Monday, July 24, 2006

A View Of Some Reasons Why Fuel Consumption Sucks

I've tried to avoid complaining about the way gas prices have been increasing. It's been hard, but so far I've been lucky. Right now with gas prices averaging $3 a gallon (a 25-year high according to a report from MSNBC), it costs about $37 to fill up the tank on my Escape (no it's not a hybrid - sigh....) and I fill up about once every 7-8 days. Some other folks I know haven't been so lucky - one friend of mine is paying about $100 to fill up his tank, and because he's leasing, he's stuck for the next two years.

(Want to know how much gas is averaging in your area? Click on this link for a chart giving a state-by-state breakdown of gas prices in the country.)

Next year at this time, when gas prices (if they keep increasing at the current rate) hit $4 or even $5 a gallon, the story could be completely different, who knows how I'll be affected. And we all know how it's affecting the economy - the Big Three (especially Ford) are struggling with huge inventories of big SUVs that were profit centers for the auto industry before the oil prices went out of control, and families everywere are coping as best they can to deal with the strains on family budgets. Add in the tenuous situation in the Middle East, and the world's struggles with oil and fossil fuels are just beginning.

In short, our dependence on fossil fuels and our current fuel consumption sucks. Don't believe me? Check out some of these stories for more proof.
  • High prices are making drivers more reckless, like this guy who did his best Evel Knievel imitation, including a really nasty wipe out probably caused by a faulty carberator. The story includes a video link if you are the type who can't turn away from a car (or bike) wreck.
  • Increased evidence of global warming - the heat of the summer has affect all points east, midwest, and west. Even beauty queens wearing chain mail dresses aren't immune.
  • People are searching for ways to keep the U.S. auto industry afloat, but nobody can really define what a domestic auto truly is any more. A poll conducted by the Detroit Free Press and Channel 4 Michigan shows that the majority of Michigan citizens prefer to buy American when they purchase a vehicle, but the line between domestic and foreign is not as clear as it used to be. For example, did you know that the Fusion, currently one of Ford's better selling vehicles, is built in Hermosillo, Mexico? Or that the Honda Accord is made in Ohio? Or that the Mitsubishi Raider is built by UAW workers in Warren, Michigan? I found out that my Ford Escape is built on a modified Mazda 626 platform and will be manufactured in Taiwan beginning in 2007. They car you own may be violating immigration laws.
  • If you think gas is expensive for your car, truck, or SUV, can you imagine how much it costs to fuel up the Space Shuttle? True, the shuttle runs mainly on liquid hydrogen (a fuel that's not being realistically explored for use in automobiles) and oxygen , but when your vehicle has a fuel tank that has a volume of 53,518 cubic feet, you're bound to max out your Visa card at the pump. The next shuttle mission is scheduled for an August launch, but think of the example NASA and the Federal government could set by deciding to curb all unnecessary travel and conserve energy? There's really no reason to go to space right now, especially since a recent report revealed that the final frontier most Americans would like to conquer - sex in in outer space - carries such downsides as spacesickness ("...Save the acrobatics for post-play vs. foreplay...."), an abundance of sweat and pooling of other bodily fluids due to a natural convection, and complicated physics and Velcro to help couples maintain the proper posture to, ahem, maintain connection and achieve maximum thrust (try not to giggle the next time you hear that phrase from Mission Control) - that even if it could be achieved, the experience would be (and this is a direct quote from a NASA physician) "underwhelming." Why spend all that cash and consume all that fuel for underwhelming sex when you can just stay home and have underwhelming sex the old fashioned, earthbound way?

I told you, fossil fuels and excessive fuel consumption sucks for us. And not even in the good way. If you're a Kuwaiti citizen, however, you're doing quite well given the current state of fuel consumption. According to this report, Kuwait's financial assets have topped $166 billion dollars, allowing the government to give each citizen a grant of $690. The board of directors at Exxon Mobil are looking into relocating their headquarters based on this news - they only made a profit of $25.3 billion dollars in 2004, a record.

More to come later. After I feel the pain at the pump.


Blogger Chuck said...

Tem, you might say I travel too much. My commute is 800 miles a week, with a 1994 Plymouth. It does "Fairly well", mileage wise, but it's KILLING me anyway. Our prices hit 3.10 today. Unfortunately, there's nothing closer to home. My wife's vehicle, a 93 Ford P/U...well, the mileage is less by half. She travels only 400 miles/week.
The Mazda needs a tranny (Can't afford), the Van needs tires/tranny/and new paint job. (what's worse?) And my tractor? Burned out engine, can't seem to locate a new engine! (One very large hole in the crankcase!)

It's too bad we can't get the home business going.

I need a nap. I need MONEY, too. :)

11:35 PM  

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