If Gas Prices Dropped Suddenly, Would You Stop Trying to Conserve Fuel?

by RC on June 28, 2008

gas-prices-2005.jpgAccording to recent congressional testimony, some experts believe changes (i.e., controls and restrictions) to the oil futures trading market could result in up to a 50% decrease in the price of a barrel of oil, with gas prices also dropping as much as 50%, or to around $2.00 per gallon as soon as 1 month after. I do not really believe it would have that much of an effect, as I am sure there are other factors involved, such as global demand and the loss of value of the U.S. dollar vs. global currency, etc. However, it got me thinking about whether, were gas prices to drop that significantly that quickly, would people stop trying to drive more efficiently, stop looking for the cheapest gas stations, and generally just stop worrying about the price of a gallon of gas?

I have been trying to drive more efficiently, plan my trips and errands, and be conscious about my driving habits due to the recent spike in gas prices over the last 6 months to a year. Would I continue to do so, if gas was only $2.00 gallon? I think so, and I would certainly try. By driving more consciously, I would continue to save the same percentage per mile driven, and those savings over a month to a year would continue to add up.

Frugal habits developed when you have to save money should be carried forward even if the necessity of saving is no longer present. Keeping your costs and expenses to a minimum is an important component in building wealth.

Image by PhilipsPhotos

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

john June 28, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I think people have got to the point where they don’t want to pay for gas period. any no matter what it costs, they are going to try to save.

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Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet June 28, 2008 at 9:05 pm

I don’t think people would be as conscious of their usage if gas was cheaper. I mean, right now I think, “ok, that place is 7 miles away. If I drive there and back it will cost me $4.” and I decide if it’s worth making the trip. If that same trip only cost $2 then I would be twice as likely to go. Therefore, I would use more gas.

Right now I’m trying to decide if I want to go to a 4th of July party that is 30 miles away. It’s going to cost me $16 in gas. That is weighing heavily on my decision. If it was only going to cost me $8 it wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

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RC June 29, 2008 at 11:28 am

@ John: I think many people are tired of paying so much at the pump, but i am not sure how many people will stick with it, so to speak, myself included.

@Ashley: I agree, I definitely think people would be less conscious when it come to shorter trips. I would like to think I would still pay attention to my driving habits, but I have a feeling I would slip some, especially on shorter trips.

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Grey June 29, 2008 at 1:58 pm

I’m afraid that most people would fall back in to bad habits, much as they did in the 70s. I also think it has a lot to do with the age of the consumer; I think younger drivers would be less inclined to save on gas.

For myself, I hope that I would. Working from home a few days a week has obvious other benefits, and that’s the biggest lifestyle change I’ve made, so I imagine I would keep that up.

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Todd June 29, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Too many people are hit hard financially with the housing market bust and now gas prices going past the roof. Many in my rural town are riding bikes to work. If gas prices were not so high, then I don’t think people would conserve or even try. Some do it out of necessity based on financial hardship. Many are trying to sell their SUVs or trucks to conserve.
There is a better way by converting water into a more effecient browns gas to supplement gas usage that will double your gas mileage. Essentially, will be back to paying $2.00/ gallon. Think of the wonders this would do to the environment and the conservation of oil.

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RC June 30, 2008 at 6:41 am

@Grey: I am afraid that would happen myself, unfortunately. I would hope I would continue to be conscious about conserving fuel.

@Todd: The double whammy of housing and gas prices is hitting people very hard, especially when you throw in the higher prices of food as well. I haven’t really heard much about the water conversion or browns gas that seemed realistic to me- I guess many people believe it is a hoax-, but if something like that came along that really worked, it would be great.

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