The shortsigted consumer: Gas high? Buy scooter. Gas Low? Sell scooter, buy SUV – Repeat ad nauseam

Tue, Dec 9, 2008

Peak Oil

(caution… rant in t-minus 4 seconds and counting)

Oh it pangs me so, this cycle of madness. What I had perceived as a paradigm shifting “perfect storm” (Ref) just seven months ago looks to be another example of American gas pains.

There are 22 new scooter listings in the Austin Craigslist this week alone.
“Brand new scooter – less than 200 miles on it. GREAT X-mas gift!”, is not uncommon.

Now, I’m not sure if people are really selling these things and buying SUVs (we’ve got other issues at work today… oil at a 5 year low, good for SUV sales, and a bad case of the “R” word, which is bad, spreading across the news wire), but it’s just sad that American consumers can be led around like a bull with a nose ring focused on buying whatever oil prices tell them to buy. Yeah, I know some people will have good excuses like “I’m scared”, “I broke my arm and can’t ride”, “I really need the money”, “I’m preggers”, but I thought the rest of you were in it for the long haul. Even if it was only for fair weather riding.

Even the professionals are suggesting that consumers not get too comfortable with the cheap gas:
Andrew Leach, an assistant professor of business at the University of Alberta, who specializes in energy economics, doesn’t think prices will sink much lower. “It’s getting pretty close to a floor in gas prices,” he said.

Mr. Leach expects prices to remain relatively low for the next year, with possible fluctuations due to the cost of refined oil.

He warned that consumers shouldn’t take low prices for granted and said that in any market where consumers need a product, they are at the mercy of the retailer. With the current low prices, he said now is the time to start thinking about public transport and smaller cars, so that when gas prices do rise again, people won’t be dependent on fuel they can’t afford.

While it is unAmerican to say you were happy that gas prices were so high, you have to admit it did fuel interest in alternatives. Is that so bad? Is it better to be reactive and only push for change when it’s too late or to be proactive and say, “Hey! You know what? I’m gonna keep using oil until we finally get this new alternative worked out in the next few years, then no more.”

7 Responses to “The shortsigted consumer: Gas high? Buy scooter. Gas Low? Sell scooter, buy SUV – Repeat ad nauseam”

  1. GNH Says:

    I’ve seen the same kind of scooter ads on Craigslist in Albuquerque, NM. I think its pretty sad-would be great to see more bikes on the road and fewer big cars. Good for the environment and safer for people on motorcycles and scooters. Unfortunately I think people are that short sighted. Over time gas will have to go back up again but people only see as far ahead as their nose. But gas prices aside, riding a scooter or motorcycle is so much more fun than driving, who would want to drive an SUV anyway?


  2. GenWaylaid Says:

    Don’t they get it? Cheap gas means you can ride your scooter TWICE as far!


  3. ScooterScoop Says:

    If it wasn’t so dangerous, I’d be stock piling the gas right now so I could ride my gas scooter until the alternatives were ready for prime time.


  4. Marvin Smith Says:

    The pink Buddy is for sale because…it’s PINK, otherwise, I agree, it’s short sighted and you still save $ with the scooter. I bought some Brigham Exploration stock 7 days ago, I’ll save gas AND make money with the energy companys as their stock price goes up!


  5. Anonymous Says:

    I live in orlando and just sold my 2003 zuma scooter on craigslist,because my kymco super 8 came in.I was suprised how many people called and how healthy the scooter market seems to be.When people asked why I was selling and I told them I bought a kymco,they knew what a kymco was.Five years ago when my friend told people he had a kymco scooter,they would say I didnt know namco made scooters.


  6. Anonymous Says:

    Definitely a case for increased petro taxes. Take that you conservative dimwits. Use taxes to free us from petroleum dependancy.


  7. GNH Says:

    Increased taxes are not the answer to anything. Nor is calling someone who disagrees with your point of view a “dimwit”. I would like to see fewer SUV’s and large trucks on the road. Having a large truck is fine if you’re hauling stuff in the country but driving one to the office is ridiculous. That being said, its not my business to dictate to someone else what they can drive. I’d like to see fewer big vehicles on the road not only to save gas but also to make life a little safer for us scooter/motorcycle riders, sure. But putting high taxes on people (especially in this economy) as a way for the government to impose its will on people is not the kind of answer I am comfortable with.


Leave a Reply