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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Gas Prices!! (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Gas Prices!!
pH
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Yeah, but Southern cities are really too spread out for effective public transportation. And although having a subway would probably be nice, but we can't even bury people underground, much less dig subway tunnels.
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Nick
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pH? What's wrong with making U-turns?

*lives in a state where they're legal*
[Razz]

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pH
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It's not that they're illegal. Left turns are illegal, though. It's just that when you sit in your car in the middle of the streetcar track, the streetcar doesn't always stop in time...

Then they shut down the entire streetcar line for the day.

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Ela
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I paid $1.889 for gas today. There was another station down the street charging $1.859, and that's the lowest I've seen around here. We usually get the cheapest gas we can get, unless it adversely affects the way the car runs. (For example, there is one low-priced gas station that my husband won't go to cause the gas makes the engine knock.)

I would use public transportation in a heartbeat if there were reasonable public transportation around here. In fact, it would make our lives a lot easier, in terms of getting kids to and from school and getting to work.

The current state of public transportation here is that it can take all day to get from point A to point B to run one errand. Who has time for that kind of nonsense? And people keep voting down proposals to improve public transportation. They would rather clog the highways (and I do mean clog) with their gas-guzzling SUVs. [Roll Eyes]

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bCurt
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$1.899 here in the Panhandle of Texas.
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rivka
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$2.19 in the City of Angels (and that's the cheapest -- I've seen $2.35 for 87).

I have a hard enough time getting two kids to school by 8:00, and then another (back in the other direction about 15-20 minutes) by 8:20 and me a mile from there by 8:25. All I need is to fit that into a bus schedule. HA!

Give me public transportation that can let me do all that, and I'm sold! Until I had kids (plural -- it was actually after I had my second), I took buses everywhere. But with kids in tow it becomes very difficult.

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Lupus
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I just had to fill up to go visit my mother (well, my whole family really...but she was the main reason for the visit) for mothers day, 1.90 a gallon.

Driving an SUV can be very expensive at times. Good thing I can use mass transit around town.

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angelily
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Here in the Bay Area, we're up to $2.69.
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Nick
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Ela, I'm definitely with you on the SUV thing. I hate them. There is no reason to have such a large car if you don't live in a treacherous terrain, or you tow a large trailer.

I don't have too many issues with the six-cylinder SUVs (raised minivans [Taunt] ), but do you really need a 5.9 liter Dodge Hemi Durango/Ram? A 5.7 liter Toyota iForce Tundra/Sequoia? A 5.9 liter Ford Expedition/Explorer? These are pointless to own. I live in a valley flatter than a pancake, and yet these SUV drivers comprise over 50% of the cars on the road in my area, and they don't tow anything. [Mad]
quote:
Left turns are illegal, though.
pH, left turns are illegal where you live?!? [Eek!]
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Mabus
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I believe that the regular gasoline here is 1.79, unless it's gone up again.

In small towns like this public transportation is near non-existent. There just isn't the funding to make it worthwhile, nor can there be--no tax base.

There is a transit bus and a rather expensive taxi service. To use either, you must also have a working phone; they don't make regular rounds.

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pH
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Yeah, in New Orleans, you can't make left turns a good deal of the time. Our road system sucks (enough to actually justify owning an suv). You have to drive past where you're turning into, make a u-turn, and drive back.
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kaioshin00
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I went to Texas once and the traffic lights were horizontal. I'm used to vertical traffic lights. Is there any point to this reply? I dont think so.
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Ela
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Nick, the vehicles that get my daughter are Hummers. She always remarks on them, something on the order of: "You need a Hummer to drive on the highway in south Florida?" [Roll Eyes]
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Lime
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This is why my next car will be a Prius. I'm about as environmentally protective as I can be right now (my Accord does not even move, people), and I think that the Prius is the best move for me to make.

That is, of course, if I get the job that I had a promising interview for yesterday... *crosses fingers*

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Dan_raven
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Gas prices went up another 10cents today in STL.

Hmmm. Diesel prices remain the same, which means the cost of transporting goods does not increase so overall inflation does not jump so that interest rates stay low.

If there is a shortage of fuel how can diesel remain low but gasoline go up? It can't.

That means the shortage is in the pipeline from the refinery to the pump. Too few pipelines, gas reformulation, the drop of certain dangerous additives, all add up to the increase.

Or this is Enron-style California Energy scam on a wider scale.

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pH
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I would be looking at hybrid cars more seriously, except for a few things such as the fact that they don't offer v6s, the hybrid models are usually very limited in terms of options, and the things haven't really been around that long...I don't trust 'em yet.
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saxon75
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Hybrids make sense as an environmentally friendly alternative, but not as a money saver. The amount you save in gas is less than the amount extra you'd pay over a comparable vehicle over the expected lifetime of the car.

Edit: I should say that this is only how things are now. As time passes and hybrid technology matures and becomes more widely used it should become cheaper.

[ May 11, 2004, 01:04 PM: Message edited by: saxon75 ]

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Bokonon
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Hybrids help a bit considering my mileage in a 85 Volvo 240.

Hybrids have been on the market 4-5 years now, pH, they are made by 2 high reliability companies (Honda and Toyota) and by all accounts they have lived up to their reputations.

If you want a V6, you are sorta defeating the purpose of having a hybrid. If there is one thing they are NOT designed for, it's speed/accfeleration.

However, supposedly there will be a V6 hybrid Honda Accord out in the fall or next spring. That may tickle your fancy.

-Bok

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pH
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Yes, but five years isn't exactly a long time, in the grand scheme of things. I need the acceleration of a v6 (my father would add, especially considering the way I drive...lies! [Razz] ), and I really think I agree with my parents on waiting a while before running out to get a hybrid. Maybe after the car I'm getting next week dies, I'll feel more comfortable with hybrids. It'd also be cool if more than two companies started making them.
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Ayelar
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I was looking at the Honda Accord Hybrid yesterday, and it said it started at $19K new. Maybe my pricing sense is a little out of whack since I've only ever shopped for Volvos, but isn't that pretty reasonable for a car? Especially since Honda's are supposed to be so reliable?

<--- wants a Volvo XC Hybrid like there's no tomorrow. [Wink]

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bCurt
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I filled up this morning for $1.839. Some stations have gone down here since yesterday (barrel prices dropped a little due to an announcement from Saudi Arabia about increasing production by 1.5 million barrels).

$19k sounds reasonable. The hybrids have excellent acceleration. I've driven a Honda Insight and was impressed. An Accord or Prius would be more feasible. I would buy one if I could afford a new car.

The Ford Escape hybrid is coming soon and GM is coming out with some hybrid trucks in two years or so. I'm hoping for a hybrid minivan to take the family around in.

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rivka
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ACK! Not only did they go up from yesterday to this morning -- $2.19 to $2.21 at the cheapest place nearby -- they ALSO went up from this morning to this afternoon! I had to pay $2.23! *dies*
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Bokonon
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Yeah, I should add that the electric motor really kicks butt on low end acceleration. pH, you'd be one of the fastes of the line going from 0-20, say, but after that you'll eat most any car's dust.

Also, people are amazingly flexible creatures, and can adjust to new conditions [Smile]

A Volvo XC hybrid _would_ rule.

Also, 5 years is actually a very decent time within which to make conclusions on a line. Generally, in the automotive world, if it doesn't break in the first 30k miles, it won't break until the end of it's expected lifetime. In fact, that's generally true of most manufactured things (bad computers generally manifest their issues fairly quickly, or never at all).

-Bok

EDIT: Ayelar, you were looking at the Civic Hybrid; there are no published specs on the Accord Hybrid yet, I believe. The Civic Hybrid is 19.5k for a stick, 20.5k for a CVT.

[ May 11, 2004, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: Bokonon ]

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Suneun
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aren't there much better, efficient cars that companies have developed, but not released? someone back me up on this?
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Bokonon
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Well, in the past, big car companies have been known to buy up fledgling alt-power companies and just sort of sit on the research, for no apparent reason.

I mean, they could all start making aerodynamically efficient, gas-sipping econo-boxes tomorrow, but people (in the general sense) don't want them.

-Bok

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Nick
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The reason why hybrids don't have a V6 motor is because of one simple reason. The gasoline motor has nothing to do with the direct propulsion of the vehicle. The entire drivetrain is is powered by the electric motor. The electric motor is powered by batteries (nickel-metal hydride I believe), which are charged by the gasoline motor.

That is why a V6 motor would not increase actual torque, it would simply increase the rate of the battery charge. A "V6" car is called a V6 because it has six cylinders that are arranged in a pattern of a V. There are six cylinder cars that don't have a V6 motor.

I have a four cylinder car, but it's not a V4. My engine is a "boxed" engine (slang). The cylinders are horizontally opposed.

Does the help answer any questions?

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Bokonon
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Nick, that's only generally true of the Prius. The Civic hybrid uses the electric motor as an acceleration assist. At least, that's what I've gathered from researching their sites and other online info.

-Bok

EDIT: I should add that Honda even utilizes a cylinder-control scheme where it will turn off some cylinders, based on the power need... SO that implies to me that the engine IS required, sometimes, to drive the vehicle, not just as a powerplant for the motor.

[ May 11, 2004, 06:17 PM: Message edited by: Bokonon ]

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Nick
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quote:
aren't there much better, efficient cars that companies have developed, but not released? someone back me up on this?
I'll back you up on it. [Smile]

They're called fuel cell cars, and they work by harnessing the electric current that is released when oxygen meets with hydrogen to form electricity. They accomplish this with a permeable layer that conducts electricity. Unfortunately, one of these layers only generates about .7 volts of electricity. But they are very thin, and can be stacked. You can create a large amount of electricity by doing this. It only needs a pure source of hydrogen (the challenge that GM, Daimler Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota are all facing) to run because there is not a shortage of oxygen. The only "exhaust" is heat and pure, distilled, drinkable water.
More info:
Click on the link on the right that says: "How fuel cells work"
Here.

[ May 11, 2004, 06:37 PM: Message edited by: Nick ]

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mackillian
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I grew up driving V6 and V8s and have a four banger now with some damn good pickup.

...and have the tickets to prove it. o_O

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Nick
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I didn't know that the Civic hybrid used it's combustion engine to help propel it. Could you provide how you learned this, I would like to see it.
*is a visual learner*
[Smile]
EDIT: I'm just not typing well today! [Embarrassed]

[ May 11, 2004, 06:37 PM: Message edited by: Nick ]

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Nick
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I know what's up with that mack? Do cops target four cylinder vehicles? My first car was a Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 (which had more pickup than almost any four cylinder! 5.2 V8 [Big Grin] )
I never got a ticket in that car, but I got my Subaru wagon and I got a ticked a week later for 18 over the limit. [Wall Bash]

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Nick
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quote:
SO that implies to me that the engine IS required, sometimes, to drive the vehicle, not just as a powerplant for the motor.
How would that imply that that it would have to drive the vehicle? Maybe that means the the batteries are at full charge, and the engine does not have to run full speed to keep the batteries charged enough to run the electric motor.

Just a thought. You do seem to know more about the Civic Hybrid than I do, but I'm not seeing the logic there. [Dont Know]

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Bokonon
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From the honda site:

quote:
The latest version of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA™) system thrusts the Civic Hybrid to the forefront of hybrid technology. On the electric side of the power-producing equation is an ultra-thin brushless DC motor. Assisting the engine as needed, this highly efficient, compact unit increases total torque output by a whopping 66% at 1000 rpm. And conveniently enough, you never have to plug the Hybrid in for recharging.
-Bok

EDIT: I should add, that none of the in-production hybrids can drive without gas. They explicitly warn you in the guide to not drive the tank empty, even if you have a full battery pack.

[ May 11, 2004, 07:09 PM: Message edited by: Bokonon ]

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saxon75
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Nick,

There are two general schemes for hybrid vehicle technology: the parallel configuration and the series configuration. In the series configuration, the electric motor does all the work of moving the vehicle while the engine only generates electricity for charging the battery. In the parallel configuration, both the engine and the motor work to move the vehicle, and the engine also generates electricity to charge the battery. You seem to be talking about the series configuration. But neither Honda nor Toyota uses a completely series configuration.

As Bok mentioned, Honda uses a parallel configuration. Toyota uses a sort of in-between configuration that acts like a series configuration at low speeds (under 15 mph) and a parallel configuration at freeway speeds.

Now, because most of where a high torque engine is working is low-end acceleration, you're probably right that the way the Prius is built wouldn't necessarily speed up acceleration by putting in a bigger engine (because at the low end the motor is doing all of the work). But it probably would make a difference when speeding up from, say, 40 to 60.

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Glenn Arnold
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I bought my Prius last week. (28,000 miles, $15,000 from the dealer) It moves fine thank you. But if you drive like me it only gets 43 mpg on the highway.

As for options, I've got buttons for cd changers, gps mapping (the touch screen display is standard, it shows you the car's functions, an acts as the interface for the stereo) highway alerts, and so forth. When I touch the buttons the display reads "the external system is not connected" (In other words, you can buy it, but it's not on this unit) I think it's pretty cool that the radio displays the name of the song and the artist, along with the radio station's call letters. The little fuel mileage bar graph and power flow chart thingy is pretty neat too.

I've got automatic air conditioning, cruise control, ABS, factory alarm system, power windows and door locks. (And three trip odometers)

What options do you need?

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Nick
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I never said anything about a specific car. I didn't know that hybrids had another way of working besides the series configuration (to use your words). I know now though. Thanks for the information, I always like learning new stuff about new "techy cars." [Smile]
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pH
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Leather, for one.

I'd like to add, before you all go jumping on me for being a self-centered gas guzzler, I'm not the only one involved in the car decisions. My parents are paying for it, so if they want me to wait until my next car to look more carefully at hybrids, that's what's going to happen.

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Ayelar
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Heh, pH, you're a college freshman and your parents are buying you... a new car? And you need leather? [Wink]
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Dan_raven
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Interesting News:

I somehow got on the Saudi Arabian Embassy User Group. They send me mail once or twice a week. Enclosed is their most recent mail that came in yesterday:

quote:
Saudi Arabia is calling for OPEC to increase oil production to prevent high crude prices from hindering global economic growth. According to a May 10 statement by Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi the OPEC production ceiling should increase by at least 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd), or just over six percent.

Al-Naimi said that such an increase was "essential" to balance global supply and demand after prices spiked to $40 a barrel last week, adding that the Kingdom is committed to “maintaining sufficient supplies to avoid price fluctuation that might have a negative effect on producers, consumers and the oil industry as a whole.”

Al-Naimi attributed international increases of oil prices to a number of causes, such as the market's unwarranted fear of disruption in oil supplies, “the trend among traders and investors to purchase and maintain long-term contracts for commodities such as oil” and “the expected shortage in some types of gasoline in the United States as a result of the stringent environmental regulations that have aggravated the crisis and contributed to price increases both in products and crude.”

"We ... do not want to see prices rise to the level that they negatively affect the growth of the international economy or the demand for oil," said Al-Naimi. "It is apparent that demand, especially in Asia, has been increasing, and will continue to increase in the second half of this year."

The Saudi proposal will be reviewed by other OPEC oil ministers at the International Energy Forum in Amsterdam on May 22-24 and Al-Naimi will “try to reach an understanding for an increase in the production ceiling” at the June 3 OPEC meeting in Beirut.


Good news.

They went further in a follow up news letter. They suggested reading This Reuters article on why gas prices are going up.

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pH
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Ayelar: If my parents want to get me a car with leather, hey. [Razz]
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Ayelar
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Hey, if they're feeling generous, I could use a little lovin' up here... [Smile]
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Ela
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Dan, I heard a story relating that "Saudi Arabia is calling for OPEC to increase oil production to prevent high crude prices from hindering global economic growth" on the news yesterday morning.
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Dan_raven
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I missed it, but I love their e-mails that keep saying, "Hey, Its not our fault."
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Nick
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*wants leather too* [Smile]

I hope I can find a VW Golf with leather than I an afford no older than a 2000. With less that 50,000 miles. Not possible I know, but I can dream right?

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Ayelar
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Since this is my thread, and I can derail it all I want, ha ha ha.... why is leather seating seen as more desirable in cars? Our old Volvo had blue fabric, and our new one has tan leather, and I have to say I really preferred the fabric. Sure, it didn't look as fancy, but it was a lot less affected by weather conditions and wasn't as slippery. And we're supposed to use this leather conditioner to care for it? Pff.

I guess I need me one o' dem fine sheepskin covers, like them's at the gas station. Mighty fine.

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Lupus
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OPEC does not really care about the world economy. The real reason they try to keep crude prices from going to high is alternate fuel. Right now gas prices are not enough to motivate most Americans to buy an alt fuel car...nor is it enough for the government to put more money into research in these types of cars. However, OPEC realizes that if things get to bad, we will put more effort into alt fuel sources (or hybrid) and once that happens, OPEC is through for good. The hardest thing about changing fuel sources is setting up the infrastructure...once that is done, keeping it up is easy. If OPEC looses America, they are screwed. Right now they are flirting with a very dangerous price range. It is getting to the range where people are started to get pissed off, and are talking more about other sources. I believe that if the average gas price in the USA gets up to 3 bucks within the next couple of years, there will be a bigger push for the alt fuel sources…leading to a decrease in fuel usage, which will nail OPEC.
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Glenn Arnold
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Well, I bought my Prius used, so leather wasn't an option. I don't know whether it's available or not.

But as far as that goes, I don't like leather seats either. You might as well get vinyl. I'll take cloth any day.

Bush and Cheney say that "you can't reach energy independence through conservation." That's almost as good as "WAR IS PEACE - FREEDOM IS SLAVERY - IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH"

The ONLY way to achieve energy independence is through conservation. What? Are we supposed to achieve energy independence through consumption?

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bCurt
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An old thread but is humorous to see what we thought were high gas prices.
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AvidReader
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So in seven years, it's gone up about 200%? There's some impressive inflation.
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Jeff C.
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Wow, that's insane. I wish I only had to pay 2 bucks for a gallon of gas. I just can't believe we've already hit 4 dollars. Now THAT is crazy. How does gas double in price in less than a decade, anyway? Do they even know?
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