I agree we'd have to go back to living the way we used to as a society before cars. I wouldn't even know where to begin if this really happend, because we already struggle financially. Do u think this is going to happen in our lifetime?
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Let's pretend gas is $20 a gallon - Page 2post #21 of 618/10/13 at 6:13pmpost #22 of 618/10/13 at 6:21pm
If it was just limited to driving prices, we'd manage all right. We'd sell the car and get a cargo bike and a commuting bike (preferably a solar/electric assist one). One for groceries and one to get my husband to work. We live close enough to both the grocery store and his employment to make it function. We couldn't afford to keep the car even though we only fill up the tank once a month under our current setup, because gas would go from a $40/month expense to a $200+/month expense and there's not that much play in our budget. Gas prices could double and we'd manage, but not quintuple.
If we're imagining an economy-wide issue, we'd sell everything we owned for enough gas to get us to a better climate (Texas just simply will not do) near family, then pool resources with friends and family. There's a bit of family land we could live off of, and we've been working on the skills for that. It's very isolated though. It is hard to know whether it would be better to have land to grow things or to be walking distance from community functions. Not very many places accommodate both.post #23 of 618/10/13 at 6:25pmpost #24 of 618/10/13 at 7:18pmQuote:
My hope is that we'll develop alternative fuel sources and this won't happen in our lifetime, because we can't go back to the way we were living before cars either. In the past century, cities have been rebuilt and redesigned around cars. We are incredibly efficient at growing food in the places best suited to agriculture, and shipping the results to where it's needed, and urban areas sprawl much further then they did when it was vital to have agriculture near the places where population was concentrated.
Also, although it's easy to forget it now, cars were a significant step up in urban cleanliness. Heavy horse traffic resulted in filthy, smelly streets, and filthy, smelly water.post #25 of 618/10/13 at 8:42pm
cars is just ONE aspect of crude. just ONE. we are ALL sooo dependent on petroleum. it permeates EVERY aspect of our life - no matter how off the grid we live.
our future generation is pretty screwed if we dont find some answers in the next 100 years. i have to have faith that things will work out. we just dont see the outcome yet. perhaps there will be another 1900s hundreds jump in 'progress' where answers will help man. even alternate sources of power still needs to depend on products made from petroleum.
post #26 of 618/11/13 at 7:11pm
- Shoe Polish
- Roof shingles
- Novelty Candy
- Bug Killer
- Paper cups
- Wax paper
I'd take my family on the road with the full-on bug-out packs and start a gypsy lifestyle of annual migration based on seasonal work and growing/harvest times while honing our personal crafts/talents/joy and bartering/trading for as much as we can... and hope others will join us peacefully.post #27 of 618/11/13 at 8:15pmpost #28 of 618/12/13 at 8:02am
I'm not sure what that would mean for public transit, but we don't own a vehicle at this point in time. I imagine, that it would drastically increase public transit prices, as well. In which case, we would be biking everywhere, or walking everywhere. I live on a military base though, and the nearest grocery store is in the town outside of the base, so I generally hitch a ride with others, and I imagine, with gas that high, I wouldn't be able to do that, either. SO I best have legs of steel!post #29 of 618/12/13 at 8:15am
Wow. What a thought.
We're living on the edge right now so it's really hard to imagine how we'd make it given that $20 gas would affect more than just the gas tank. We have five kids and one on the way so we're in a van that is hardly mileage-efficient (although more efficient than two cars). We live about a mile from the closest grocery store so I guess that would be in walking distance if one took a large wagon with one (you can't carry groceries for eight people in two hands). Our kids are already homeschooled and we would continue that. Our church is a few blocks from the house (DH is a priest) so that would be fine for us but 2/3 of our parishioners have to drive over an hour to an hour and a half to church so we would see a massive drop in attendance. Probably they wouldn't be able to afford to keep the church going so we would be out of an income. My MIL is eight hours away and my parents are 12 hours away so we would probably never see them again unless someone moved (which we wouldn't be able to afford to do). The list goes on...post #30 of 618/12/13 at 8:30am
We couldn't afford to work. DH is a professional gardener, and already keeping his truck running is a huge drain on our income. Not only that, but we need 2 vehicles, because we need a family vehicle.
To keep him working, he might have to keep a room in town during the weeks, and come home on the weekends. That's assuming anyone could afford him because his profession is expendable. I would have to stay home. I'd say we should move closer to the city, but we have a really great community of people striving for a certain level of self-sufficiency.
All extra-curricular activities would come to a screeching halt.
We could definitely use horsepower, but I don't know if we could afford to keep a horse or pony.
Pretty much for us, we could be totally screwed unless we had some time to adapt, if we could create a community, and I think where we are we have a community here that could really come together. We could be self-sufficient for meat, if we could use some of the hay fields for potatoes and some grain. That's assuming there is no additional pressure from outlying communities. Are we talking about a fuel-induced Mad Max scenario? I can't discount that possibility. If things stay peaceful, we could adapt, if we had some time.post #31 of 618/12/13 at 8:42am
If the change was limited to gas for private vehicles, then we wouldn't do much differently since we don't own a car. The inevitable shift in people's transportation habits would make my life more pleasant, too! If the effects were more all-encompassing, then here are some of the things I'd have to do:
-some other form of heat (we're currently on oil), and lots more insulation
-rent out one or two of the bedrooms for extra income. There are a lot of people who commute past our place, so I'm thinking there would be at least a couple people willing to pay for a room in my house to be closer to work
-the ridiculously large paved driveway that the previous owners had installed would get ripped up. It's taking up potential garden space, and I'm thinking there would be a market for recycled asphalt anyways.
-no more grass or ornamental plants: every inch of my land would be devoted to producing food
-I'd put a greenhouse on the back of the house to extend the growing season
-bee hives. I need sweet stuff, and maple syrup requires too much energy to produce.
-we'd probably have to cut back on everything
-I'm pretty good at re-purposing things, so I might be able to make some extra money that waypost #32 of 618/12/13 at 9:27am
If it were somehow magically limited to just gas for our car, no ripple effects, I suppose we'd stop visiting our families (they are each 30-40 miles away), and I would only do very local playdates. (I've been known to drive 50 miles one way just to meet people!) We might try to be a little more efficient in planning our errands and grocery trips. Honestly, we would probably just not be able to save much money, because not driving is simply not feasible in Houston. I can get absolutely nowhere useful (at least not safely) by walking/bike riding. Maybe we'd get a hybrid car, though we would have to finance it.
If it were a whole-economy thing, frankly, I think we'd ALL starve. It would be a miserable disaster of a mess. Frankly, all the "Well, maybe it would finally wake people up!" talk annoys me, because not everyone lives somewhere that is public-transit and pedestrian-friendly. If I lived a 5-minute walk from a grocery store, yeah, honestly, I would probably still drive my car there much of the time. But if I had to, I could and would walk. That isn't my reality, though, or the reality of millions of people living in my metro area. I have lived in several cities both in the US and abroad (including my current city) without a car. My current city is the only place where it was a real hardship, and it was only possible because I lived and worked in a very specific part of the city. It's not possible for everyone to live and work someplace where not having a car is feasible, no matter how dedicated they are to the environment.post #33 of 618/13/13 at 8:14pmQuote:Originally Posted by mamalex23
I'd take my family on the road with the full-on bug-out packs and start a gypsy lifestyle of annual migration based on seasonal work and growing/harvest times while honing our personal crafts/talents/joy and bartering/trading for as much as we can... and hope others will join us peacefully.
that sounds nice, but it wouldn't work for people who are sick or have chronic illnesses. My family has to have access to modern medicine (congenital heart defect).post #34 of 618/23/13 at 8:35ampost #35 of 618/29/13 at 1:22pm
Isn't gas already that much in some countries in Europe? The answer is in getting rid of suburbia (where I live, sadly). You have to have walking or biking access to services, so you must live in a compact manner. If you are rural, you have to be somewhat self-sufficient and consolidate town trips to monthly or so.
I would think there would be a reverse exodus back to the cities, at least here in Chicago, and int he other big city areas with lots of suburbs. I could bike to the grocery store, but my kids ride the bus to school, so I'd probably have to bike there with them too. The problem with it now is that the only path is along a highway. I have to assume that road would be somewhat quieter with the new age, though.
In the end? We'd all make it work, one way or another.post #36 of 619/5/13 at 1:50am
There is a documentary on this called Crude Awakening. Its free on Netflix right now. Dh and I watched it recently and found it pretty thought-provoking. I have often said that the majority of people won't change their energy consumption until they are forced to, and the declining availability of fossil fuels will be the first push in that direction. Its a frightening concept.
As for us, DH would have to quit his job and work local, taking a pay cut. Other than that, we'd be ok not driving a car, as long as society didn't collapse as a whole. We live in a small town but its well equipped with a nice hospital, library, grocery stores, and local schools. Shopping for clothing is the only thing we have to commute for, though I like to visit the bigger city nearby for better food prices it wouldn't be worth it if gas was that high. My biggest worry is what would happen to food prices? We could walk to the store, but probably not afford to buy anything. There would be riots at the farmers markets for local "cheap" food...it wouldn't be pretty. We live in a townhouse so gardening is not much of an option but I bet all the tenants would gladly rip out our common green spaces to plant food and raise some chickens.post #37 of 619/5/13 at 3:43am
I'm interested to know how much gas prices actually are in the US at present. And how that translates into how much it costs you to refuel.
For comparison, I'm in Europe and gas would be around $10 a gallon, if I've converted correctly. To fill up a normal size family car would probably be around $110. I have a pretty normal car, on the good side for fuel consumption by our standards but it is on the big side (3 car seats across the back) and it does around 50-60 mpg.
I don't want to thread hijack but before I reply wanted to get a sense of how much of a change this represents for Americans. Here we'd be looking at a doubling of prices but otoh, gas has already doubled in the last decade, I think.
Oh ETA most of Europe has prices in this ballpark afaik. When we drive in other parts of Europe its not a major issue. The Scandinavian countries are more expensive and we might be talking $15 gallon, possibly. OTOH they do tend to have stupidly better public transport IME. Well, than us, at least (UK). But then, based on my experience, most of Europe has better public transport than the UK including the former eastern bloc, shortly after the wall came down. Hmmm.
My big thought, based on what I know of America (friends, relatives) is that you guys might struggle where you have whole towns built around the car. Where my sister in law lives, in the American South in a really "nice" area full of professional, mainly from the university, you can go literally no where without getting in a car. To take the kids to school, she's in a car. To get a pint of milk she's in a car. That's quite alien to the European way of thinking. In the UK if for reasons of our complex school allocation system your kid's school is not within walking distance, then that's a sufficiently unusual situation that the district has to provide transport. However souless and commercialised an area is, if there's more than one or two houses there will be a little shop you can walk to selling the basics.
But my understanding is that a lot of Americans do not live this way, and enjoy having shops and people and parks they can walk to. So perhaps having high gas prices might be a good thing in that respect?
Edited by Fillyjonk - 9/5/13 at 3:58ampost #38 of 619/5/13 at 5:06am
Well, keep this in mind........it wouldn't just be gas prices that went up........It's sort of already starting now..........I went to look at prices for the big boxes of gold fish.........two years ago I could get them for 4.99 on sale.......then the price went up to about 7.99.........yesterday, at Walmart, the prices were over $12......Can you believe it? ....Now the grocery stores have to raise their prices bc their gas prices went up........so while maybe you can wing $20 a gallon for gas, what about $30 for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk? And for those of you that read The Holy Bible, (and I don't remember this exactly) but there is a verse that says something along the lines of having to use an entire day's wage just for a meal.....something like that..............I know that we 'scoff' at things like that........but look at other countries around us. A few years ago I had a friend that was part of a 'teach english in japan' program.........when she went to buy a cantaloupe, with the exchange, it came to OVER $40 US dollars.post #39 of 619/5/13 at 5:38ampost #40 of 619/5/13 at 6:00am
That is actually really interesting. You pay around a third what we pay but your efficiency is also a third? So effectively its costing you the same to drive as us? But added to that, we don't have to drive. Public transport isn't always great but it at least normally exists, whereas my understanding is that there are large parts of the US without public transport? (correct me if I'm wrong, I know its a big country)
In the UK, in the main, its cheaper to live in a town than properly rurally. Land is what's expensive in the UK, so i think I'm right in saying that in the main the cheapest housing is in in economically depressed cities, with the second cheapest housing being a little further toward the suburbs. When I read on here about families with farms and chickens and so on-to do that in the UK you would have to be very wealthy. It seems to be possible for a family of limited means and no inheritance to live on some kind of farm and be self sufficient. There is no way to do that here unless you have wealthy parents. OTOH we have good community food growing initiatives in our cities.
The cantaloupe thing. lol I have friends in Japan, two sets of friends actually, and real Christmas trees there are around $300 apparently. And for that you get some tiny thing.
Can we do a price comparison on groceries too, maybe? Its always more interesting to get this from real people than stats. But from the perspective of the question, to see the effects of rising oil one way to do it is to look at countries who have always had comparatively expensive oil. Assuming you are not especially economising, how much would you tend to spend to feed a family of four of five in a week? I know there's a lot of variables in there, but assuming you were neither cutting right back nor splurging. I'd say £100/ $150 in the UK. (that wouldn't get you much organic food, or necessarily locally grown food, and would include some "junk". My guess is that the lowest you could go without starting to struggle and/or impacting on nutrition is around £50/ $75 though I've heard of people doing it for less.
When we've travelled to other parts of Europe we've normally found food to be much more expensive. Sometimes that is gas related. Iceland is very expensive because a lot of stuff has to be freighted there. OTOH somewhere like France is expensive more because there is a bottom line for quality that they will not go beneath, because they prioritise local and French over anything else and because they treat their farmers as important. Whereas in Britain, our farming is under serious threat because supermarkets (can't remember the American word for supermarkets-Walmart like places) yank them around and try to drive their prices down, and to some extent, not least because of the erosion of our welfare state, there is a demand for very cheap , poor quality food.
Edited by Fillyjonk - 9/5/13 at 6:11am
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