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Posted at 11:03 AM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Gas prices changing your habits?

By Washington Post Editors

If you've hit the pump lately, you're probably wondering when will rising gas prices stabilize -- or even better -- start to fall.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) says the rising prices may push some commuters out of their cars and into the nation's public transit systems.

"As gas prices rise, using public transportation is the quickest way people can beat high gasoline prices," William Millar, president of APTA, said in a statement.

Virginia Railway Express spokesman Mark Roeber said nine of their top 10 ridership days have been since Feb. 10, about the time gas prices began to rise. There is, however, no way to determine how many of those riders came solely because of the cost at the pump.

"We do know that as fuel costs escalate, people look for alternatives and the farther out you go, we are the alternative of choice," Roeber said. "There is no question some people are moving to VRE as a preferable option."

Roeber said last time fuel prices hit $4, VRE heard from several riders who said they moved to commuter-rail for the first time because of rising gas prices.

The American Automobile Association reported that the average price of unleaded gasoline rose to $3.524 per gallon Wednesday from Tuesday's $3.517

How are the rising gas prices affecting your habits? Are you taking Metro instead? Other public transit? Using grocery store gas discount programs? Post a comment below and participate in our poll. You can also send comments to transportation@washpost.com.

Wednesday's Gas Report

AAA said the average prices for a gallon of regular unleaded in the region Wednesday were:
-- The District: $3.64
-- Maryland: $3.51
-- Virginia: $3.437

Resources

You can search for cheap gas using AAA's Fuel Price Finder, or the search function at gasbuddy.com.

APTA's Web site features a transit savings calculator that you can use to determine how using public transportation compares with driving.

By Washington Post Editors  | March 9, 2011; 11:03 AM ET
Categories:  Driving, Metro  
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Comments

checking tire inflation, accelerating and driving slower, and replacing more shorter trips w bicycling

Posted by: TheBoreaucrat | March 9, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

hypermiling. In the left lane.

Just kidding :)

Posted by: thetan | March 9, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama is killing us, is it 2012 yet?

Posted by: wewinyoulose1 | March 9, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I pity the fools who still buy gas guzzlers and fight against making America energy independent by using less Oil. The more Oil you burn, the more money you transfer to the Middle East. You reap what you sow.

Posted by: Airborne82 | March 10, 2011 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Nope, no changes in my driving habits. I continue to drive my Prius so as to maximize fuel economy; I also continue plan my trips so as to cover the largest number of chores possible in a single trip. Since I live in a semi-rural area with no public transit, no shopping in bicycle range (and the road I live on has no shoulders and is not safe for bicycles, anyway), that's the best I can do.

Posted by: Davoud | March 10, 2011 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Nope, no changes in my driving habits. I continue to drive my Prius so as to maximize fuel economy; I also continue plan my trips so as to cover the largest number of chores possible in a single trip. Since I live in a semi-rural area with no public transit, no shopping in bicycle range (and the road I live on has no shoulders and is not safe for bicycles, anyway), that's the best I can do.

Posted by: Davoud | March 10, 2011 1:38 AM | Report abuse

People are talking about protesting by walking off their jobs. Guess if you cannot afford to fill up then you can't afford to go to work. Next we will see panic as before. Long lines at stations and fights breaking out cause someone in a big gas guzzling SUV will fill out plus his big 20 gal can he carries around.

Posted by: mac7 | March 10, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I moved to a place that doesn't require much consumption of gas. I live three miles from where I work. I can walk to all the stores and resturants that I need. Honestly, if the whole transportation infrastructure were to fall apart over rising gas prices, I would hardly be affected at all.

On the other hand, I bought a house with an oil furnace, so I might have some upgrading to do in the future.

Posted by: kuato | March 10, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I commute 14 miles each way by motorcycle. Buying gas 4.5 gallons at a time limits sticker shock. Great mental therapy and way less expensive than metro.

Posted by: deanowade | March 10, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I live about 0.5 mi from work so most days I walk. This results in only needing to fill up my 20 gallon tank once a month.

Posted by: LittleRed1 | March 10, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Been walking and using mass transit...will keep walking and using mass transit. Instead of making more fuel efficient cars, we should be making more fuel efficient communities. The regional bus system can be a lot better than it currently is; actually, some areas are worse today than they were about fifteen years ago.

Posted by: dkp01 | March 10, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Riding a horse.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 10, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

My roundtrip commute each day takes 1 hr 30 min and one gallon of gas. I do have the option of taking public transportation but my daily commute would increase to 3 hours. The price of gas would have to increase A LOT for me for me to even consider spending that extra hour and a half commuting.

Posted by: jeve | March 10, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

No--but only because I don't do any unnecessary driving...ever. I only have to fill the car every 2 to 4 weeks as it is.Because parking is so expensive in DC, I generally leave my car at or near home and take public transportation or walk. It's parking prices that keep me close to home--not gas prices. Oh, and my social life is already limited due to being a mother, so...no changes here.

Posted by: forgetthis | March 10, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Gas prices are up 67% since Obama was elected. He wants "green energy" so I guess I need to put solar panels on my car. If he can continue to force "natural" energy prices up through his stance on no drilling and legislation through EPA regulations at least we will not need cap and tax to manipulate whether "green" energy can compete with the pricing of our untapped natural resources. The fact we will all be broke will be a moot point.

Posted by: bz11 | March 10, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

bz11:
"Gas prices are up 67% since Obama was elected."

Hey, remember when it got to over $4/gal when George Bush was President?

Posted by: presto668 | March 10, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

By January 2009 the oil market had hit bottom; oil was selling for $34 a barrel. So the banks and hedge funds invested in oil, betting that it would go up. After all they had been previously successful in driving up the price to $140 dollars a barrel. They began hoarding oil, storing it in tank farms and on supertankers.

Then the bankers hired an army of oil traders to bid the price of oil up. Even though world consumption was down, they were successful at pumping oil up again with the resurrection of the big lie of "peak oil" and a few geopolitical crises'. Oil is now selling at over $100 dollars a barrel.
The banks scored twice; first by betting that oil would go up, then shorting the greenback, insuring that oil would go up. They hired an army of currency traders. Their cynical efforts to make a buck impoverished all of us by devaluing our currency. When your currency becomes devalued, the cost of everything goes up, especially oil and other commodities.
Don't forget, we loaned the banks the money to do this, and for two years those banks made record profits. Those of us who heat our homes, drive our cars, and use oil products in a myriad of ways, are paying way more than we should. And we have been for some time. Bernie Madoff ripped off his clients to the tune of 50 billion dollars, a monumental theft. So what do you call this oil market that has taken 50 times that amount? We have paid $2.5 trillion dollars more than we should! The irony of all of this is that we the taxpayers provided the seed money ( TARP) for this; the greatest rip off in history. Call your elected representatives and ask them to repeal the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and get speculators out of the oil market!

Posted by: maineman3 | March 10, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

motorcycle to work whenever possible. Much more fun, arrive with a good attitude, sometimes take the long way...

Posted by: michael49 | March 10, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

TIPS ON PUMPING GAS

I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU GUYS ARE PAYING FOR GASOLINE.... BUT HERE IN
CALIFORNIA WE ARE PAYING UP TO $3.75 TO $4.10 PER GALLON. MY LINE OF
WORK IS IN PETROLEUM FOR ABOUT 31 YEARS NOW, SO HERE ARE SOME TRICKS TO
GET MORE OF YOUR MONEY'S WORTH FOR EVERY GALLON:

HERE AT THE KINDER MORGAN PIPELINE WHERE I WORK IN SAN JOSE , CA WE
DELIVER ABOUT 4 MILLION GALLONS IN A 24-HOUR PERIOD THRU THE PIPELINE..
ONE DAY IS DIESEL THE NEXT DAY IS JET FUEL, AND GASOLINE, REGULAR AND
PREMIUM GRADES. WE HAVE 34-STORAGE TANKS HERE WITH A TOTAL CAPACITY OF
16,800,000 GALLONS.

ONLY BUY OR FILL UP YOUR CAR OR TRUCK IN THE EARLY MORNING WHEN THE
GROUND TEMPERATURE IS STILL COLD.REMEMBER THAT ALL SERVICE STATIONS HAVE
THEIR STORAGE TANKS BURIED BELOW GROUND. THE COLDER THE GROUND THE MORE
DENSE THE GASOLINE, WHEN IT GETS WARMER GASOLINE EXPANDS, SO BUYING IN
THE AFTERNOON OR IN THE EVENING....YOUR GALLON IS NOT EXACTLY A GALLON.
IN THE PETROLEUM BUSINESS, THE SPECIFIC GRAVITY AND THE TEMPERATURE OF
THE GASOLINE, DIESEL AND JET FUEL, ETHANOL AND OTHER PETROLEUM PRODUCTS
PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE.

A 1-DEGREE RISE IN TEMPERATURE IS A BIG DEAL FOR THIS BUSINESS. BUT THE
SERVICE STATIONS DO NOT HAVE TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION AT THE PUMPS.

WHEN YOU'RE FILLING UP DO NOT SQUEEZE THE TRIGGER OF THE NOZZLE TO A
FAST MODE IF YOU LOOK YOU WILL SEE THAT THE TRIGGER HAS THREE (3)
STAGES: LOW, MIDDLE, AND HIGH. YOU SHOULD BE PUMPING ON LOW MODE,
THEREBY MINIMIZING THE VAPORS THAT ARE CREATED WHILE YOU ARE PUMPING.
ALL HOSES AT THE PUMP HAVE A VAPOR RETURN. IF YOU ARE PUMPING ON THE
FAST RATE, SOME OF THE LIQUID THAT GOES TO YOUR TANK BECOMES VAPOR.
THOSE VAPORS ARE BEING SUCKED UP AND BACK INTO THE UNDERGROUND STORAGE
TANK SO YOU'RE GETTING LESS WORTH FOR YOUR MONEY.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TIPS IS TO FILL UP WHEN YOUR GAS TANK IS HALF
FULL. THE REASON FOR THIS IS THE MORE GAS YOU HAVE IN YOUR TANK THE LESS
AIR OCCUPYING ITS EMPTY SPACE. GASOLINE EVAPORATES FASTER THAN YOU CAN
IMAGINE.GASOLINE STORAGE TANKS HAVE AN INTERNAL FLOATING ROOF. THIS ROOF
SERVES AS ZERO CLEARANCE BETWEEN THE GAS AND THE ATMOSPHERE, SO IT
MINIMIZES THE EVAPORATION. UNLIKE SERVICE STATIONS, HERE WHERE I WORK,
EVERY TRUCK THAT WE LOAD IS TEMPERATURE COMPENSATED SO THAT EVERY GALLON
IS ACTUALLY THE EXACT AMOUNT.

ANOTHER REMINDER, IF THERE IS A GASOLINE TRUCK PUMPING INTO THE STORAGE
TANKS WHEN YOU STOP TO BUY GAS, DO NOT FILL UP; MOST LIKELY THE GASOLINE
IS BEING STIRRED UP AS THE GAS IS BEING DELIVERED, AND YOU MIGHT PICK UP
SOME OF THE DIRT THAT NORMALLY SETTLES ON THE BOTTOM.

Posted by: whobet | March 10, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Been commuting after dropping 3 alternators, 2 transmissions and an engine about 2 years ago. Same travel time (2 hrs) less stress (250 for MTA Transit Pass and I'm not driving). Also looking for a decent home closer to work, but will most likely still commute.

Posted by: Falling4Ever | March 12, 2011 2:05 AM | Report abuse

We moan and groan about prices at the pump every year since the oil crisis of the 73. We.re all to blame. Starting from the top to the consumer. Congress is the biggest problem from the beginning. Lobbyists filling their pockets with cash. Second, the oil companies asking for a hand outs while holding a gun to our heads. Third, the EPA, regulations on clean fuels, the states with their individual demands for certain blends to keep the air clean. Fourth, the oil companies itself, refining the oil costing them what to burn unleaded fuels and passing the costs on the consumers. Fifth, we should blame ourselves for depending Detroit and others for building big heavy guzzlers in the first place.
We let the idiots on the hill rule the wrong way for years. Before we are held up by the greed of others, the oil industry, the idiots on the hill I mean all, we should take a stance on regulators on all sides to say enough is enough. Go the EPA and cut the different blends for down to 15, in stead of hundreds, refiners want charge as much for as is today's market. Stop buying these high priced cars that gets worse gas miles on the road. Tell the government to stop bowing to the middle east taking our dollars and using it against us and stop the greed here in America forcing jobs overseas. There may be a solution in others home grown energies in America. We've lost just about everything we stand for today. Give the idiots around us not another chance at greed. Let's use good sense and stop the nonsense and get ahead! Demand to the congress stop payments to the middle east and down grading the buck. Finally make the oil industry to use alternative fuels ie natural gas or ethanol blends from waste,even biofuels we create here . GIVE THE CONSUMER A BIG BREAK FROM THE PUMP AND THE IDIOTS ON THE HILL! See you in November 2012!

Posted by: wardtony1 | March 12, 2011 3:12 AM | Report abuse

I do not own a car and vanpool to work. I would be a dedicated user of public transportation, i.e. a bus, but Henrico County, Va consistently refuses to support decent bus service. Heck, they won't even put in sidewalks and crosswalks so I can walk safely to nearby stores and businesses.

Until we somehow realize that poor land use and a refusal by local governments to assist those of us who not only don't drive but actually prefer to walk or take public transit must change, we can invent all the fuel efficient vehicles we can think of and we will still be hostage to the oil interests.

Posted by: n01cat1 | March 12, 2011 5:15 AM | Report abuse

Yep, sure changing my habits. Now I can buy a newer Bentley and make the Masters this spring in my Lear. Nice to be in oil and gas. And I thought the bankers really had it good with Bernanke handing them free money and all. This is better than a printing press.

Now I realize how really tough bankers have it by not having to pay depositors interest, and having to give them toasters.
Why we stopped cleaning windshields 40 years ago.

Ever wonder what da' po' folk do in flyover country? Hard to see from 40,000 ft.

Ain't America great?

Posted by: wesatch | March 12, 2011 6:52 AM | Report abuse

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