Saturday, September 03, 2005

Gas prices

The people at all the news channels around North America have become experts at the photo of the gas price sign. Today that photo around Toronto would have shown something like $1.349, or just a blank sign as many of the stations have begun posting.

The other thing they've become experts at is the gas pump interview. How many times have I seen on TV: "Have you seen the price of the gas you're filling up with?", answered with "what're you gonna do?" This is repeated about 3 or 4 times at a few pumps, then the reporter goes on to conclude that gas may be high but people are still filling up and not changing their habits. What? I mean that may be true, but you can't exactly conclude it from a survey of people at the gas station. Sounds hard to believe, but I see this over and over on TV.

I finally found an article about this that looked at it from a more realistic point of view. It may not help people with solutions, but it actually looks at some of the numbers for transit use. It looks like there have been some very small changes in behavior.

I've thought for a while that the gas prices would need to go much higher before people would really start looking at alternatives to driving every day. At last months gas prices, I would have probably paid $120 to $150 per month to drive to work every day. This figure is up to $200 per month now. That sounds like a huge amount, but like DesRossiers points out (in the article), there are many other expenses in owning a car that are higher. And what matters more is how much it cuts into someone's paycheque and what they see as an alternative.

Darren J 9/03/2005 12:18:00 a.m.


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