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I’m sure you’ve all noticed that the price of gasoline here in America hasn’t just risen — it’s skyrocketed. But I wonder if you’ve thought about how much this affects the working people of America — and the working people of the South even more. If you live in the Northeast, you can commute. You can take public transportation. If you’re a contractor or handyman in Texas, you’re just plain screwed. You drive a truck — not because you think it’s cool, but because you damn well need one to haul your s#!$. And even the most carefully-designed trucks get downright s#!tty mileage. Even more noticeably, if you work in an area like the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, you likely drive your ass off to span the huge work area you’ve got to cover.

The bottom line is that while other people can trade in their stupidly-excessive Hummers and Escalades for Hondas, working people who actually need a truck are taking a hit in the wallet that’s extreme, ugly, and not fair.

And God forbid you own a diesel, you poor sucker.

While we see dozens of new alternatives coming down the road in the next few years for people-hauling commuters, what’s in store for working people who still need to tow and haul? Don’t the automotive designers realize that if they expect to have a damn toilet installed for under $1,000 they’re going to have to figure out a way for the freakin’ workman to get to their house for less than $100?

Let’s get with it, folks. We need some trucks that get decent mileage — and still work for a living!

(Thanks, David Hudson, for the kick-ass photo.)

 

60 Responses to Gas Prices Hit Working People The Hardest

  1. Jon says:

    Yea this price increase on fuel is not only an US problem.
    In Norway we do not have so many gas station so the workers need to use Diesel at an price 2,7 Dollar pr. litre .
    And all prices will increas because of higer cost on transport .

  2. Fuel efficient vehicles are overrated. We need someone to put their foot up the @ss of the gas companies. Are you listening government? Stop sending foreign aid to all these counties that are screwing us over on the gas.

    I do agree that gas prices are hitting the working man, but it is hitting everyone. Because of the cost of gas, food is going up and so will many, many other things. So it is not just the working man who is having these issues, it is all of us. Even if you drive a little Honda or something.

  3. A 2008 mazda pickup gets 21 city/27 highway. How many full size

  4. rbb says:

    Diesel may be more expensive per gallon than RUG, but when it comes down to cost per mile, the diesel wins out. That’s because you can get more miles out of an equivalent amount of diesel than gas.

  5. Koba says:

    Two answers, dodge sprinter and mid size trucks with trailers. And BTW high gas prices are a GREAT thing. Anything that slows the flow of capital from the US to OPEC is great in my opinion. Now the average American is ACTUALLY interested energy conservation.

    In my opinion, working people have it the BEST. They just increase their rates to cover the cost of fuel. People will always NEED electricians, plumbers, carpenters, flooring installers, siding/gutter installers, etc. etc. ultimately the contractors who try and not increase their rates will be the ones unemployed.

  6. Jon says:

    What is the price pr. gallon diesel now in US ?

  7. All the hard-working joes in the American South voted for the shitty whitehouse tenant we have to blame for $4 gas…

    take another bite of your shit sandwich and smile, rednecks.

  8. MikeT says:

    Honda Fit with a roof rack? Hey, European repairman manage to make smaller cars work, maybe we can do with a bit of ingenuity.

  9. Ktool says:

    Fuel efficient vehicles are overrated? Moving your ass around in V8 or V6 truck is not an issue? You gotta be kidding me…

  10. Mr P says:

    Its terrible that this country is controlled by all the big corporation.
    We can all be running our cars for free or close to that by running on water.
    All you Toolmongers out there look up the patent and build it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rb_rDkwGnU

  11. I worry about the construction trades. They drive the entire economy and have sine the big housing boom of the 50’s. WWII helped us out of the depression, but construction kept us from sliding back in. America makes a lot of its money by selling houses to itself.

    Short term, many contractors don’t _need_ a full size pickup. Get a trailer and tow it with a car. If you have to move something big, pay a hauler. Plan routes more efficiently. If you genuinely need the F350, raise your prices, ’cause other guys doing your work will have to as well. Do more work in off-peak hours when traffic isn’t as bad. Team up with others in your business to maximize your efficiency (pick up both bob’s toilet and jim’s 2×4’s at home depot at the same time).

    Long term…At some point people are going to need to make tough choices. No love for GW here, but this ain’t his fault. Try 60 years of building ourselves into a deep, deep suburban, sprawling mess where the only way to make society work is to drive everywhere with the bones of dinosaurs as our fuel. Even if cars started getting twice the fuel economy, we’re on borrowed time. Maybe the oil runs out in 10 years, maybe it runs out in 200….but one way or another it’s going to run out. Period.

    Reality check: the endgame here is that people move to where there are abundant natural resources and cities designed in an era before super cheap energy…or move to farms and become self-sufficient…or we develop some magic bullet that provides

  12. I worry about the construction trades. They drive the entire economy and have sine the big housing boom of the 50’s. WWII helped us out of the depression, but construction kept us from sliding back in. America makes a lot of its money by selling houses to itself.

    Short term, many contractors don’t _need_ a full size pickup. Get a trailer and tow it with a car. If you have to move something big, pay a hauler. Plan routes more efficiently. If you genuinely need the F350, raise your prices, ’cause other guys doing your work will have to as well. Do more work in off-peak hours when traffic isn’t as bad. Team up with others in your business to maximize your efficiency (pick up both bob’s toilet and jim’s 2×4’s at home depot at the same time).

    Long term…At some point people are going to need to make tough choices. No love for GW here, but this ain’t his fault. Try 60 years of building ourselves into a deep, deep suburban, sprawling mess where the only way to make society work is to drive everywhere with the bones of dinosaurs as our fuel. Even if cars started getting twice the fuel economy, we’re on borrowed time. Maybe the oil runs out in 10 years, maybe it runs out in 200….but one way or another it’s going to run out. Period.

    Reality check: the endgame here is that people move to where there are abundant natural resources and cities designed in an era before super cheap energy…or move to farms and become self-sufficient…or we develop some magic bullet that provides unlimited free energy.

    Magic bullet solutions to any problem are vanishingly rare, though.

  13. SuperJdynamite says:

    “We can all be running our cars for free or close to that by running on water.”

    Did you see that part of the report where he said he converted water into hydrogen with electricity? Were you aware that electricity is not free?

  14. Dano says:

    PT Cruiser, HHR, Subaru Baja. Thos are smaller cars with space for tools and cargo. Add a sliding tray for easy access. A mini van from Toyota or Honda would also be good for those needing more space. Much better MPG, handling and comfort than pickups.

  15. Christian Weagle says:

    I spent some time in Ireland a few years back and noted how many small cars (smaller than our Corollas) had trailer hitches. It seemed like more than 1/3 of cars had hitches. I saw hundreds of cars towing trailers. I hadn’t been looking for this, it was so prevalent as to stand out.

    Contrast this to the 20′ flatbeds (or semis!) that I see on the roads near Boston with one pallet or less of stuff on the back. Maybe they’ve already delivered the rest, I don’t know.

  16. Dan B says:

    Cry me a river. Trade in the F350 dually (which normally is carrying jack sh1t in the bed) for a Ranger with a 4-banger.

    Ever notice that the foreman drives the biggest, shinyest truck, but does nothing with it?

  17. Old Donn says:

    News Flash #1. If a guy can afford to buy and operate an F-350 or a Dodge Ram with a V-10, good for him. #2, The Current Occupant doesn’t have any more control over gas prices than Jimmy Carter did back in the 70’s when all this started.

  18. Old Donn says:

    Let me correct myself before my esteemed bloggers jump on me and accuse me of taking sides. The above should read Nixon amd Carter during the 70’s.

  19. Frank Townend says:

    “The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that oil companies are not gouging customers. They say, technically, they’re screwing customers.” –David Letterman

  20. Frank Townend says:

    So much for humor. Thank goodness the Iraq war is paying for itself.

  21. Tony says:

    I’m pretty sure I can fit a toilet in the back of my turbo hatchback. I still get 30 mpg highway and with 200 hp available, I can pull a trailer. I’ve seen guys pulling trailers bigger than the car itself. Unless I’m moving a couch, I can’t really think of a use that my car couldn’t handle.

    Hell, I could probably fit a toilet into Fit and get close to 40 mpg on the highway.

  22. KMR says:

    Our shop truck, a Chevy S10 with a 2.0L four banger averages about 25mpg on the highway with a payload in the bed of about 500lbs. On a recent 800 mile round trip delivery to Vermont, I managed just shy of 27mpg with a crated race motor in the back. I also used the S10 almost daily for two years while I restored and expanded my home. It hauled countless sheets of plywood, TONS of drywall, bags of insulation, concrete, three pallets of EP Henry pavers (one pallet at a time though). It pretty much has done it all and has held up fine.

    Rather than researching ways of producing more fuel efficient drivetrains, which I am all for – but this is a long term goal – why don’t they just make vehicles smaller and lighter. Why does the tailgate on my S10 weigh 60lbs? A foam filled composite wrapped tailgate (may with a couple of steel stiffeners) would weigh in at maybe 10-15lbs. They need to get rid of the bloat. Hoods aren’t really structural panels, so there is no reason for them to be steel skinned over stamped steel frames. Make the cars lighter, between the hood and tailgate on my S10 you could easily knock off 80lbs in reduced weight by using alternate construction methods.

    Burt Rutan needs to start designing and building cars…

  23. Zathrus says:

    We need someone to put their foot up the @ss of the gas companies. Are you listening government? Stop sending foreign aid to all these counties that are screwing us over on the gas.

    Do you really believe that? Honestly? Where on earth did you get that?

    First, the oil (“gas”) companies do not set the price of oil — market supply and demand do. Supply hasn’t risen significantly in the past 30 years, but demand certainly has — especially with India and China moving from walking, bicycling, and trains to cars as the primary transportation method, as well as increasing electrical demand by the same. That’s 2.5 BILLION people in those two countries alone, and another billion in the rest of SE Asia.

    Second, exactly which oil producing countries are receiving foreign aid from us? Yeah, Sudan gets a smidgeon (less than 1% of our foreign aid budget), but given the genocide that’s been going on there, maybe you can forgive that. Other than that? Oh… yeah… Iraq gets over half our foreign aid right now. Seems that someone kept dropping 2000 lb bombs on their country.

    Third, and finally, exactly how much of our federal budget do we spend on foreign aid? Well, in 2006 it was $25B. That’s less than 1% of our federal budget, and about one third of the amount both Clinton and Bush pledged to spend.

    Yes, energy efficiency does matter — not only in your car (and there’s a lot of good suggestions here), but also in your house and business, since most states generate power via coal, oil, or natural gas. The only significant exception is the Pacific NW which generates the vast majority of its power through hydroelectric. So does the TVA, but it’s pretty well mixed with other power sources. And Niagra Falls does too, but Canada gets most of its power, and the rest barely makes a difference to the NE US.

  24. KaiserM715 says:

    Zathrus: Excellent post (not to mention the one with the most fact and least emotion).

  25. Midwesterner says:

    We can get better mileage from what we have right now. Johnathon Goodwin in Kansas has been doing it, and is doing it.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/120/motorhead-messiah.html

    Might be a good subject for a future Toolmonger article.

  26. Discobubba says:

    Good points Zathrus. Maybe we should take a cue and go backwards from the Chinese and Indians. Start promoting walking, biking, and taking trains more in the U.S. Also both those country use Scooters quite a bit which get phenomenal gas mileage and, contrary to what most people think, come in larger sizes capable of highway speeds.

    Last I checked Canada is our biggest supplier of oil. http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html
    So I dunno why everyone is hung up on the oil prices in relation to the Middle East. Also its a myth that we’d ever run out of oil anytime soon. Theres an abundant supply of it in the earth. Its really that we’re running out of cheap and easy to access it.

    As rbb pointed out, diesel still gets ya more bang for your buck per mile. Thats because Diesel engines are inherently more thermodynamically efficient due to their design. In Europe diesel sales are much better than here in the U.S. Of course they pay about twice as much as we do for Gas thanks to high taxes. So they’ve learned to adapt, which is probably why Christian saw all those hitches on cars. It really doesn’t take as much horsepower as people demand and have become accustomed to actually move a vehicle. Its just that acceleration suffers.

    Of course the ideal solution would be to not only utilize diesel engines but use them in conjunction with biodiesel.

  27. zaw says:

    Our crappy government don’t have enough power to keep the gas price down. But we can bomb the !#$# out of people around the world though.

    Oh yeah, high gas prices mean more tax more raise$ for them.

    Somehow Credit card companies are connected with Gas companies, you see their ads at the pumps…. hmm.. the guy who won the gas station pay by percentage to Credit Card companies @ how much you spend at the pump.

  28. Michael W. says:

    Canada would love to stop selling us oil. Currently they are obligated to sell to us through treaties. If they sold to China, India, or somewhere else they could get more more per barrel. Same with Mexico. It’s all part of the NAFTA agreement.

    Our problem is not in consumption. Our problem is that the US does not currently supply enough of it’s own oil. We have billions of gallons of untouched reserves that we can’t touch because of environmental concerns. Some of that oil (in the Gulf of Mexico) China is working with Cuba to get. They will literally be sucking oil out from under our territory through diagonal drilling.

    Vehicles like the Mercedes (Dodge or Freightliner here) Sprinter are a good idea. The Sprinters 5 cylinder diesel is an amazing, well tried engine. I’m working with a guy who owns a 2005 hi-top 2500 model. He gets a consistent 25 mpg, fully loaded, day in and day out. And you can get a ton of tools and supplies in a Sprinter.

    A trailer with a smaller pick up is also a good idea. Although I’m leaning towards a trailer with a used Xterra (I could use the extra passenger room). They seem to run about $1000 less than an equivalent (Toyota or Nissan) xtracab pickup.

  29. KMR says:

    “We have billions of gallons of untouched reserves that we can’t touch because of environmental concerns. ”

    Regardless of environmental concerns, it is foolish to consume one’s own resources when you can buy someone else’s resources on the open market.

    If the rest of the world is willing to sell a limited resource (which oil is), why on earth would we consume our own limited reserves? When they start to legitimately run dry, then it will be time to explore / use oil reserves on the US mainland to a much greater extent.

  30. KMR says:

    The “oil price is high dude to short supply / increased demand” is a bit of a myth as well. Yes, overall, world demand has increased but not at the pace we’ve seen oil prices increase since March.

    As an example, PA/NY crude was being bought by refineries (in PA) for $116/barrel on 6/5/2008. Twelve hours later the purchasing price increased to 121.50/barrel on 6/6/2008. Did demand really justify a near $6 increase in purchasing price of PA/NY crude by the refinery? No. Did the supplies of PA/NY crude all of a sudden drop causing an increase in price? Doubtful, not in a 12 hour span from the close of business on 6/5 to the open on 6/6.

    This price increase was based solely on the speculative declarations occuring on Wall Street and were not _NOT_ as result of even a momentary increase in demand or a supply shortage.

  31. hjablomy says:

    I think that a certain “cap” on run-up of market speculative barrel prices on the exchanges (something like a “cooling off” period) would be in order. I know it sounds socialist, but people only hate policies that hurt them. If oil was forced to stop its murderous market rise people in the US wouldn’t be suffering as much…blame the speculators and wanna-be financial gurus who are advocating oil commodity purchases instead of things that bring an actual service to the people.

    Too much money has been spent these days supporting businesses that don’t provide a service directly to the people, and in my opinion that is not a valid scenario for very long. The american public has been screwed more by their hard-on for a quick buck than the oil companies…you can at least count on the oil companies to screw you, and if we keep buying commodities until they are 200 a barrel we will definitely be screwed.

  32. Chris says:

    Around these parts (Seattle) 2wd pickups are the hot item. I have a beat up ’94 Toyota truck with 140k+ on it and I regularly get unsolicited offers for it. The key is people are just not hauling around as much useless crap anymore. You don’t go and throw everything in the back and haul it from job to job. Efficiency is key in reducing your overhead. Yes, eventually we will have to charge more for work but if you can be more efficient then the next guy it turns into a competitive advantage.

  33. Chris says:

    Thankfully my job allows us to take our vans home so I only drive my personal car on the weekends.

  34. Ray says:

    I love how the people can simultaneously argue that “our crappy government” shouldn’t defend it’s interest abroad (no war for oil!), yet control control the cost of energy supplied by private industry (get us some oil!), and while we’re at it don’t disturb any moose or caribou that happen to live on top of some oil (no moose for oil!) or build any nuclear power plants (no nukes for moose!). We’re bombing the sh!t out of people? Please. Since the 60’s we’ve been making deals with the most horrific of monsters and enriching repressive backwards states just to keep the region nice and stable so we could have cheap gas. Spare me the self righteous hand wringing about the current administration, there’s plenty of blood on the hands of the entire western world. The entire energy economy has been running on a false efficiency of pipe dreams and other people’s freedom.

    This is how the free market economy works people. The oil companies charge what the market will bear. If you don’t like it, don’t drive, or find an alternative. Mark up your work to reflect your increased costs, buy a more fuel efficient vehicle, drive your car to the jobsite and have larger supplies delivered, or at the company level designate a delivery vehicle and use route planning to make time/distance efficient deliveries, build a biodiesel still. If gas prices remain high, the market will provide alternatives and people will adapt.

  35. Zathrus says:

    This price increase was based solely on the speculative declarations occuring on Wall Street and were not _NOT_ as result of even a momentary increase in demand or a supply shortage.

    Partly true, but you left out a huge cause of the runup in oil prices.

    The weak dollar.

    Oil is traded worldwide in one currency (with the sole exception of Iran), and the increasing weakness of the US dollar due to the mortgage meltdown, the ever increasing US debt, and other causes is making traders demand more money for anything paid in US dollars, especially as other currencies (such as the Euro and GBP) have more solid footings.

    And traders don’t expect the US dollar or demand to go down anytime soon, so paying more for oil in the near term to sell in the long term is considered a smart move.

  36. Euro says:

    Truck neccesary? I drive a Renault Kangoo delivery van, which can haul more than a pickup truck, and consumes 6 liters of diesel per 100 km, urban drive. Now, put that in mile/galon ration and with US prices od fuel half of that in rest the world, you get a: solution.

  37. Zathrus says:

    Note that trying to compare vehicles between the US and the UK/European Union is pretty hopeless. The emissions standards are radically different (more strict in the EU for gasoline, more strict in the US for diesel), and in most cases the same vehicles aren’t available on both sides of the pond.

    I did some analysis on this a year or two ago and compared a Ford Focus (I think) in the US and UK. They were virtually identical except for a couple of things — the UK model got significantly higher gas mileage (~25-33% IIRC) but it also cost 50% more.

    I’d hazard to guess that this isn’t a trade off that most Americans aren’t willing to make, even with the higher gas prices nowadays.

  38. Avisciciulli says:

    1: We need to knock off our demand for dumb features in cars. Can you even buy a four door sedan with manual windows anymore? That isn’t a junk econo box?

    2. How is it that every new generation of a vehicle weighs MORE than the previous? Seriously, this needs to end.

    3. Why don’t we have any good, reliable, small cars that don’t cost 20K? Civic, I’m looking right at you… Supply/demand my ass. Stupid features we don’t need, bad and unnecessary advertising and poor design drives the cost up.

    4. The oil futures speculation trading has to end!!! Why is anyone allowing trading on this stuff? When some Wall St. D-bag goes and jacks the price up, is he even buying anything? No, he’s gambling. It’s got to end.

    5. Screw ethanol. Waste of time. Stupid mistake. What do corn farmers know about internal combustion fuels? Nothing. Congress, stop listening to them. Just another group with their handout.

  39. Michael W. says:

    “Regardless of environmental concerns, it is foolish to consume one’s own resources when you can buy someone else’s resources on the open market.

    If the rest of the world is willing to sell a limited resource (which oil is), why on earth would we consume our own limited reserves? When they start to legitimately run dry, then it will be time to explore / use oil reserves on the US mainland to a much greater extent.”

    There are several problems with that argument. Starting with the idea that it’s better to buy something from someone else than it is to buy it from yourself. We can’t control the price of oil that comes from anywhere else, but we can certainly control prices of crude (and where we distribute it) if we own it.

    The second is that other countries are actively working to get those same reserves through diagonal drilling, especially the reserves in the Gulf of Mexico. If we wait too long there’s a good chance the reserves won’t be there.

    The third is that these reserves will take years to get online. Waiting until the last minute is not prudent.

    Fourth, we’ll wait to drill until the price of gas is so high that no-one will be able to drive? This makes no sense.

    Fifth, we’ve already begun to tap our strategic reserves. That’s like getting a mortgage on your house so that you don’t have to mortgage some rental properties you own.

    I’ll leave it at that. I could go on, but I have to work so i can afford to put in a wood furnace this summer.

    We can’t have it all. Conservation is important (and should be the focus of everyone), but expanding our energy supply is the key. Alternative forms of production like Solar, Nuclear, Wind, wood, and Hydro are great, but they can’t compete with gas/diesel when it comes to moving vehicles. They can take some of the load off of fuel oil when they replace heating demands (here in the North East US the threat high fuel oil prices next winter are causing more anxiety than high gas prices). Wood is a viable resource (that can free up some demand) here for many of us (because we can get wood for free or next to nothing) , but tightening restrictions on wood furnaces are closing that option to many, quickly.

  40. Chris says:

    @Avisciciulli: #1-3 are pretty much all based on the same root cause: more safety features. Cars today are far more crashworthy than they were even 10 years ago, but my 2007 Mazda 3 is nearly the same size inside as my 1992 Honda Accord was, and pretty close to the same weight. Both cars are substantially heavier (and get substantially worse gas mileage) than my 1989 Civic DX sedan was.

    Increased crashworthiness means stiffer structures, more materials, and (usually) lots of airbags, all of which make a vehicle substantially heavier, substantially more expensive (due to the use of more exotic materials in order to save weight), or both. Couple that weight gain to a 50-100% horsepower increase over the last 20 years and it’s no wonder cars today don’t get any better gas mileage than they did in the 1980s. That 1989 Civic I had was equipped with a 95-hp engine. You can’t get a Civic today with an engine of any less than 140 horsepower. Of course, you have to have 140 horsepower to achieve anywhere near equivalent performance when you’re towing around an extra 750+ pounds!

    I would have bought a Honda Fit, which is the closest thing to a 1989 Civic that you can buy now, but a) it still weighs about 500 pounds more and b) you can’t buy one anywhere for less than $500 above sticker, and dealers won’t negotiate at all.

    (By the way, you *can* get a Civic for well under $20K, but you’d be hard-pressed to get out the door for under $16K in most states, and that’s with a stripped DX model.)

    cl

  41. Teacher says:

    As I’m typing, the page keeps reloading. What’s going on?

    Cap the price oil can trade for in the US and oil companies will sell less here and more elsewhere.

    The biggest profiteer from gasoline is the government. Our state collects 17 cents of the price plus another 7% of the whole sale price. Right now, NC takes in over 35 cents a gallon for doing nothing.

  42. Teacher says:

    Oil companies are a favorite whipping boy. Congress has investigated the oil companies repeatedly and never found evidence of price fixing or collusion.

    A buddy of mine that runs a tree removal service did his part to lower his gas bill. He sold his 4 door dually and bought a Frontier. Now he saves gas and has a lower truck payment. Some guys need those big vehicles, but I know many that drive them for the “mine is bigger than yours” aspect.

    Guys whose job is to drive around checking job sites that drive full size trucks, or, in a couple cases, duallys. Another guy that towsa horse trailer once a month so he drives a dually everyday because “Man, I got to have it to pull my horses.”

    At the lumber yard I see so many full size, 4 door and duallys that don’t have a speck of dirt in them and have never hauled anything except some guy that “Needs a big truck.”. For them, a large truck is a luxury not a necessity. They have a right to drive them, but they’re not entitled to have cheap gas to do it.

    I feel bad for long haul truckers(I would feel more so if they didn’t fly past me doing 70) and other guys that really do need a full size truck, buy a lot of people could get by fine with a smaller truck or minivan.

    I was at the electrical supply house yesterday and a guy was in there telling the counter guys about his new diesel dually. Of course he was also griping about the price of gas, Bush and the oil companies “ripping us off”. The kicker is that this guy fixes heat pumps. Not installation, just repair! He could get by easily with an S10 or a minivan but chose a dually. No sympathy from me.

  43. Michael Pendleton says:

    I am in the process of going the opposite direction with my vehicle. I currently drive an older Geo Metro four door, which I got because (several years ago) I was tired of driving trucks and thus getting drafted to help all of my friends move! I worked out of a shop and so rarely needed to transport anything large. Now I am working on my own as a cabinetmaker and the small vehicle is cramping my ability to work. It seems like a lousy time to be getting a larger heavier vehicle, but I need to be able to transport 4×8 sheet goods around pretty regularly, not to mention finished cabinets! A truck is problematic around here (Chicago has restrictions on where trucks can drive; not SUVs though! Don’t get me started…) so it looks like a mini-van is the best choice. Not looking forward to that jump in the fuel budget, but what can you do? The rising fuel prices are affecting everyone, and the price of everything else is going to follow it. I don’t have a ‘transportation’ line in my bids, but I just might add one…

  44. BSWP says:

    What’s needed are lightweight Diesel trucks – put in a 2.5 Liter TDI, with basic 2WD and limited slip, THAT is what the working men in the country need for hauling their basic kits around. Good fuel economy, high torque, ultra-reliability and simplicity. Detroit has proven itself to be stupid and lazy, and especially, greedy. It lobbies to keep Japanese light diesel trucks out of the country, while offering nothing to fill the void.

  45. Chris says:

    @Michael Pendleton: minivans aren’t so bad. Having an enclosed back end and a car-based drivetrain helps a lot; our 2001 Honda Odyssey gets about 25-26 MPG on the highway and around 20-23 MPG around town. That’s about 5-10 MPG better than most guys I know driving a comparably sized truck.

    Most minivans have a lot of extra features that a guy like you wouldn’t need, though. You might want to look at something like a Dodge Sprinter. It gets comparable mileage, runs on diesel, and is designed for hauling things (as opposed to hauling people).

    cl

  46. Eric says:

    Until people change their driving habits they need to quit their whining. I still see cars, trucks, contractors, you name it driving 75+MPH, flooring it from stoplights and generally driving like a$$es all the time. Watch that right foot and you’ll be amazed at how much gas you save.

  47. eschoendorff says:

    @Chris…

    The mini van idea is good, but have you priced a Sprinter van lately? You’d be better off gtting a used Chevy Astro van….

  48. modernman says:

    Most contractors, installation and repair companies in NYC have at least one Scion xB, Check them out you’ll be surprised by how much you can fit in one of these cars.

  49. michael says:

    This home-modded civic looks like a really fun project. I wonder what the pick-up truck version of this is…

    http://gas2.org/2008/05/19/how-to-get-70-mpg-out-of-a-honda-civic/

  50. rick says:

    diesel is still cheaper in $/mile than gas… I drive a diesel jetta… mine costs 8 cents a mile… the gas version of my car costs 16 cents a gallon to drive… DIESEL IS CHEAPER PER MILE, do the math first before you think it is too expensive! my ’98 gets 50mpg as opposed to 24mpg for gas… same car… same year…

  51. modernman says:

    Diesel is still cheaper then gas per mile but the price of diesel has gone up a lot quicker then regular gas in the past year.

  52. Tony says:

    “At the lumber yard I see so many full size, 4 door and duallys that don’t have a speck of dirt in them and have never hauled anything except some guy that “Needs a big truck.””

    Like the one guy at work (I work in an office) who drives a lifted diesel truck (at least a 2 foot lift). One day we got snowed in and he showed up talking about how much he loves his truck and he now gets the opportunity to get back at the people driving compact cars who can’t get anywhere due to the snow. Yes, we were snowed in and I couldn’t get anywhere with my compact car. BUT, I’ve been snowed in twice in my entire life. We live in the city; streets get plowed (well, a competent city’s streets get plowed; not Peoria’s); I don’t need a large truck for a once in a thousand day when a freak storm hits.

  53. Old Donn says:

    I don’t know what’s scarier here, the igonrance or the sanctimony. Last time I looked, this was still America, (at least till 1/20/09). If a guy can afford to buy and operate an F-350 and use it as a grocery getter, that’s his business.

  54. Zathrus says:

    Sure Old Donn, but the other half of freedom is responsibility. If you’re going to buy a big ass truck and don’t need it for a good reason, then you forfeit your right to whine about its poor gas mileage and the price of gas.

    The real issue is that we have never (and still do not) pay for all of the costs of using fossil fuels — otherwise we’d be paying 2-4x as much as we currently do in order to pay for offsetting the pollution and other long term costs.

    Yeah, I didn’t think you wanted to hear that.

  55. ToolFreak says:

    It’s a fact the countries that supply oil are fixing the prices, and it’s no secret that oil companies have hopped on the trend, making record profits despite their increasing costs for crude oil. Maybe when people get sick enough of high prices, they’ll do something about it. Simplistic actions like not buying gas on wednesdays or even just boycotting Exxon/Mobil stations would be enough to crash prices like crazy. But noone will do it. They’re too lazy and can’t be bothered. It’s easier to just complain.

    Need the torque of a worktruck but sick of paying $4-5/gal? Get a diesel, and convert it to run on cooking oil. Get a 50 gal. tank for the bed of your rig, and fill up every night at the nearest Chinese resturant for FREE.

    Oh, and it’s true about the Japanese lightweight diesels, too. You can get twice the mileage and haul more stuff with those than the oversized ‘domestic’ ones. Plus half the time they’re just using a truck that’s too big just to haul small stuff. Obviously the gas prices aren’t high enough to justify a change just yet.

  56. Old Donn says:

    Aside to Zathrus, I’ll listen to anything you or anyone else has to say. Point is, most of us do temper freedom with responsibility. We’ve got no choice unless you’ve got Bill Gates money. Besides, if you’re over 55, you know we’ve been thru this before. Remember the Pinto & Vega? And what happened when the economy righted and fuel prices moderated? Let’s see if we make the same mistakes this time.

  57. Tony says:

    “Simplistic actions like not buying gas on wednesdays or even just boycotting Exxon/Mobil stations would be enough to crash prices like crazy.”

    No, it won’t do anything. You are not affecting the demand for oil, just offsetting it one day or to another company. As a whole, the country will be consuming the same amount it was before. All it does is possibly hurt small business owners who have almost no control over the prices they charge as they are in a highly competitive business with very little margins for profit.

    The only way consumers can control the price of gas is to lower demand by driving less and car pooling more. If no one drove anywhere one day a week, demand would drop, but let’s see someone organize that.

  58. Pierce Nichols says:

    I just bought a base-model manual Honda Fit for $550 under sticker price. Hauls four adults comfortably and gets better than sticker mileage unless I drive like a maniac.

  59. Teacher says:

    Oil companies put their product up for bid on the open market and they take the best price they can get. If each of us could bid our job(services) the same way, how many of us would turn down a higher bid for a lower? None.

    Another thing about the “record” profits for Exxon. Last year exxon had $40 billion in profit from their operations around the entire world. And this was $40 billion EBITA so the company will be keeping well less than $40 billion. So Exxon spent tens of billions in their operations and had a profit of $40 billion EBITA. Last year the state of California alone collected $5 billion in gas taxes. One state spent almost nothing and collected 1/6 of the world wide gross profit of Exxon.

  60. Coach James says:

    %^$&*%^&$&%^ I hate this auto refresh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I had an update to this topic and just lost it. Why in the hell don’t they get rid of it?!!

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