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Pricey Country Roads: Gas Prices Hit Rural Americans Harder

Americans everywhere are shocked and stressed as gas reaches the all-time high with the national average at $4 per gallon. But, common outrage does not mean common hardship. High gas prices impact rural USA the worst.

Those living outside cities are facing tough decisions, especially in the Southeast where public transportation is lacking and commute distances are sprawling. For farm workers, sports-utility vehicles actually have some utility; but, it's much more costly to fill up pick-up trucks and vans. To adjust, some are cutting back on meat, others are borrowing money for gas, and some are searching for scarce jobs closer to home.

Faraway from rural America, Saudi Arabia is calling for a summit on astronomical oil prices. The Saudi Information and Culture Minister said that the kingdom wants to ensure that there are no unwarranted or unnatural oil price hikes that could impact international economies, especially those of developing countries.

Perhaps oil producers like Saudi Arabia are worried that high prices will force people to reduce their demand. Hearing about the struggles in rural America, it's difficult to imagine how consumers won't try to kick their oil addiction as soon as possible.

Source

UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
And now that GM has closed 4 major plants in WI, IN, and OH, maybe they will turn the page and begin production of cars that are more in line with what consumers need. Maybe the government will give them a huge bailout amount. We'll see.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Oh its true baby! ;)
onabanana onabanana 9 years
If that's true, then AWESOME!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
The technology of diesel engines is much farther along than hybrid engines, you can't even compare the two. In fact on long commutes, diesel engines get better mileage, a lot better mileage, than hybrid engines. Clean diesel is clean enough to pass EPA standards in NY and Cali, so why not give it a shot till proven wrong? While we work on other things of course...
onabanana onabanana 9 years
Clean diesel is good but the technology isn't that far a long we stopped use of regular diesel in consumer vehicles because it contributed to acid rain.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
The fact is, the auto industry has spent the last 50 years making bigger faster cars instead of more fuel efficient vehicles. And we have all bought into it, and fueled this idea. It's not like we didn't know oil was a non-renewable resource. As a whole we decided it was more important to get our larger behinds in giant fast cars, eat more meat, burn more petroleum. Our concept of what we NEED is so skewed. People in the west and increasingly so in China and other parts of Asia live life styles of excess which have contributed to our global oil glut. We can make life style changes or we can suffer the consequences. Small changes can make a huge impact. I've started turning down the thermostat and reducing our meat intake. SUV owner or not we need to re shift our concept of NEED and learn to live leaner life styles. Gas is far from cheap in the US but it's nothing compared to the prices they pay in Europe.
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
Thank you for mentioning that, Cab. I don't know much about this, but I have also heard that the oil companies have been paying off the auto manufacturers to NOT make their cars as fuel efficient as possible- also completely against a free market. I am not someone who is rallying against the oil companies. It's just very obvious to me that something is broken and it must be fixed.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Bear in mind that people in Europe also have SUVs, its not like we're the only country that has them. I saw plenty of SUVs when I was in Europe and all I could think was, SUCKERS!! haha! :) jk Also we're overlooking something that really plays into how the American people have been screwed by our gov't on this and thats subsidises for the American auto industry. You guys know I love this country, but the fact is that the American auto industry doesn't make itself competitive. 40% of GM's sales are from SUVs and trucks. They've have PLENTY of years to remedy that and they haven't, why? Because our lawmakers consistently block legislation that would force them to be more competitive. The fact is that European and Japanese automakers cars are not only more efficient and better quality, but European automakers especially have MANY models in their lines that use high quality low sulfur diesel and can go much further on the same amount of gas. When you're in Europe, almost every car is a diesel and uses this. But the fact is that the gov't blocked the importation of high quality low sulfur diesel for years in order to protect American automakers so they wouldn't lose sales to overseas companies. Its a big load of BS and completely against the very basics of a free market. All those SUVs in Europe? Most are diesel, run on clean diesel, and get the same if not better mileage than our gas sedans.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I am so confused. Why are others concerned why people utilize their SUV’s? Not everyone is using them to make a grand statement of wealth or to drive around one kid; some people generally need them. Very judgmental I see.
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
Thanks CoralAmber. :) When we have all three in the back, they literelly barely fit. They can't even all lay down without being on top of each other! Like you, we also do a lot of DIY, and it does come in handy. When we bought it we also weren't driving these long distances- I had no idea that I would have to move for my job.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
tiff58 do not feel bad for your dogs being one of the reasons you prefer an SUV. Imagine trying to get 3 large dogs to the vet in a hatchback or station wagon. It's almost laughable. Of course you could always just do one dog at a time and use 3 times the amount of gas ;) My family has one sedan and one SUV because of Illinois winters. We often use the SUV for hauling furniture my mom rehabs or cumbersome construction materials for home DIY projects. That's the "Utility" part of SUV. I'm getting kind of tired of my friends implying that I'm a horrible person just because I also use it to commute to work. Isn't paying the extra money for gas enough of a punishment?
Jillness Jillness 9 years
It was awful, Bella...they were wearing terrible clothes and had no rhythm! ;) My boyfriend also hears that he "went city" from his relatives, of course, they said that when he first moved to a town of 300,000 as well.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Ohh my Jill, I did not see that commerical. I guess I just never think that others think like that, I mostly hear from my Southern relatives that I went city.
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
I feel like part of the reason for rising costs is that OPEC knows that people are increasingly concerned with alternative fuels and becoming more energy efficient, and they also know that more and more countries are drilling. They know that their oil won't be as in demand in the future and they are trying to get all that they can right now. I have no facts to back up what I am saying, that's just what I feel is happening.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I heard they are predicting $5 a gallon by the 4th of July! I also heard that speculation was part of the reason for rising costs!
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
I was just in Norway this weekend, which is a part of OPEC, and the prices there for gas are triple the prices in the US, and you pay an extra tax for diesel. And a lot of people live in scarcely populated areas there as well, but you will always find a bus/ferry/city trains etc. to get to work or school and back. So I don't believe in things being impossible.
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
I agree, Jill. It really does affect everything, and it scares me a lot.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
jillness that's a great point.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
bellaressa, did you see the election commerical they posted a couple months ago? They were saying some senator was a "California values" kind of politician, and then they showed 3 people in horrible clothes dancing like they were drunk. UnDave said that CA is "scarily left" the other day. Because all 13 million people think the same way....
Jillness Jillness 9 years
No matter where you live, gas prices will start to cause other things to go up because everything requires gas to be shipped. It will make food prices go up, because petroleum is also needed to grow crops...I am pretty scared, actually.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Wow, people really hate people in Cali - that is the first time I ever heard that. Real shame - that is a true reflection on that individual.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Also keep in mind that some of those "enlightened" urban folk are from the country, and had to move to the city in order to find jobs. Why must it always be a game of "us against them" when it comes to rural and city living people? I was talking to someone the other day about how people always talk trash about Los Angeles, but the majority of people I know out here are from other states like Ohio, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Iowa, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, South Carolina...If you don't like Californians, it is a reflection of the country as a whole. We all probably have more in common than you think.
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
I knew that I never should have mentioned needing it for my dogs. My stupid mistake.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
there are a few things at work here: 1. americans would never have made SUVs as popular as they are if we hadn't had subsidized oil prices for the past however many years. in europe i think a gallon of gas is $11 USD right now? NO ONE would "need" to drive their dogs around with gas that expensive. also - what about station wagons? my family did just fine without an SUV in the 70s and 80s. why do we suddenly need them now? 2. raciccarone is right, the poor urban planning choices of the past 50 years have caused most of the jobs-housing imbalance issues you're all talking about now. there was a time in america where all cities had excellent rail and bus service - even to the suburbs. the bay bridge, here in the bay area, used to be for trains! the highway lobby paid our government - bribed them - to stop the rail and bus service and start building the interstate system. they said it was a safety issue. see the movie 'taken for a ride' for more info on this. 3. i am really nervous about rising gas prices. my commute is about 5 miles round trip and i can walk to most things i need in my town, but i worry about all of the people who aren't in that situation. or people doing stupid things for gas... like those people who were storing it in their apartment and it blew up. stuff is going to get crazy soon. get a gun!!!
onabanana onabanana 9 years
I've lived in a lot of places, city and more rural. I should clarify that I certainly feel for those who have no choice in what they drive but I don't feel sympathy for suburban people or city people who chose to drive giant SUV's to tote their 1 kid around in. It's hard now but it can always get worse so better to make changes in our life style now rather than later.
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