Saturday, April 26, 2008

$8 a gallon

I live in an area of the US where petrol (gas) is relatively cheap, and I paid $3.36/gallon this morning for 'regular'. I think that's the first time I've paid over $40 to fill the tank. In California apparently it's up over $4/gallon already. There are currently lots of images like these doing the rounds:

Meanwhile, petrol in the UK is predicted to reach £5 a gallon soon. That works out to be $8.37 per US gallon. Well, I think so - maths was never my best subject! Far more expensive than here in the US anyway! Imagine the panic here in the US if petrol prices were that high! Of course, over the next few days people in the UK may be happy to get petrol at any price if the refinery workers' strike hits as hard as expected. I'm sure some Americans feel as though the prices are as high as in Europe already - it's all relative! It really doesn't feel that long since I was paying less than a dollar a gallon and it is hard to believe that we are now looking at prices that have quadrupled in ten years. The following cartoon dates back to 2004, when people surely thought petrol prices would not go any higher:

Sadly, petrol is NOT a luxury item in the US. Relatively few people live anywhere where there is public transportation. Even when people live within walking distance of the places they would like to go, it is often not practical to do so because there are no pavements (sidewalks). The road we live on is being widened, and closer to town part of the work last year included installing pavements. Unfortunately, there are no plans to bring them any further out. It would be nice if they did as it would then be possible to ride our bikes to town. There's no way I would consider that with my kids without a pavement to ride on - the drivers go too fast and they are too unused to seeing cyclists on the road.

Meanwhile, so many other prices are being affected by the price of petrol. Grain prices are going up not only because of increased production costs but also because of the increased demand for biodiesel. I was amazed to hear this week that Costco is limiting the amount of rice customers can purchase because there are shortages! (Note the touch of fearmongering in that article when the author makes a comment about there being no plans to "to limit food purchases" in general at Walmart stores!) The World Bank estimates that globally "food prices have risen by 83 percent in three years". I guess I just have to work a little harder to convince DH that we really DO need to dig up at least part of the lawn to grow some veggies!


AliBlahBlah said...

I think if my Dad realized that my Honda Pilot got 17 mpg he would probably shoot me. I think his Peugeot gets over 55mpg, so I'm essentially paying a LOT more for gas.

Good post.

Jane said...

Great post.
Good article at this link about why prices have increased so dramatically in such a short space of time.

Marmite Breath said...

I was talking to my friend Shez back home yesterday about this. She said, "Oh, your petrol prices are going to be as high as ours" and I said, "Yes, but the difference is that here, we MUST have a car, there is not any good public transport and not really a good system set up for walking or bike riding to actual places"(except the park, or on trails, etc)

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