Date: 2008-05-22 21:00:00
the price of petrol

I noticed today that the price of petrol here in New Zealand has exceeded $2 per litre. At today's rate of exchange, that is nearly US$6 per gallon.

The latest BP press releases (at right) tell the story for the last couple of months. They haven't even posted press releases for the last two increases over the past week! The most recent time the price of fuel went down was 11 February 2008. Forecasters say "get used to it".

Although I ride my bicycle to work every day that I can, it is now more expensive to drive the car 12 km to work than it is to take the bus ($1.90 one way). I prefer riding my bike in any case because I find driving in traffic frustrating, and the bus takes twice as long (an hour vs 30 minutes). Not to mention, of course, the obvious health benefits of getting at least 5 hours of full-on exercise per week.

Last weekend, Amy and I walked into town, ran some errands, saw a movie, picked up some groceries, all without using the car. I really enjoy living in a city where we can do that.

It SHOULD cost more to drive a private car than take a public bus...!
Clearly that depends on how far you have to go. :) To get to my previous job, the bus was the same price but the distance was half.

Also, I wasn't counting any other costs of car ownership but only the price of fuel.
You know I'm kind of hoping gas prices go up to like $10 a gallon here in the US. I think that is the only thing that will finally get the country motivated to invest in good alternative energy sources.

I'd love to see a trillion or so go to safe fusion reactor research and improved energy storage (new battery technology) instead of wasting it on attacking other countries.
sad that we need external motivation to keep it in our pants.

sad that that's not likely to be enough.

sad that the price of oil is the motivation for our even being in iraq in the first place.
Last weekend, Amy and I walked into town, ran some errands, saw a movie, picked up some groceries, all without using the car. I really enjoy living in a city where we can do that.

isn't it great? =)

i'd argue that most towns are like that if you choose your residence location with an eye to not being 10 miles from the grocery store or 30 miles from the office, or living on a really trafficky high-speed thoroughfare. some are easy no matter where you are (portland and austin being fine examples of that, but getting dicey as you move into some suburban locations where primary access is via a bad highway)...
On our big road trip a few years ago, Amy and I spent a day or two in Portland and quite enjoyed it. We left our car at the motel and used public transport to get around. Unfortunately I never really got that opportunity in Austin, since I lived and worked way up north where public transport (and walkability) was nonexistent.
distance is definitely an issue. biking to your house would probably have been doable, but it's just a huge time investment (not to mention, sweat-investment) to make every time you leave the house. you certainly would have had to substantially change your habits to make it work (no visiting home unless you planned to stay home, being shower-equipped at many endpoints in town).

the same is true of anywhere where there are suburbs. i guess, unless you are content spending your spare time out there and finding a job out there, too.

less-sprawly towns like portland are a win in that sense (it has suburbs spread as far as austin, but they are rarer and transit better serves them), but they won't grow without bound like austin can. i think that might actually be a good thing, in the what-works-for-me department.
The train in PDX rocks.

OH, btw, you should check out
Interesting... I don't recall what gas was when we were down there, but it's now over $4/gal in Chicago, with Austin probably to follow soon after.

I'm curious as to the relative % increases though... ISTM that percentage wise it's gone up a lot more in the US, but maybe I'm just smoking something.
That could be, since the price of crude is only a proportion of the total sale price. I believe taxes on fuel are higher here, which means you would feel more impact of crude price increases.
Greg Hewgill <>