Friday, July 14, 2006
Added motivation to keep in shape
I know several people who are walking and biking more than usual these days. (It's hard imagine such an increase in a community like Boulder, Colorado where every street has a bike lane and the average citizen often bikes or walks to stores and restaurants anyway.)
But sure enough, gas prices have changed behavior, even here. People are trading in their Ford "Excavations" and Toyota "Land Bruisers", as I like to call them, for smaller cars. As for smaller cars, the media and Hollywood types have been trumpeting the value of Toyota Priuses, (or is it Prii, like a Latin plural?), and Honda Hybrids.
[BTW, as a quick aside, hybrids are great for the environment and helping to decrease overall oil consumption...but they don't help individuals or families save money. Studies by Car & Driver and Consumer Reports have proven that one would need to drive a hybrid over 100,000 miles before breaking even on the added cost (over a similar size traditional car.) Because of their tiny tires, they also don't handle as well on dry or wet pavement as a regular car.]
The overall change in behavior is a wonderful thing to see. As people drive different vehicles or drive less and exercise more, we are becoming more like Europeans, who are used to high fuel costs...folks who generally weigh less and live longer than we Americans.
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Here's a contrary opinion. I think, no matter how high gas prices go, there will be plenty of people driving Excavations and Land Bruisers (LOL). Americans love BIG. Americans love cars. Therefore, Americans love big cars and will find a way to cram them into their budget as well as their garage. Reasonable? No. Reality? I think so.ReplyDelete
Yes, that's a good point, Brad. I agree with you that we'll always be a car-loving country. That thinking does take place, especially with certain kinds of people, in many places.ReplyDelete
Yet in some places, (like here in Boulder and in say, California), it goes beyond gas prices. There's a stigma attached to driving SUV's now, especially the really big ones, (like Hummers, Suburbans and the aformentioned urban earth movers.)
Meanwhile, Tom Hanks and his fellow movie stars (who have 10 cars each and 15,000 sq. ft. air conditioned mansions), are deemed hip when they're seen showing up at a movie premiere driving a Prius. More unreasonable logic.
Yes, it's perplexing. Your points about the "green" sentiments are well taken. I heard on the news today they expect gas prices to hit $4 per gallon by the end of summer. Maybe that will put all these theories to the test!ReplyDelete