Monday, March 28, 2011

Gas and Food Prices

I live near 3 towns in rural Virginia in the U.S. I used to notice one person walking to the shopping centers about once a week, but now notice several people a day. And there are no sidewalks available where they have to walk, as most of our towns were only built for car access. Many people in town are nearly 2 miles from the nearest shopping center, and country folks 10-15 miles. I’m also seeing quite a few more motor scooters being used on the roads. Unfortunately, I’ve been reading that the bus service in many communities in the US are actually decreasing their services as their demand has grown.
Most people in the US have NEVER used buses, bicycles, or walked to work or shopping, and they will have a terrible time making the transition. I have experience with all three and will be willing to make the change when it becomes necessary, but I am now disabled and can’t walk more than 1/2 mile on my good days, and don’t have any bus service within 2 miles of me. I’ll probably end up needing to use a motor scooter, but I’m afraid of it being stolen. My sister had two mopeds stolen during the gas crisis of the 70′s, and gave up using them.
I have had to survive on a part-time job for the last 3 years, so my personal budget is extremely tight. I will probably have to give up my car at some point, but I don’t know how practical it will be to use a motor scooter in the winter snow. I have many years experience in growing much of my own food, but my disability is now making this extremely difficult. I have been brain-storming how to survive the coming hard times, but it has been very challenging to find solutions. I wish us all the best in making the necessary adjustments!
Hi Debra, thanks a lot for your email. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to what you have to say and as things get worse, this sort of thing will become more and more common.
I’d try to keep the car, using it as little as possible. One thing people do around here is organize trips with friends and neighbors. Splitting the cost of gasoline between two or three makes it much cheaper.
Take care Debra,

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Anonymous said...

Even in cities and close packed towns you can only do so much with a bike or scooter.

You can't take home a lot of groceries on a bike or scooter. Can't make stops at 3-4 stores to pick this&that up, I don't see how you're going to take a child or two to school or day care...and forget about it in the winter.

Don't bet the farm on a bike or scooter. Without a car American life changes dramatically!

Darryll Anderson said...

back when scooters or under 100cc motorcycles cost $300 new and $50 used (1970's), they were spending $1000 for a 20 year old junker to $13,000 for a vespa is kinda pointless. my car gets 36mpg and new it was only $13k (toyota yaris) new. i see them for $3000 used with 50k miles and a toyota is just getting going at 50k miles....!

unless you get a small motobike for cheap/free..i dont see the point...?

also...if you want a real laugh, look at the prices for electric bicycles...LOL!

David said...

Another trend is toward DIY repair. Just this weekend I changed the rear struts/springs and did a rear brake job. I hadn't done a brake job in 25 years and never had swapped the struts before (it was easy). Last week I swapped a water pump, quoted at $250 at a shop, for $19 (rebuilt part). I easily saved $800 on the struts & brakes doing it myself.

This is going to be The Big Thing. People will "in-source" every possible thing to save money.

Also, look for Jap cars to go up in price, both new and used. With Toyota, Honda, etc., ceasing production for some time and Japan-made parts availability in doubt for months or even years, the prices for existing cars will almost certainly pop higher.

Of course, they're already high. I saw an ad for a 1994 Honda CR-V with 270,000 miles on it for $3500.

David said...

@Darryll Anderson,

A Yaris for $3,000? Let me at it!! I found one on Yahoo Autos for $3900 that looked like it had been dropped upside down on concrete from 20 feet up...but it had only about 38k miles on it (LOL!).

Most of the used Yaris' were going for more than a brand new Kia or Suzuki (not comparing the cars, just the prices). Toyota is not the cheap alternative.