$8 per Gallon Gasoline Is Already Here (for some of us) (May 5, 2010)
I recently wrote about the possibility of $9/gallon gasoline in the U.S. $8/gallon gasoline is already a reality for some global consumers.
Correspondent Bram S. from The Netherlands recently submitted this insightful response to Adaptation, Habituation, Consumption and $9/Gallon Gasoline.
Bram observes that gasoline is already $8/gallon (when converted from liters priced in euros) in The Netherlands, yet auto owners still spend hours every day commuting to work.
And this is a small nation with an extensive (if expensive) public transit system.
To the degree that every dollar/euro/quatloo spent on petrol/diesel is a dollar/euro/quatloo which is not available to be saved or spent on other goods/services, it is in effect a tax (notwithstanding the high taxes already tacked onto petrol/diesel in most of the EU nations).
Why would people continue to drive despite massive financial disincentives to do so? Could the high cost of housing be a factor, as Bram suggests? Or is personal transport so addictive that we are like the lab rats who famously starved themselves to death by continually pressing the button which released more cocaine for their "enjoyment"?
That experiment may be apocryphal, and I mention it only to suggest that there are clearly powerful emotional attractors involved in our decisions to own and drive autos. That is, it is not only a financial decision. But could the economy/society be modified structurally to bring work and home closer together, or to at least ease the financial and social decisions to move the two into close proximity?
Here is Bram's informative commentary:
I read your story about fuel prices today. Here in the Netherlands the fuel prices are skyhigh, but everyone is still driving his metal cubicle and waiting patiently in traffic jams. Talking about the rise of hidden taxes. In 1993 it was 46.1% tax. Now in 2010 it is 72% on gasoline.
Thank you, Bram, for this insightful commentary.
"This guy is THE leading visionary on reality.
He routinely discusses things which no one else has talked about, yet,
turn out to be quite relevant months later."
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