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OK. Everybody is talking about gas prices being so high. We all know they will go higher. I have heard so many people talk about the cost of fuel; my nieghbor, who drives a massive Dodge Ram spends more than $400. a month on diesel. Yikes! That about equals a Prius car payment.

So...

1. Do you think $3.00 per gallon is the "breaking point"?
2. Will people "cross over" just for the savings of fuel?
3. Where will all the traded cars go, or will people just own more vehicles?
4. How will the economy react?

Just wondering...I know you have thoughts and opinions.....one thing about this forum is that prius owners have good brains - and like to use them.
 

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Well you mentioned your neighbor who obviously needs the Ram and it's already a diesel. The American buyer just exhausted both GM's and Fords inventory of SUV's in the "big" sell off and that with gas above two fifty. Looks like they'll just have to live with it and commute with the little car.
There may be hope of less traffic on the freeways but I don't see it here and noticed this weekend of huge tieups mentioned on Hwy 5 between L.A. and San Diego and thats devided fourteen lanes.
And of course there is no sign of any increased production in the inexpensive hybrid. I would think there would be a lot more sales in the Corolla and four cylinder Camry.
Of course the buyer who can afford the forty thousand Lexas H wouldn't be bothered by ten dollar a gallon gas.
 

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I think the big breaking point will be between $4 and $5. May not be until next year, but it won't be long. At first people will hang on to their guzzlers in hopes prices will come back down, but eventually they will dump them for whatever they can get for them.
 

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I'll go out on a limb and say that when gas hits $4/gallon (i think $3 wouldn't do it), some gus guzzler owners will do the unthinkable and find a way to make carpooling happen for them.
 

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Your probably right Hep except with all the SUV sales and the finance problems freshly incurred the new SUV will be kept for the 2nd low milage car and a cheap used economy car purchased to get them through to the next election. Guess what the political platform will be if gas hits four fifty?
........ ............ ......... Iraq who? ........... .........
 

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Some of us are just keeping the gas hogs. Our 2004 Ford Freestar (Updated Windstar) is now worth 10,000 less than we owe on it. We still need a bigger car occasionally, so we now refer to it as our mini-RV. Its parked on the street, under a tree, with a sunshade in the window.

They say rapid transit usage in the LA area is now up 15% over last year. I'd try it, but I have to visit customers all over the LA and So. Calif. area. Thank God for company vehicles with company credit cards. So far, we've been running Grand Caravans, but if gas keeps going up, we figure our next company cars will be a shopping cart and in-line skates.

Europeans have been in the $5.00 + / gallon range for years, and we're in more of a world-priced market every day. I doubt we'll be getting any sympathy there. I expect $4.00 / gallon will be here in less than a year, and that will probably load up my street with even more dinosaurs no one can sell.
 

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You folks have all got it wrong.

The magic price point is $300 per tank. Sooner if credit card credit is discontinued and people have to pay cash out of pocket.

Right now, it's only about $50-80 per tank, but most people pay with credit, so they are "comfortably numb" about it.
 

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Hep said:
I think the big breaking point will be between $4 and $5. May not be until next year, but it won't be long. At first people will hang on to their guzzlers in hopes prices will come back down, but eventually they will dump them for whatever they can get for them.
Yes, and we'll all see the used SUV market crash through the floor! Look out below!
 

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Bingo

BIF said:
You folks have all got it wrong.

The magic price point is $300 per tank. Sooner if credit card credit is discontinued and people have to pay cash out of pocket.

Right now, it's only about $50-80 per tank, but most people pay with credit, so they are "comfortably numb" about it.
Zoink, you hit the nail on the head. I pay cash all the time. And I do think that most (not all), but most who pay by credit, just don't notice.

1. Do you think $3.00 per gallon is the "breaking point"?
No.
2. Will people "cross over" just for the savings of fuel?
Yes.
3. Where will all the traded cars go, or will people just own more vehicles?
Hmm. I think at first, folks will own more vehicles. THEN, I think we will see a sharp increase in SUV's down at the dump...If they can't sell them.
4. How will the economy react?
It already is. A lot of people I know, are not doing the same things as before. And a lot of people are not going to movies, and taking drives, and also going out to eat...bottle water sales are down around here...

This is only going to get worse, before it has even a slim chance of getting better.

The days of cheap gas, are long gone. I will be surprised if gas does not break $4 by this time next year, if not sooner.
 

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BIF said:
Yes, and we'll all see the used SUV market crash through the floor! Look out below!
Wow, I sure hope so! I hate leaving the new Prius out in the weather, but our 2-car garage just isn't big enough for, um, cars. If I could get one of them Ford Exhibitionists for dirt cheap, I'd just pull the wheels off, tear the seats out, and park the Prius inside the darn thing.

Heck, if they really get cheap maybe we can pick up one of these: http://web.utk.edu/~blfletch/suv.html

We could park both cars and the bicycles in it! (OK, so the Kenworths don't really exist, but if gas prices had stayed low we'd be seeing something just like them all over the place.)
 

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Since getting my Prius a few weeks ago, I get lots of questions at the security guard station when pulling into work. Yesterday, the guard just shook his head and smiled, saying "I bet you're just laughing your a** off with these gas prices". I politey agreed and made it a point to pull away in EV mode. Actually, when driving around the campus loop road to my lot, there's a stop sign right in front of the smoking gazebo. All heads turn as I silently pull up to the stop sign and silently accelerate away. I get more enjoyment out of that than I should. :)
 

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I would have to say that there is no 'breaking point' - at least for the average US citizen. The egocentricity of the US population will just make people expect a bigger raise to cover the increased cost, and yet still expect to only spend $5 on a shirt.

Until the culture changes from this, I don't see SUVs getting any rarer.
 

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This is a very interesting topic. I have been thinking (and telling my wife, who is probably the only one that won't tell me to shut up or just walk away) that as gas prices rise, there will be no "breaking point" but a gradual change.

People will first stop buying gas guzzlers. Then those that own them will buy econoboxes to drive and only use their SUV for "need to" trips. Then people will just reduce discretionary spending on other things. Then they will start driving a little different to eek out more mpg. THEN they will start driving less.

(Somewhere in here you will see workers demanding pay incentives for commuter costs, some-partiularly unionized workers- will get them)

Lastly, there will be DEMAND for better economy cars.

That will occur, I think, around 4-5 dollars a gallon having lasted almost a year with no end in sight.

I also tend to agree that the "tankful" cost will be the real kicker. You can only hide the credit card buffer for so long.

Just my .02
 

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I believe...all of the above.

$3/gallon is definitely a milestone. It gets some people's attention and makes them think.

Some people will be spurred to dump their SUV now, before it loses any more value, and get something more fuel efficient. Like a hybrid SUV, or a regular passenger car, or a Prius.

Others will hang onto their gas guzzler because they have no real choice. They owe more than it's worth, or just aren't in a position to buy a new car right now. But when the time comes that they can change cars, they'll give more thought to fuel efficiency the next time around.

If gas prices stabilize, people will get used to them and will keep buying power, power, and more power and continue to buy gas guzzlers. People get used to things. Forty years ago, would you have imagined paying $50/month or more for television?

Jan
 

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1. Do you think $3.00 per gallon is the "breaking point"?

$5 a gallon. The Industry has already done a study saying this is the breaking point.

2. Will people "cross over" just for the savings of fuel?

Yes. They're starting now. The techies and the greenies have bought their Prii. The next group is the cheapies who are already car shopping anyway and see a hybrid as a way to save at the pump.

3. Where will all the traded cars go, or will people just own more vehicles?

The newer trades will find homes with cheapies who are short sighted and just looking for a good up front deal. Sorta like the fools that bought the guzzlers during the employee discount scam.

4. How will the economy react?

Badly. The price of everything that relies on oil in any way will go up. Truckers aren't complaining. They're passing the prices on to their customers who are passing it on to the consumers. Food is especially going to go up. The price of everything is going to be affected. A few airlines may go under. There will be other businesses that go under as well. People are going to get laid off as cost cutting measures. Because the CEO of Ford or Chrysler or GM isn't going to cut his own job or his own pay. He'll cut costs somewhere else. Those that have money will just pay more. Those that don't will cut costs everywhere they can. There will be a strain on public transportation, most of which is already inadequate. With a lot of people out of work, there will be a lot of people applying for unemployment. And eventually food stamps, welfare and section 8 housing.

What do I think? The Great Depression didn't have anything on what we're heading in to.

But then, I've always had a talent for seeing the dark side. And sometimes my predictions are frighteningly accurate. Let's hope I'm very wrong about the next 20 years.
 

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SgtKarl said:
That will occur, I think, around 4-5 dollars a gallon having lasted almost a year with no end in sight.
I don't think $4-$5 a gallon will last a year though. We'll blow through those numbers just like we blew through $2 and $3.

Now, imagine what'll be like if people actually start to conserve fuel? Big Oil will raise prices regardless just to keep their record-setting profits on track.

Oh wait, I'll bet Bush's/Mineta's new MPG requirements solve all the problems.

MSNBC said:
At a news conference, Mineta did not unveil complete details of the plan. But he cited one example: minivans currently required to average 21 mpg would be required to get 23.3 mpg by 2011.

But the plan does not apply to cars and the largest SUVs, such as the Hummer H2.
DGStan
 

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There are a lot of people out there who live paycheck to paycheck, yet are driving around in huge, leased SUVs, which even now they can barely afford to fill up. Another $2/gallon increase in gas prices will be disasterous for them. I think the breaking point is around $5/gallon, and when we hit that, there will be rioting in the streets, people stealing gas by siphoning it out of other cars, and you'll never be able to fill-up without paying first.

What kills me is that if so much of their income goes to just putting gas in the tank of their gas guzzler, you'd think they'd attempt to inform themselves about the factors likely to affect future gas prices, and make a better decisions about what vehicle to buy. Instead we'll hear, "Why didn't the government tell us this was going to happen???"

Interesting point about the use of credit cards - I never thought of it, especially wrt. buying gas, since I only buy $20 every three weeks or so. But it's the same as casinos using chips - losing a stack of 20 green chips doesn't feel as bad as losing 25 $20 bills.
 

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Since my unreimbursed LONG travel for the year is now over, I'm planning on going back to 2-3 weeks per tank.

I've already changed barbers since that 200 mile day-trip up to Charlotte didn't produce a better haircut than Great Clips down the street did. I'll miss the browsing in CompUSA and other stores not around here, though.

I would prefer to spend $20 per month on 'fun' things and not fuel increases over last year, but it'll be at least $4 per gallon before I think I'll need to have even less fun...
 

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Godiva said:
What do I think? The Great Depression didn't have anything on what we're heading in to.

But then, I've always had a talent for seeing the dark side. And sometimes my predictions are frighteningly accurate. Let's hope I'm very wrong about the next 20 years.
I'm very curious to hear exactly what predictions you've made that have proven so "frighteningly accurate..."
 

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paul16451 said:
Godiva said:
What do I think? The Great Depression didn't have anything on what we're heading in to.

But then, I've always had a talent for seeing the dark side. And sometimes my predictions are frighteningly accurate. Let's hope I'm very wrong about the next 20 years.
I'm very curious to hear exactly what predictions you've made that have proven so "frighteningly accurate..."
Godiva did predict the election of W, and the success of Simple Life.

(shudder)
 
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