Can't Americans themselves bring down the price of gas by curbing their consumption?

It’s simple economics. If you refuse to buy something, or (in this case) if you buy less of it, the seller will cut the price in order to entice you to buy more.

Which means that the American consumer can force down the price of oil by reducing their use, through carpooling, ride-sharing, increased use of public transportation, etc.,

But, being the greedy, spoiled, entitled and selfish people that we are…we don’t want to do that, do we?

7 Responses to “Can't Americans themselves bring down the price of gas by curbing their consumption?”

  1. Ryan Says:

    In some places the infrastructure isn’t there to quickly substitute away from oil. But as the price of oil increases some demand destruction will start to occur (this can already be seen). People will increasingly buy more fuel efficient or hybrid cars, take buses, ride motor cycles, scooters, or bikes, etc. However, the demand for gasoline is quite inelastic (quantity demanded doesn’t respond very much to changes in the price). In Europe they have extremely high pigouvian taxes on gasoline- in the UK a gallon of gas costs more than $8. Thus people in European countries have had very high incentives to avoid consuming too much gasoline for a long time now.

    I wouldn’t say US citizens are "greedy, spoiled, entitled, and selfish people." If you look up the statistics for private donations to charities you will find the American people are among the most generous in the world.

  2. OPM Says:

    If something is irritating, then you whine about it but do not change your behavior. I do not see much real change out there in behavior. If something really is a problem then you change behavior. It isn’t being greedy, it is that the problem is diffused throughout the economy in little ways so people are not changing their behavior enough to alter commodity prices.

  3. Alby Says:

    Easier said than done. The American lifestyle has evolved around cheap fuel. That means a huge majority of Americans live in the Suburbs. An area that typically has no rail service, limited bus service (if any), and walking or riding a bike anywhere is an impossible task because there are no safe biking areas on roads that only cater to high speed automobile traffic.

    So Americans are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They (must) continue to purchase fuel to live because often Grocery stores, schools, work, etc are miles apart from one another. So until Americans enmass begin moving back into the cities with Bus, Rail, Schools, Work, Shopping, etc all within a few neighborhood blocks of one another, don’t expect demand to curb much.

    At best you’ll see a shift to fuel saving vehicles so the existing lifestyle can be maintained at a cheaper cost. But millions of Americans leaving the burbs for the cities is a costly event and most likely will not happen until monthly fuel costs begin to equal people’s monthly mortgage payments…

    Its not greed, spoiled, or selfish behavior… Its a lifestyle we’ve all gone up knowing and have known nothing else… Its our culture and it might change if we can’t like this energy issue.

  4. Susie Q Says:

    They could, but as if that’s ever going to happen.

  5. alcan52 Says:

    No. That would have a small effect but it wouldnt matter too much becaus egas and oil is used world wide. To give you an example, I live in Alaska and it is common for people in the rural areas of the State to use only 4 wheeler ATVs and snowmachines as the primary method of transportation because road access is very limited. The average price per gallon in those towns are well over $10.00 a gallon. If conserving consumption in the area where the largest US oil reserves are located then it would stand to reason that the North Slope of Alaska should have the lowest price. It doent. The North Slope of Alaska has the highest price for gas in the world.

  6. The Nerd Says:

    Simple answer: yes.

    But people won’t change unless they absolutely have to. We live in an entitlement society, and everyone thinks they are entitled to use as much gas as they can afford.

    Me, I only drive to work and do errands on the way home. I may drive some on Sunday to visit friends (when everyone else is staying home), but that’s it. I don’t even have a car, but there simply is no public transportation system here, so I am forced to borrow my mom’s car. I would much prefer public – I used it exclusively in Italy when visiting, and I love it!

  7. Unseen Says:

    I doubt that curbing our consumption of gas will lower the price of oil but drilling for our own might really start to change things.