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    Posted May 19, 2008 by
    ENGHELBERG
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Pain at the pump

    More from ENGHELBERG

    Fuel Price OVER Psychological Threshold of $4.00

     
    Since my last report in March, 2008 ( http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-4702) the price of gas and fuel just went into one direction: forward. The speed of the price increase is constant (steady 1/3 forward) and we are over a historical mark and maybe psychological threshold: the $4.00 for the unleaded gallon. (Correction: already there as of May 21st, 2008). The web is full with of fuel board prices photos...and will keep coming and being posted in big numbers as consumers are coming to age with high prices and try to adjust so many (too many...) limited budgets. PS. IN SOUTH FLORIDA THE PRICES ARE ALREADY OVER $4.15/G (ALL FLAVORS) | DIESEL OVER $4.75/G. We're record breakers every day! In Chicago you can buy the most expensive gasoline, with about $0.30 more than average rest of the country. (As of May 25th, 2008) Do not have any illusions: in many places all over U.S. the price of the unleaded gallon (the cheap gasoline flavor) is well over $4.15, but the industry mark is the U.S. Average Price. From a crude oil price (now at about $135.00/barrel) about 80-85% is reflected at the pumps consumer price, the rest being made by federal taxes, local taxes, distribution costs and pump owners/operators mark-ups. Who is to blame: us, the consumers!? We did not demanded better fuel efficient engine/vehicles as in Europe, or alternate fuels. This reform is long time ago over-due, and should have started at least after the big crisis of 1973. We were complacent (SIMPLY WE DIDN'T CARE!!!) and now we are paying for this mistake. Our fuel engines here in U.S. are not efficient and to big for the vehicles we drive. Too few are Diesel, alcohol or liquid natural gas powered In Europe the motorists pay about $8.00 a gallon, but computing the engine efficiency factor (average 4 cyls, .1.3-1.6L + high compression ratio), we can reach the reference price of $6.5 /gallon. I was living in Europe for many years. Sure, the distances one has to travel are vastly bigger in USA than in Europe. They have an advanced and superbly designed mass-transit system: in Bucharest they have double trolley-busses, electrical trams and electrical locomotives from the 70's. In Central Europe electrical trains were running before, during and after WWII. Even Porsche invented and all-wheel-drive electrical car, at the beginning of the 20th century. Almost 100 years later, the GM is reinventing the Volt Vehicle! Is this cynical and/or simply stupid energy policy, so late and so little? * Who is to blame*? Us: un-educated and unconcerned consumers. No cheap solutions or temporary patches have to be adopted. Only comprehensive ones, based as well on a massive and well tuned mass transit system, can be implemented. On the small individual level we are still better off than them (the Europeans). But for how long? Our way of living and working is different, but we live in an interconnected planet. Another factor to blame is the current value of U.S. currency: lower vs. the Euro and with a different buying power than some years ago. More important, the international markets changed and more and more people (around the world and in the big emerging markets) have more money and access to buy a pre-owned or a new vehicle. Many decades ago, in Europe, you will have posted a decal with the most efficient speed for your vehicle, in such a manner to direct you to drive at that speed and not pas it, in order to save fuel. The price hike will continue for many months until a new source of fuel + new technologies will be introduced and implemented: like ethanol from sugar cane (and not corn-corn is food!!!), hybrid, liquid natural gas or AWD electrical cars. The price at the pomp is rising in a tempo of about $0.17-0.35/week. But of course we will be in a snow-ball price effect in our economy, which will alter all prices from groceries to entertainment and tourism. Nothing around us will be left out of this high-fuel-price cyclone, because many decades ago we have based our way of living on fossil oil, something that we do not produce at home. Can we expect a moderation in the oil prices? It will be difficult to achieve and such a complicated economical international arena and a "hot" political climate. Possible: yes; only if the domestic consumption will be down by 25% and U.S. will achieve oil independence by exploring existing reserves and putting in the market alternative fuels. U.S. has the technology edge to do it and the industrial might & the civil + political will to explore new ways to become and achieve oil/energy independence. Still the political pressure is not so big for the developers to go fast & furious to the computer screens (called before, "drawing tables") and design new ways to save petrol. We need an Energy Revolution to occur, and the minds and hearts (and the pockets...) are starting to set on one. I estimate, at some time in the short future, that the pressure on economy (energy and food), local and global, will lead to profound political changes that will simply switch from fossil fuels based energy to hydro, natural gas, solar and atomic energy. It is simply a matter of finding alternative sources of energy, locally. The energy cannot be imported. It has to be produced, harvested at home, renewable, clean-burning and in agreement with the environment. I think that the idea for a change from the fossil fuel in in march right now (not yet a full march!) It's only a matter of time until building steam & rolling. > Anyway, there is no intelligence in burning fossil fuel in an engine. Oil is better processed and taken advantage (with improving efficiency and many important derivate products) in the chemical industry. IF MY DEAR READER HAS ANY IDEAS ON HOW TO SAVE FUEL & IMPROVE MILEAGE, PLEASE E-MAIL ME. Hedi Enghelberg hedi@enghelberg.com > PS. As of Nov. 21st, 2008, the average unleaded fuel price, per gallon was $1.99 | What a great victory!!!

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