011 | 1:01 a.m.

Here's the graph detailing the benefits of that education:

http://www.fogles.net/mostuff/edu_benefi...

Is it worth it?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 13, 2011 | 12:25 p.m.

@ Derrick: small world. When I lived in PV, I routinely walked or biked to the PV Shopping Center, as well as the businesses on Johnson Drive. But I agree that most people will not, even though they'll continue to bitch about gas prices and traffic.

BTW, regarding the PV Shopping Center, the current long-range plan calls for converting Macy's partly into residences.

(Report Comment)

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