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Anyone altering their driving habits due to outrageous gas prices?

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Old 05-06-2007, 02:47 PM   #31  
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Default I am optimistic about the diesel future

One thing that may help with the adoption of diesel engines in this country is that they have been selling like hot cakes in Europe for some time. So it is not a new idea, just a new idea for us in the USA. The technology "kinks" have been ironed out over there.

Right now our oil imports are spread fairly evenly between:
- Saudia Arabia
- Iran / Iraq
- Nigeria
- Russia & Europe (North Atlantic oil fields)
- Venezuela
- Mexico
We do not import directly from Iran, but since their oil is in the worldwide mix, for all practical purposes we do import from them.

Saudia Arabia / Iran / Iraq have or are in danger of having radical governments that are highly hostile to the USA. Nigeria is politically unstable, as is Mexico (one election away from being like Venezuela). Venezuela's leader is openly hostile to us. The North Sea oil mostly goes to Europe and is running out, and Russia is an unstable source at best. Any problem with any of these countries will impact fuel prices.

What this means is that we may look back at $3 per gallon gas and think these were the good old days. Anything above $3 per gallon starts to look good economically for both biodiesel and ethenol (for the regular gas cars).

They are not EPA approved, but there are kits that will allow normal gas cars can be converted to run any mix of Ethenol. Ditto for diesel engines to run on biodiesel. Any move to renewable fuels would mean that money would now go to US farmers (and possibly Brazil - ethenol) instead of overseas. This would impact the balance of trade, debt level and would probably lower interest rates in this country. Taxes would go up as the wealth moved from foreign banks to US tax paying farmers. The environment would benefit.

Right now the oil companies are not very excited about this prospect and are putting up obstacles. But one day they will realize that this is the future and jump in with both feet. I have already heard one oil company CEO say that he wanted his company to be the fuel source, regardless of the type.

Getting back to the thread, I was the referee assignor for the Westside YMCA soccer league here in Little Rock for several years. The referees come from the immediate area and we got a lot of them from Conway, a bedroom community 25 minutes away. When the gas prices went up, that came to a screeching halt unless we could give each referee 3 or more games. Wasn't worth making a round trip costing $10 (assuming $2.50 per gallon and getting 13 MPG with a truck) for a $14 U10 game. Ditto for the other referees in the surrounding communities.

Thankfully I am not doing that volunteer job now, but we also have lost people in our office who took a lower paying job in their bedroom community and still came out ahead financially because of eliminating the commute.
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Old 05-06-2007, 02:57 PM   #32  
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I do agree diesel technology will improve things for us all, if Americans can accept the technology (we don't seem to do that very easily) evidenced by all the rumours floating around about Hybrids right now.
IMO that is the biggest factor in all this alternative technology. Widespread acceptance. Until you have that, little benefit will be derived in the way of lower vehicle cost and maintenance, along with less dependency on government rebates. The rebates are after the fact, where incentives works best up front.
This is especially true for many Americans who think they are doing well financially if they get big tax refunds to spend on goodies every year.
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Old 05-06-2007, 03:49 PM   #33  
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I still don't think that Hybrids are practical considering their cost premium over a regular car. A $2100 income tax deduction won't make much of a difference for most people, and it would take many years for the gas savings due to the hybrid to finally break even with the price premium for buying the hybrid technology. The time required to break even has been calculated to be between 5-8 years depending on what vehicle.
I'm not sure why people always go to this. For starters, it all depends on what you are driving now. And the cost differences are not so great in many cases. It does differ greatly in every situation though - its certainly not for everyone.

I traded in my Jeep for a Toyota Prius in Sept 05. I've never once missed my Jeep. I drive about 30k miles a year and in the winter go from MA to VT almost every weekend. Its got plenty of room, has no problem in snow and is fun to drive. Plus, even driving 70-80mph as I've been doing lately, I still get 40-45mpg. If I drop it down to a max of 70, then I can get about 45-50mpg.

It cost me about the same as a new Jeep would have, but it gets me much better mileage - is more reliable and has more extras (navigation..etc). So as far as I was concerned, there was $0 hybrid premium - and I bought at a time when MSRP was the price paid and there were not other offers.

So.. its based on perspective.
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Old 05-06-2007, 04:34 PM   #34  
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I'm not sure why people always go to this. For starters, it all depends on what you are driving now. And the cost differences are not so great in many cases. It does differ greatly in every situation though - its certainly not for everyone.

I traded in my Jeep for a Toyota Prius in Sept 05. I've never once missed my Jeep. I drive about 30k miles a year and in the winter go from MA to VT almost every weekend. Its got plenty of room, has no problem in snow and is fun to drive. Plus, even driving 70-80mph as I've been doing lately, I still get 40-45mpg. If I drop it down to a max of 70, then I can get about 45-50mpg.

It cost me about the same as a new Jeep would have, but it gets me much better mileage - is more reliable and has more extras (navigation..etc). So as far as I was concerned, there was $0 hybrid premium - and I bought at a time when MSRP was the price paid and there were not other offers.

So.. its based on perspective.
Correct, as I've said, I liked the vehicles we've had before, in this case it was a Mercedes 300E (a really great car) but the Civic Hybrid we got for around a $1000 off MSRP and then we received the Federal Tax deduction and got back over $1000 and BAM right off the bat we started saving $63 to $75 per month in gas costs.

And that was when gas was cheaper per gallon, now we save $82 to $91 per month (we only drive around 12000 miles per year).

I can only assume the savings will rise as the cost of gasoline reaches up to $4.00 per gallon by next year.

If someone doesn't mind to pay alot more for the cost of fuel because they really love to drive huge gas hogs then more power to them.

But, I really believe there are alot of people out there that have listened to false rumors about the Hybrids and have just not looked at them because of that.

Last edited by unotis; 05-06-2007 at 04:37 PM..
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Old 05-06-2007, 04:38 PM   #35  
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Default Another factor in the choice

Let me add one more factor into the mix. My 2000 Dodge Caravan runs great, gets around 23-24 MPG and is paid off. But it is a 7 year old car out of the 10 I planned to get out of it when I bought it. By the time I trade it in in 2010, it will basically be worth nothing blue book wise. When I trade, it will be because it is time to retire the old car, not because I am looking to save money with a higher MPG car.

So in my case, it makes sense to look at a diesel or hybrid car. But if it my Caravan was a 2005, it the math wouldn't work. It would still have a lot more life left and the saving of going from 23-24 MPG to 45-50 MPG would not justify a new car payment.

In 2006 I spent a little under $1,800 in fuel (about 13,000 miles). A new hybrid would have cut that in half, to $900 ($75 per month), not enough of a savings to justify (to me) a new car payment of $350 - $400 per month.

There are a lot of people who will be forced to make a choice like this:
(1) Keep the old paid off car that is getting 20 MPG or
(2) Get a new hybrid that gets 40 MPG but has a $350 per month car payment (plus increase in insurance) cost.

Most will keep the old car in this scenario.
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Old 05-06-2007, 04:54 PM   #36  
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Default One more choice

How about you wait until 2010 and purchase the smart fortwo for around $15,000 to $16,000 it will get around 40 to 45 mpg, or pay a little more and get the new smart fortwo diesel that should be out then and get up to 70 mpg.

And there is suppose to be one of the smart dealerships in Tulsa, OK. which won't be too far to pick it up for you.
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Old 05-06-2007, 05:18 PM   #37  
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Default Smart car is a choice

I am looking at the Smart car, and my mom lives in Broken Arrow, so I am up that way all the time. Will be in BA this Memorial Day.

If I go with the Smart Car I would want the diesel and might keep the Caravan to pick up plants, lumber, etc.

I have not seen any details as to where the USA tour will be, other than that it will start in LA. Also, have not seen a list of dealerships that will carry the car. There is a dealership in Benton (another Little Rock bedroom community) that is hoping to get to sell the Smart as well the last time I talked with them.
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Old 05-06-2007, 06:41 PM   #38  
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Originally Posted by SLedford View Post
One thing that may help with the adoption of diesel engines in this country is that they have been selling like hot cakes in Europe for some time. So it is not a new idea, just a new idea for us in the USA. The technology "kinks" have been ironed out over there.

Right now our oil imports are spread fairly evenly between:
- Saudia Arabia
- Iran / Iraq
- Nigeria
- Russia & Europe (North Atlantic oil fields)
- Venezuela
- Mexico
We do not import directly from Iran, but since their oil is in the worldwide mix, for all practical purposes we do import from them.

Saudia Arabia / Iran / Iraq have or are in danger of having radical governments that are highly hostile to the USA. Nigeria is politically unstable, as is Mexico (one election away from being like Venezuela). Venezuela's leader is openly hostile to us. The North Sea oil mostly goes to Europe and is running out, and Russia is an unstable source at best. Any problem with any of these countries will impact fuel prices.

What this means is that we may look back at $3 per gallon gas and think these were the good old days. Anything above $3 per gallon starts to look good economically for both biodiesel and ethenol (for the regular gas cars).

They are not EPA approved, but there are kits that will allow normal gas cars can be converted to run any mix of Ethenol. Ditto for diesel engines to run on biodiesel. Any move to renewable fuels would mean that money would now go to US farmers (and possibly Brazil - ethenol) instead of overseas. This would impact the balance of trade, debt level and would probably lower interest rates in this country. Taxes would go up as the wealth moved from foreign banks to US tax paying farmers. The environment would benefit.

Right now the oil companies are not very excited about this prospect and are putting up obstacles. But one day they will realize that this is the future and jump in with both feet. I have already heard one oil company CEO say that he wanted his company to be the fuel source, regardless of the type.

Getting back to the thread, I was the referee assignor for the Westside YMCA soccer league here in Little Rock for several years. The referees come from the immediate area and we got a lot of them from Conway, a bedroom community 25 minutes away. When the gas prices went up, that came to a screeching halt unless we could give each referee 3 or more games. Wasn't worth making a round trip costing $10 (assuming $2.50 per gallon and getting 13 MPG with a truck) for a $14 U10 game. Ditto for the other referees in the surrounding communities.

Thankfully I am not doing that volunteer job now, but we also have lost people in our office who took a lower paying job in their bedroom community and still came out ahead financially because of eliminating the commute.
http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pe...im0_mbbl_m.htm
If you look at it again the two largest imports for oil to the US come from Canada and Mexico both non opec nations.

Monthly Import numbers from Canada and Mexico.

Canada:
Sep-06Oct-06Nov-06Dec-06Jan-07Feb-07


67,85566,46577,94174,77376,56868,553
Mexico:
47,06151,04047,52342,33448,55842,207

Last edited by DSNY FN; 05-06-2007 at 06:49 PM..
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Old 05-06-2007, 07:14 PM   #39  
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Don't shoot me as it was Consumer Reports that did the test about 2-3 years ago(maybe sooner). I just remember reading that test as it was quoted in our local paper, and I later read it while getting my oil changed at a local repair place I frequent.


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Originally Posted by unotis View Post
The gas mileage for the Toyota Prius was much lower then advertised but the Civic Hybrid gets slightly better then the EPA mileage estimates (it was the Accord Hybrid that did not). And your estimates are way off anyway, 25% worse would mean the Civic Hybrid only got 36 mpg (that is the same a gas version gets). You couldn't get 36 mpg dragging an anchor around behind your Hybrid Civic.

The batteries used in the battery pack are NiMH not Lead Acid style batteries, they are 2 1/2 times more powerful for the same weight as Lead Acid and have much longer life. The Civic Hybrid helps to cause this longer life by never charging the batteries by more then 80% of total charge and they automatically start charging when they reach 40% of total charge. NiMH bateries don't pose as much of an enviromental risk because they can be totally recycled.

I'm aware of that, but the metals used are still toxic and still have to be dealt with. I agree though as at least they are not as toxic as Cadmium which I don't even think is being used much anymore

So because of this unlike the ill founded rumours to the same, your Honda Civic Hybrid will not stop running up a steep hill because the electric motor runs out ot juice. The engine constantly recharges the 158 volt battery pack. the 20 hp Motor/Generator has plenty of torgue to help the 110 hp gasoline engine when needed.

Yes, but the motor is no longer able to assist untill the battery is recharged. When going on a long incline, the electric motor would require more power than could be generated. I've lurked at a few different sites and have read similar reports to this and also witnessed this myself when going up a very long incline following behind a Ford Escape Hybrid.

And as far as my $1050 extra refund estimate, you normally get back 50% (rule of thumb) of your deduction in the form of a refund. So a $2100 federal tax deduction equals $1050 refund.

I do agree diesel technology will improve things for us all, if Americans can accept the technology (we don't seem to do that very easily) evidenced by all the rumours floating around about Hybrids right now.
I have high hopes for diesel and hope that Americans will be accepting of it. Besides, I LOVE the marble sound that small displacement diesel motors make and love the sound of that turbo spooling up.
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Old 05-06-2007, 09:11 PM   #40  
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Don't shoot me as it was Consumer Reports that did the test about 2-3 years ago(maybe sooner). I just remember reading that test as it was quoted in our local paper, and I later read it while getting my oil changed at a local repair place I frequent.




I have high hopes for diesel and hope that Americans will be accepting of it. Besides, I LOVE the marble sound that small displacement diesel motors make and love the sound of that turbo spooling up.
OH NO!!! I dont want a VQ35D(iesel)...NOOOOO!
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Old 05-07-2007, 08:23 AM   #41  
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Don't shoot me as it was Consumer Reports that did the test about 2-3 years ago(maybe sooner). I just remember reading that test as it was quoted in our local paper, and I later read it while getting my oil changed at a local repair place I frequent.

Consumer reports is wrong then and even more so now,
Heck I read a article by then that stated they only got 45 mpg out of a smart fortwo diesel when everybody that owns one gets at least 60 mpg. I don't know what or how they test for the gas mileage but, they are so far off it borders on deception.




I have high hopes for diesel and hope that Americans will be accepting of it. Besides, I LOVE the marble sound that small displacement diesel motors make and love the sound of that turbo spooling up.
I do too but, again it will take the average American buyer in large numbers to accept diesel engines as a viable alternative again for them to be profitable for the manufacturers and they are extremely slow to research or even change their pre-conceived opinions.
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Old 05-07-2007, 10:05 AM   #42  
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Default The American public will change as gas prices go up

unotis,

As gas prices go up, the US public gets more accepting of smaller cars and alternate fuel sources. I have a realtor friend with a $40k GM SUV that he cannot trade in - the dealers have a stockpile and don't want any more of them. He spends $4,500 + per year right now on gas and is cringing at the thought of paying $6,000 to $8,000 depending upon what happens to the oil markets in the world.

He is now looking at an Ethanol fuel making kit (his GM car is E85 enabled) to cut costs, something that he wouldn't have considered not long ago.

All it will take is for 60 Minutes to run a story on 70 MPG diesel cars for the public to get interested. Especially if gas is $3.50 - $4.00 per gallon, which it could be in the not too distant future.

It will not happen overnight, but 20 years from now the US will mirror Europe with half the cars on the road being diesels.
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Old 05-07-2007, 10:53 AM   #43  
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unotis,

As gas prices go up, the US public gets more accepting of smaller cars and alternate fuel sources. I have a realtor friend with a $40k GM SUV that he cannot trade in - the dealers have a stockpile and don't want any more of them. He spends $4,500 + per year right now on gas and is cringing at the thought of paying $6,000 to $8,000 depending upon what happens to the oil markets in the world.

He is now looking at an Ethanol fuel making kit (his GM car is E85 enabled) to cut costs, something that he wouldn't have considered not long ago.

All it will take is for 60 Minutes to run a story on 70 MPG diesel cars for the public to get interested. Especially if gas is $3.50 - $4.00 per gallon, which it could be in the not too distant future.

It will not happen overnight, but 20 years from now the US will mirror Europe with half the cars on the road being diesels.
Actually I hope 20 years from now we would have made the change to Fuel Cell automobiles. The technology is available all we really need to do is set up the network to provide refueling stations, just like we have with gas stations nationwide.
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Old 05-07-2007, 01:11 PM   #44  
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Default Plug-in hybrids

GM, of all companies, showed a concept electric car called the Volt at this years's Detroit car show. When I looked it up on the web, it looked like a promising concept for a commuter car.

- Car plugs into 110 volt outlet in the garage.
- Range is 40 miles on batteries at a current cost of 80 cents worth of electricity.
- If the batteries drop below a certain charge, a small gas / diesel / ethanol powered generator kicks in to both recharge the batteries and power the engine. This allows the car to travel long distances.

For me, with an 11 mile drive to / from work, I would only need the generator to kick every now and then. Don't know if this will work with existing battery technologies.

Since only 6% of electric power plants use oil to generate the electricity, this would shift a significant amount of energy usage away from oil if this concept caught on. Even the "long range" commuters in my office are generally 50 miles round trip or less. And the direct pollution level from the car would be virtually zero.

No idea of when this will be available or what the cost. Like the concept, however.

One of the car magazines was evaluating fuel alternatives ("what will we fuel our car with in 20 years") and they felt that hydrogen fuel cells are more than 20 years out, past their prediction window.
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Old 05-07-2007, 01:27 PM   #45  
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I don't alter my driving style at all. Granted the difference in my daily commute between if I'm driving in a spirited fashion, I'll probably get 23 MPG, as opposed to if I drive very conservatively (i.e. use 6th gear a lot and don't exceed 4k rpms), I might get 27mpg. I don't use highways in my commute. If I did, I'd probably capitalize on the efficiency and keep my speeds low. But the difference between 23 MPG and 27 MPG, financially speaking, is not worthy driving my car like a grandma-ma.

btw - when I say "spirited", my driving style is 90% normal (i'm in traffic most of the time anyway), 10% hard. I usually go out of my way to find some good twisty roads and I rarely flog the car on a green light because with the open intake, people would hear my car from a 1/2 mile way. I like the throaty sound but I don't like making heads turn or pissing people off on the roads.
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