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Let's pretend gas is $20 a gallon

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
What do you change about how you live your life? What do you keep the same? How specifically would that high price impact your family?

We live within bike riding distance of most of what we need, so we'd be riding bikes more than we do, and finding a way to ride them in the winter I guess. Yikes.
post #2 of 61

At that price, there is no way we could afford to heat our house. 


The thing that gets overlooked about high gas prices is how they effect the price of everything else.  If gas is $20 a gallon, food costs go up, because most of our food is grown in places like California and South America, and flown and trucked in.  If gas is $20 a gallon, public transit costs go up (because public transit has fuel costs too).  You can avoid putting gas in your car, but you're still going to wind up paying for gas.  You'll just pay for more of it at the grocery store.


We can't get by as a society in the long-term without alternative fuels, and greater work towards ecological sustainability.

post #3 of 61
Thread Starter 
We are affluent enough we could get a geothermal system put in if it started creeping up that far. We've talked about it anyway as our furnace is old. But I agree, our long term solutions are going to have to come from sustainable energy alternatives.
post #4 of 61
I sometimes wish gas prices were much higher bc then people might make changes in how they live, At the same time DP's job stability is impacted by fuel prices (commercial aviation) so I don't really wish for it.

If all fuel prices rose-
Personally, we would bike more than we do. Our house is mostly heated by wood but maybe we would heat fully with wood. DP only commutes to work one day a week so it wouldn't change where we live.
post #5 of 61

Yeah, ummmmm.....we'd starve.  We could probably get down to one tank of gas per month for things like doctor's appts and such since everything else is pretty much within walking distance.  BUT with the cost of food going up and us living in a region with a shorter growing season, we'd probably starve to death and freeze all winter.  We could be cold and just muddle through but the pipes would freeze pretty fast without a decent amt of heat.  

post #6 of 61
I feel like we'd have a catch 22: I'd want to move into a city where food/shops were in walking distance. I'd also want to grow more of my own food, raise my own meat, etc. Hmm. Maybe an alternatively fueled car?
post #7 of 61

Assuming a simple what if where just gas went to $20 per galloon (setting aside the ripple effect on food, heating, etc) we would walk and bike more.  We live, work, go to school and shop within a two mile radius of our home so cutting back on the car trips would be a challenge but not a true hardship.


I wonder just how high gas needs to go to get people to change their ways.  For example, I know plenty of guys with huge pick-up trucks that will leave them idling in the parking lot (which I hate because the fumes come into my office) for 15-20 mins while they are in my workplace conducting transactions.  Or standing at the check-out counter at my local gas station and seeing people complain about $4 gas as they pile the bottled water, Red Bull, ice tea, cigs, etc. on the counter.  How high would gas need to go before the bottled drinks don't get purchased?

post #8 of 61
I live in AK, 9 months out of the year, it would not be feasible to solely rely on walking/biking and not heating the house. I have no idea what we'd do.
post #9 of 61

Everything is about at least 8 to 10 miles away from us.  So I guess since we have land we would consider getting a horse.  Also hubby would probably skip daily coffee runs.

post #10 of 61

It would probably make a difference whether the gas prices suddenly spiked, or whether we're talking 30 years into the future, and gas prices have been creeping up slowly.


If sudden spike, I think it would destabalize the entire economy, and who knows how we'd fare. We don't own a car and we buy a lot of our food locally, but that doesn't mean that we wouldn't be in deep doo-doo when public transportation prices go up, we can't afford to heat our house, and the local food system is suddenly over-taxed because everyone is trying to get their food that way.


A gradual rise in gas prices is a more likely scenario, and my hope is that it will be accompanied by more energy efficient technology and more ecologically friendly urban planning, so that quality of life goes up (not down) as a result of higher gas price. But that, of course, is only one likely scenario, and there are certainly less rosy ones.

post #11 of 61

That would be fairly terrifying.  We heat with natural gas,  and can get places like the schools by foot/bike, my husband takes a train to work, so in theory we would get by without driving.  And our neighbor is an amazing gardener, so I would probably want to learn from her, so we could rely more on ourselves for food.  But the effect that would have on our entire civilization is...scary.  It would certainly change our patterns, as I do a lot of driving to stores and friends that aren't right in town, we chose a preschool 20 minutes away, we like to drive to visit family/do recreational activities.  So certainly we would have to really change all of that.  But we are lucky to live walking distance to a train, the public schools, some private preschools and a grocery store.  I don't know how you would deal with those sorts of costs if you lived somewhere more rural.

post #12 of 61

Whenever people complain about the price of gas, I always reply that it should be more expensive! And truly reflect the actual cost to our environment. Perhaps only then will we reconfigure our lives appropriately.

post #13 of 61

I've thought about this quite a bit actually ... pretty sure that on a fairly grand scale sh** would hit the fan.  Unless a sustainable alternative takes over the role of oil and gas we would all have to revert to pre automobile  lifestyles. Grow and preserve our own food, keep chickens/goats/cows and a horse for travel,  form tighter knit family/communities to barter and trade with, heat our homes with wood etc... it's do-able but on the grand scale that we would have to accomplish it in there would be more than a few bumps on the path and a fair amount of chaos as people try to make surviving work in the more heavily populated areas.


Our home is oil heated so we would have to create/incorporate an alternative ... either a heat pump if we budget for it or a wood stove (the house originally had two so the chimney is still there).
I would have to expand the gardens considerably and be way more concious of preserving for winter than I am now. Mostly I make jam ...but I would have tho seriously think about canning more veggies, soups, meats etc...

Hubby already spends a small fortune on gas getting to work (an hour commute each way) so he would probably have to work from home more often - which as a computer nerd he is well equipped to do (given that he still even has employment in this scenario).


I work from home for a doll company - so I imagine that I would probably be out of a job (luxury commodities are the first to go when prices surge)...fortunately I have some pretty good sewing skills so I can probably barter/trade sill/food for whatever we need.

Our mortgage isn't outrageous so so long as we can eat and make enough $ to pay the bills we should be ok. Given of course that people who aren't as well off as we are don't come and take what little we have.

The more you think about it the scarier the scenario becomes....

post #14 of 61

I would stop considering sending my school age children back to private school and definitely homeschool them. Usually the only trips we make are to Holy Mass (church) on Sundays and the grocery store roughly once a week, and both are more than 5 miles away so hopefully my husband would continue to earn enough from home to pay for the gas to and from those two important destinations.

post #15 of 61

As Meepycat said, it is going to affect a lot more than just filling up the gas tank... but what would filling up the gas tank look for us? We live 20 and 25 miles from the towns we need to go to for services, there isn't really anything out here. Also hubby has to work. Me and the kids already don't leave the house often, preferably no more that 2x per week, once for church and once for groceries, appointments, or field trips. Field trips would be totally out for sure. One round trip to the store would go from between $9 and $12 to $60, or $6240 for the whole year. Double that to get hubby to work, although it is highly doubtful his business, which requires fuel-run equipment, would survive such a jump in prices. Oh, and it would be $400 just to go see my mom on the other end of the state.

post #16 of 61

We home school and my husband works from home.  Technically we could bike to a food store.  I wouldn't like it, but we could rid ourselves of our car.  We only use oil for hot water, so I would be very mindful of laundry/hot showers/dishwasher use.  We have a pellet stove to heat the whole house.  So yes it would change our lives, but not drastically.  I'm glad this is theoretical because I don't like the thought of this.  I love my long hot showers ;)

post #17 of 61

its hard but i can manage without a car.


however if everything went up which it would then the answer is simple


- i would become homeless and finally attain the weight i would like to. i already live very close to the edge. 


- dd would have to change school and leave the program she was able to get into hopefully to get a good education. it is 10 miles from where we live now and if we had to live under the bridge then it would be double the distance. 


- worse i would have a living 'dead' mother who lives on the other side of the world coz i would not be able to visit her. she would be ok there if prices went up coz she is comfortably off. but it would kill her not to be able to talk to often and see her dd and gdd. 

post #18 of 61

It would take some outlay of funds to adapt to, but the savings would suddenly be worth it. I'm in a Mennonite and Amish area and halfway to their lifestyle already, guess we'd go farther. Get driving horses if we could get the hay. Wood heat, raise or hunt our own meat. DH would still drive to work, paying 8% of his income to get there though.

post #19 of 61

We would be in big trouble :-(  


My husband commutes 55 miles to work one way, and my daughter's school is 25 minutes from our house.  We hate HATE going through this much fuel, and so we are moving as soon as we possibly can, but honestly I don't know what we would do in the mean time.  We live pretty much in the middle of nowhere - the closest business of any kind is about 10 miles away, so with three little kids and no public transportation, we drive absolutely everywhere.  


I'm always stuck.  Part of me wants to move closer to "civilization" (which we are doing within a few months as soon as we can close on our house) but part of me would love to buy a farm even further out where we could grow/raise our own food, live off the land, and home school.  I have nearly no practical skills though, so moving back to civilization it is.

post #20 of 61

Oh and I would make sure that our new neighbors are awesome because they would probably be the only people we could afford to see!


Along those lines, it would be nice though.  Communities would probably become more... well, communities again.

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