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No $4 gas this summer, but . . .

Pump prices will still hover 35% above last year's, and who's to blame for that?

By doubleace Jun 8, 2011 1:43PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.

 

In what passes for good news these days, the Energy Information Administration, a government agency, predicts that the average retail gasoline price through the end of the summer driving season on Sept. 30 will be $3.75 a gallon.

 

Make that "just $3.75." After all, gas averaged $3.91 nationwide in May, with a high of $3.988, at which point 16 states averaged over $4.

 

Try to contain your joy. Here's what $3.75 gas means to the typical two-vehicle American household over the next four months:

 

Using conservative assumptions -- two passenger cars that average 23 miles per gallon and are each driven 1,000 miles a month -- the cost would be $1,304, or $326 a month. A year ago, when gas averaged $2.76, summer driving would have cost $960, or $240 a month.

 

That's a big chunk of cash, so let's pause here while you curse the culprits of your choice: heartless Big Oil, a clueless Obama, greedy speculators, a burned-out light bulb in a refinery in Texas, gas-thirsty Asians, bribed legislators, nutty environmentalists, whatever.

 

You forgot one: you. Post continues after video.

According to EIA figures reported in The Wall Street Journal, while gas prices spun depressing upward in the first quarter of this year, your gas consumption dropped just 0.3% compared with a year earlier. Obviously, you did most of your whining while driving 75 mph on the freeways and going from zero to 60 between stoplights.

What's worse, you didn't learn from your mistakes. The EIA predicts that in the next four months, gas consumption will rise 0.4% over the same period in 2010. And, USA Today reports that sales of gas-chugging muscle cars -- Ford Mustangs, Dodge Challengers and Chevrolet Camaros -- outpaced hybrids 19,476 to 17,852 in May.

 

Yes, those figures were distorted by the unavailability of the most popular hybrids after the Japanese earthquake, but while sales of the popular Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado series pickups dropped 15% and 15.7% in May (possibly due to cutbacks in business purchases due to the still-troubled economy), the Chevy Malibu outsold the Hyundai Sonata in the family car category. The Malibu not only gets 7 mpg less than the Sonata, according to Consumer Reports, it also costs $2,000 more.

 

There are issues beyond your control when it comes to gasoline prices and consumption, but right now American consumers don't seem too interested in controlling the things they can.

 

More on MSN Money:
8Comments
Jun 9, 2011 9:34AM
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The Malibu actually gets the EPA posted numbers the Sonata and the new Elantra do not. Read the latest Motor Trend magazine -- while they rated the Elantra well it didn't get even close to its 40 mpg claim in real driving. actually couldn't even achieve 30 mpg.

 

Also -- please stop blaming the consumer. I'm a big guy but I switched from a pick up to a compact 2 years ago to help with gas consumption. would have switched to a diesel compact at 58 mpg (widely available in Europe) but I had to settle for a 30 mpg + compact.

Jun 9, 2011 11:47AM
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This is oversimplifying things a bit, but here's your breakdown of consumers:
  1. People who can change their transportation methods, and want to.  They'll change - smaller car, walk more, bicycle, public transport.
  2. People who can't change their transportation methods, although they do want to.  Long commutes, can't move, can't afford to change cars, can't change jobs because of the economy, bad public transport system.  They're somewhat stuck unless something really drastic happens.
  3. People who don't want to change, no matter their circumstances.  Whether due to ingrained habits, laziness, or whatever, they'll keep on doing what they're doing.
Did I miss a class?

Which one are you?

Jun 9, 2011 2:33PM
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I use my truck for my job.  And I don't mean just driving back and forth to work.  My gas cards last month were about $825.  That's up over $300 a month from last year.  I wish I was only using $326 a month.  I have no choice though.  Those little cracker box gas sipping foreign jobs wouldn't last a week on the roads I have to drive on. 

I do have to agree with the article in one respect, 90% of the people driving those big SUV's and big **** pickups don't need them.        
Jun 9, 2011 10:42AM
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you don't need an SUV to drive 2 kids to school, and then to your job 25 miles from home.  Better yet let your kids learn to take a school bus or walk, maybe we can help alleviate childhood obesity and save gas too.  
Jun 9, 2011 11:38AM
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No $4 gas?

 

Correct!  $4.09- $4.50ish in Chicago area

 

wishing for $4 gas

Jun 8, 2011 4:02PM
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Other than the gas mileage, why would you want a Hyundai Sonata when you could drive a Chevy Maiibu?  The Malibu looks nicer and is more comfortable to drive and has a reputation for being a solidly built American car, not a cheap disposable foreign car.  And your knees don't need to touch the steering wheel.  The new hybrids are a great idea, but then they went and made them ugly and strange looking.  

Jun 9, 2011 2:01PM
Jun 9, 2011 8:17AM
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A "solidly built American car" has not existed since the 60's.
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