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Old 12-01-2014, 11:21 AM
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,780,125 times
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I guess you could say that it's cheap in the sense that the highway network's usage in most metro areas is mostly determined by capacity rather than gas prices. Induced demand still applies at $3 a gallon and it applies at $4-5 a gallon too.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:22 AM
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,523 posts, read 21,391,175 times
Reputation: 24400
The love affair with the automobile will diminish with the expensive repair bills of these high-tech cars today, and the growing number of minimum-wagers who simply can't afford to, not only, own a car, but have the funds to repair it, let alone pay for some expensive traffic fine, which gets higher every day.

I see the day of $1 gas, no takers, no thank-you!

What could change all that is a basic, common-sense, easy-to-repair, cheap vehicle, like this new 3-wheeler car they're manufacturing in Shreveport, LA. But carmakers simply can't survive on basic, economy cars! Henry Ford learned that, almost too late!
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Old 12-04-2014, 06:54 AM
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,418,323 times
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"Cheap" in America to my way of thinking is under $2, so we've got a long way to go , but I don't think this latest dip in prices will do much to development patterns. I think gas trends would have to persist over more than a decade to see much movement; after all, high gas prices in the 1970's did tremendous damage but one thing they didn't affect was development patterns, seeing as the 1970's saw fast suburbanization. New Urbanist ideas and patterns gained steam in the 1990's, when gas prices reached their post-crisis low.

To a surprising extent Americans ignore energy costs with regards to their car trips and location; when gas is expensive the preferred option of most people seems to be consolidating trips and absorbing any extra energy costs. People currently seem to be pocketing the savings from the lower gas prices rather than spending them on anything else, which will help them absorb possible future price increases.
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Old 12-04-2014, 10:12 AM
3,836 posts, read 4,735,550 times
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Originally Posted by gottaq View Post
With gas prices dropping and expected to stay low for at least a few years, how will this affect cities and suburbs? Could the push back to the urban core be stalled with low gas prices, and suburbs continue to sprawl?
1. Who knows how long gas prices will stay low. Many a financial ship has foundered on predicting where that shoal lies.

2. Assuming the oil glut isn't disrupted by something and oil remains cheap for some time, then yes, this will change behavior. People might drive more or be willing to drive more. They might drive larger cars reversing trend towards smaller cars. The drive 'til you qualify mentality might get pushed out a bit further as people rebalance economic equations.

A short term dip won't have much impact at all on cities - completely negligible.

A long terms dip one that lasts 4, 5 6 years will have some impacts around the edges. It won't change the urban cores much because those have been rediscovered and there's intense competition to get there and that's not going to change.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:13 PM
Location: Inland FL
1,280 posts, read 739,474 times
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I reckon it won't have much of a change if gas prices were to stay lower in the near future but if lower gas prices persisted over the next 5-10 years then we'd definitely see a change.

I won't be happy with the cost of gasoline until it drops down to a dollar per gallon, which unfortunately will never happen. But we can all dream can't we? I would love to have a four wheeler Chevy or Ford Truck.
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Old 12-09-2014, 05:44 AM
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,517 posts, read 5,175,697 times
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Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
The effect of gas prices is overrated. Perhaps distant suburbs won't be as undesirable. Mostly it's a matter of time commuting. Perhaps people will visit the city more often because gas is cheaper? The gas is a pretty small part of any visit, considering parking, theater or game tickets, and purchases.
I agree with you that the draw closer to the city is more a matter of convenience related to commuting. I also think that with people spending so much time commuting better access to shopping and services is attractive as well.

I currently spend about 2 hrs a day commuting (no feasible closer alternatives for employment at this point in my career). As I get older, I would much rather spend this time walking or doing something else. When our youngest graduates from high school we plan to move closer to the urban core to a 1st-tier suburb that has a walkable town center, easy access to highways, and good public transportation options. The bonus is that properties are less expensive there and the taxes would be less than half making early retirement a more viable option.
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