The Oil Drum: New York City

Helping New Yorkers understand, prepare and adapt to the implications of Peak Oil

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Yorkers feel the pain, too

Most of us don't drive much, but still, rising gas prices hurt city residents. The New York Sun reports on the effect the higher prices are having on cabbies and the city budget.

I wasn't planning on posting this article here, except that then they touched on my pet issue: Chuck Schumer and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Still, New York's politicians are vowing to take action to lower gas prices.

At a press conference yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg said the Department of Consumer Affairs is inspecting gas stations to make sure that retailers aren't watering down their petroleum or manipulating their meters.

And in June, Senator Schumer introduced an amendment to an energy bill that would have opened the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to domestic consumers. The amendment died after the Senate, in a vote of 57 to 39, voted to table it.
Ick. The last thing we need is for the press to spin this in a positive light.

Another worrisome bit:

Mr. Bombardiere, former owner of an Exxon station in downtown Brooklyn, said customers are increasingly using credit cards, rather than cash, to pay their escalating gas bills. And with credit-card companies taking a 3% fee on purchases made with plastic, the trend away from cash takes a heavy toll on stations' bottom lines.
I keep reading about how people are putting themselves further into debt because of high gas prices, and it bothers me. The credit card seems to be the classic (American) escapist response when people don't want to take responsibility for a financial crunch (to wit: thousands of college kids getting into debt to buy pizza and beer.) I wish I knew more about how personal debt affects the economy, but I know it's not good, and will be especially bad if our financial institutions collapse.

Still, I really do feel for the cabbies, and I wouldn't mind the city giving them a break somehow. But what a Catch-22. On one hand, I'd want to advocate for more subway riding and less taxi-taking, but on the other hand, it's these guys' livelihood. What's the solution to the problem?

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At 8:15 AM, Blogger baloghblog said...

seems easy to me... A cab ride is typically 2-3 miles in length? (most less?)

Add a $.25 "gas" surcharge on each ride. or a buck or two to/from the airports.

Small enough not to bug the average NY'er, but enough to put gas in the tank for the day.

Sh*t, the MTA has NO problem raising subway fares in the middle of a cash surplus, I don't think that NY'ers would get all bent about a 25 cent per fare surcharge.

what do you think?

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not clear on the original post. You really think the SPR should be sold off right now? What would we do in a REAL emergency?

Note - a REAL emergency is when gas/diesel is not available and the economy is highly disrupted. It's not when some trivial, incompetent parent is whining about the cost of flying the kids to Disney World for the tenth time!

At 11:11 PM, Blogger Ianqui said...

anonymous--I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that I think the SPR should be sold off. I never said anything like that. All I said in my letter to Schumer was that I don't think it should be opened to ease gas prices. I also think it should be save for national security emergencies.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger fatbear said...

ianqui -

for more about personal debt, a few places come to mind

Angry Bear - no relation

General Glut's Globblog

Brad Setser's blog

Calculated Risk

Try 'em - you're sure to like one of 'em

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