The Upside of $5 Gas

$5 gas

So, you’ve just filled up the tank of your Chevy Silverado, and your wallet is a good $85 lighter.

Yeah, you moan and complain and curse out the Exxon Mobil execs and their multimillion-dollar yachts that your driving habits support, yet you continue dropping the cash every week to make sure the ol’ truck is properly hydrated.

If gas hits $5 per gallon this summer, as some experts predict, the bill to fill up a 2010 Silverado’s 26-gallon tank will come to $130.

While expensive fuel is a serious budget-breaker for many individuals, it does have its benefits for the collective good. Well, at least according to one columnist…

Lynn Mucken writes for MSN Money and has attempted to craft a piece intended to make us all feel better about our canceled road trips and shrinking bank accounts. Mucken argues that with $5 gas, fewer drivers will be on the road, which means less congestion, less pollution and fewer road fatalities.

Congestion on the 405

That’s an interesting thought, but I’d challenge her to drive the 405 Freeway in LA at 5:30 in the evening and experience just how much less congestion is out there.

Mucken also points out that increased gas prices lead to increased airfares, ultimately creating shorter security lines at the nation’s airports. While that may be true, there will always be plenty of people who must travel, and shorter lines won’t be much consolation after coughing up a thousand bucks for the flight to Denver that used to cost $500.

So far, I’m not convinced of any upside to $5 gas. But Mucken isn’t done.

She claims that expensive gas could eventually make fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya too costly to continue. On top of that, more people in the U.S. would walk or bike to work, creating a healthier lifestyle for many Americans.

Shareholders of big oil companies also stand to make big bucks as they take their share of enormous profits (Exxon alone made $11 billion in the first quarter of this year).

Ultimately, Mucken points out that higher prices now will lead to lower prices later as demand decreases and supply increases.

Of course, once prices are down again, the cycle will simply repeat.

Do you see any upside to $5 gas?


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  1. i see some good points, it will cut down on traffic making it safer for a lot of people and yes idiots will be on road, but lets say you got a ticket for going 10 over speed limit and then you find that few minutes after the cop goes for heading north to going south then this corvette or some small car flies by you going at least 70 and its a say 55 or 60 road and you were going 65 in 55 and there for you get caught when this danger increasing car gets away with higher speed, well with less traffic its higher chance of more pull overs so more of the always speeding cars will get caught. Also i agree its good to get the bike out or something and don’t use gas, it saves you money get you or keeps you healthy if you already bike. you get more vitamin c from the sun. I keep track like 90% of my spending on everything so i know about what i spend a month and i keep track of how much i buy gas and i am thinking of biking up to 10 miles to go work when i get a bike, that’s really the best thing this country can do is not drive unless like mentioned above the few or handful of people who travel over hr away driving to get to work or do something work related. Think of it this way, you go a store and price goes up a lot on whatever well if you don’t like the price what do you do? you go somewhere else that cheaper or you do without. it’s same idea, gas goes too high don’t drive.

  2. One thing that I’ve really noticed is that people don’t seem to change their driving habits with this expensive fuel. (They didn’t seem to change last time, either. I still see almost all the drivers are still exceeding the speed limit, often 25% or more, still see all the trucks with the hammer-footed drivers, and the same idiots who roar past only to be found sitting at the next light. In Michigan, the gas tax is also capped so it doesn’t really add any revenues to desperately needed road funds.

  3. No I don’t see an upside to $5/gal. gas. I must drive (at least for now) to and from college every day – roughly 65mi. round trip. While I’m glad my 10 year old Buick Century with ~144K miles can squeeze out 28, 29mpg, that’s no condolence for high gas prices. Yes high gas prices will make some people not drive or fly, but there are always people (like me) that need to commute or need to fly somewhere. Less traffic isn’t really going to help me either, the time and direction I travel typically lets me cruise along happily at 60-65mph the whole way through my commute, at least until I hit a red light.

  4. I definitely see an upside coming to funerals cause these prices are making me want to kill someone!

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