Oil at $75 per Barrel

Any sign yet that anyone in Virginia’s political leadership is rethinking the state’s commitment to a transportation policy adapted to an era of cheap energy?

No, I didn’t think so.


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6 responses to “Oil at $75 per Barrel”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar

    The equivalent price of gasoline in Beijing is $1.75. What do you suppose is going to happen to whatever fuel we mange to “save”?

    What energy costs can we avoid through transportation alternatives that are proven to actually cost less? The last I knew F still equals MA, so saving money is going to mean moving less stuff, unless we actually have a source of fuel that is lower cost.

    Generally we move stuff in order to make money. It is no accident that the amount of stuff we move tracks the GNP almost exactly.

    If we knew how to relocate everything in order that we can move everything the least distance, we could save some transportation money that way, but we would first have to know how to do it and then pay for all the relocation.

    As it stands now, anybody who wants to relocate for a purpose that they calculate will save them money, is free to do so. With regard to business, many are relocating to Beijing.

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    And/or we can increase the supply of energy.

  3. RedBull Avatar

    Why would oil/energy companies want to do that?

    Controlling the supply is how they make money – A war here, a hurricane there is good for business.

  4. Charles Avatar

    OK ray, and how much do you weigh?

    THe energy needed to get your CAR to where you are going is 10 times what it would take to get YOU there.

    Of course, many people have no need to be “there”, they just need a good internet link.

    Or, God Forbid, people could just rise up and say “We are Tired Of Driving 50 miles every day”.

    Then maybe the thousands of employees HERE could talk the employers that are THERE to set up branches HERE, rather than lose their workers.

    Now’s the time to do it, when unemployment, especially in our area, and for high-tech jobs, makes it impossible for an employer to replace people.

    If employees KNEW that the gravy train was over, and the roads weren’t getting any better, they would change, employers would change, and everybody, I mean EVERYBODY, would be better off.

    In the meantime, I’ll keep driving 3 miles each way to work.

  5. Toomanytaxes Avatar
    Toomanytaxes

    C-One – You raise an interesting issue: whether any amount of investment would “fix” Virginia’s transportation problems? Or stated in another way: Are public officials simply trying to fool people into believing that, if only we paid more, we could fix problems?

    I’m not arguing that investments in specific projects (bottlenecks) would not make measurable improvements in traffic congestion — for those specific locations. However, I seriously doubt that adding lanes to I-95, I-66, or the Beltway would actually eliminate or, even, substantially reduce traffic tie-ups. It did not work in Los Angeles. Why do we assume it would work here? Similarly, doubling Metro would not likely eliminate traffic problems.

    How many people can we afford to move from an infinite number of Point As to an infinite number of Point Bs five days each week? If we cannot afford to do this, what else can be done?

    One of the biggest risks in proposing plans to fix transportation is that people would begin to believe that things would get better such that the region grows even more.

    I’ve become a believer in Ray Hyde’s oft-stated “we need more places.” That’s not a total fix per se, but spreading jobs and development to other parts of Virginia, instead of concentrating them in NoVA, makes sense.

  6. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Conservative one:

    First, it probably takes several hundred times as much energy to move me and my car as me alone. The difference is that it is the cars energy and not mine. We use fuel to multiply our productivity, and that is why Beijing keeps the price low. In turn, Our Fuel is cheaper than Europe and our growth is faster.

    Second, the average drive to work is 27 minutes, not fifty miles. True enough, higher fuel prices will make the fifty mile drivers re-evaluate their choices before you re-evaluate yours. It is still wrong to invoke the 50 mile argument as a generalization.

    I am a strong advocate of your idea that maybe the thousands of employees HERE could talk the employers that are THERE to set up branches HERE, rather than lose their workers. The open space / anti sprawl advocates blanch at that idea, but I’m with you on this one.

    What we are doing is not sustainable. JAB is right, we could have electric cars driven by nuclear power, or steam cars driven by wood pellets, but it is not cost effective, yet. Meanwhile some environmental groups are fighting wind power tooth and nail. One can only assume that they think that moving less stuff and making do with less is a better alternative to F equals MA. They might be right.

    There is a cost effectiveness problem with relocation, too.

    Suppose everyone magically had the resources and the will to move next Monday, and they had until Friday to pick an optimum place, employers included. The following Monday, everyone except those who are already optimally located, like yourself, would move.

    On Tuesday, half of them would discover they were wrong.

    Conditions would have changed drastically because of the move. And that is exactly what is happening now, but more slowly. People move all the time, because where they are is no longer optimal. But that means that at any time we can look around and see all the people who have not yet optimized, and bemoan their “poor choices”.

    You can go out and get a loan and title for a car and be off the lot in an hour. You can trade your car for two cars, without restriction.

    Try that with a house. Try to convert your home to a duplex and see what happens, even if that duplex happens to offer someone else a better choice. The cost of trading and constructing houses is too high to give people real choices. Jim Bascon is right when he complains about zoning restrictions, but there is more than that.

    Then there are schools, taxes and other considerations. There isn’t any home that is convenient to where I work so I fly a lot. But it would be the same if I was a construction worker: my work site changes monthly.

    I moved, to be close to my job several times, my best call was one mile from my office for nine years. My luck ran out when my company moved from THERE to HERE. Count your blessings: it may not last, despite your best efforts.

    If I moved from my present home closer to my present office, it would save me a few gallons a week, but my present home has become so valuable that a move to anything near my office would mean the tax man would take me to the cleaners. And I would not have the same further appreciation potential that I have here. Call me a speculator, but I’m not willing to take a bath just to benefit everyone else by an itty bitty bit.

    It is not cost effective to move. At least not at these oil prices. The price of oil is the least of our problems. Even in the free-est, greatest country in the world, we no longer have the freedom to make choices that make sense, because so many others have taken it on themselves to promote rules to restrict what we can do.

    As a conservative, that is an argument you should enjoy.

    Some of these “restictors” and planners are good people. They are proposing (and frequently getting) what they think is best. I suggest that on Tuesday, half of them will find out they were wrong, because no one has perfect knowlege, and because things are constantly changing.

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