With the rising prices of gas, I am wondering at what point there will be a major change in traveling habits. I hear lots of folks talking about not driving for vacation, but other than that there doesn’t seem to be much change. I ran across a website that shows the varying impact of gas prices such as:
- Percentage of income directly spent on gas
- Gas Prices
- Median income
These are shown on a map of the U.S. and they show the hot spots of impact:http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/06/09/business/20080609_GAS_GRAPHIC.html#tab1
Even though the gas price hike is causing a lot of problems for many people, I’ve also read a few interesting arguments in favor of it, at least in the long-term. A former long-haul trucker, for example, pointed out that a big increase in transportation costs might be just what we need to pull our nation back out of our trade imbalance. (EG. The cost to receive goods from countries like China is dramatically increasing, due to rising fuel costs. So for the first time in our history, we might reach a point where the shipping cost becomes a determining factor in where production is done. It’s slowly becoming more profitable for a company to open up a new plant and produce their product locally than to keep paying the shipping costs.) This is a more likely scenario in today’s fast-paced society than it would have been in the past, too. Traditional “cheaper” means of cross-country transportation, like railroads, create logistical issues for FAST delivery. A given rail car may wind up going right past the delivery point as many as 2 or 3 times before being unloaded, simply because there are too many other filled cars on the train that should be unloaded first at other destinations, to maximize delivery efficiency for the train as a whole.