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$5 a gallon gas is good for us?

Fewer people will die on the road. The less you drive, the more likely you will survive, if the events of 2008, the year of the most recent gas price surge, are correct. In 2007, 30,527 died in automobile (including truck) accidents in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2008, that number dropped 12%, to 26,791.

This mainly was attributed to a decrease in highway speed. Also contributing was a 2% drop in miles driven, from 3.03 trillion to 2.97 trillion, despite a 1.7% increase in the number of registered vehicles. On the negative side, with many turning to more economical modes of transportation, motorcycle deaths rose 2.6% in 2008 and bicycle deaths 1%.

Demand for high-mileage cars may grow. The key word here is "may." Hybrid sales rose quickly in 2007 as gas prices climbed, then dropped noticeably in the second half of 2008 as gas prices plummeted from over $4 to $1.60. This time around, despite gas prices climbing steadily over the past year, hybrid cars shrunk from 2.9% of new vehicle sales in 2009 to 2.4% in 2010, according to Ward's Auto. Meanwhile, sales of trucks, SUVs, crossovers and minivans rose from 48% of the market to 51% from 2009 to 2010. In addition, the average fuel economy rating of new vehicles sold in 2010 was 22.2 mpg, down from 22.3 mpg in 2009.

Calculator: How much vehicle can you afford?

Which proves, of course, that Americans love their big vehicles. It could turn out to be different this time around. For one thing, there will be far more gas-efficient options available, plus all-electrics like the Chevrolet Volt and the soon-to-be-launched Ford Focus Electric. And for another, if those $5 doomsayers are right, the biggest hit on the credit card is yet to come.

Shorter security lines. Airlines fares are extremely fuel-price reactive. Soon, hardly anyone will be able to afford to fly willy-nilly around the country or globe. You will breeze through the maze of airport checkpoints.

Less pollution. Less driving means cleaner air. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "pollution from vehicles causes two of our worst air pollution problems, smog and carbon monoxide." There are no solid figures on how many Americans die annually from car-produced pollution, but a 2008 study by Great Britain's University of Birmingham linked pneumonia deaths to pollution from motor vehicles.

Less congestion. Ever notice how well rush-hour freeway traffic flows on the minor holidays when most of the rest of us are working? A 2% drop in miles driven can make a big difference, allowing you to drive faster, although you now won't want to. According to the Department of Energy, on average every 5 mph you drive over 60 is like paying an extra 24 cents per gallon (based on a $3.79 price).

Right from the Obama play book. Do you feel much better now?>1=33009


Asked by Carpy at 10:59 AM on Apr. 24, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 39 (114,053 Credits)
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Answers (44)
  • Really? Because, unfortunately, with rising gas prices, it really doesn't make much of a difference in how I drive. I'm still going to have to drive my kids to and from school, although I guess I could put youngest on the bus (which is worse than my van, IMO, on the environment), but the other 3 still have to be driven to and from school. Plus, I have to go to the grocery store. Six gallons of milk only lasts about a week to a week and 1/2, so I'll still have to go to the grocery store that much. What it will do is cause my baby's grandparents in Washington state not to get to see them this summer. (But then again, that's the grandma who VOTED FOR Obama, so its partly HER fault.)

    Thank you, Obama, for making sure this military family cannot go see extended family this summer, and causing the heartbreak of a set of grandparents.

    Answer by hopeandglory53 at 11:12 AM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • These gas prices suck period. I live about 20 minutes away from the nearest store and employment. $5 a gallon might stop others from traveling so much but I HAVE to travel. We can't just up and move because gas prices suck and we can't just not eat or work. It just sucks that inflation goes up but there is no mandatory raises for companies to help out their employees with rising costs. Made the same hourly pay for 3 years now and it just doesn't go as far as it used to.. damn gas prices are the main reason, driving up the cost of everything else! It takes trucks to deliver our food to the grocery stores, it takes gas to harvest produce from fields and plant crops.. It may look like a small issue but rising gas prices really are a huge issue that aren't just taking away "needless" driving.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:08 AM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • Really? How are people going to afford to drive to work? The grocery store? Doctor? Give me a break. These gas prices are only good for the oil companies and government. You know, the oil companies who make MILLIONS of dollars a minute in profits. I have a small, economical car and it is still costing me $50 to fill it.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:42 AM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • It isn't good for us. We live a 15-20 minute drive from anything and the nearest LARGE grocery store is about a 45 minute drive. Like with many others, we cannot afford to move. Then there is getting the kids to/from school, swimming lessons, martial arts classes, etc. and the prices of everything go up nearly daily. As for hybrid & electric cars, we cannot afford one even if we could get our entire family in one, which isn't possible. They're too small. Besides which, if one has to "plug in" their car, you don't think their electric bill isn't going to go up? What would be the point of saving money at the gas pump is you're spending the same amount or more on a higher electric bill?
    A friend told me last night about an incident on a major bridge. The bridge doesn't have any place where one can move out of the lanes of travel. An electric car ran out of "fuel" and the result was traffic was tied up for nearly 3 hours.

    Answer by meriana at 11:51 AM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • Besides which, if one has to "plug in" their car, you don't think their electric bill isn't going to go up? What would be the point of saving money at the gas pump is you're spending the same amount or more on a higher electric bill?

    That is exactly what I've been saying in this push toward the electric cars! Also, what about commuters and people that drive somewhere for a vacation? If it's got, say a 100 mile range before recharging, it would take you a week to drive somewhere you can now reach in a day.

    Answer by DSamuels at 2:36 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • I'm just curious about this... but a recent event crosses my mind - back in the winter Texas had one of its worst winter storms in history - for about 2/3 weeks, massive parts of the state were snowed or iced in -- That ONE event caused rolling brown-outs all over the state. The power consumption being called for *Simply because people were stuck at home and HAVING to use additional electricity. If such a temporary event cause rolling brown-outs, then what would happen if the whole dang state were plugging their cars in as well?? Don't sound like much of a win/win situation to me.

    Answer by ShelbyShareAlot at 4:00 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • What would you like him to do...

    Well, janet, I would like for him to get the gov't out of the way and let us drill for our own oil. I want my country to use the natural resources that were so valuable when this country was so interesting to the Europeans. I want to be an independent country who does not need another country for the basic things including the American flag (most are made in China). Instead, he continues to support tighter and tighter restrictions so that we can't provide for ourselves while using our food stock, corn, to make ethanol and subsidize oil exploration and refining in Brazil. That is what I want him to do. 


    Answer by jesse123456 at 6:51 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • LOL sounds like someone is trying to talk us into accepting $5 gas as the status-quo. I drive an SUV - live in the country and find the need to haul stuff a lot more often than when I lived in the city - it is what it is.... fortunately for me, because we make our living from the oil industry, I happen to know that gas does not "have to be" this expensive - there * are other forces at play here. Knowing that still doesn't help my fellow moms, neighbors or the dent in my wallet when I go to the pump. I certainly pay for that SUV, and I manipulate my travel to stretch the gas I buy as far as I possibly can. I literally have started making all appts for the same day of the month (1 day a month for dr. appts - if THEY can't get me in that day, then it waits till next month). 1 day a week for errands and the errands and appts are lumped into the same day when I can pull it off. Can't change gas prices; can change my habits

    Answer by ShelbyShareAlot at 1:29 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • LATEST POLL -75% of the country disapproves of Congress due to rising gas prices and prolonged unemployment. 57% disapprove of the President because of those factors. THESE GAS PRICES ARE HORRIBLE, and not only hurt those of us who commute everyday, but it hurts the economy as a whole.


    Answer by Anonymous at 2:06 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • To the poster that thought there should be mandatory job raises when gas goes up...I am an employer and I am on a very slim margin because I don't want to raise prices on my customers..where pray tell should this raise come from? I had to cut salaries to pay the increased unemployment and workers comp rates for my state...they doubled!

    To janet...of course it isn't ALL Obama's fault...but it was all Bush's fault....the s*** rises up and as president he is ultimately responsible.

    To agentwanda...I just love those pesky facts!

    OP, I do believe BO has always maintained the country could handle $5 per gallon I would find nothing surprising if it came to late his admin had a hand in the rising prices.

    My biggest peeve with electric cars is where the electricity comes from...most all of it comes from coal burning facilities.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 6:28 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

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