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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 13:51 Thread Starter
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Gas prices

I found this article to be quite interesting. I got it after I seen some Americans complain about gas prices and how the world would end because of it. Basically it says than in most of europe we have twice or more in gas prices compared to USA. But more staggering is this:

Quote:
European per capita consumption of gas and diesel stood at 286 liters a year in 2001, compared to 1,624 in the US, according to IEA figures.
5-6 times as much per capita? That is some impressive figures, but I think this if anything (and as this article mentions) is that USA in general could waste much less gas than currently is done. It is about attitudes and possibly by goverment intervention.

another interesting tidebit is the graph in the end that shows that California will possibly make positive strides in this aspect.

To put in a personal aspect. I personally carpools to football training, lives close to work and have a small car that uses quite little gas. Unfortunately the commute possibilities is quite bad around where I live.
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 15:40
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Holland, Belgium and Denmark probably distort the European per capita figures.
How much is petrol per litre anyway? It's over 1.45 euros here - madness, Ted.

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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 15:41
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The US does waste more gas due to the many gas guzzlers. But, a rarely mentioned fact when the Europe comparison is made, is the size difference. People in the US have to drive more to get from point A to B than our European friends. If we all met in the center of the country and lived in teepees, that problem would be quickly taken care of.

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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 15:52
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The American highway and city structure is built to make ownership of a car and travelling lengthy distances necessary...

In Europe, you can walk to the grocery store, in the US if you live in suburbia, you have no other choice but to drive. The distances between locations is just too lengthy to travel by foot.

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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 16:39
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Stupid question perhaps, but why don't people open up more small grocery stores in the suburbs?
It's been so long since I've had to travel more than a kilometre to the shops I forget it's not that simple for everyone.

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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 16:42
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Because in North America, small has no place here, it's all about the corporation. Hell, the fact that you even asked the question makes you a target
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 16:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubh-ban
Stupid question perhaps, but why don't people open up more small grocery stores in the suburbs?
It's been so long since I've had to travel more than a kilometre to the shops I forget it's not that simple for everyone.
You're overlooking the very large portion of the country that is neither a city or suburb. Around here, it's called "Red States".

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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 16:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AXP103
You're overlooking the very large portion of the country that is neither a city or suburb. Around here, it's called "Red States".
Well, that I understand, I was responding to D-Lite, but I don't know if he lives in America.

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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 17:03
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There are so many different aspects to discuss here.

There is a major mentality difference first of all. The car is a symbol in the US in a totally different way than in Europe. The car is freedom; there's a whole mythology (and excellent novels, poetry and songs!) based on roaming the highways, experiencing America and Americana.

Then there's the different views on taxation in general.

Then there's the practical issues connected to infrastructure and availability/scope of public transportation (to counter your personal situation in a rather rural area of Sweden I think, I live in Copenhagen and 350 days of the year I have absolutely no need for a car considering the direct and indirect costs looking at the public transportation available to me and the short distances more easily covered on bike).
For reasons of prices, the car mythology, the distances people have to cover when commuting and the inferior public transportation systems in urban areas, comparatively speaking, Americans simply drive more than Europeans, and they have to too (unless for major investments in public transportation that won't change either).

Then there's the debate on what raising gas prices means; how significant they are, and to whom. In the end, whereas they're a discomfort to us in the west and impeedes on our business sectors, they are much, much worse in poor countries where poor people actually stop putting their children to school because they cannot afford the raising bus tickets caused by higher gasolin prices. In Europe and the US for instance, prices are still comparatively lower looking at GDP and per capita income compared to the oil crises in the 70s plus, importantly, our economies/industries are less reliant on oil than they were. Another factor here is the importance to the booming Chinese and Indina economies where the reliance on oil is still massive.

So... what should we discuss?

Edit: This post was stuck in a time warp. Should have been posted hours ago when there had been no replies.

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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 17:10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen
(unless for major investments in public transportation that won't change either).
I would say that major is an understatement. Astronomical is closer. The failed subsidising of Amtrak shows that such investment may not reap reward.

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post #11 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 17:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubh-ban
Holland, Belgium and Denmark probably distort the European per capita figures.
How much is petrol per litre anyway? It's over 1.45 euros here - madness, Ted.
...and the other Scandinavian countries too, for sure.

Gas is reaching the record breaking 11DKr a litre mark here in Denmark(1,47 euros) which is the equivalent of 7$ a gallon.

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post #12 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 17:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AXP103
I would say that major is an understatement. Astronomical is closer. The failed subsidising of Amtrak shows that such investment may not reap reward.
Oh yes, but I should be specific and say that I'm only talking about the urban sectors. Even in miniature Denmark, it makes no sense to believe public transportation to be capable of solving the issue in rural areas. In Red State USA, obviously the notion is insane.

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post #13 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 17:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubh-ban
Stupid question perhaps, but why don't people open up more small grocery stores in the suburbs?
How does a small grocery compete price-wise against the big chains and Walmarts?

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post #14 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 17:35
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at least in a rural area fuel is being used to farming and such, but I even if its used mostly in cars I´m sure the biggest use still in urban areas.
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post #15 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 17:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Humbird
How does a small grocery compete price-wise against the big chains and Walmarts?
location? I don´t know, but I think there are laws in the US that prohibit the opening of supermarkets too close to residencial areas. Usually those places are reserved to small shops
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post #16 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 17:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liternit
location? I don´t know, but I think there are laws in the US that prohibit the opening of supermarkets too close to residencial areas. Usually those places are reserved to small shops
It's called zoning.
Unless you are located miles away from an alternative, a small grocery owner cannot compete with the prices that Walmart type stores can negotiate with wholesalers. The same goes for pharmacies, and other types of stores.

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post #17 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 17:43 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AXP103
The US does waste more gas due to the many gas guzzlers. But, a rarely mentioned fact when the Europe comparison is made, is the size difference. People in the US have to drive more to get from point A to B than our European friends. If we all met in the center of the country and lived in teepees, that problem would be quickly taken care of.
There is no size difference as you put it. The only size difference is the infrastructure. Most europan cities where not built or planned for cars, where the American ones have been that to a much larger extent. Of course how we and you live and what cars we use is also of outmost importance. SUVs you know

Quote:
Originally Posted by Humbird
How does a small grocery compete price-wise against the big chains and Walmarts?
Personally I walk to a bit mroe expansive shop just near my apartment since it is convenient... and I get fresh bread. go to a cheaper story takes time and if I only buy some bread it is not even economically viable.

to add on this, eating habits and living habits also affect this, like how the French like to buy directly from a bakery.

Last edited by JKris; September 2nd, 2005 at 17:52.
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post #18 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 18:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Humbird
How does a small grocery compete price-wise against the big chains and Walmarts?
They don't. That's why the only grocery stores in town are owned by HEB (founded by H.E. Butt, if you want to make fun ). All the smaller grocers are out of business, and only convenience stores and specialty stores can survive, but they are not true grocery stores and instead fill a niche.

Nearest HEB is a 15 minute drive from here, by the way, with a Walmart right next to it.
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post #19 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 18:38
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3.59 for unleaded

I need a better job

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post #20 of 59 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 18:39 Thread Starter
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A question to the Americans here then. Don't you ever go and just buy bread/fruits/something to drink? Because that is where small shops can survive, giving supreme service and quality.

another one. Where do New yorkers buy their food? I only saw small "deli" shops where I was there.
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