Tuesday, June 10, 2008

$4 Gas And Questions For The Panel

In a world of $4 and up, up, up, a gallon gasoline, whither Columbia, the new town situated "conveniently" between Baltimore and Washington?

Whither real estate values?

Big box stores?

Regional grocery stores; restaurant parks?

"Travel" sports?

Man, is the cost of fuel eating a hole in my wallet.

Here's a bit from a WaPo story this morning:

In a society nurtured on cheap gasoline, the high fuel prices are having disparate effects: the end of free pizza deliveries at major franchises, a plunge in the sales of sport-utility vehicles, a steep drop in the price of houses that are far from jobs or mass transit....

"It saps people's purchasing power," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Economy.com. "If they have to spend more to fill their gas tanks and heat their homes, everything suffers." He added that he worries that "the surge in energy prices overwhelms the economy if we stay here for very long."

Zandi said energy costs -- including electricity, gasoline and heating -- now account for about 6.5 percent of the average household budget. For the poorer half of the nation's households, energy costs are gobbling up close to 10 percent of family budgets.

Although the $4 barrier has symbolic importance, the bite out of household budgets is real. AAA calculates that the gasoline cost of commuting from Washington area suburbs to the District has increased sharply over the past year. The cost of the 44-mile round trip between Fairfax City and downtown Washington has risen to $8.93 a day from $6.78 last year for a commuter driving a car with average fuel efficiency. The cost of the 88-mile round trip between Frederick and the District has risen to $17.86 a day from $13.24.

1 comment:

Jen said...

So many changes. I already knew from reading a recent press release from the Washington Metro Area Transportation Authority that ridership on the public transit had increased. But, today, half an hour earlier than I arrived at the Greenbelt Metro yesterday, the parking lot was nearly full! The day before it had only been about 3/4 full. Having to struggle for parking in Metro lots could now become a reality. Not good news for those of us who commute from Columbia and nearby areas.