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Old February 13th, 2011, 05:33 PM   #6441
ChrisZwolle
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The question is what happens when gas spikes?
Nothing. Gas in Europe is 2 - 3 times more expensive than in the US and still 86% of the mileage is done by passenger car. In the US this is 92%.

The only reason why sprawl is slowing down in the Northeast is the lack of population growth.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 05:37 PM   #6442
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Nothing. Gas in Europe is 2 - 3 times more expensive than in the US and still 86% of the mileage is done by passenger car. In the US this is 92%.

The only reason why sprawl is slowing down in the Northeast is the lack of population growth.
I remember back in 2008 when it spiked , that was enough to hurt beach towns without Rail access and hurt resort towns , it also hurt small businesses.....so it wasn't nothing....
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Old February 13th, 2011, 05:41 PM   #6443
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That's because the 2008 increase was a shock spike. If it increases slowly people can adapt by buying more fuel efficient cars. It would also help if people could buy more diesel cars as they have a 2 times better mileage than the average American car.

With $ 6 per gallon diesel in the Netherlands I spend as much on fuel per mile as an American with $ 3 per gallon gasoline. The better fuel mileage offsets the higher fuel price.

The countries with the highest fuel prices in Europe are also the wealthiest countries. Because we adapted to it.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 05:50 PM   #6444
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Nothing. Gas in Europe is 2 - 3 times more expensive than in the US and still 86% of the mileage is done by passenger car. In the US this is 92%.
I bet, though, that the per capita distance traveled daily in Europe is far less than it is in the US or Canada.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 07:28 PM   #6445
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A gas tax is a subsidy?
I don't know if "subsidy" is the right word, but it can certainly be a tool of policy - want to discourage smoking, raise cigarette taxes; want to incentivize the use of transit, raise gas taxes and steer the money to transit systems so they can improve their infrastructure or hold fares down. We did get a bit of a spike in transit use in the U.S. when the price of gas increased rapidly in 2008....

I was just thinking about this yesterday: just taking Pennsylvania as an example, lots of people upstate object to funding transit in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Well, it would be interesting to try an experiment: for, say, two years every county in the state funds its own highways and transit. I expect the result would be noticeable improvement in Philadelphia (about 15 percent of the population of the state lives in the city)...and the Interstates in rural areas falling apart.

I'm not advocating that, of course.
For that matter, I'm against increasing the gas tax, because too many people have no choice but to drive, so it's regressive. We need more money for transit and roads, but we need to distribute that tax burden fairly. Our national allergy to taxes and government spending risks pushing us into third-world status. [climbs off soapbox]
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Old February 13th, 2011, 07:32 PM   #6446
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I am amazed at how many large American cities totally lack public transit. I remember on one of my first visits to Detroit, back maybe six years ago or so, I kept wondering where their subway network was.

It's a good thing Gas Tax's are cheap in America, because there really aren't any other commuting options.
There are other options in some cities; Detroit (as you probably know) has had a particularly bad experience with deindustrialization - I don't know if any other city of its size has declined quite so dramatically.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 07:39 PM   #6447
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Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Nothing. Gas in Europe is 2 - 3 times more expensive than in the US and still 86% of the mileage is done by passenger car. In the US this is 92%.

The only reason why sprawl is slowing down in the Northeast is the lack of population growth.
Actually, we did have a measurable increase in transit use, in those cities that have decent systems but where people traditionally drive (Washington for example) when gas went up so fast in 2008.

And even if gas is so much cheaper than it is in Europe, a significant increase would still mean that some people with tight budgets would need to adjust: more money spent on gas means, say, cheaper food (or if you're a notch or two more comfortable, fewer evenings out) I know European gas prices would limit how much driving I do, and I'm a person who doesn't have to drive every day. Visits to the parents, errands in the suburbs, road trips and just drives into the country for fun are what I do.

During 2008, the New York Times published an article on the effect the increase in fuel prices was having in rural areas - people were literally quitting jobs because they couldn't afford to keep low-wage jobs that were 20 or 30 miles from where they lived. EDIT: here's that article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/09/business/09gas.html
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Old February 13th, 2011, 07:40 PM   #6448
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I bet, though, that the per capita distance traveled daily in Europe is far less than it is in the US or Canada.
That would be and interesting fact to know. Does anyone knows more about it?
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Old February 13th, 2011, 07:40 PM   #6449
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That's because the 2008 increase was a shock spike. If it increases slowly people can adapt by buying more fuel efficient cars. It would also help if people could buy more diesel cars as they have a 2 times better mileage than the average American car.

With $ 6 per gallon diesel in the Netherlands I spend as much on fuel per mile as an American with $ 3 per gallon gasoline. The better fuel mileage offsets the higher fuel price.

The countries with the highest fuel prices in Europe are also the wealthiest countries. Because we adapted to it.
Here, you may be right. I don't know much about diesel, though - it's not very common here: isn't it fairly dirty?
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Old February 13th, 2011, 08:00 PM   #6450
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Diesel was dirty in the 1980's, and that's how many Americans probably remember it. Nowadays Diesel is quite clean, especially with particle filters they are cleaner than gasoline cars. They are more efficient for our natural resources and have significant less CO2 emissions due to the better fuel efficiency. Even a 3500 lbs passenger car can get around 45 mpg on diesel nowadays.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 08:08 PM   #6451
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Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Actually, we did have a measurable increase in transit use, in those cities that have decent systems but where people traditionally drive (Washington for example) when gas went up so fast in 2008.

And even if gas is so much cheaper than it is in Europe, a significant increase would still mean that some people with tight budgets would need to adjust: more money spent on gas means, say, cheaper food (or if you're a notch or two more comfortable, fewer evenings out) I know European gas prices would limit how much driving I do, and I'm a person who doesn't have to drive every day. Visits to the parents, errands in the suburbs, road trips and just drives into the country for fun are what I do.

During 2008, the New York Times published an article on the effect the increase in fuel prices was having in rural areas - people were literally quitting jobs because they couldn't afford to keep low-wage jobs that were 20 or 30 miles from where they lived. EDIT: here's that article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/09/business/09gas.html
All Northeastern Transit systems have pasted there 1960s usage levels and that was before you saw a drop in ridership....alot of people place regional usage at 6 million by 2030 for Northeast which includes MARC , Septa , NJt , LIRR , MNRR , RIPTA , CTDOT , VRE and MBTA / Amtrak. There is a big push in alot of cities to make them attractive again and its working to a certain extent. Families are moving to Railway suburbs , but are changing there commuting habits. The 2008 crisis added at least 200-500 people per regional rail line that have stayed....
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Old February 13th, 2011, 09:03 PM   #6452
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Old February 14th, 2011, 02:51 AM   #6453
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American roads and bridges are in quite bad condition. Many structures of the Interstate Highway system are approaching its 40-50 years lifespan and have to be replaced. All the money gained from eventual rise of road or gasoline taxes should be spend on fixing it.
I agree with Chris that rise in price of fuel will rather change American cars (make them more fuel efficient) than change transportation system towards public transport. There will be some increase in share of public transport but it will never reach European levels.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 03:39 AM   #6454
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Here, you may be right. I don't know much about diesel, though - it's not very common here: isn't it fairly dirty?
The 'Eurodiesel' engine of today is about as far from the old smoky wrecks of over a generation ago here in the USA as modern diesel railroad locomotives are from steam.

They are completely different animals and I'd love to see then introduced en-masse into the USA. A week ago there was a Super Bowl ad from a carmaker hinting at that.

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Old February 14th, 2011, 05:38 AM   #6455
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Diesel would mean oil companies would make less money and the lobbyists wouldn't be happy about that.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 09:10 AM   #6456
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If we run out of natural resources 50 years earlier people aren't going to be happy about it either...
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Old February 14th, 2011, 08:10 PM   #6457
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I highly doubt with all the money at stake they'd let that happen.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 01:23 AM   #6458
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I highly doubt with all the money at stake they'd let that happen.
Anything is possible.

At the current rate, we are sucking the Oil supplies bone dry. There needs to be some tax increases on gas guzzlers to encourage more fuel efficient transport.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 06:04 AM   #6459
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We still have plenty left though, even then when it becomes difficult to profit you know such a large industry won't give up and just say hey we are out. I am in full support of mass use of diesel in the US and funding for alternative energy but the companies will stick with what gives them the most amount of return.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 06:14 AM   #6460
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American roads and bridges are in quite bad condition. Many structures of the Interstate Highway system are approaching its 40-50 years lifespan and have to be replaced. All the money gained from eventual rise of road or gasoline taxes should be spend on fixing it.
I agree with Chris that rise in price of fuel will rather change American cars (make them more fuel efficient) than change transportation system towards public transport. There will be some increase in share of public transport but it will never reach European levels.
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/road...ather-12864969

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