QOTD: Hitting the Breaking Point?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd hitting the breaking point

A few miles north of the American border lies a humble, affordable town called Vancouver — a town which just set a record.

That record? The highest gas prices anywhere in North America, ever. Surely, a feat worth celebrating, especially by Car Twitter personalities who own half a dozen vehicles but believe gasoline should cost $7 a gallon to stop people who aren’t them from driving. Well, such purveyors of hot takes got their wish, though for now it’s relegated only to the southwest corner of British Columbia. On Monday, gas stations in Metro Vancouver reported 87 octane prices hovering around $6.55 a gallon, though one station was seen selling it for $6.77.

During afternoon rush hour, quaffers of high-test faced prices of $7.23 a gallon. And prices are expected to rise by the end of the week, too. If transplanted overnight to this bastion of sin (taxes), how long would you continue driving what you’re driving?

Vancouver’s woes are the product of circumstance, bad luck, and careful planning. Taxes heaped upon taxes, offline U.S. refineries and resulting constrained supply, and the switchover to a summer blend all conspired to create today’s reality of sky-high pump prices. Which, it should be said, seems to be what the green-leaning provincial government wants, at least until it hurts them at the polls.

Higher gas prices encourage citizens to make “better choices,” as the country’s PM often claims, so anything that makes a driver think twice about firing up that ICE must be a good thing. Right? Check out that upgraded cruise ship port across the Juan de Fuca Strait in Victoria, by the way. Lots of extra tonnage there now.

But back to the exercise. Suppose you said the wrong thing into the mirror one night and found yourself uprooted from your current life and plopped down in that city. Never mind Vancouver’s insane housing prices; in this scenario, your household expenses and salary and commute distance all remain the same, save for one item: gasoline. You’ll be paying Vancouver prices.

Look out at your driveway. Will the vehicle sitting there remain in your life, or will a quick check of your finances relegate it to garage queen status — or an Auto Trader listing — as you hunt a less-thirsty commuter? Is once-mythical $7 a gallon gas a breaking point that actual forces you into “better choices”?

[Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars]

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  • SaulTigh SaulTigh on Apr 23, 2019

    $7 a gallon gas would make me bitch, but so would $5 a gallon. I bought my wife's F150 in May of 2014 and gas here was $3.05 a gallon and has not been that high since. However, that truck is paid for now, and so is the vehicle I'm driving. We also live close to our jobs and so could weather such a storm well. I'm afraid the rest of our economy wouldn't be so lucky. At least there would be fewer vehicles on the street. Might get better mileage just from reduced stop-and-go traffic at that price. I also feel like there would be a lot of "gas guzzlers" available for good prices. I would probably be brave and pick up a HEMI Challenger.

  • The Comedian The Comedian on Apr 24, 2019

    I paid $US 6.599 a gallon on March 12, 2019 in California. In Big Sur, for regular unleaded, at the first gas station I’d seen in a lot of miles. (I drove the coastal highway that day from Half Moon Bay to Dana Point. Glorious drive.)

  • CoastieLenn They absolutely should.
  • Arthur Dailey Thanks for the clarification.@JeffS has nicely summarized most of my original comment.I greatly dislike the 'touring' light treatment. It seems like we all do. This generation of Mark is too short to pull off the continental hump and fake engine vents. With them the proportions look odd.As Corey so nicely put it 'disco was dead and so was its car'. Successive generations generally reject the vehicles that their parents drove (or drove them around in). And as the children of Boomers grew, the Boomers gave up their PLC's and rather than turning to station wagons to transport their growing brood turned to the newly available minivan.And the generation behind them, rather than aspiring to a PLC, instead leased 'German driving machines'.
  • SCE to AUX "Toyota has dropped a pic of the next Tacoma on Instagram."This is why the splashy auto show reveals are dead.
  • Sckid213 I feel like the Camry in Japan is what oddballs like the Kia K9 and Hyundai Eqqus felt here. Obviously those were higher-end vehicles than Camry, but they felt like they were in the wrong dimension here in the U.S.
  • FreedMike The Falcon was fast and temperamental. Is Ford sure this is what it wants to advertise?