That’s not a peak oil alarmist or a tree-hugging car-hater. That’s CIBC World Markets, trying to figure out the impacts on the economy.

Hence we must narrow our focus on those Americans where a European style shift in driving habits is currently feasible. People can’t simply abandon their cars if they have no other means of getting around, particularly in terms of getting work. There must be at least a public transport alternative.

As it turns out, roughly 57 million American households that own a vehicle have reasonable access to public transi4, slightly more than half of the number of households who own a vehicle (Chart 11). And applying the 80% vehicle ownership rate seen in Europe to this target group suggests a 10 million reduction in the number of registered vehicles in the US.

Where will this decline come from? The focus is on those who can least afford to operate a car when gasoline costs $7 per gallon. No less than 80% of low income Americans (or roughly 24 million households) with less than $25,000 annual income own a car. With gasoline bills surging to record highs, they will be the first to come off the road.

And presumably, he’s not even considering people that will accept a smaller or more expensive property to move closer to transit.

Meanwhile, in Olympia, increased funding for transit isn’t on the table — not even for buses that could help every jurisdiction in the state. Sound Transit 2, which could be the largest public transit investment in the state’s history, is on a knife edge.

And WSDOT is still talking ($) about $2.6 billion in highway improvements in Skagit County. (hat tip: Wesley Kirkman) The world has changed, but the machine keeps rolling along.

As 78% of real estate agents report clients showing “greater interest in city living”, we have NIMBY opposition to density, denunciation of “social engineering,” and opposition to the one technology — rail — that could support that density, while supporting bus technology subject to the same price pressures as cars.

What reality are these people living in?

Bradford Plummer at TNR says it best:

To put things in perspective, only about 5 percent of Americans used public transit to commute as of 2005, compared with about 50 percent in Japan and Europe, where pricey gas has long been a reality. It’s not clear whether the United States could scale up that quickly by, say, 2012, though it sounds like, among other things, it would be a good idea to get started now.

Get mad.

Via Sullivan.

6 Replies to “$7 Gasoline in 2010”

  1. Andrew Sullivan is so hot, siiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Wait, sorry, where was I?

    Anyway, yes, $7 gas. Yeah. We had another unprovoked spike in gas prices today with no associated rationale– they just bumped the price.

  2. Oh, I’m mad. I’m sending this post to my state legislators and maybe even my congressman.

    Part of the problem is that so many legislators run virtually unopposed in the primary AND the general election, so they can afford to take kickbacks from the oil companies and ignore the calls for real mass transit from their own constituents.

    What are the minimum qualifications for running for the state legislature?

    1. I would suggest printing up that Investment Bank report, and sending it out to all the state legislators – and governor – who have ZERO interest in building a real rapid transit system in the Puget Sound area.

      You don’t have to look any further than Deb Eddy’s comments yesterday on Doug MacDonald’s Crosscut ranting to see how obsessed they are with internal combustion engines and pavement.

      All but a small handful of these policymakers think an all-bus system will get us by for the next 20 years. Instead of making things happen for electric light rail, run off of hydro power, the Eastside Democrats are doing all they can to stop light rail from “taking away” the center roadway of I-90.

      Meanwhile, our esteemed Seattle Democrat / Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp, only involves himself in finding a way to re-build the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and re-build the 520 bridge with an additional $2 billion worth of goodies for his rich constituents in Montlake.

      Ever heard one of these clowns say anything positive about light rail? The reason Kemper Freeman and Tim Eyman have so much power in this region is simple: their “vision” of expanding highways for solo driving is shared by the supposedly progressive legislators we keep re-electing.

      If Deb Eddy, Fred Jarrett, Judy Clibborn, etc want an environmental organization to endorse them, somebody’s got to put their foot down, and make them come clean with all the pro-freeway garbage they crank out each session.

      Now, they are hell-bent on re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (via governance reform) to put light rail on the back burner, and continue down the path of burning more fossil fuel with buses.

      This investment bank report should be a wake-up call for the fake Democrats sitting pretty (per diem pays them to drive), and pretending as if gas will stay at $4.50.

      I wonder if any of these light rail skeptics in the legislature has any idea what local transit companies are going through just to keep diesel in the tanks of their 4 mpg buses?

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