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Surburban Flight: Commuting to Work Less Attractive as Gas Prices Soar
Madistan.com ^ | July 16, 2008 | Mike Ivey

Posted on 07/16/2008 5:43:59 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin

Debbie Kelly and her husband, Tom, have been living the dream for years.

They've got a cozy home nestled in the Wyoming Valley, the bucolic Iowa County setting where architect Frank Lloyd Wright drew his inspiration.

Deer graze in the yard. Orioles flock to the bird feeder. When nights are clear, the Milky Way lights the sky.

It's a little slice of heaven -- save for the 45-mile commute to work.

It wasn't a big financial drain driving into Madison, even as gasoline passed $2 a gallon in 2004 or $3 last summer. But for Debbie Kelly, $4 fuel has been the tipping point.

Now, instead of driving all the way to her nursing job at the Dean Clinic on Fish Hatchery Road, Kelly will often park in Verona and ride her bicycle the rest of the way. One night a week, she camps in the back of her pickup truck at Lake Farm County Park, south of the Beltline on the shores of Lake Waubesa.

"They've got the hottest showers," said Kelly, 54, a mother of three.

Kelly admits she's thought about moving closer to the city. The time spent driving and the rising costs are beginning to wear. But she said her husband isn't budging.

"Tom will probably go with the property," she said. "I don't think he'll ever leave the valley."

Whether high fuel prices are going to affect where people in Wisconsin live remains to be seen. It's not that simple to just pick up and move, especially for those who already own a home.

Still, it's a question crossing the minds of many who chose to buy a home miles from their place of employment or school.

"It really hit me when it cost nearly $100 to fill up the truck last week," said Rich Eggleston, who lives in Fitchburg and commutes to his job downtown at the Alliance of Cities.

And there are early indications that life in the suburbs is starting to look less attractive to home buyers.

Consider the median price of homes sold in McFarland is down nearly 19 percent from a year ago, falling from $258,000 to $210,000, according to the latest figures from DaneCountyMarket.com.

In Mount Horeb, prices are down 14 percent. In Fitchburg, they're off 8 percent. In the New Glarus/Belleville/Monticello market along the Dane-Green County border, prices are down nearly 10 percent.

While real estate insiders say it's dangerous to draw conclusion from just a few months of data -- Verona, Waunakee and Sauk City, for example, have all seen prices climb in 2008 -- there seems a growing realization that gasoline prices are not going down again.

That's left some observers wondering if the drivable suburb -- the model for virtually all post-World War II development in Wisconsin and the U.S. -- has run its course.

"I think we're looking at a tremendous societal shift," said Steve Hiniker, executive director of 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin, a statewide group that advocates for better land use. "Urban areas such as Madison and Milwaukee will continue to fill in and modern transit will soon be a part of the urban setting. Suburbs will continue to lose value as gas prices hit the stratosphere."

Indeed, the future of the suburbs in the face of rising energy costs has sparked a flurry of national reports in the past months. Many have come from groups that would like nothing better than to see an end to sprawl and a reinvestment in mass transit and the urban core.

One study from Chicago-based CEOs for Cities argues that soaring gasoline prices are what really popped the nation's housing market bubble.

"The popular narrative on the collapse of housing prices has only blamed exotic lending practices," said the group's economist Joseph Cortright. "But the much more important story is about how higher gas prices have re-drawn the map of urban real estate values."

In another report, Arthur Nelson of Virginia Tech predicts the nation is facing a surplus of 22 million large lot homes (houses built on 1/6 an acre of more) by 2025. That represents roughly 40 percent of the "McMansions" in existence today, places like Bergamont, Bishop's Bay and Hawk's Landing in Dane County.

And long-time sprawl critics like James Howard Kunstler have cheered the higher fuel prices as finally bringing an end to decades of suburban madness. He said trying to find solutions to keep the "Happy Motoring" utopia running is naive.

"The truth is that no combination of solar, wind and nuclear power, ethanol, biodiesel, tar sands and used french-fry oil will allow us to power Wal-Mart, Disney World and the Interstate highway system -- or even a fraction of these things -- in the future," Kunstler said. "We have to make other arrangements."

Closer to home, not everyone shares the same doom-and-gloom scenario.

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said fuel prices haven't reached the point where Americans have been forced to make fundamental changes. Rather, he sees a more gradual shift to a balanced mix of transit, compact development, walkable communities -- and single-passenger vehicles.

"I just got back from Europe and people still love to drive but they have other options," he said. "Unfortunately we've created a physical environment in this country that makes us slaves to our cars."

Cieslewicz said those who oppose mass transit or improved rail service often argue that environmentalists want to take away the freedom to drive.

"People on the other side of this issue use scare tactics and say everyone will be forced to give up their cars," he said. "But there is actually more freedom in having the option to bike or walk somewhere without fear of getting killed."

Troy Thiel, who moved to Madison in 2003 from the Chicago area and narrowly lost a 2007 bid for a seat on the City Council, predicts the suburban housing market will weather the storm. He notes that many of the area's largest employment centers are no longer located downtown -- including Epic Systems in Verona, American Family on the far east side and Discovery Springs in Middleton.

A sales agent with First Weber West Towne, Thiel also questions whether fuel prices are having much impact at all on an already depressed real estate market. He notes that sales of homes and condos within five miles of the State Capitol were down 30 percent for the first six months of 2008 versus a 25 percent sales decline overall.

"People are choosing more efficient personal autos and will locate closer to their jobs, many of which are already in the 'burbs," said Thiel. "Rich folk are putting their SUVs in the garage. That way $4 gas looks like $3 gas and they're just fine with that."

Needless to say, those who can afford it don't feel the fuel pinch as acutely.

But rising oil prices are costing everyone plenty. The average American household will spend over $3,200 to fuel their vehicles this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than twice the cost of just five years ago.

In Dane County, drivers are now spending a combined $428 million more on gasoline than in 2004, according to professor Andy Lewis, community development specialist for University of Wisconsin Extension. That's money that could have gone to a lot of other uses, whether affordable housing or commuter rail.

Lewis noted that in 2006, when gasoline averaged $3 a gallon, households with incomes under $14,999 were already spending eight percent of their income on fuel versus three percent for households with incomes over $100,000.

"As expected, the lower income households are feeling the pinch more then wealthy households," said Lewis.

On the other hand, Alan Harvey, chairman of the town of Windsor, said Dane County enjoys the advantage of having a diverse economy -- a mix of both urban, rural and suburban development.

"Clearly, all of society is going to be looking at a period of adjustment," he said. "But I think we're pretty well-positioned since economic activity is spread throughout the county."

Harvey said the real impact is being felt in communities outside Dane County like Fall River or Pardeeville, where people have purchased homes because they got a lot more square footage for their dollar.

"Those advantages start to disappear when commuting costs get too high," said Harvey, who is skeptical about the ability of mass transit to solve the problem.

Madison Ald. Robbie Webber, who defeated Thiel in the District 5 council race, has championed higher density urban development and mass transit as the long-term solution. Despite the growth in the suburbs, she said Madison remains the engine that drives the area economy with its downtown and UW campus.

"Even lunch is easier to get to without a car in a dense area than in a suburban business park," she said.

Webber said the concern isn't so much with Middleton or Verona, two places where real estate values have been holding.

"What about Mount Horeb, Dodgeville, Lake Mills, Edgerton, Portage?" she said. "Those long commutes, with no hope of transit, are going to be pretty painful."

To that end, commercial real estate developer Terrence Wall says he realized several years ago that rising gasoline prices were going to dramatically impact Dane County. For that reason, he's pursuing mixed-use projects combining office, residential and retail at Tribeca Village in Middleton and the West End in Verona.

"I've been warning people for the last three years that demand for oil in China was going to send prices skyrocketing," said Wall, president of T. Wall Properties.

Dan Miller, a Realtor with Keller Williams who maintains the DaneCountyMarket.com Web site with colleague Shawn Kriewaldt, cautioned against drawing too many conclusions about the long-term impact of gasoline prices on the local housing market.

"For example, I just helped somebody sell a house in Madison and buy one in Mount Horeb because they work at Epic and wanted to be closer to their job," he said.

Miller said a few more months of data may help paint a clearer picture.

"I think we're on the early part of the curve right now," he said. "Most folks spend several months looking for a home before they make an offer, and once an offer is accepted, it can be another 1 to 3 months until the closing. Given the lag between the decision to buy and the actual purchase, my hunch is the data will become more telling later this fall and winter."

At this point, most commuters are just biting the bullet, trying to combine trips or share rides when possible.

Nicole Weisenberger, who drives 100 miles round-trip from Madison to her job as an occupational therapist in Beloit, has found a few ways to offset the high gas prices. One is purchasing a Pontiac Vibe, which gets over 30 mpg on the highway. The other is cutting back on doggy day care from three days to one day a week.

"To be honest with you, I think the dog has been suffering more than I have," she said.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Politics/Elections; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: energy; gasprices; suburbia; transportation
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the local Hippies and EnviroWeenies want you OUT of your cars and packed into small boxes in town.

Fall in line, now! *SMIRK*

Unless, of course, you have more cash than either and can afford to buy yourself a nice chunk of land outside of the city or your own McMansion now that prices are falling!

See? There's always a Silver Lining. :)

1 posted on 07/16/2008 5:43:59 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

This is my situation, too. I live about 50 miles from work. This lady just gave me an idea, about camping part of the time!


2 posted on 07/16/2008 5:47:29 AM PDT by freepertoo
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I noted the word “truck” in the lament about commuting costs. I have a truck. I use it sparingly. I use my 37 mpg car for going to work. Perhaps the loon that wrote this article might start using one of his two brain cells to bring these things up.


3 posted on 07/16/2008 5:48:18 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Liberals secretly love higher gas prices.


4 posted on 07/16/2008 5:48:44 AM PDT by Always Right (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?)
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To: Always Right

I have to disagree with you here....i have some liberal friends ( we do not discuss politics ) and they are livid about the gas prices.....and have suv’s and trucks...i do not believe it is the liberals as much as the old smelly drug using flea infested hippies....they just gotta go


5 posted on 07/16/2008 5:52:48 AM PDT by joe fonebone (The Second Amendment is the Constitutions reset button)
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To: Always Right

“Liberals secretly love higher gas prices.”

They like anything that hurts Joe Six-Pack. Eventually he will be financially ruined due to their policies and will have to depend upon Mother Government for sustenance. Jerks.

I have a 10-minute commute; wouldn’t have it any other way. Husband runs his business from home. It works for us.


6 posted on 07/16/2008 5:55:24 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Da Coyote
I noted the word “truck” in the lament about commuting costs. I have a truck. I use it sparingly.

Agreed. My wife has an 80 mile round trip commute each day and the gas prices have not hit us that badly because her car gets great mpg.

7 posted on 07/16/2008 5:57:18 AM PDT by pnh102 (Save America - Ban Ethanol Now!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Why would you choose to live in Wisconsin and live in a box in downtown Madison? Of course, with the Dems in office there won't be any jobs left in the state in a few years except for Government jobs....but I guess that is their plan.
8 posted on 07/16/2008 5:58:19 AM PDT by madinmadtown
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
It's got nothing to do with hippies or enviroweenies. Higher energy costs have made living in an exurban McMansion and making a 30 mile (one-way) commute every day. It's an illogical lifestyle and extremely wasteful, but most importantly you leave yourself at the whims of fluctuations in energy prices. This is exactly why I have always lived in the city.

Bottom line is, you only get what you can pay for. Nobody has a God-given right to live in the middle of nowhere. You want to use up a ton of energy, it's your right, but expect to pay for it, and expect prices to continue to go up. Anybody with any brains saw this coming from a mile away. High gas prices have really brought out the ugly sense of entitlement that so many of today's suburban warrior style “conservatives” have.

9 posted on 07/16/2008 5:58:38 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Whoo-Hoo! We're all gonna be living in Detroit, Newark, Philadelphia and similar places! The urban core is where it's at! The Democrats have prepared our places in the cities and they welcome us to our brave new world!

No thanks.

10 posted on 07/16/2008 5:58:58 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Et si omnes ego non)
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To: freepertoo

Why do you live 50 miles from work? That’s nobody’s fault but your own.


11 posted on 07/16/2008 6:02:25 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Now, instead of driving all the way to her nursing job at the Dean Clinic on Fish Hatchery Road, Kelly will often park in Verona and ride her bicycle the rest of the way. One night a week, she camps in the back of her pickup truck at Lake Farm County Park, south of the Beltline on the shores of Lake Waubesa.

I doubt she can save enough gas to be "worth it" to ride her bike part way. I don't know how far she is riding, but the last few minutes of a drive are when the car gets the best gas mileage, as it is warmed up. The first 10 minutes are generally worse for gas mileage. Cutting 10 miles off her trip, if her truck gets 20 mpg after it is warmed up, would save her $2 a day. But 10 miles of bike riding is expensive.

If her entire commute is 90 miles a day, at 15 mpg average, that is 6 gallons a day of gas, or $24.

Is it worth $24 to camp out in the back of your truck? Maybe, the article doesn't say how much it costs to stay at the campsite and use the shower. You could cut the cable premium channels, or turn the A/C up 1 degree higher and replace a few light bulbs with CFL, and probably save about as much.

Now, if her truck gets 12 mpg, that's $30 a day, or about $150 a week, or $7000 a year.

If she went out and spent $2000 on an old corolla (I did this in 2004 and it cost $900), she could get 30 mpg, and cut her fuel costs to $12 a day, $60 a week, or $3200 a year, which would save her $1800 in the first year, more than she saves camping.

Of course, a lot of people decided to own property far from where they work. They generally (not always) are less connected to their community because they work so far away, and often leave early and get home late. They can't pop in for lunch, or attend community activities, or meet their kids for school stuff very easily.

While people who live and work in a community want most to spend their tax dollars making the community better, people who commute long distances primarily want their taxes spent on day care for kids, and for more roads to get them to their work.

They drive up the costs of living "out in the country", because they have higher-paying jobs associated with near-city living, but live out where the jobs pay less and are less plentiful. This puts pressure on those who want to live and work in the same location, drives up their taxes, puts a strain on services.

In the end, I understand their plight now that gasoline isn't so cheap. But I don't have enough sympathy for them, I guess.

12 posted on 07/16/2008 6:05:36 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

“High gas prices have really brought out the ugly sense of entitlement that so many of today’s suburban warrior style ‘conservatives’ have.”

I’ll assume you’re not just b*tchin’ at me, personally.

However, I’ll never give up my land. They’ll be carrying me out of here feet first, LOL!

I WORKED for 20 years and made many sacrifices to OWN land in the country. I worked for it, I PLANNED for it, and screw anyone that takes away MY choice to live as I please. I lived in-town and in suburbs with the SOLE intent of getting the heck out of there on day down the road. And I DID it! Wa-Hoo!

As for people that live in McMansions...that chit doesn’t come cheap, either, and I’ve YET to meet anyone that has their wealth tied up in a house that didn’t work for what they wanted JUST as hard as I’ve worked for what I wanted.

Sense of “entitlement?” WTF?


13 posted on 07/16/2008 6:05:50 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Always Right

I think they are pretty open about it. Everytime I drive by a gas pump I wonder again how it is that Democrats are attempting to destroy the American middle class.

The enviro-wackos led by the Demo-dummies in Congress are quick to say that it will take 10 years for any new oil drilling to impact the price of gas. What they don’t tell you is that we are at least that many years away from any benefit from bio-fuels or other alternatives.

Drill here, drill now, pay less.


14 posted on 07/16/2008 6:06:18 AM PDT by twntaipan (NOBAMA! Say No to B.O.!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

You’ve got it backwards. We’re more depending on the government now, using their road system, begging them to drill for more oil, paying gas taxes they can raise, etc. If people moved back in to cities where they could walk or bike to work, or drive a short distance on local roads maintained by a more accountable local government, we’d be less dependent on government.

I’m no liberal, but I think high gas prices will be good in the long run. People have made poor choices that have put them in a rough situation, and now they’re paying for it. Nothing is for free, and nobody is entitled to anything. Time for people to grow up and take responsibility.


15 posted on 07/16/2008 6:07:59 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

BTW, the answer is to get businesses to move out into the country. After all, in the internet age, a fair number of these jobs could be done from anywhere.

This is especially true in the DC area. There is almost no reason for a million people to be commuting into DC each day just to push papers around and answer phones and do office work.

If we spent a billion dollars moving some government work into the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, we wouldn’t have to widen the roads, or spend more on the subway and buses.


16 posted on 07/16/2008 6:08:49 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

1/6 of an acre is a LARGE LOT? That’s about 75’ X 100’! What kind of McMansion can you put on a 75’ X 100’ lot? And a 2000 square feet house is just average, not a mansion.

It’s all pretty clear that the euphoria that the Left is getting about the high gas prices making people move back to where crime and criminal municipal politics is rampant is part of a contrived strategy.

A lot of jobs in the service sector and even light manufacturing is already in the suburbs. Failed government policies have forced both the jobs and the workers out there.


17 posted on 07/16/2008 6:09:14 AM PDT by LongTimeMILurker
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To: madinmadtown

More than a few “republicans” seem to move in that direction as well.

Every day there is more and more written about why government should provide this or that service, arguments which could be used to pretty much justify government takeover of everything.


18 posted on 07/16/2008 6:10:25 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
Why do you live 50 miles from work? That’s nobody’s fault but your own.

Well, in my case I live 15 miles from work. The cost in the difference in housing will off-set my commute to the tune of $800/month or more. That's just for the house on a lot.

I have 1/2 an acre inside the city limits where I live. To get that same amount of room in the city where I work would cost me more than $300,000 more. I chose elbow room over commute. I can buy a lot of gas for the difference.

19 posted on 07/16/2008 6:10:57 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS
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To: CharlesWayneCT
I doubt she can save enough gas to be "worth it" to ride her bike part way. I don't know how far she is riding, but the last few minutes of a drive are when the car gets the best gas mileage, as it is warmed up. The first 10 minutes are generally worse for gas mileage.

Well, then, she should ride her bike the first ten miles and commute from there. Then she'd get that advantage of efficiency (kinda like daylight savings). ;-P

20 posted on 07/16/2008 6:14:15 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I wasn’t directing that at you specifically. This thread actually hasn’t gotten too bad yet, but if you read some others, people are willing to blame everybody but themselves for the situation they’re in. Many people also refuse to accept that times have changed and they’re going to have to adjust. They’d rather drill up the entire country for oil just so that they can be left in an even more painful situation years down the road. That’s what I mean when I refer to a sense of entitlement.

I’m glad to hear you’re living the life you want. If you planned for it and determined you can afford it, then you’ll be fine. Nobody is going to make you move. If you’re forced to move because can’t afford it, and think you “deserve” it just because you’ve worked hard, that’s a sense of entitlement. I work hard at my job, and I’d love to live in one those mansions over on Summit Avenue, but I don’t have the money for it. That’s how it goes sometimes.


21 posted on 07/16/2008 6:15:26 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

I think “poor choices” is a generalization. They are just “choices”. As you said in a previous post, if you choose to drive a truck that gets 10 mpg, and choose to live 50 miles away from your job, you have chosen to pay a large amount of money in gas costs, to dedicate a large amount of your time to commuting, and to put your faith in the government road system.

But that is only a “bad” choice if you can’t afford it. If you got a mortgage you couldn’t afford because you thought your house would go up in value and you thought you’d get a raise, if those things happen it’s a choice, if they don’t happen it was a bad choice.

If you live in the middle of nowhere because you assumed gas would always be $1 a gallon, and you can’t afford $4 a gallon, then you may have made a bad choice.

If you assume that taxpayers should foot the bill to widen the highways so you can get to work quicker, and think government should “do something” about the high gas prices so you can afford to drive your SUV, then you made a bad choice, and probably deserve being called on your “entitlement”.

But, as you said in your first post, people have a right to live where they want, and they have a right to work where they want, and so long as that choice doesn’t lead to burdening government or taxpayers when things go bad — well, we really ARE entitled to live in the middle of nowhere.


22 posted on 07/16/2008 6:17:43 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I agree with you...... I worked to get out of the city with its high crime and nutty neighbors living 30ft from your front door. I shouldn’t have to beg for lower gas prices because of pols failed policies.


23 posted on 07/16/2008 6:19:27 AM PDT by LaineyDee (Don't mess with Texas wimmen!)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
They've moved a lot of business into the suburbs here in the Twin Cities and it's a disaster. People all live in different suburbs from different distances, so just as much gas is used, and the freeway system is terrible because everybody is commuting every which way. For a while I worked in an office park in Minnetonka and it was a nightmare getting there. Now I work in downtown Minneapolis and it's great.
24 posted on 07/16/2008 6:19:57 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: IYAS9YAS

I bike to work occasionally. I live 3 miles from work, so it’s pretty easy. On the other hand, I get 45 mpg, so my 6-mile bike ride only saves me about 40 cents. And it costs me about 20 minutes (I have an electric motor on my bike so if I want I can move pretty quickly).

Most days it just isn’t worth it to me to save a few pennies. Sometimes I ride because I enjoy it. The older I get, the less I enjoy it. :-)


25 posted on 07/16/2008 6:20:27 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
The other is cutting back on doggy day care from three days to one day a week.

There's the money quote, right there.

If people can still afford to pamper their pets like that....then they're still not hurting all that much.

26 posted on 07/16/2008 6:20:28 AM PDT by wbill
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

“Time for people to grow up and take responsibility.”

I’m all for that. However, I also think they need to make their own mistakes along the way. Why allow Government to dictate where we live...which is just what they’re doing through higher fuel prices...caused in part by taxes on fuel, a zillion regulations that thwart drilling and exploration, hundreds of mandated fuel “blends” to keep the Enviros happy and our own foreign policies.

If anyone in Congress had a set, we’d have started creating even more of our own energy back in the 1980’s (or even before) when we had to suffer Carter telling us to turn down the thermo and put on a sweater!

My commute is 10 minutes. My husband works from home. I also sell books on-line from home and if we didn’t need the health insurance I’m currently providing through my job, I’d be back home full time in a heartbeat.

We can make a nice living from ‘out in the country.’ I don’t need Hippies, Enviros or the Government telling me what to do. They should kiss my @ss every day for the tax revenue I generate for them. Jerks.


27 posted on 07/16/2008 6:22:14 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
They’d rather drill up the entire country for oil just so that they can be left in an even more painful situation years down the road.

Drill up the ENTIRE country? Get a grip...

You really want all those that live in the suburbs or rural areas to move into the city? Guess what's gonna happen to city taxes and housing costs for those that already live there (you)?

28 posted on 07/16/2008 6:22:32 AM PDT by tsmith130
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

Dont know how things are in Minnesota, but in Wisconsin, big cities like Milwaukee are the last place you want to live.

Neighborhoods are full of crime, public schools are failing to teach the basics and taxes are triple the price of the same size house in suburbia.

I dont think its a sense of entitlement to want to keep your children safe. Do you?


29 posted on 07/16/2008 6:23:07 AM PDT by mouse1
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
If people moved back in to cities where they could walk or bike to work, or drive a short distance on local roads maintained by a more accountable local government, we’d be less dependent on government.

What are you smoking?

Sorry, but you're wrong. How much does it cost to live in NYC? How much for outside the city, calculate the difference and that's how much you can afford to use to commute. Cities often come with much much higher taxes, fees, crime rates, noise, socialism, and other issues that most of us "conservatives" want nothing of.

You say you're no liberal, but see the up-side to higher gas prices? What would that be? A ruling-class elite and serfs? There will be no middle class left if the prices don't drop.

As for taking responsibility, you have no clue, most city folks don't, as government handles everything for you.

30 posted on 07/16/2008 6:24:34 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Bring on the Soviet-style apartments.

31 posted on 07/16/2008 6:25:16 AM PDT by dfwgator ( This tag blank until football season.)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

You make a good point. I’m all for drilling up the country. I think it’s too soon for $4 gasoline, and more importantly I think it’s bad that money is going to foreigners, instead of staying in our own country.

But over time, we need to change our uses of oil so we can keep total demand down to sustainable levels. The high prices are accelerating that push, which is a good thing. My hope is we can start drilling, get gasoline down below $3 a gallon, get oil back to where plane flight is reasonable again, and people can heat their homes.

But not so cheap that we forget that we need to move on to better things, to electric or other power for cars, to nuclear power and clean coal for electricity, to better solar panel technology, to better energy-saving technology.

And yes, to the average person changing their lifestyle so they are less burdensome to the planet (not because they care about the planet, but because “less burdensome” saves money).

If we all had to pay the TRUE costs to the planet for our actions, we’d have become less burdensome years ago. Instead, like how people drove up their credit card debt, and many then simply defaulted, we are driving up our planetary debt, and I guess we think we can default later — except you can’t default on the planet.

Some day people will realise that a 15-lane highway isn’t the best use of the land we have available to us.


32 posted on 07/16/2008 6:26:03 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
If people moved back in to cities where they could walk or bike to work, or drive a short distance on local roads maintained by a more accountable local government,

You mean local governments like the Dallas City Council that spend their time arguing of the use of the term "Black Hole"?

33 posted on 07/16/2008 6:26:51 AM PDT by dfwgator ( This tag blank until football season.)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

I’m not begging the government to drill for more oil. I just want them to get the heck out of the way and let companies do it.


34 posted on 07/16/2008 6:26:56 AM PDT by mouse_35 (Vote Demorcrat for 2008! Lets do for Iraq what we did for Cambodia!!!)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

I agree. If you can afford it, that’s your right. I call it a bad choice because people didn’t think about the volatility of energy prices, and how much their ability to afford their lifestyle hindered on them staying low.

But yes, if you can afford it, and you’re not going to complain about it, then by all means go ahead. However, methinks Phil Gramm made a good point.


35 posted on 07/16/2008 6:27:45 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

So are with you with the Democrats on doing anything and everything to keep the price of gas as high as possible?


36 posted on 07/16/2008 6:28:20 AM PDT by KansasGirl (It is absolutely ridiculous that we have to fight congress for our own survival.)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

Well, if your suburbs are truly spread out, that can be a problem, at least in the short term. You’d expect over a 20-year period people would shift around to where THERE jobs were, especially if there is little difference from one suburb to another.

And especially if nobody puts money into improving the inter-community road system.

My county has a pretty good road system, so getting around within it isn’t too bad.

Anyway, the only reason the city works is that it already had a critical mass. But most cities are bigger than they need to be for that critical mass, and we’d be better off if there were 10 times as many cities, more evenly spread out.

I have to confess, I dislike cities. I’ve never lived in one, have no interest in one, don’t even like to visit them much. I do like the idea of being able to live and work and shop without needing a car, but I live in a large, populated county (we have 400,000 people) so we are like a city in the sense that we have major employment, shops, restaurants, all different kinds of housing, public transportation, and a decent road system.

I realise that smaller communities don’t have all of this.


37 posted on 07/16/2008 6:30:24 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: mouse1
Also -- imagine what would happen if millions and millions of hard-working people in the suburbs decided to move to the city. Lots of gentrification (which is nice) but it comes with a downside: the poor folks in the cities would be pushed out. Where do they go? The suburbs? Now you have poor, uneducated people, with no jobs, no cars, living in the middle of nowhere. That's not going to fly.

A modern society with an underclass (which is what we have) needs the cities to hold that underclass. There's no other place to put them. And for the most part, hard-working people seem to prefer living amongst trees over living amongst the underclass.

38 posted on 07/16/2008 6:31:11 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Et si omnes ego non)
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To: wbill

I agree.

However, the person that runs the Doggy Daycare might be hurting by the higher gas prices that are causing their clients to cut back. (If you build it, they will come...until they can’t afford it any longer.)

This whole thing is totally being blown out of proportion by the MSM. It’s an Election Year, don’t ‘cha know! There’s an Evil Republican in the White House who has been stuck in their craw for EIGHT LONG YEARS now, LOL!


39 posted on 07/16/2008 6:31:23 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
The quick answer while we wait for rationality to prevail in Washington is to buy and use a scooter to commute. A new Chinese 150cc scoot can be had for $1000 to be delivered to your door. If treated carefully and not run hard it will last for a year. Then, of course, it is trash. But a 45 mile commute with gas staying at $4.00 will recoup the cost of the scoot in 6-7 months. For $2000 you can get a water cooled 250cc that will cruise at 55 (it will go 80 or better but the use of fuel goes up above 50 mph) and will take a little over twice the time to recoup and will last probably two and a half years or so. And if gas goes up the recoup time declines.

I know something about the Chinese scooters. A large proportion of the millions of bikes in Viet Nam are Chinese. The Japanese and Korean bikes hold up much longer- there are early 60s Honda 5cc and 70cc machines still running around- but new ones cost twice as much there as the Chinese bikes, 3-4+ times as much here. The Chinese machines seem to be reliable until they are just worn out. Then there is nothing on them worth replacing. The models sold in Viet Nam are mostly 100cc because of the tax structure but they seem to be as strong as or stronger than the 150s here. Maybe it has to do with the pollution gear that the American models have to carry- just supposition here.

Perhaps it is a bit much to ask in Wisconsin in the winter but it can be done. Folks up there already have warm clothing. They just have to add something for a windproof shell. I rode two wheelers exclusively for my first 26 years with a DL, much of it in the north and in the winter. On truly inclement stormy days, you drive the car.

After 20 years off of bikes, I just ordered one of those $1k Chinese scoots. I have a longish commute and can see that in a few months I will be working just so that I can put gas into my car to go to work.

Actually, given my investment history and other big decisions I have made after long pondering and calculating I expect yall should be supremely grateful to me in a little while. I just forked out a grand for my solution to the gas price problem so now the price of petrol will surely slide back to $2 and stay there. When it does, remember that it is because of me.

40 posted on 07/16/2008 6:31:49 AM PDT by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
I WORKED for 20 years and made many sacrifices to OWN land in the country. I worked for it, I PLANNED for it, and screw anyone that takes away MY choice to live as I please. I lived in-town and in suburbs with the SOLE intent of getting the heck out of there on day down the road. And I DID it! Wa-Hoo!

Same here but in my case it was forty years.

These "journalists" are just not going to give up trying to shove their agenda down our throats.

Decades ago, EMPLOYERS fled the corrupt, filthy cities and built industrial parks and campuslike corporate headquarters out where people LIVED.

They keep trundling out the Wonderful Workers' Paradise idea of living in urban rat cages and projects. They can CALL them Upscale Gentrification all they want. I visited my brother's really expensive NYC apartment years ago when he lived there.

I'd rather die.

Besides, if someone is commuting to a city, they are supposedly doing so because the city "Pays better". Well, then it should "Pay Better" enough so that adding a hundred or two a month can be handled.

41 posted on 07/16/2008 6:32:48 AM PDT by Gorzaloon
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To: wbill

They probably wouldn’t need Doggy Day Care at all if they spent more time with their dog. Which they could if they weren’t on the road an hour and a half a day.

If they worked close to home, they could run home at lunch and play with the dog, they would leave later, come home earlier.


42 posted on 07/16/2008 6:32:52 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

When did I ever say I wanted government to dictate where we live? If you really think drilling will bring gas back down to $2/gallon, you’re delusional. This a problem of global supply and demand, and it’s only going to get worse. We need to ween ourselves off oil, not kick the can down the road.

The high prices are good because they’ll allow the market to figure out something more efficient much faster than any government program will. In fact, I’m glad there’s so much gridlock in Washington over this, because that will keep them from getting in the way of progress.


43 posted on 07/16/2008 6:34:38 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: Always Right

Secretly? Not the libs I know. They are publicly delighted.They think it is going to force the rest of us onto public transportation and curtail our mobility and will give them more space on the street for their Volvos and BMWs.


44 posted on 07/16/2008 6:35:15 AM PDT by arthurus
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

You didn’t. I did. And I’m not delusional. I agree with you on quite a few points.

Oh, wait...maybe I AM delusional, LOL! :)


45 posted on 07/16/2008 6:36:45 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: tsmith130

I obviously wasn’t speaking literally. My point is that drilling will be expensive and largely ineffective.

To answer your question, I expect the value of my house to raise, which is another plus. Taxes, on the other hand, should go down, because there the tax base will increase more than the expenses of running the same level of government service.


46 posted on 07/16/2008 6:38:08 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: mouse_35

[I’m not begging the government to drill for more oil. I just want them to get the heck out of the way and let companies do it.]

Exactly.


47 posted on 07/16/2008 6:40:05 AM PDT by KansasGirl (It is absolutely ridiculous that we have to fight congress for our own survival.)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
Taxes, on the other hand, should go down, because there the tax base will increase more than the expenses of running the same level of government service.

You say this as a Libertarian?

48 posted on 07/16/2008 6:41:14 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Et si omnes ego non)
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To: Da Coyote
I noted the word “truck” in the lament about commuting costs

BINGO

49 posted on 07/16/2008 6:41:23 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

How do you expect the “same level of government services” when there’s an influx of people?


50 posted on 07/16/2008 6:42:26 AM PDT by tsmith130
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