How gullible do they think we are?
By thenick (Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 01:22:04 PM EST) gas prices, somebody should do something (all tags)
If you've watched your local news in the past week, chances are you saw a story about how in unprecedented number, people are pawning their possessions in exchange for money to pay the exorbitant gas prices.

Gas went up all of 30 cents in the past month and now it's driving everyone into the poor house? One guy I saw on Headline News showed a guy pawning an antique watch who stated he only got a check a month from the government and was driving a Jaguar. Why does a guy on public assistance need a Jaguar? I don't care if he did pick it up for $3k as was mentioned, a VW Rabbit or a Geo Metro can be found for under a grand, and neither one will cost as much per mile as a Jaguar. Hell, I've got a job and I drive a Ford Contour that cost less than his Jag's resale value and is decently fuel efficient. If you're driving a nicer car than me and you're collecting food stamps, don't expect me to feel sorry for you. But that's another rant altogether. It just seems strange to me that all of a sudden, we're being bombarded by these stories from all over the country. Even more suspicious is the fact that all of these news reports are coming from Local TV affiliates, not newspapers. For those of you on the other side of the pond, local TV news broadcasts are generally as the retarded cousin of journalism. The rise in customers at pawn shops seeking gas money would have nothing to do with the fact that pawning your TV to fill up your tank sounds a hell of a lot better than telling the pawn dealer that you need money for meth, right? I'd be interested to hear how many of these people looking for "gas money" have horribly decayed teeth and were overly twitchy during the transaction. Just wait, there will be more. By the end of July, someone will claim they committed murder for gas money. And it'll be all over the national news. I'd put money on it. How gullible do they think we are? | 105 comments (105 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback Yeah, and NPR by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 01:56:58 PM EST which is usually above this sort of thing, was claiming a surge in pay-day loans (i.e. short term loans to help through the next pay day) just for gas. OTOH - I was astonished on Sunday when I discovered that several gas stations in my neighborhood were completely out of gas. I was definitely running on fumes and prayers by the time I found a station that was open. -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod I heard that story by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:07:20 PM EST They didn't give any sources, but I didn't hear anything that made me doubt the claim. When a price on a commodity rises, fewer people will be able to afford it--Film At 11. --- Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline [ Parent ] indeed by MillMan (4.00 / 2) #11 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:32:39 PM EST current prices are enough to knock a lot of poorer people out of the market for gas. Everyone falls out at a certain price per gallon, it just hasn't become expensive enough to start picking off much of the middle class yet. When that happens I think we'll start to see a bit of unrest. Poor people are theoretical to most of the population, thus the abstract arguments over whether or not business really is up at the check cashing joint. [ Parent ] Do the brits not pay for gas anymore? by garlic (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:37:55 PM EST Last I checked, they have a price that's about double ours at$6.00 a gallon.

[ Parent ]
sure by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:40:30 PM EST
It's been that way for many years so the poor have already adjusted to the prices - they take public transit.
[ Parent ]
Not to mention the fact by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:49:29 PM EST
that UKia is like the size of Grand Rapids, MI. You can practically walk across it in an afternoon.

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Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:54:12 PM EST
In most cases, public transport's more expensive than the fuel cost of the journey being made. At least in UKian cars. Mostly, the urban poor don't have to make long journeys. The rural poor are in more trouble.

Car ownership and maintenance is more of a problem than fuel, but still just about affordable.

[ Parent ]
fuel cost by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:01:15 PM EST
that is only one part of the total cost of car ownership and isn't a relevant comparison.
[ Parent ]
I know that. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #33 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:10:14 PM EST
It's the one people base their comparisons on, though, and the only one which occurs in regular intervals proportional to number of journeys made.

In the UK, poorer paid jobs are in the places worse served by public transport, too, which tends to make it more likely that people will own a car, and if they own a car, it's pretty likely they'll use it for most journeys.

It's no mecca here.

And I'd better put my money where my mouth is and get the train/bike to work on Wednesday, too.

[ Parent ]
The two main factors: by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #75 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 02:07:03 AM EST

DU and CC

Firstly, DU is right. The UK is tiny. Basically: We've got a fifth of your population squeezed into Oregon. The number of people who make >30 mile commutes is very small proportionately. A spin-off of this is what you could call "urban asymmetry". London is such a massive financial engine for the rest of the country that something like a third of the population live within a hundred-mile radius of it. You see similar, smaller effects with the other two or three large cities.

Secondly; the engine sizes just don't compare. Everyone I know drives a sub-2-litre car. There are larger ones, naturally, and the SUV / "Chelsea Tractor" fetish has broken this trend to a certain extent, but it's still by far the prevalent paradigm. A 4-litre engine is generally considered both massive and grossly excessive over here (unless you have a good occupational reason - agriculture, haulage, industry etc.). The odd exception aside, people generally drive fairly fuel-efficient cars, too. Mine probably isn't one of the most eco-friendly (1.9 litres and reasonably large) but it still gets 50+ MPG at average speeds.

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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Ummm... by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #23 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:58:13 PM EST
A rise of 10-15% over a week hurts, but an extra $3.00 on the price of 10 gallons isn't the difference between eating and going hungry. -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] disagree by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #35 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:15:36 PM EST since there is no substitute for gas, and since you need the gas to make money to survive, it isn't something you can cut back on like orange juice when Florida gets a bad frost. If you're lucky you can afford to get a more fuel efficient car or take the bus, but most poor people don't have that option. You also can't decide to go to work only 4 days a week (and even if you can, you'll only make that much less). You can cut discretionary spending until your necessity costs plus gas are greater than what you make. You can do things like move closer to work, but adjustments like that need time to shake out. A lot of people are guaranteed to lose, though, since the infrastructure of the burbs where a lot of people live and work will take decades to adjust to a world with higher energy prices. [ Parent ] Driving by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #36 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:18:34 PM EST People drive a lot more than just between home and work. One of the first things that happens when gas prices go up is people stop taking vacations. --- [ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman [ Parent ] yes by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #39 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:21:27 PM EST the middle class can still cut a ton of discretionary spending before gas prices really starts causing problems. It's already happening for the poor, though, who have very little discretionary spending money to begin with. [ Parent ] WaPo by cam (2.00 / 0) #91 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 06:14:21 AM EST has an article today on folks that drive from Luray, VA to George Mason University for work. That is 76 miles one way. I also have a mate that drives from Romney, WV to Maclean, VA and back each day. That is 109 miles one way. They are doing that because there is no affordable housing in North Virginia. I know my mate spends his weekend driving his kids around to baseball/t-ball games so he spends his whole week in the car driving. [ Parent ] Right. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #43 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:29:21 PM EST Uh - again,$3.00/week isn't going to break anybody. And $3.00/week assumes you use 2 gallons of gas per day. -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] I still disagree by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #48 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:33:27 PM EST for a poor person driving 40 miles one way to making near minimum wage (think rural areas), they are out of luck. [ Parent ] Minimum wage by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #49 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:34:45 PM EST People making minimum wage are unlikely to be able to afford a car in the first place. --- [ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman [ Parent ] that's minor nit by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #58 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:12:01 PM EST consider, then, the lowest wage someone would earn where they would also likely own a car. [ Parent ] Not entirely by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #60 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:15:01 PM EST The higher that wage is, the less impact the added price of gas will have as the percentage of income it represents goes down. --- [ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman [ Parent ] We'll have to disagree, then. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #51 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:43:16 PM EST I live on the edge of a rural area, have relatives who do minimum-wage agricultural-type work and I don't know any of them who commute 40 miles one way. -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] That makes quite a cogent argument by lm (2.00 / 0) #55 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:58:02 PM EST Are you really arguing that you don't know anyone in that position so, therefore, no one lives in that condition? But if that scenario is implausible to you imagine the guy that lives in the city center where the factories used to be and the factories have all moved thirty and forty miles out where there is no affordable housing because all the old farms are now either zoned for industrial use or subdivisions with houses selling for 300k and up. Given that there are no bus lines that land within 10 miles of the new factories, what's that guy supposed to do? There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best. Cicero, The Republic [ Parent ] Wait. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #56 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:06:15 PM EST You talk about "new factories" and you think I'm making an implausible argument? My perception is that the low end jobs out this way are all either service-type, which are filled by locals or agricultural-type, which are filled by illegals. I am not aware of many people from Philly commuting out of the city each day - and certainly the traffic reports don't indicate that many are. -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] well, when I say rural by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #57 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:07:24 PM EST I'm talking about Montana, not people who live an hour away from a major metropolitan area. [ Parent ] There are factories in Montana? by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #61 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:17:03 PM EST Sorry - unfair. Yes, that's a point, and not one I can speak to since I have no idea what the economy is like in the rural west. Interestingly enough, the BLS indicates Montana has a 3.9% unemployment rate, and 90% of the jobs are "non-farm". I had no idea. I assumed they were all cowboys out there. -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] funny stuff by lm (2.00 / 0) #63 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:43:26 PM EST Ohio has plenty of new factories. Well, not really. Presently just over two percent of all factories in the US are new. That makes about one out of every fifty factories are brand spanking new. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. The down side is that factory closings are up over three percent, so for every three factories being closed, only one new factory is opening. What's worse is that new factory probably employs fewer people at lower wages than the old ones. But that doesn't mean that those who have factory jobs aren't commuting out to exurbia where the new factories are being built. There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best. Cicero, The Republic [ Parent ] No, but it doesn't mean they are, either. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #64 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:50:56 PM EST I wait with bated breath for your traffic reports indicating a large-scale reverse commute in an Ohio city. Also, if 2% of factories are new and 3% are closing, wouldn't that mean that 2 are opening for every 3 that are closing? -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] Nevermind. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #65 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:53:00 PM EST I re-read your post and I understand the different uses of percent. In any case, I still don't see any new factory jobs - anywhere on the planet. -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] Why would their be a large scale reverse commute? by lm (2.00 / 0) #79 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:23:36 AM EST Manufacturing jobs are declining. But you should come to Cincinnati some time to observe the traffic patterns. They're all messed up in so many ways. There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best. Cicero, The Republic [ Parent ] Hey, you're the one claiming by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #84 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:35:41 AM EST that there's an issue with people who live in the cities but commuting out of them to jobs at "new factories". If you can't keep track of your own arguments, that's not my problem. -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] I'm not losing track of my argument by lm (2.00 / 0) #89 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 05:50:11 AM EST You're just failing to see how you're presenting a non-sequitur. There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best. Cicero, The Republic [ Parent ] Snort. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #90 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 06:10:59 AM EST I make a statement about my personal experience - you make an unwarranted assertion that I was applying my personal life to the entire country and back your assertion up with a nonsensical statement about new factory jobs. And I made a non-sequitur? -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] Maybe you're reading to much into my post by lm (2.00 / 0) #92 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 07:35:36 AM EST All I'm saying is that there are new factories being built in the suburbs and exurbs and that some of these factories are replacing factories built in the city proper and that many of the workers at those factories can't afford to live close to those factories and have to drive there. And then you started on some nonsense about huge amounts of reverse'' commuting which has no bearing on the discussion at all. Manufacturing jobs in the US represent how much of the total universe of jobs in the US? Twelve percent? Ten percent? Even if I had alleged that ALL of the factories had moved out of the city, the reverse'' commute traffic for factory workers who still live in the city would be less than a tenth of the total traffic on the road. There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best. Cicero, The Republic [ Parent ] Sort of off-topic nitpick by theboz (2.00 / 0) #86 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:47:42 AM EST There's no such thing as an "illegal" person. - - - - - That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n [ Parent ] counter example: by garlic (2.00 / 0) #96 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 08:22:21 AM EST MNS. game. set. match. [ Parent ] He's not illegal by theboz (2.00 / 0) #98 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 09:11:16 AM EST He just does things that are against the law. That does nothing to validate the legality of his existence. - - - - - That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n [ Parent ] Maybe not by lm (2.00 / 0) #53 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:54:27 PM EST But a family stuck with a beater that gets 15mph because it's the only car affordable to them where the bread winner works thirty miles away because their are no jobs close by and no affordable housing by the job site burns through almost three gallons a day and twenty gallons a week also has to pay higher costs for food and other commodities that are impacted by the higher price of gas. The extra thirty bucks a month or so that needs to be spent on gas can make a big difference to those living paycheck to paycheck. There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best. Cicero, The Republic [ Parent ] Sterling, VA was out of gas too by cam (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:39:47 PM EST But Virginia empties the stores of bread and milk if .5 of an inch of snow is forecast. The funniest "OMFG" story I saw was one on Fox News which was an expose on the killer escalators. Do you know the dangers you face at the local mall? More people are being crippled by escaltors than ever before. We tell you what to watch out for and how to keep your kids safe. [ Parent ] I'm not an idiot, honest. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:51:06 PM EST But in IKEA this evening, I walked onto a travelator from the wrong end. Worse still, I took at least three steps to notice. Half asleep, I was. [ Parent ] the first couple of words show your error by cam (2.00 / 0) #62 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:43:23 PM EST Sure. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #66 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:54:01 PM EST Decent prices, some stuff that's crap, some that isn't. You just need to know what you want. Also, it's convenient. [ Parent ] pray tell by cam (2.00 / 0) #76 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 02:37:48 AM EST what is wrong with walmart? ikea is for anarchist elitists. [ Parent ] walmart's furniture is junk. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #81 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:27:32 AM EST ikea's flat pack stuff is at least a level or 2 above walmart's. [ Parent ] one word for you by cam (2.00 / 0) #83 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:34:34 AM EST lazyboy. I thought lazyboy was a joke before I came to the US. I didnt think it was a real brand. [ Parent ] You can take my La-Z-Boy when you by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #85 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:39:18 AM EST pry it from my cold, dead, butt. We've actually got a double-wide La-Z-Boy, bought it when I was going in for sinus surgery and we thought I'd have to sleep elevated for a while. The secondary benefit turned out that it's perfect for letting the kids (well, just one, now) pile into it with me when I read to them. -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] How much is his Jag worth right now? by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 01:58:20 PM EST Oh, sorry, didn't mean to interrupt your lecture. - Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia. A lot more than my Contour by thenick (4.00 / 1) #15 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:48:25 PM EST In fact, I'd say at least double my Contour's resale value. Come on, a connoisseur of quality British autos like yourself should understand that the repair costs for a Jag aren't exactly cheap. How can he afford the inevitable repairs when he can't even afford the gas? ---------------------------- "'Vengence is Mine', quoth Alvis. And then he shot the guy, right in the freaking face!" [ Parent ] WHOOOSH by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #72 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 11:24:12 PM EST Don't look up, you may get a crick in your neck trying to spot my point. - Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia. [ Parent ] Yeah. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 01:59:27 PM EST OTOH, I can't afford to fill my car up until I get paid. Bit of a bummer, but it's not due to price increases, more to the fact that I've had a lot of extra expenses this month. WIPO: I'm selling both children and one kidney. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 02:00:14 PM EST Damn that Ford Valdiz! -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod It pisses me off by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #5 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 02:07:15 PM EST For two decades I've driven a car that gets 30+ mpg, and used enough public transit that I only fill the tank once a month. To save money, I've kept the same car running for eighteen years. Then, on the news, I see idiots driving late model SUVs whining about how much it costs to fill the tanks of their gas guzzlers. my sympathing == 0. Yeah, I know there are some people that half to drive forever to get to work, or people who actually need big cars, but most of the winers you see are people that use their Ford-150 to haul their own ass and nothing else down the freeway next to the BART train. Fuck them. Listen, you idiots...sell your SUV and buy a goddamn Civic. --- [ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman I passed a Ford 150 the other day. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 02:28:06 PM EST Those things are huge! Intellectually I know they're common as dirt in USia, but I still struggle to believe that you'd actually have a situation where they're every 3rd or 4th car. [ Parent ] LoL. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #27 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:02:41 PM EST 150s are hardly the largest trucks out there, although they are a lot bigger than they used to be. They come in a lot of different sizes, too, from "actual working truck" to "I'm either bringing illegal immigrants into the country or I'm substituting for something." -- You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod [ Parent ] Yeah by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #37 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:19:41 PM EST There's an F-250 and an F-350. --- [ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman [ Parent ] I own an F150 by lm (2.00 / 0) #46 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:31:12 PM EST It's an old one. Gets 12 miles to the gallon when going down hill. But I've also put maybe 400 miles on it in the past year and a half I've owned it. Trucks are for when you need a truck. There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best. Cicero, The Republic [ Parent ] The trucks don't bother me by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #50 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:36:08 PM EST What bothers me is people using them for commuting and then whining about gas. My neighbor has a big truck, but he's a contractor and is constantly using it to haul large loads. --- [ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman [ Parent ] That all depends on the whiner by lm (2.00 / 0) #52 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:49:34 PM EST When my brother-in-law that lives out in exurbanland complains about the price of gas, I have little sympathy. When one of my neighbors who drives around a$500 beater of a truck because it's the only thing he can afford complains about the price of gas, I can commiserate because I was once in that position. It'd be different if most places in the US had decent jobs with affordable housing close by, but most jobs (at least in Ohio) are migrating out further and further from the affordable high density city centers into suburbia and exurbia where the buses runneth not.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Yeah, the diaspora of jobs to the far reaches by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #54 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:56:18 PM EST
vastly complicates bus transportation. If I wanted to take a bus into Philadelphia, I could do it, although I'd probably have to change buses at least twice. If I wanted to take a bus to the considerably closer Trappe, I don't think I could.

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You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod
[ Parent ]
I've always driven smaller cars by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #31 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:05:23 PM EST
except they have a bad habit of not surviving my, ummm, "relaxed" attitude towards machines.

Now I'm driving a little, cheap, pickup. I treat the engine like a baby, and the rest of it like crap. Not the best mileage but I think the overall cost of ownership has been less than when I was driving "nice" cars.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
Me too by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #40 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:23:06 PM EST
I've never seen the point of paying more to get lots of empty space that you never use just so you can swear about how hard it is to get a parking spot. Sometimes I've thought about getting a smaller truck because there are times it'd be nice to have something to haul crap around with.

I'm a firm believer in the theory that you buy a car, maintain the working bits, and only replace it when the yearly repair cost goes above its value.
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[ Parent ]
Yeah, the truck works for me, but only because by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #45 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:31:04 PM EST
my wife has the family-hauler. So, I haul the bicycles, the lumber, the neighbor's sofa, she hauls  the kids.

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You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod
[ Parent ]
Bah. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #38 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:20:15 PM EST
I doubt your eighteen-year-old car gets better than 30 mpg.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
My 12 year old one by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #44 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:29:58 PM EST
gets 50 UKian, 40 USian.

[ Parent ]
Well by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #47 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:32:39 PM EST
I use it for only city driving, and almost never get it above 40 mph...I get around 25 mpg. Back when I commuted long distances, I was getting 33-35 mpg. (This is an '88 Honda Accord.)
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[ Parent ]
Heh. People think I'm nuts but by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #67 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:57:11 PM EST
my 1988 Geo Metro really did get 50 MPG highway. People don't believe it, but the reason is straightforward - 15 years of cheap gas and complaints about subcompacts being unsafe, and, presto, new cars - even new subcompacts - weigh a lot more than they did in 1988.

Heck, that Metro had a 3 cylinder engine that was probably ripped out of somebody's Vespa.

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You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
Cars have gotten big by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #68 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 06:08:07 PM EST
My '88 Honda was bigger than the '81 Honda I had before it, and the new Honda Accords are much bigger than either of those. They also get significantly worse mileage than mine gets.

I love my car. If I could buy another '88 Honda except with airbags, I'd do it.
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[ Parent ]
Yeah, some of it is safety some of it is by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #69 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 06:11:11 PM EST
Americans getting fatter, I suppose.

The down side (and downfall) of that Metro and my wife's 89 was that they both had the stopping characteristics of an air hockey puck.

In mine, I actually slid a good 100 yards on a wet road, trying to brake all the while. Didn't hit the stopped car very hard, either.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod

[ Parent ]
true by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #70 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 06:26:15 PM EST
Mine also doesn't have anti-lock brakes, either. It uses space well, though. It has much more trunk space than my wife's newer Camry even though that car is bigger.

I think a lot of it is psychological...people want to be higher than other drivers.
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[ Parent ]
In '81 the US had the double-nickle by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #73 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 12:45:04 AM EST
I tried to explain to some kid (in his twenties) what it was like driving in the 80s.  To get a 1976 Datsun (not nissan) B210 Honeybee to accelerate, you downshift, floor it, and wait for a downhill.  The only reason you could survive was the fact that cops were aggressively enforcing a 55 mph speed limit for no apparent reason.

I all fairness, this was the absolute cheapest thing out of Japan at the time, and I think my dad's  83 Toyota could accelerate much better (downshift, floor it, wait for a flat road).

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
This is true. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #74 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 01:29:40 AM EST
I once got my Metro up to 85. I think it took about 1/2 an hour on a level road.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod
[ Parent ]
My parents 210 was the first car I drove by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #77 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 03:03:30 AM EST
I think I would get it up to 60 on the expressways.

[ Parent ]
that always makes me wonder by webwench (4.00 / 2) #6 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 02:11:00 PM EST
Of course, a significant rise in fuel costs hits people, some more than others. If you're a traveling salesman driving a big territory, you're more affected than I am, etc, so I recognize there is an effect. Airline and bus ticket prices go up. Food gets more expensive because it's pricier to truck it in... a lot of little ripples.

But for your average Joe or Jane Consumer, how big a deal can it be if fuel for your car is costing you an extra $20 or$30 a month? If an expense like that puts you completely over the edge of your paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, wouldn't almost anything else put you over the edge too? Break your leg, incur a $50 emergency-room copay, and you can't make rent? Your starter blows up; is$200 to replace it going to put you out on the streets? Your kid needs a new band uniform for $25, will you pawn grandpa's watch for that? If these people are skating that close to the edge of financial disaster, I think they'd better start looking for a better-paying job, or a babysitting gig in the evenings, or something. It's really pretty stupid, if you ask me. But maybe I'm living in an ivory tower and don't know it...? Getting more attention than you since 1998. I think you must be by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:05:34 PM EST In my first job out of college I was making about$50/mo less than my (very modest) expenses. We just barely survived long enough for me to get laid off and find a good-paying job. If we'd been losing money at twice that rate or if I hadn't hit the leading edge of the dotcom boom, we'd have been sunk. (For that matter, while I was in college I went without [individual] meals several times and just hoped I'd have enough gas until payday.)

And you are right, all those emergencies would put them over the edge--but I don't see how that invalidates the original claim that an increase in ongoing expense is a bad thing.

"Get a better-paying job" doesn't sound much more helpful than the advice to "get a job" for a homeless person.

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[ Parent ]
I'm a heartless lolbertarian by webwench (4.00 / 1) #18 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:53:35 PM EST
...what do I know. Everyone's poor after college. When I found myself poor after college, I worked a lot of side gigs (prostituted myself out as a 'graphic designer'/flyer bitch to several people for several purposes, and did page-layout work for a small magazine) and eventually decided I was sick of being poor and went off to get a better job. It just... wasn't that hard.

Plus I was edumacated, young, healthy, unencumbered by family or kids, and such, so I had freedom to put in the hours and even move to follow the work opportunities. But now I've probably jinxed myself, will be laid off tomorrow, and be living in mom's basement in three months, at which time I plan on becoming a staunch socialist as a way to further my own interests. Whee!

Getting more attention than you since 1998.

[ Parent ]
Oh arse. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:55:49 PM EST
I buggered up by being rich straight out of uni (admittedly dropping out of a PhD), which is why my life after that's been all to pot. I understand.

[ Parent ]
everyone but you by webwench (2.00 / 0) #24 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:59:32 PM EST
is poor after college, Mr Born With A Silver Spoon Up His Arse (did I use 'arse' right in that context?)

Getting more attention than you since 1998.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I came up lucky. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #30 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:05:08 PM EST
I even found K5 at about that time, which meant that I came here which meant that I got to see that simply darling badger at the end of your comment. He has a face just like Bill from the Rupert cartoons.

And yes, you did use arse right.

And no, I didn't read to the end of your comment where you said having no money was a choice, otherwise I wouldn't have made myself look silly by posting the comment I did.

And rich wasn't particularly rich, it was just well paid enough to make my brother in law hate me.

[ Parent ]
heh by webwench (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:57:45 PM EST
And even with my current cushy gig, I still work side jobs whenever the opportunity arises. I even whored out my body -- what I mean to say is, I signed up to be a medical test subject for a sleep lab, kept sleep records for two weeks, made two visits to a doctor on their dime, and slept overnight in their sleep lab while tied up via about fifty wires to some machine while being videotaped (I've been videotaped in bed!!!) all in the name of getting $350. I'm not sure why, really, except I just can't pass up a paying gig. Getting more attention than you since 1998. [ Parent ] What if you are already doing all that? by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:04:02 PM EST IIRC, one of the people in the NPR story was already working 3 jobs, then had the extra$/mo for gas.

I really don't understand what's so difficult here--it's Econ 101. Prices go up on a resource people need and some are going to be left out in the cold, this is a FAKT.

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[ Parent ]
then it's time to take in another roommate by webwench (2.00 / 0) #32 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:06:05 PM EST
or sell one's body, I'm not sure which one is worse, really.

Getting more attention than you since 1998.

[ Parent ]
However by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #41 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:25:27 PM EST
Rarely are these the people you see whining on the local news.
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Indeed by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #42 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:27:33 PM EST
That's because I never watch the local news, which is 100% crap. The people in the NPR story didn't sound like they were driving SUVs, though.

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[ Parent ]
Right by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #80 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:26:48 AM EST
More to the point, I paid $2.20 for a gallon a couple months ago and on Sunday I drove past a place that was selling it for$3.09. How much was it a year ago, less than $2 clams I think?? So it's not like it's only gone up a nickel and people are freaking out. The cost has gone up close to 100% over the past couple years. Add into that the cost of heating (natural gas) which has doubled over the past few years too and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this translates into financial trouble for anyone who was teetering on the brink to begin with. QED. Warmest regards, --Your best pal Bob [ Parent ] Not to mention by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #82 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:32:10 AM EST a) Even if you can afford a gas price increase for a while, after a year or so it really adds up. b) Wages are decreasing in real dollars while gas prices aren't. --- Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline [ Parent ] Right-O! by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #78 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 04:16:31 AM EST You've inspired me!! I can now see the light!! In fact during my lunch hour I'm going to drive down to the ghetto and pass out college applications to the inner city dwellers to help them on their way to the top!! Hey, I can take some extra for the homeless people too? Let get those lazy good for nothings into school so they can cash in on the good life too!! Golly, I sure hope they all remember their SAT scores, oh heck, they can just take the test again if they don't, no bigggie! Warmest regards, --Your best pal Bob [ Parent ] I'm glad you've seen the light, Bob by webwench (2.00 / 0) #93 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 07:53:14 AM EST Hey, good luck in the ghetto! Getting more attention than you since 1998. [ Parent ] room can be made for sudden expenses by gzt (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:01:24 PM EST for Joe and Jane Middle-Class, it might not, but if you're already scraping by and your baseline budget suddenly goes up, it means less room for those shocks. and, hey, i think women should just stop getting raped, you know? [ Parent ] ha ha by webwench (2.00 / 0) #28 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:03:39 PM EST Was that last troll-bait *really* necessary to make your point? We're being civil in this here thread, sir. Getting more attention than you since 1998. [ Parent ] also by webwench (2.00 / 0) #34 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 04:14:37 PM EST I wasn't denying that an increase in fuel costs could put someone over the edge. My point was that if *that* will put you over the edge, anything will, and sooner or later something else would if the gas prices didn't, so does the problem really lie with the Great Satan of Escalating Gas Prices, or should we point the finger of blame at other, Minor Demons? It's like a 96-year-old grandmother in the hospital... if the broken hip doesn't get her, the pneumonia surely will, and if not that, it'll probably be the emphysema, or the heart trouble, or a stroke, or the colon cancer that hasn't been found yet but soon will. It doesn't make broken hips a newsworthy national crisis, and it doesn't mean we don't love our grandmas. But I digress, and my heartlessness is making itself all too apparent. Someone should post a puppy now. Getting more attention than you since 1998. [ Parent ] you insensitive clod! by yankeehack (2.00 / 0) #59 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:14:39 PM EST 95 year old my grandmother is in the hospital right now for a broken hip! I get the joke, it was too good to pass up... and I saw her on Friday night on a "you better come now, she might not make it" call from my Dad "...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB [ Parent ] you insensitive clod! by martingale (2.00 / 0) #71 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 11:02:11 PM EST Why post a puppy? Can't someone think of the boobies? --$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$[ Parent ] I'm thinking of boobies. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #105 Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 06:38:18 AM EST And I don't need anyone to tell me to. [ Parent ] You do live in an ivory tower by theboz (4.00 / 2) #87 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 05:13:38 AM EST If an expense like that puts you completely over the edge of your paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, wouldn't almost anything else put you over the edge too? Break your leg, incur a$50 emergency-room copay, and you can't make rent?
Keep in mind that the majority of bankrupcies are caused by medical expenses. However, that is more for middle class people. If you are poor, you simply don't go to a doctor, unless there is a free clinic. If you get sick, that's simply too bad. If you're going to die, then you go to the emergency room without any ID and try to avoid being identified so they can bill you.
Your starter blows up; is $200 to replace it going to put you out on the streets? No, you simply don't replace it, or you find a way to get one from a junkyard for significantly less and you fix it yourself. In the meantime, you walk or if you know other people you get a ride. Your kid needs a new band uniform for$25, will you pawn grandpa's watch for that?
Band uniform? Are you joking? Why the hell would a poor person buy a band uniform? That's like saying, "let them eat cake."
If these people are skating that close to the edge of financial disaster, I think they'd better start looking for a better-paying job, or a babysitting gig in the evenings, or something.
College graduates can't even get decent jobs very easily in this economy. How can someone who is already stretched to the limits get a better job? I've not seen an entry level I.T. job since at the latest 2001, much less anything that someone could possibly get without education.
It's really pretty stupid, if you ask me. But maybe I'm living in an ivory tower and don't know it...?
It seems you've lived with wealth your whole life or something. I'm not saying this to insult you, just that I don't think you can truly understand how it is to be poor without experiencing it yourself. There were points in my childhood where I felt it, so I have an idea, but never had to live through it like so many others have for generations. Even the poverty I lived in as a kid was not that bad. I grew up with a roof over my head and food on the table, even if some of the money for that came from the tax base and my grandparents for a few years. I can't imagine the lives of these people who don't even have electricity and have to grow their own food. There is no way out of poverty in this nation right now other than luck. The idean that you can work hard and benefit from it is a lie.
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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Wealth? by webwench (2.00 / 0) #94 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 08:02:35 AM EST
OK. I wish I'd known that during the ~5 years mom and I lived in a cockroach-infested shithole while she rejoined the workforce. That was before she dug her way out of the hole vis a vis working her way up into jobs with reasonable pay and benefits, via a hell of a lot of work and a lot of sacrifices... oh shi, I mean before she struck the lottery and married us both into a rich family and found that magical silver spoon stuck up our asses that we'd just forgotten about, because lord knows there's no such thing as working hard and benefiting from it.

You know as well as I do there are ways out of poverty other than just luck, and that it's not a lie that you can work hard and benefit from it. Come on. Success isn't guaranteed, and it's harder to reach for some than it is for others based on any number of factors we all recognize, but impossible? Naw.

Getting more attention than you since 1998.

[ Parent ]
Interesting you mentioned the lottery by theboz (2.00 / 0) #97 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 09:09:47 AM EST
You know as well as I do there are ways out of poverty other than just luck, and that it's not a lie that you can work hard and benefit from it. Come on. Success isn't guaranteed, and it's harder to reach for some than it is for others based on any number of factors we all recognize, but impossible? Naw.
It's possible, as winning the lottery is also technically possible, but it can be difficult and much depends on luck in both cases. If hard work could get you out of poverty, there would be a lot less poor black people, for example. In their case, there is not only poverty but also prejudice to overcome to join the middle or upper classes. Going to college is no guarantee of success either, as more and more graduates are unable to find jobs and end up going back to work at McDonalds and live with their parents. If you believe that there is a formula that works even most of the time where hard work = success, then I'd like to see it. In my case, it's working the opposite. The lazier I become, the more success I find. It just takes luck.
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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Hmm by webwench (2.00 / 0) #99 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 10:18:06 AM EST
When you successfully manage to disassociate work with success in your mind, you've found an excellent justification for being lazy and never really trying to accomplish anything. I haven't found that lack of association to apply to my career, unfortunately.

Getting more attention than you since 1998.

[ Parent ]
Well then by theboz (2.00 / 0) #100 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 01:36:42 PM EST
Why don't you come to work in the oil industry and see for yourself?
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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Hmm by webwench (2.00 / 0) #101 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 06:10:09 PM EST
What's it pay? Maybe it beats telecom?

Getting more attention than you since 1998.

[ Parent ]
Yes it does by theboz (2.00 / 0) #104 Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 03:43:49 AM EST
On the telecom side I've worked at BellSouth, Cingular, Verizon, and a small company that is now out of business. I've worked for two oil/chemical/gas companies now, and they pay much better.
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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Well said by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 2) #95 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 08:13:04 AM EST
Here's a real world example.

My sister got divorced last year. During the marriage they had two kids and a house which she got. He made a very good living (well into the 6 figures) and she was a housewife.

After the divorce he quit his job and stopped paying any support. As a direct result my sister (who did get a job while the divorce was going through) has suffered quite a bit of financial ruin. She has just recently sold the house which will provide her with enough money to pay off her immediate creditors and get an apartment for her and the kids somewhere. To say that an extra 10 or 15 bucks doesn't mean much to her at this point would be completely untrue.

But it should be okay now as I just emailed her and told her to get a better job, so she should be just fine.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
well murder over gas money by TPD (4.00 / 2) #10 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:13:27 PM EST
has been all over the news here since march, 2003

why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM
wait a minute, didn't you vote for bush? by rmg (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 03:54:16 PM EST
We're all being robbed, to put it bluntly by theboz (4.00 / 3) #88 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 05:28:00 AM EST
The gas prices are going up for a variety of reasons, which I don't feel like expanding on much except to say this:

Companies are supposed to help keep prices low by getting government subsidies. Effectively, we're paying them to not raise prices too much. However, the government we have in place right now is complicit, the politicians are paid off, so there is no threat of revoking the free money we give the gas companies, so they raise prices as much as they want.

The gas companies here are making record profits, which show that all the excuses are hollow. There is no way to blame OPEC when American companies are making the profits, and any saber rattling about Iran does not have any influence on production levels of gas. The only real reason gas prices are going up is simply that rich guys want to become richer.

Gasoline will also become more scarce not because of the myth of peak oil, but rather that the companies intend to raise prices. Look at it this way. If you got paid $1 a gallon to drill, pump, refine, transport, and sell gasoline and it cost you$0.75 to do all of that, why would you not simply cut back on your production, lowering your expense to about $0.50 and make gas more scarce, raising prices to$1.25? That's \$0.75 extra in profit, for doing less work in less time. It's really simple. Nobody is going to build another refinery until the government forces them to. Nobody is going to find any way to increase production until the government forces them to. Nobody is going to lower prices until the government forces them to. A Republican controlled government will not force them to, and a Democratic controlled government would probably only threaten to do something.
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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n

Why not cut back production? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #102 Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 08:41:44 PM EST
Because that shit is costing you money, if you use it, or not.

If it's true that you're in the oil business, you'd know that much of the equipment is fucking expensive and heavily amortised, and you're making payments on it no matter how heavily it's used.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
From a greedy standpoint you are right by theboz (2.00 / 0) #103 Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 03:42:33 AM EST
Cutting production saves you money, and causes the price to go up because gasoline becomes more scarce.

On the other hand, we're all paying tax dollars to give to the oil companies. If they're going to take our money without our choice, they shouldn't be allowed to raise prices just for their own profit. The expense of running their refineries and other machines are not hurting them in any way, for obvious reasons. Of course, that's also one reason they don't want to replace anything -- it would cost money too. I don't think we've had a refinery built in this country since something like the late 70's early 80's.

Bottom line, the oil companies are ripping us off. There's no way to justify what you see here other than pure greed. Their operating expenses have not increased anywhere near enough to justify their huge profits.
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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n

[ Parent ]
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