27 June 2008

Analyst Predicts $7 Gas

In the Wall Street Journal:

...$200 oil in 2010, with gasoline at $7 a gallon.

... Saudi production promises of 200,000 barrels a day doesn’t dent the 4 million barrel-per-day decline from aging fields every year...

...Over the next four years, we are likely to witness the greatest mass exodus of vehicles off America’s highways in history...

...about half of the number of cars coming off the road in the next four years will be from low income households who have access to public transit.

...Europe has had decades to develop a society based on expensive energy. What will happen if Americans suddenly are forced to shoulder European-style energy prices — but without the European-style society to cope with them?

9 comments:

Jason said...

I think about this all the time now. I think many people in this country are heading for a real disaster. Not only are they not going to be able to afford to put gas in their cars, but they don't even have the option of taking good public transportation to and from work everyday because it doesn't exist in so many areas of this country, especially in suburban sprawls.
If gas stays where it is or continues to rise there will certainly be a massive migration back to the city cores where it will be possible to walk or ride a bus (or a streetcar hopefully:)) to work and to most of your daily needs.
As stated above, Europe and most of the rest of the world have adapted to high energy costs years ago. Thats why they have such good public transit today (light rail for long routes and streetcars/trams for local routes). If Americans don't change their ways fast they are going to be left stranded and in a bad position.

CityKin said...

There is definitely some crisis approaching. Hopefully it will be gradual and we will have time to adjust.

catherine said...

For me the gas crisis just seems like an opportunity to correct a lot of what I see as flawed in our society: sprawl, SUV's, processed foods, agri-business, and over-consumption in all of its facets. It may be the only way to force people to think about the consumption decisions that shape our world and make the switch to more locally produced goods, more density, more public transit and in turn more of a regard for public spaces and the diversity of experiences they can create. In the long run it all seems good to me.

Jimmy_James said...

^While I disagree with some of the specifics you've referenced, catherine, I totally agree with the sentiment. This is nothing more than an opportunity, albeit a painful one, for the American people to re-examine the way our society has been growing since WWII.

I think of it like having some large bushes in your yard. They're strong, healthy plants, and it's easy just to let them go, and grow uncontrolled in any direction they will. But that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be better to prune them and have a plan for how big they should get and in what directions they should be allowed to expand.

Hopefully, the days of uncontrolled growth and sprawl are almost over. It's time that we reinvest in mass transit and focus heavily on city planning for any future growth.

ThatDeborahGirl said...

...Over the next four years, we are likely to witness the greatest mass exodus of vehicles off America’s highways in history...

I've seen it in the last four months. People just don't drive like they used to. Cincinnati was getting to the point where 75 was crowded at any time of day. Now, except for rush hour, it's fairly clear and even rush hour doesn't bring the minutes long standstills it used to.

It's almost eerie how quiet the streets are after 7pm anymore. And our street is a line of parked cars anytime after 8pm where once people would be shopping or going to movies or, remember just taking a drive for the heck of it?

Our family certainly doesn't do that anymore.

DP said...

I remember writing a paper in college (10+ years ago) about how much higher gas taxes would have to be to reduce driving in the US enough to make an environmental difference. (My naive younger self couldn't imagine the market doing it on its own.) Then in planning school, it occurred to me the urban form benefits of such things. I truly hope that those posting here are right - that higher gas prices will encourage a return to the city, increases in public transit, etc. But what if...

What if it has the opposite effect? What if all the folks that live in West Chester and Mason decide that, instead of moving closer to the city to find a more cost-effective life, that their suburban lifestyle (4BRs and big yard) is more important. What if their response to the market is to ditch their job in the city for one in the 'burbs and to, to the extent they currently do, stop going downtown for cultural/entertainment activities (sports, theater, dining, etc.). What would that do to the urban core? More importantly, what steps can we take to prevent this from becoming the default response? I have a couple ideas, but I'd love to hear what others think first.

VisuaLingual said...

What worries me is how these changes will affect people with fewer options. We might applaud suburbanites moving to the city, finally making what we see as the "right choice" based on their bottom line, but what about those who will be displaced? We seem hopeful that gas prices will force transit development and other improvements, but will it be enough, quick enough, and comprehensive enough to reasonably offset these other shifts? If people of fewer means are priced out of the core, will the support infrastructure that they need follow them? Will smaller, outlying communities be able to provide that?

Chris S said...

I've been thinking many of the same things lately (around the joy that is studying for the bar exam). One thing that history has taught me, is that in the face of crisis, this country, collectively, has more than enough capacity to act. However, what is disappointing to me is that it almost always takes crisis to force positive action.

I do not think that this change is going to be gradual. I think that with the way oil prices are likley to go in the next 7 - 10 years, it is going to be upon us in very short order. There will be hardship. But, we will adapt. More likely than not, we will look across the pond for the best of breed solutions, and see what we can add.

I share the concerns for the cost of living in smaller urbanized centers, but transportation means can be adapted to serve these places well. Even very small urban centers in quite a lot of Europe have serviceable public transportation. However, IMO, the days of living 25+ miles from where you work, with no public transportation, are fast coming to an end.

Signify said...

This article explains how gentrification isn't so evil.

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1818255,00.html

Cincy needs a massive amount of gentrification.