By on July 7, 2012


Gasoline prices are falling in Japan, not only due to lower crude oil prices, “but also because the widespread popularity of fuel-efficient vehicles has lowered demand for gasoline,” The Nikkei [sub].

The Tokyo paper predicts …

“a shakeout in the gas station industry, as next-generation green cars, including electric and fuel-cell vehicles, become more popular. Next-generation cars will account for 56% of all automobiles in Japan in fiscal 2030. Gasoline consumption that year is expected to be about 60% lower than the fiscal 2010 level.”

A gallon of that ultra low-priced gasoline retails for $6.64 a gallon, due to a strong yen and high taxes.



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31 Comments on “Green Cars Push Gas Prices Down (About Time …)...”

  • avatar

    I’m old enough to remember gas jockeys. And free glassware with fill-ups. One station would give you the gas free if the pump automatically shut off with the same three digits ($3.33 or $5.55, for instance). The jockeys had pretty much been phased out by the time I learned to drive.

    I wonder how much of that $6.64 is dealer profit.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, free fill ups @.29/gallon, free glassware and don’t forget S&H Green stamps or maybe Plaid stamps too. Dollar movies, .15cent Micky D burgers and .99cent 6-packs. Cheap date night and bench seats.

      Those were the days.

      • 0 avatar

        Of course nowadays the average family makes about 6x as much as they did back when this was true so while gas is still fairly expensive historically the other stuff like hamburgers and beer aren’t any less affordable-if you drink cheap beer it might be a bit more affordable now.

    • 0 avatar

      Gas stations are hurting with low sales..

      The interesting thing about this article is that 50% of cars sold in Japan are hybrids.. that is just amazing.

  • avatar

    Five to ten cents a gallon for the dealer I hear. They make their money on the store inside.

  • avatar

    I remember gas jockeys. Some states, namely Oregon, but there may WELL be others that still require a gas jockey to pump your gas for you as it is illegal to do it yourself.

    Some Texaco stations here still had them to do your pumping for you up until the mid to late 80’s. At least you had a self serve area and a full service area. Now virtually ALL stations in Washington St are self serve.

    I’m just glad gas is lower than it has been – especially at the moment as I am living on financial fumes until the mid month paycheck drops and I begin to recover, for sure – and it won’t come a moment too soon!

    I had to cough up $30 worth of gas (normally not an issue but when there’s not much to work with, well, that’s another matter) to make it to a family outing on the 4th of July due to a comedy of errors on my end and missed being able to take the ferry and use my transit card instead. Oh well. But the result was I got to take the long way around to meet up with family and the drive was a needed thing in the end as I enjoyed it tremendously on a lovely, full on, but pleasantly warm holiday.

  • avatar

    I remember being a pump jockey – one of the jobs to put my self through school. (Machine shop on summer days, pump fuel at night, short order cook on weekends.) Nasty job where, some customers treated you like filth.

    They would laugh at you when they made you check the fluids in gale force sleety blizzards. They routinely lied about how much they told you to put in. They’d hide the gas cap, then accuse you of stealing it and refuse to pay – any shortage would, of course, come out of you your pay check. Show up half in the bag and take out the oil can rack. We did gave out free glassware though.

    It was a tolerable job for a young person who had an automotive interest. I never had a flat repair come back. As far as profit, not very much. That’s why there’s so few mom & pop shops any more. Labor costs eat the profits. A mega fuel-bar with a convenience store is the money making model now – and those tend to be captive to the petroleum corporation.

    • 0 avatar

      I worked as a pump jockey back in the 80s at a very busy highway station. It was the summer after high school, I worked the 11pm-7am shift. It was during the Regan recession and lots of people were POed, and most seem to take out their frustrations on me and the other dude(college student) who worked the overnight shift. The station where I worked sold diesel fuel as well as three grades of gas. The diesel pumps were not on their own island, but next to the gas pumps. At the time diesel fuel cost considerably less than 87 octane regular. People would come in and ask for regular. I would start the gas pump and then they would would repeat that they wanted regular and point to the diesel pump, assuming that the lowest priced fuel was gasoline. I would explain to them that diesel fuel doesn’t work in cars equipped with gasoline engines. More times than not this would lead to curses and threats.

      One night a methed-up truck driver took down two of the station’s light poles. He got out of his truck and was very insistent that we “work it out”. I walked back inside to call the police so they could take an accident report, the truck driver flipped and threatened to kill me. Police showed up and took the accident report, but ignored the threats.

      It was a nasty job, but interesting nonetheless. At a very early age I got to see a very seamy side of life most people never experience. Today I rarely see high school or college kids working as pump jocks…..actually, I can’t recall the last time I saw a white dude working the pumps. Today they all seem to be foreign men in their 20s or 30s….illegals more than likely.

  • avatar

    The hillbilly haven, the cultural backwater in flyover country, the 3rd largest city in the methamphetamine-laden state of Missouri; Springfield, has one gas station offering full-service.

    The joint does the gas pumping but I am unsure if they check oil or wash the windshield, etc.

    I have never seen any lines of cars waiting to be fueled.

    Perhaps older infirm folks use the place.

    Or those too drunk to walk.

  • avatar

    I hate the self serve checkouts at the stores and will never use them but won’t use “full service” gas pumps unless there is no choice. I have *my* way of doing it and dislike having someone else fill my car.

    It’s also a reflection of an incident many, many years ago where I went full serve and told the kid to put $20 in. It seems it only needed $19 but he really tried for the $20. It obviously doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to pump gas.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    As a shareholder of a major oil company, I find this news disturbing.

  • avatar

    Bertel outlines the situation in Japan. Things are a bit different in the US because much demand for gasoline has evaporated since so many people in the US are currently unemployed and have no place to go everyday.

    Once all those unemployed and underemployed people find work, the demand for gas in the US will skyrocket once again, in spite of all the “green” cars we’ve added in the US.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised…that anybody would be surprised. I mean, I thought this was literally one of the reasons put forward for overall increasing fuel efficiency and introducing EVs and the like.

  • avatar

    In your last sentence, the strong yen would tend to keep gas prices down while taxes would obviously push gas prices up.

  • avatar

    I experienced this kind of service in Thailand about 13 years ago.. 5 or six people swarm the car. Really is like a pitstop.. rather aweseome

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Gasoline. How quaint.

    I actually had to fill up today as I had a longish road trip with family. 5 gallons, and the last visit to the pump was about 3 months ago.

    • 0 avatar

      You have to plug in your golf kart every stinking day. I can handle stopping at the gas station every two weeks or so. They even wash my car and for little more of my time than you spend with cords daily. There were quite a few people living your troglodytic existence until Henry Ford freed them from their tethers.

      • 0 avatar

        > You have to plug in your golf kart every stinking day.

        Plugging in is so hard… How do you handle the perils of working with your laptop or the mobile phone is beyond me.

        > until Henry Ford freed them from their tethers.

        Freed whom from what? Their children from mobile, peaceful future without resource wars?

      • 0 avatar

        Are progressives really as ignorant of history as you claim to be? Henry Ford allowed the working classes to leave dirty, crime dominated, disease(often horse manure-born disease) riddled cities for the prosperity and life expectancy of the suburbs. All the freedoms that were bestowed upon common people that the progressives are now trying to restore to being privileges of the elite flowed from the efficiency of the internal combustion engine and other advancements of industrialization that you resent for some unimaginably perverse reason. It is people like you that restore my faith in the existence of real evil.

      • 0 avatar

        > Henry Ford allowed the working classes to leave

        He didn’t allow anything. Abundance of resources did.

        > dirty, crime dominated, disease(often horse manure-born
        > disease) riddled cities

        This must be from the past. Haven’t seen anything like this for a long time. So it doesn’t count.

        > for the prosperity and life expectancy of the suburbs.

        Suburbs. Yuck. I’ve always lived at worst 25 minutes cycling distance from school/work. Some collegues of mine commute one hour one way. Poor fellows.

        > All the freedoms that were bestowed upon common people that
        > the progressives are now trying to restore to being privileges
        > of the elite flowed from the efficiency* of the internal
        > combustion engine and other advancements of industrialization
        > that you resent for some unimaginably perverse reason. It is
        > people like you that restore my faith in the existence of
        > real evil.

        There we have it, the error in your reasoning. NO ONE is trying to take anything away from you. Never ever. It’s just that some tried to get a big picture and to be a bit predictive about what’s next. And it turned out the time for paradigm shift is NOW. We got another chance from our planet in the form of relatively “abundant” natural gas. Until we master some silver bullet nuclear fusion process and contain it in a small flask, therefore yielding infinite source of energy from molecular mass, we’d better start saving seriously.

        And no, it is not an attack against your habits. It is pure common sense.

        * 10% well-to-wheel efficiency is zero efficiency. Again, only abundance of oil (and oil wars) kept it alive. This abundance has come to an end.

        Nice chart as post scriptum. Guess what fuelled that:

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater


        If you can’t handle plugging in a J1772 cord, you aren’t physically or mentally fit enough to operate any motor vehicle. It’s not like the car is autonomous and is prowling the streets fighting crime while I’m not driving it at night.

        Plus, my commute costs blend out to about 2-3 cents per mile for ‘fuel’. What are yours?

    • 0 avatar

      What do you think will happen to the price of electricity if tens of millions start plugging in their cars? And don’t start with the nonsense about renewables– it will take a monument undertaking to convert even a small percentage of our current electrical consumption to renewables without adding our cars to the equation.

      • 0 avatar

        With solar on my roof, I can produce my own fuel. Can’t do that with oil.

        I spend 10 seconds a day plugging in and unplugging the next day. So a minute every 3 days, tops. How much time do you spend driving out of your way to get gas, then waiting in line with the other gas suckers? How long do you have to spend out in the freezing cold/blazing heat per year? I kinda think it might be more than the hour a year I spend “filling up”. Although, truth be told, I do have to go to a gas station, just like the rest of you. Once per year I have to put my ration of gas in. I’m using 3 gallons a year now, and I did have to change the oil after 2 years as well. How many hours a year do you spend doing that?

        As for renewables, it’s really a matter of taking a little “personal responsibility and caring for” YOUR life, isn’t it? Anyone can opt into green sourced power, or buy shares in a wind farm/solar farm. Those that do not will just remain takers.

    • 0 avatar

      Bravo sir. It sounds like the only thing your run out of less frequently than gas is smugness.

      • 0 avatar

        ++ @ azmtbkr81.

        Plug-in’s just don’t work in too many situations to make them usable as a primary car. Still haven’t seen a plug-in with 7 seats yet either (although it may exist I haven’t heard of it).

        • 0 avatar

          You might want to actually look at them before painting with such a broad-brush.

          Sure, your 7 seats don’t exist, yet. But as a primary car, for many people they are already working just fine, thank you.

          The vast majority of people (80%) drive less than 40 miles a day. For those people, a plugin will work fine. On the rare longer trips, a different choice might be better, might not. You can always rent a car for the long trips, or buy a plugin with a backup generator, like my Volt. Been my “primary car” for 2.5 years now, and it’s been great getting off the gasoline merry-go-round!

  • avatar

    In Vancouver, some suburbs do mandatory to have gas jockey, as it creates employment for young kids etc.

    Now also require one pre-pay before gas spilling out of the nozzle.
    6-7 yrs ago some nutty kid pump & run, the sad part was the attendant ran out and hanged onto the car, thus he was killed in the stopping act! very sad, for 20-30 bucks he gave up his life.
    The driver did served sometime but all in all one person will never come home for supper.

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