By on April 23, 2019

2016 Dodge Durango Rear 3/4 at Gas Pump, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

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]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

110 Comments on “QOTD: Hitting the Breaking Point?...”


  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Vancouver is gorgeous – at least the places I visited. If I could afford the cost of living there, seven dollar gas would not really be a factor, if raw economics are the only barometer you live by.

    Playing by the rules posted above, I would simply buy RR and subway passes. Collectively that’s $450/month. Compare that to the cost of commuting 20K/yr the choice would be easy, if not what I really wanted.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well my fleet would stay the same, 05 pilot, o6 Saab wagon, o4 Saab vert and 11 Saab 9-5, none of them do great on gas, I just took a 1000 mile collage looking trip with my boys last week, my 9-5 got 25 MPG on that trip, not great but not bad, I paid about $3.00 bucks a gallon, still the cheapest easiest way to see 4 states and 5 colleges for 3 people. Most importantly they are all paid off so that makes offsetting higher gas easier to deal with. Now if my Saab got totaled tomorrow and gas was really high I would buy something better on gas more than likely, but it very rarely makes sense to switch cars to save money on gas.

  • avatar

    If that’s in Canadian pesos, that’s what in US dinero? 50 cents a gallon?

    I would drive what I have (CRV) into the ground because of my current usage pattern. I don’t see much savings dumping and replacing because of the MPGs and how many miles I do. If I was putting 300-400 miles a week (maybe 70 miles a week now) like I used to, I’d get something in the Honda HR-V class or a Honda Fit. Even then you can buy a lot of gas for what it costs to change out a vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      BunkerMan

      $1 CAD = $0.75 USD (today anyway). Since gas hit 178.9 c/L, that works out to $5 US per gallon.

      The problem here is that if you are living in Canada, you get paid in Canadian dollars, so it doesn’t matter what the price is in USD.

    • 0 avatar
      phxmotor

      50 cents? Why make fun of the Canadian dollar? Be nice. It’s actually more like 56.8 cents when converted to real money. Let’s be nice. The Kanuks are very sensitive this time of year. The insects are coming out of winter dormancy. It’s the time for the mosquito bite season. You would be sensitive a’boot life in Kanukland this time of year too.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      My thought, as well…are we talking US$6.55, or US$4.89?

      And though I suspect that Imperial gallons are no longer a widely used unit of measure in Canada, that would also change things quite a bit.

      Gas Buddy is showing C$1.599 per liter ($US1.19), which works out to US$4.50 per US gallon. Even at C$1.729, at the current exchange rate that works out to US$4.88.

    • 0 avatar

      I phrased it like that because I follow a guy on Youtube from that area who goes by the name AvE. He uses the term Canadian pesos a lot.

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        I follow AvE too…that guy’s too much!

        • 0 avatar

          I think the guy is brilliant. There’s too much going on in his head sometimes. I think he, Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters would have have gotten along. I find the CNC videos put to music, epic. Priscilla the safety goat.

          About 6 months ago, there’s a guy names Scotty who’s based in China and has done videos called Strange Parts. He comes to NYC for some RFID tag nerd event. He’s filming and there’s some guy who’s willing to show him something but the guy doesn’t want his face or voice to be in the video. The guy is wearing one of the “Schmoe” AvE T-Shirts. In the Strange Parts Youtube comments about a half dozen people said “I wonder if that’s AvE?”

          My nephew works as a materials buyer for a small defense contractor. I put him onto AvE last year. He’s talking to some of the engineers and they all said “Yeah, we all watch him.”

          Guy marches to the beat of a different drummer.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      Real world driving in Canada the 19′ CRV with AWD gets better fuel economy than an HRV in most situations. Even compared to the Honda fit (7L/100km combined, 7.6Lcity, 6.5L Hwy)The CRV with AWD is rated (8L/100km combined, 8.7L city, 7.2L Hwy)

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I can’t imagine $7 a gallon gas. How does Vancouver compare to the rest of Canada? It seems to me that $7 a gallon doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that takes time and I would make adjustments along the way. Except for pockets with excessive taxes I just don’t see that happening here, not easily anyway

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Having been to Europe and New Zealand, I can imagine $10/ gallon gas.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      In Canada, they pay hundreds of dollars more per year for gas. In the US, we pay thousands for health insurance.

      When you buy Canadian gas, you’re paying for a lot more than gas. It’s just cost shifting. If you factor in taxes and conversation rates, you’ll find what the US pays for the actual gasoline is right in line with Canada and Europe.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I live in Atlantic Canada, where gas is not as high as the west coast, but high enough. It’s downright shocking how fast the price of gas has gone up in 2 months.

    I filled up yesterday at 123.5 c/L (at Costco, so it’s cheaper than the average of 130.9). In late February, that same station was 0.925 c/L.

    The price has gone up by 30% in TWO MONTHS. I’m considering getting a small motorcycle to commute to work.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      My head is about to explode with these crazy units of measurement. Wish the rest of the world would get with the program and just adopt US gallons and other units of measurement already.

      Kidding of course. If we are converting everything from liters to gallons, from Canadian to US dollars/per gallon and my salary in US dollars to Canadian dollars, its not enough to make me panic or even worry, but it would definitely factor more heavily into my next ride.

      Personally I think the politicians in Vancouver are correct, gas prices should be at a level where fuel economy factors into the purchase decisions of most people.

      Just look at the chaos that was caused in this country over a 75% rise in fuel prices (estimating). People couldnt get out of their gas guzzlers fast enough. It damaged the auto industry changing market expectations overnight, it sapped disposable income from the general economy. But everyone has forgotten already.

      I will probably never pick the most fuel efficient option, but if money was a larger factor, that would be at the top of the list. That being said, I would never pick the least efficient option either. I already care enough to investigate observed real world fuel economy in every vehicle I buy.

  • avatar
    arach

    I switched from a pickup truck to a sedan a couple of years ago to save on gas. WOW the difference between going from like 15 MPG and 32 MPG is unreal in gas savings. I only pay 46% of what I used to, or a savings of about $13 a day with my current commute. Thats $3,382 a year!

    If gas were $7, then I’d probably suck it up but I’d seriously consider an EV. I’ve already been tempted by an ioniq electric. Figured I’d save about $12 grand in gas over 5 years. If gas were $7, I’d save like $25 grand over 5 years suddenly making an EV cost effective…

    Gas in Canada has always been way pricier, so when I was younger (and poorer), when I went to visit my canadian parents, I would fill up spare gas tanks before I cross. I literally drive into canada with those red fuel tanks full of gas so I don’t have to fill up while I’m in the country.. haha. There’s limits on importing booze, but I don’t think there’s limits on importing gasoline for personal consumption…

  • avatar
    jack4x

    No conceivable price could get me to sell my fun cars. $25 a gallon and I might start thinking about it. I just don’t drive them enough miles where the total gas expenditure makes enough of a difference.

    The daily drivers for my wife and I could switch to electric once the total cost of ownership makes it worth it. To replace my 40+ mpg paid-off Fiesta would certainly require double digit prices for an extended period of time.

  • avatar

    Even at our current prices – $2.69 for me – I do not make unnecessary trips and consolidate trips when I can. My commute is over 450 a week. I’ll walk the 7 blocks (14 round trip) to a store instead of driving. At the prices mentioned in the article I would curtail driving a significant amount and/or look for inexpensive transportation whether public or a higher mpg vehicle.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Interesting thought, as it is we do not drive the gas guzzling Suburban much, as compared to the rest of the fleet. But, quick math says that our fuel consumption would come with a $10,500 annual price tag at $7 per gallon (30k per year for the household / 20 MPG average household MPG). Though we probably average better than 20, but not much more.

    So yeah, at those prices I would be looking at a Bolt or equivalent to replace the Buick or Vette’ as our driver that we pound the miles on.
    As an aside, $7 gas would cripple our economy so I would not be needing to drive all that much anyway as my business would come to a screeching halt so perhaps a change in what I drive would be unnecessary. I could just ride my bike everywhere as the amount of free time I had would increase exponentially.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      That’s what everyone seems to forget – people driving their cars around all day aren’t the only ones paying gas prices. Trucks delivering every kind of good imaginable are going to see a drastic increase in shipping expense, which will be passed on to us consumers. We’ll be paying the increase in gas twice. Any business that uses machinery or vehicles is also going to get hit.

      So per this exercise, you’d be ignoring a whole lot of other factors just to say gas prices affect your vehicle of choice only. But since it does bug me when people can’t suspend reality for a moment and play the game, here’s my answer- $7 would change my family’s driving habits, and possibly our next vehicle (though the influence would be limited). My wife and i could rearrange our work schedules a bit to commute together and leave the Jeep in the drive. The Lincoln isn’t much better on gas, but it’d work for a while. With 2 toddlers and 2 dogs, we are going to need a bigger vehicle than a midsize sedan and a compact suv fairly soon, so i guess the fuel economy would play a little more important role in the purchasing decision coming up. The wife is firmly anti-van (to my dismay, but not my surprise) so we’re looking at large crossovers and suvs. I guess gas prices that high would knock suvs off the list. We’d probably end up in something with a turbo 4cyl (again, to my dismay). But my wife likes Mazda, so i suppose i could get on board with a cx9.

  • avatar
    migmog

    For reference, in the UK I paid £1.25/litre last time I filled up, which works out about $6.15/US gallon. But places are closer and we don’t drive as many miles. I only fill up every couple of months so it’s not that big a deal.

    • 0 avatar
      cicero1

      and the government denies your right to determine national sovereignty.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      And because of that, cars in the UK tend to be more fuel-efficient. “The UK’s average new car fuel consumption in 2017 was 51.7 miles-per-gallon (mpg) (5.5 litres per 100 km) for petrol vehicles and 61.2 mpg for diesel vehicles (4.6 litres per 100 km).”

      https://www.racfoundation.org/motoring-faqs/environment

      Which probably goes a long way to explaining why you only fill up every couple of months.

      • 0 avatar
        migmog

        In my case, not really – I just don’t drive much as I only live 3 miles from work so I ride my bike most days. My wife drives more, and I got her a V8 SUV because she’s American and thus requires a lot more oomph than most Brits (semi-joke). Even so, she only does 5000 miles/yr so the fuel bill is still manageable.

        It’s certainly true that cars here are much smaller and more efficient in general. Also, most have a manual transmission which is generally more efficient. This always makes me chuckle given that every granny here can drive a manual while it’s a macho thing in the US. It cracks me up watching Fast & Furious films cut to the guy clutching because clearly that’s something that needs to be shown ha ha!

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Their gallons are larger than ours, though.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          “Their gallons are larger than ours, though.”

          Maybe so but British cars have always had far greater fuel economy than American ones .

          That’s what helped them sell back in the 1050’s, 1960’s & 1970’s in spite of being cramped and far too often of abysmal initial build quality .

          Some of us stupids took the time & effort to sort them out and are still enjoying 40+ MPG .

          I souped up my Austin product and drive it mostly flat out, slushbox equipped, it returns 35MPG consistently .

          FWIW, YMMV, etc. .

          -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      I was in Ireland recently and paid the equivalent of $8.50 US per gallon. It didn’t stop me from driving, but the gas prices did make me consider a smaller vehicle (or a diesel vehicle)…

  • avatar
    IBx1

    We made America because of a 2% tax on tea; we’ll make America Part 2 if they decide to take $4 in tax for every $3 gallon of gas.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    Dont’t switch cars, switch politicians. Who do they think they are to tell people what the “better choices” are. Government determining what the better choice is for individuals should be well buried in the ash heap of history. but thanks largely to government brainwashing its not.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Nobody’s forcing you to choose a particular car. If gas prices are high and you choose a different car because of it, well, that’s the market at work.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        Maybe someone forgot to tell you – in a democracy, you get to influence the market by voting (limited as it may be). This is often a better option than being a subject of the market. In this case, vote in the politicians who will lower the gas tax.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Whoever said otherwise? In most western democracies, the people have voted for governments that use Pigovian taxes the way anyone who’s ever taken an economics class understands they should be used, by recapturing the externalities imposed on society by actions that otherwise wouldn’t reflect them.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    Canada has some neat Japan-market imports thanks to having a 15 year rule instead of our 25 year rule.

  • avatar
    vvk

    $7 gas is music to my ears. I wish it was $10.

    I don’t have a problem with large vehicles, I really don’t. I do have a problem with 400 hp V-8 engines in them. How does a single mom afford a huge Ford F-150 with a huge engine? Simple: cheap gas. We have teenagers driving 300-400 hp 3 ton vehicles. Where is sanity? Any one of them is a potential deadly weapon with all the unnecessary weight and unfathomable power. If one needs a huge pickup truck, he should not need it to compensate for their lack of driving skill or their aggression. Take a full size pickup and put a 200 hp hybrid engine in it. This will require actual skill to drive and will prevent aggressive driving. And it will make driving affordable in the era of $7/gal gas.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Please do not run for office.

      Sincerely, V8 enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      “Where is sanity?” Not contained in people who are scared that cars and trucks are too good.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      SO much ignorance here.

      Have you ever heard of physics? Larger vehicles require larger outputs to do the stuff they are designed to do. Put a “200HP hybrid engine” (what is that anyways) in a truck and it wont do what a truck is supposed to do.

      “Any one of them is a potential deadly weapon with all the unnecessary weight and unfathomable power.”

      If 400HP is unfathomable power, you should never get into a mustang 5.0 or camaro with the LT4 or challenger 392. You might die from infinite unfathomable super extraneous power.

      If you feel something should be regulated out of existence because it is potentially deadly then i move to ban all vehicles. Horses and buggies for everyone! Wait… horses kick. Uhhh… Bunnies and buggies for everyone!

      • 0 avatar
        mzr

        Trucks worked just fine with sub-200HP engines. My 1986 F-150 with a 302 was a 150HP monster, and could get low 20s fuel mileage (single cab, long bed with a AOD transmission) and had no problems pulling a trailer even with the bed loaded. My 1991 F-150 302 probably had the same rating, and weighed even more due to the supercab.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          Your F150 works fine for you and your needs. My 1981 K30 has 200HP and suits my needs just fine. These trucks would not work just fine for the guy who routinely tows heavy loads. There are lots of folks who need trucks with 300+HP and 600+lbft.

          I won’t regulate something that I don’t need out of existence because I don’t need it.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        > Larger vehicles require larger outputs to do the stuff they are designed to do.

        Plenty of 50 hp trucks in Asia carrying huge loads. No problem — just requires some driving skill. And no aggression. Why does an F-250 pulling a 35000 lbs trailer have to go 90 mph?

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          “No problem – just requires some driving skill”

          Have you every heard of youtube? Try is some time. There are plenty of videos of those 50HP trucks failing under loads that would make a 3/4 ton truck laugh. They also top out at 40mph down the highway because traffic laws don’t exist and they can carry whatever unsecured overweight cargo they want. If you are pushing for more regulation, try not to cite countries that have a lot less regulation than the US and Canada.

          Some folks in Asia push their Hilux’s to the limits with payloads upwards of 4000lbs. Ive seen it in person in the middle east. But they do so at the cost of reliability. Im willing to wager that those trucks can’t carry “huge loads” regularly without frequent catastrophic failure.

          Any idiot who tows 35000lbs at 90mph probably shouldn’t be towing (maybe even driving). But the blue collar man who runs his own grading business and tows his 13000lb tractor (safely and courteously) all over town needs a little more a 1/2 ton pickup and a lot more than a 50HP Asian machine.

          If all you need is a 150HP 1/2ton pickup, then be happy with that. Don’t think that everyone else is like you and doesn’t need more than 200HP.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Keep in mind that this is the guy who justified his Tesla because finding a gas station and buying gas was too difficult and stressful.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      If it were up to you, how would you tell the independent trucker or hotshotter that supports his family on a $100K a year after spending $100K yearly on fuel that he’ll now be spending $300K on fuel?

      I’m sure he’ll be happy to meet you.

    • 0 avatar
      S197GT

      your post is so bad i can’t tell if it is serious or sarcasm. it fails either way.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I finally saw a trim level/option combo new Silverado that I actually thought looked good: LT Custom 4×4 Trail Boss extended cab in fire engine red.

        It was being driven by an 18-22 year old female with big hoop earrings.

        I’m not worried about her having that much metal to pilot, I’m wondering who her Sugar Daddy is…

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      You may want to consider a move to Russia or China, comrade. Until then, people are free to drive whatever they please and the price of gas is dictated by the market instead of government fiat.

  • avatar
    Jon

    The size of my family dictates a large SUV. Drive it right and it gets 18-20mpg. If I downsized due to $7/gal fuel prices, it would have to be a minivan which gets 20-22mpg. There is no point in downsizing vehicles for a 2 mpg gain.

    My Camry gets 29mpg. I could downsize that to something that gets 40+ or a Tesla but i like cars that don’t spontaneously combust.

    Overall, the best option would be to move somewhere with a lower cost of living. Financial prosperity trumps lifestyle in my world.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      > My Camry gets 29mpg. I could downsize that to something that gets 40+ or
      > a Tesla but i like cars that don’t spontaneously combust.

      All cars burn. My sister’s in-laws’ Toyota RAV4 caught fire and burned to the ground. An acquaintance’s Chrysler Pacifica exploded and burned to the ground three days ago. His window glass melted…

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I’d have to just lump it. If you can’t, you were probably too close to over-your-head when it was $2.69 a gallon.

    My ’04 F-150 4.6 V8 gets 15.something mpg no matter what. It’s exactly the truck I need for work or whatever, most of the time.

    A “Gear Vendors” double-overdrive “splitter” would be an awesome upgrade though, and at $7/gallon, it would pay for itself quick enough. Not to mention 8 forward gears.

    If I was forced to replace it, it would another 4.6 Supercab, no matter the price of gas.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Petroleum/gas may be even more politically sensitive in Canada than in the USA.

    Canada has the 3rd largest petroleum reserves of any nation, more than 4x as much as the USA. Thus ownership of Canadian reserves will be ever more contentious with companies owned/controlled by the Chinese government investing billions of dollars into land and development in the oil/tar sands area. Next will be the Arctic Ocean shelf.

    In 1979 Joe Clark’s Conservative government was turfed from office when they proposed an increase of 18 cents per gallon of gas (approximately 4 cents per litre), but guaranteed that price for a number of years.

    Now we see gasoline prices rise (or sometimes fall) by as much as 20 cents per litre during a weekend. In the GTA over the past 2 or 3 months I have paid as little as 98 cents per litre and as much as 1.30 per litre.

    Trudeau the elder defeated Clark and implemented a National Energy Policy. That entailed the Canadian government creating an entity (Petro Canada) that would be responsible for exploration, drilling, refining, transporting and retailing petroleum throughout Canada. It imposed a limit on foreign ownership of Canadian petroleum reserves. And it ‘imposed’ a price for petroleum, set by the government but guaranteed. Albertans detested this as they believed that they should be able to sell their petroleum at international market prices to whoever they wished. The Liberal Party has ever since been a non-entity in Albertan politics. However the fallout for this continues with Trudeau’s son in power, political infighting over pipelines, refining, exploration, environmental controls and Alberta still dependent on the boom and bust cycle of petroleum pricing.

    In my driveway/garage 4 of our 5 vehicles have 4 cylinder engines. I am hoping that my next vehicle acquisition will be a (mild) hybrid, preferably a Kia Niro. My average fuel bill is now over $6k Cdn.

    Times have changed. Canada (and to a lesser extent the USA) no longer have their population based on rural or outer suburban dwellers. The ‘mega’ cities dominate the economy and are continuing to grow, at much faster rates than the rest of the country. And cities of that size/magnitude are by definition ‘not car friendly’. As demonstrated by large cities throughout the rest of the world.

  • avatar
    Dan

    In a world of other people who don’t speak math, $7 gas would cost me five times as much buying discarded toys on Craigslist as it would at the pump itself.

  • avatar
    YaCar

    Yes, good old Vancouver BC. “I don’t need your war machines, I don’t need your ghetto scenes” has worked very well for that city.

    Moving on I’m already prepared. I live less than two miles from where I work and I drive a Honda Fit. Done.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I support a high tax on gas.
    Oil
    – hurts air quality.
    – has finite supply.
    – enriches questionable countries.
    – a high price encourages conservation on ALL users (unlike Govt MPG standards that ll take 10 years + to impact the country wide fleet average.)
    – reduces the number of jag offs in massive pig up trucks that bulge into your parking spot and intimidate you on the road.

    I ll give you, $7/gal is over the top tho….

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      $7 US is over the top, in Canadian dollars, not crazy just yet. I agree that a lot of good things happen with more expensive gas. Your examples are only a few of the positives.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Oil hurting air quality is a thing of the past. Oil has a finite supply just like the universe has a finite supply of atoms. Expensive oil will enrich questionable countries more than flooding the market with cheap oil. EV material mining will create a new group of wealthy and powerful primitives with no consideration for human life. High prices punish the working classes while having no effect on the elites who fly around in private jets telling imbeciles how to make the middle class less inconvenient. Jobs and freedom are more important than your parking difficulties and insecurities behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    starbird80

    ’14 Ford Focus SE hatchback, 2.0 4cyl with stick. Mid to high 20s in town, high 30s highway with the occasional 40+ mpg. It’s the sweet spot of size and mileage for me, though I do covet my nephew’s Focus ST. No changes expected here.

    That ’96 Buick Roadmaster Estate with the Corvette-sourced V8 I’ve been eyeing, on the other hand…probably not the best choice in a world of $7 gas, even as a second car…

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I might change my Buick Regal (aka Opel Insignia) to a VW Golf or GTI. Or not.

    I’m an unabashed America-first (within reason) person. Having spent considerable time in Ontario, I marvel at how Canadians can manage to live in Toronto.

    Their paychecks were smaller than mine.

    Their tax withheld was, no doubt, greater than mine. Certainly not less.

    The prices at the supermarket were the same or higher.
    The prices at Chapters Bookstore were A LOT higher than the same items at Borders or Barnes and Noble.
    Their Federal and Provincial sales tax was 15%, vs 6%

    And the price of housing–at least to buy, was…a LOT higher in Greater Toronto than metro Detroit.

    I wondered, how do they do it?

    THey have less stuff–a little less. Their cars are comparable to ours–less large and more small in the mix, but it’s certainly NOT Europe–much closer to the USA.

    The probably don’t run the deficits we do. Perhaps their finances are more in order. Perhaps not.

    But, given where OUR finances our, and how, at every level, we are drowning in debt and have massive unfunded future liabilities, I think the American commentariat shouldn’t be too harsh on our neighbors.

    Our house is certainly not in order-at least as I see it.

    LIke everyone, I don’t like paying more for fuel. But, since view cars as transportation, and I like to get from A to B using as little FUEL AND TIME as possible, I drive a car. If raising the price of fuel will keep drivers off the road and speed my trips, I’m all for it (but it usually does not work out that way…given wheels, people across the world, want to drive, even at $9 per gallon…)

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      “And the price of housing–at least to buy, was…a LOT higher in Greater Toronto than metro Detroit.”

      To be fair, you’re comparing one of Canada’s most expensive cities with one of the USA’s least expensive cities.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @tomLU86; Thanks for an insightful posting.

      To answer some of your questions:
      1) Universal medical coverage. Canadians don’t pay for visits to the Doctor, hospital or for required surgery/medical car.
      2) Good government subsidized post-secondary education. The average undergrad annual tuition is now around $7k. Last year it was actually free in Ontario for most of the population. However government subsidies funding in Ontario have been drastically reduced under our new ‘populist’ government.
      3) A ‘decent’ public education system. Choosing your home because of the ‘school district’ or sending your child to a ‘private school’ is nowhere near as prevalent in many other countries. The public school system was the prime driver of prosperity in the USA circa 1900 to 1975 and was also crucial to the development of the Canadian economy. Again in Ontario under 2 ‘Conservative’ governments, funding to this system has been drastically curtailed.
      4) Home ownership/equity. A great many Canadians are financially dependent upon the belief that their home/residence will always gain in value. Home Equity Loans fund many Canadians. Thankfully due to government intervention/controls, there are stringent guidelines to qualify for a mortgage, so the chance of a housing ‘bust’ like the US experienced in 2008 is slim. However, housing prices still do decline. For instance in the GTA over the past 18 months. However not as dramatically as in other nations/jurisdictions without the same amount of government oversight over the banks, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Edit: sorry but the darned site timed out on me.

        Regarding point #3, meant that ‘it is nowhwere near as prevalent in Canada as in many other nations’.

        Also forgot to add that College tuition in Ontario’s public college system is around $4k per year.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t drive enough miles these days (I’m on pace for about 8100 in 2019) for me to fret too much about fuel prices (assuming it doesn’t also nuke the economy as a whole).

    If I knew gasoline was permanently going to be over $7/gal I’d likely put strong consideration into the “motorcycle + LeSabre/Panther” option.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The reason politicians put high taxes on gasoline is not because they want you to stop buying it, but because they know you won’t stop buying it. All those social welfare programs cost big money, so politicians tend to be very good at taxing things with inelastic demand such as food (we gotta eat), addictive substances (smokes and drugs), travel (travelers are less price sensitive – especially expense account trips), and gasoline (Europe has had $7+ gallon gasoline for years and they increasingly drive SUVs – CRV, RAV4 types vehicles are best sellers there).

    You want to see panic in a politician, mass stoppage of buying heavily taxed items would yield new laws so fast your head would spin. Not buying gas, then we’ll tax your shoes and subway tickets more, not buying smokes, then we’ll tax e-cigs, etc.

  • avatar
    TR4

    7 dollars per gallon is journalistic hype at its worst. They are obviously using the smaller Canadian dollar and the larger Imperial gallon. The way I figure it:

    gas is CAN$1.60 in Vancouver
    this is CAN$7.27 per Imperial gallon
    or US$4.54 per US gallon

    This is not much more than many Californian gas prices.

    Nothing to see here.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I am already on gas saving program – motorcycle + WFH.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    Electricity is cheap up in the Pacific northwest. Just askin’ why they don’t drive electric, and quit bitching.

  • avatar
    kkop

    Gas in my former motherland is currently $9.23/gallon, and has been close to that level for many years. People adjust size of car or switch to LPG etc., but do not drive less, even with fairly good public transport.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’d further work to hone my techniques for squeezing extra mileage out of my car and keep it. Even going to a subcompact, 2 sizes down, wouldn’t net much better than my observed 33mpg combined.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The only thing I would change is the engine in the weekend car. Swap out the heads for AL and pistons for higher compression and go fuel injected.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      How much do you drive the weekend car?

      My weekend car (1967 Mustang 289 V8) a doubling of gas prices would simply mean that I’d be able to afford fewer beers at the golf course. That’s about how many miles I put on it.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Depends on the year and weather. It has no top so it is for days with no rain which comes in streaks here in the midwest. I drive it to work now and then so it gets a fair amount of miles and high gas prices would be a good excuse for the upgrades. The upgrades would help the mileage though and help the bottom end a bit.

  • avatar
    cammark

    This is one of those situational math problems that everyone moaned about in school.

    I like math. Based on the typical average mileage of our main family vehicle (23MPG) and the current avg. $/gal in my area ($3.50) I couldn’t justify the monthly payment on something that got me 45MPG average (Prius?) until gas prices hit $12/gal.

    This of course only applies to my particular situation (currently no car payment, 90% of driving is necessary- to work/grocery store/ect, personal fleet avg. MPG already pretty good)

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    I don’t care how fuel efficient a car is, a gallon of gas simply isn’t WORTH more than about $2. Anything above that is blatant gouging. That said, I have a pretty short commute of about a mile. In town, my Challenger swills premium like a drunken sailor but freeway mpg is pretty good at 24-25. The car is paid for and I love the thing. Trading for some hateful depressing penalty box isn’t going to save me a significant amount of money, and I’d only be swapping one form of suffering for another. At best, I could walk to work on the clear days if I wanna start allowing 30 more minutes in the morning. As mentioned above, rising fuel prices hurt at the pump but EVERYTHING is affected by it. It’s simply market forces at some point but mostly it’s a cash grab by politians and its ‘for our own good ‘ of course.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    Yep, because I bought a 2012 Cruze Eco because gas prices were ~$4.50/gal at the time I bought and I was driving 650 miles per week. We also have a 2017 RAV4 Hybrid which will do fine as well.

    My 1996 Ranger, not so much, but it’s a Home Depot/Lowe’s/dump/garage sales/just-in-case 3rd vehicle with an occasional commute trip to make sure everything gets exercised properly.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    In Ottawa, Ontario area. Hovering around high $1.20s, close to $1.30/litre.

    6 weeks ago made the change from 2015 5.0l F150 to focus ST after hearing high gas prices were returning.

    Needless to say, this would have been an even easier decision in Vancouver.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    When do the riots start? I imagine the rioters will be polite. :-)

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    California gas prices in the recent news include one station pricing it at US$5.80. Californians are getting hat they voted for, good and hard.
    Semi-retired, telecommuter here. Conditions described above wouldn’t bother me at all as the wife and I jointly put about 11K miles on our cars with weighted average fuel economy of 27mpg. At US$7 per gallon that’s $2850 annually compared to $1140 where we live now. The local supermarket runs a promo every 3 weeks or so – buy a $50 gas card for $40 if you buy $50 of food. You can do it multiple times in the short window they offer, so that $1140 is really overstated – probably only about $1000 annually.
    Longer term, I would look at a hybrid, but I am not nearly ready to trade two relatively low mileage cars on the gas cost differential described.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s the problem with swapping out a gas-swiller for a gas-sipper in times when gas prices are high: you’re going to take a beating on the resale value of the gas-swiller that could add up to thousands of dollars. At what point is that worth it to save a few bucks on gas every month?

    The key is to buy a car you can afford to drive, folks.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      And sometimes keeping the old guzzler around is cheaper all-around. Beats making payments on a new, fuel-sipping econobox.

      These days the only vehicle I have is the 30ft+ Southwind Motorhome which I use to do all my running around in. Finding a parking place other than at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter, is the hardest part.

      Talk about gas-swilling, 5 or 6 mpg, in town or on the highway, on Premium gas (high compression 440 HEMI + three-speed TorqueFlite).

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I wonder if a Gear Vendors overdrive would help with that (assuming it can handle the extra weight of a motorhome)?

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “Gear Vendors” are good for 30K lbs, and would help tremendously with RPM and therefore MPG. The unit would no doubt extend the life of the drivetrain, extend service intervals, lower temperatures, etc.

          They’re affordable enough, especially at $3 a gallon or more. The RV probably came with 4.11:1 axle ratio or similar, no overdrive.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Yeah I either need an axle swap or a GearVendors in my old Mustang. Some fool put a Ford 9 in with very numerically high gears in it during the 70s.

            I just want to cruise.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        It’s not just the payments – it’s the taxes and registration.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Apparently no average or minimum wage Blue Collar folks here .

    Another perfect example of First World problems .

    I thought most newer vehicles got 30 or more MPG’s, I’m still working with 25 ~ 27, I wish it were better but that’s life, the fuel co$t$ don’t curtail my driving but the affect _everything_ else as I still drive close to or more than 100 miles every day .

    It’s not the taxes, it’s the greed in the price of the fuel that’s the big thing here ~ the gop deregulated fuel prices in America (fact not alt right B.S.) and they’ve been going up ever since, my oil stocks are glorious ~ I expect my grand kids will have far higher standard of living than I ever did because they’ll inherit it all.

    I’m a staunch Conservative by nature but I know better than to trust any politicos that claim to be Conservative ~ they’re screwing us worse than any Liberals ever did and fools swallow it hook line and sinker .

    One of my Motos gets maybe 45 MPG, that’s the only running full size bike I have right now, the Tiddlers get over 100 MPG but, only go 40 + MPH and so cannot be ridden on the freeway except during rush hour when they can keep up or pass other traffic .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      When did the conservatives deregulate fuel and start the price increase? Gas is still near historic lows. The current price spike is due to a shortage in ethanol that corrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle make us buy from rent-seeking Iowans.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        Up until fairly recently, I think there was a ban on exporting crude oil produced in the US. That reversal was not very consumer friendly considering we only recently became the number one oil producing country in the world. Regardless, its not all bad as US oil on the world market still reduces prices.

        I think the consensus is that with huge, non-OPEC producers, like the US and Canada, there can never be another run up. The North American producers will simply pump the price increases back into equalibrium. But there can still be short term shocks.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Nate, you should thank your favorite deity that Obama ignored fracking and OrangeMan aggressively encouraged it. Its one big reason gas prices aren’t higher than they are. What’s not to like – additionally, it hurts the Russians, the Iranians, the Saudis and the Venezuelans.

      Todd, +1 on corn-ohol.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I already live 10km from work – at $1.80/L, I might ride my bike to work more (an extra 10 min each way isn’t a terrible tradeoff in exchange for the physical activity I absolutely need). I already have one of the smallest cars available – fuel economy gains from buying something else wouldn’t counteract the extra payment cost. There are public transit options for getting to work, but gas would have to be nearly $4/l before it costs more to drive to work than bus it.

    That said, if fuel prices get that bad, I’d be more prepared to riot against anything preventing higher density (and restricting the ability of people to live closer to their jobs, if they wish), and Vancouver should be close to that breaking point.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Considering most of the time I’m rockin Georgia Power’s finest electrons, meh. EV miles cost me about 3 cents each.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Retired Canadian living in the GTA here. I recently adjusted my weekly gas budget to $50 from $40.

    My D.D is an EB Mustang. If you keep your foot out of it ?? 26- 27 MPG . The fun car is a 05 Mustang GT Convertible 4.6 Litre, 5 speed stick. The 05 drinks premium gas like it was water. The gas money for the 05 comes out of fun money. If fun money is tight the 05 stays in the garage.

    Life in Canada has a lot of benefits . Cheap gas isn’t one of them.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    I wouldn’t change a thing. If I bought an electric car, eventually the local utility would just raise their rates to build more power plants anyway.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    Silverado HD with 4.10 rear gets less use, Accord hybrid gets more. And as mentioned earlier, try to pick up some gas guzzling toys on the cheap.

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    The horrendous traffic in GVA and GTA are incentive enough to take public transit.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      I grew up Down East and the city traffic was horrible back then (50’s & 60’s), here in La La Land (home to fruits, nuts and flakes) it’s once again horrible, I have to traverse it regularly, makes me think I should ride a Moto more often but then how to carry the crap I always carry ? .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    Right now our “fleet” consists of a 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring (~26 MPG), a 2004 Honda Civic (~26 MPG), and a 1965 Buick Wildcat (~10 MPG).

    The Civic is a stopgap though, I’d like to trade it for a Mazda CX9 for trips. If gas goes above US$5/gal (and stays there) I’d defer that move and probably buy a ticket for Grandma to come spend a week with us rather than the four of us go to her.

    As others have mentioned, I would step up my WAH frequency and align shopping with going to/from work and deal with the rest.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Other than skipping a few summer trips, probably nothing I can do about it.

    I’m already driving a 28 mpg Integra, 40 mpg Prius V, 25 mpg IS, 26 mpg Corolla (3 speed auto), 25 mpg Mazda 5, averaging 5k miles per year in each of them. I may crush my 19 mpg V6 Camry but that’s about all I can do.

    I’ll never buy a V6 ever in my life, they are not only harder to work on but also no demand when they are old.

  • avatar
    lostboy

    F them – get an electric car and say goodbye to worrying about gas prices (although start worrying about electric prices unless you buy some solar panels) but seriously, i WANT an electric car, i’m fed up of oil changes, transmission flushes, diff changes, gas and gas additives etc. and my mechanic IS a good guy.

    i had a friend who worked at Nissan talk to me about a leaf once and he said dealers hate them because the buyer only comes in for brakes and tires and that’s they’re almost zero maintenance otherwise, and since my commute daily is less than 200 miles i’m A-Ok with that. (if it wasn’t cheaper to fix my car than get a used leaf i’d be doing so already)

    Just my 2 cents.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      RE: Nissan Leaf : The City of Pasadena leased them and loved them so much they hid them when it was time to return them, three years later they were still working fine when Nissan finally collected them .

      Everyone keeps saying ‘gas prices not so bad’ but they’re not in California, , I’m in Nevada now and Diesel is OVER ONE DOLLAR LESS PER GALLON, this has nothing to do with the ‘special blends’ bullcrap, I know people who work in the refineries and they assure me we’re just getting slipped the salami sans lube here .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    namstrap

    I live here in BC. I drive a little Hyundai, and my wife has a GM minivan. I’d love to have a motorcycle as well, but our compulsory government insurance doesn’t take into consideration you can only drive one vehicle at a time, so it’s full bore for both, and not cheap.

    I’d buy an electric car in a heartbeat, and there are lots of incentives right now to buy one, but I have to wait for my lottery ticket to win.

    My neighbour just installed 20 panels on his roof, bought an electric Ioniq, and he heats the house with a heat pump. For three of the four seasons, he pays hydro $12.50 a month. That’s for everything.

    We live on an Island, and I seldom go more than 5,000 kms a year, so electric would suit me fine.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    $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.

  • avatar
    The Comedian

    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.)


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Vulpine: It begins….
  • Robotdawn: No I agree. I do hope he succeeds. Mainly it’s the Tesla fans who make it hardest to root for the...
  • tedward: latch isn’t mandatory, and it’s only recommended for kids under 40lbs. Every car seat I’ve...
  • SSJeep: You may want to consider a move to Russia or China, comrade. Until then, people are free to drive whatever...
  • e30gator: My driveway/garage looks like the island of misfit toys. Okay, here we go… 2015 Toyota Highlander...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States