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Gas Prices And Hobby Driving


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This is a hobby that can involve a lot of driving, especially if you've been at it for awhile and have exhausted nearby benchmarks.


Given what's been going on with gas prices ... and what's predicted for the next couple of months following the crippling of refining capacity in the Gulf ... have you decided to rein in your benchmark-driven motoring?


I for one have.


I filled up my car today with no-name regular at $2.859 (in Arlington, VA) and felt I was getting a bargain. Prices are considerably higher elsewhere, and they will be increasing everywhere in the coming days and weeks.


Given the almost-certain coming shortage of refined product — I think this will be mainly true in the eastern half of the country — it seems that reducing non-essential driving is the generous, even the patriotic thing to do.


<political rant> Our president, whose idiotic advice to us after 9/11 was to go shopping, has again failed to ask for the needed sacrifices that Americans would gladly make. With the National Guard depleted by a cesspool of an unneeded war in Iraq, and FEMA run by a former "death tax" avoidance lawyer, and natural disaster planning relegated to afterthought status in the Dept. of Homeland Security, no wonder there's anarchy in the streets of New Orleans. And thanks to endless spending in Iraq, an irresponsible Congress, and unconscionable tax breaks for the ultra rich, the emergency spending in the wake of Katrina will drive us deeper into debt, since this administration squandered the surplus it inherited.</political rant>


Anyway, I had planned to go back to an area I benchmarked in a few weeks ago and try to nail down the marks I didn't get around to looking for. But it's a three-hour round trip, and it seems to me that's gas that would be put to better use in getting some volunteers to Biloxi or some family who lost everything in Slidell out to Houston. Meanwhile, I'll hop on the Metro and go to the zoo.


Thoughts, anyone?



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I have to continue driving in my profession, so I'm working benchmarks along the way, rather than making dedicated "hobby" excursions.


Sorry I can't join in the "finger-pointing". As the former president of DERA (Disaster Emergency Response Association), an Ex-US Coast Guardsman, and a member of North Carolina's State Emergency Response Team, I don't tie President Bush to this situation, at all. It was a natural disaster.


The slow response is not a function of resources being spread around the globe. The same thing happened in the past when we were at peace. You just can't get to people quickly when a hurricane of this magnitude slams a populated area--especially one where much of the area is below sea level.


Over a hundred of the injured were flown into RDU this afternoon and are being cared for in local hospitals. Dozens of NC power crews are in the affected area, restoring power to critical areas. I'm sure other states could weigh in with similar contributions.


Cell service is down, so hundreds of Amateur Radio Operators are on the scene, with self-sufficiency in power, food, and water. Ditto for emergency medical teams. We've seen it many times. We were prepared for this one. But it's slow going.


Unfortunately, positive activity does not boost television ratings. So thanks for letting me briefly touch on the behind-the-scenes things which are making a difference in people's lives.



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I already have been cutting down.

I have not the finaces to support the longer trips I now have to take to the nearest(unfound) BM or geocache.


But I am also aware of all the capped oil wells here at home.

This is a gouging in my opinion.

I was disabled in the Oil fields and my family has worked in them from the very beginning.

Heck I still have stock from the first oil companies created.

Oil Companies are the one's being greedy,

An unproducing well in the gulf does not have anything to do with raising the prices.


So yes even though I know what's really going on I sacrafice what I have to help.

I am on the CERT team and have been called to the New Orleans area....but am waiting on the call back from our Local OEM.

With all the CAOS the rescuers have to go in with armed guards.

Search teams are being sniped at.


I do not know what exactly to think about it all,but the President is doing the best he can,our military is doing their best..........so we as citizens have to do our best to help.


You can never be enough prepared for a Major disaster.

So this is my time to ask all to do what they can to help.


This is National Volunteer Month.


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I've been spending a lot more time at home these days. I'm also carpooling as close to work as I can (been doing this for quite a while) and riding my bike the rest of the way. These high prices are a killer though--I'd planned on camping in Ely this fall but I think I'll stay much closer to home--pity I've gotten all the caches in the area and many of the remaining benchmarks close to home.



I agree with you. While W obviously doesn't bear any responsibility for the hurricane itself (or does he? <_< ), everything his administration has done to this point has weakened our ability to deal with these events--economically and infrastructurally. Basically he set the stage for a crisis, we just finally got the disaster to make it happen.

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My bicycles have been getting used more. I don't really need a reason to ride them more, but the price of gas IS a good one. ($3.00+ for the cheap stuff here.)


For my longer benchmark & cache excursions my transport of choice is my motorcycle. I know there are many thoughts about them, from 'Cool!' to 'That thing will kill you', and everything in between, but hey, I'm getting about 33 mpg on a 13 year-old, carburated bike with an engine designed over 30 years ago. (Many newer, fuel-injected bikes easily get 40-45+mpg.) Add that to it's 175 mile range on a tank of gas and it's a lot cheaper to drive than most things these days, especially my truck.


My GPSr is mounted to the handlebar, near the instruments so it's easy to see when I'm driving. It's wired into the bike's electrical system to save the batteries, but easily removable when I park. Benchmark datasheets, camera, and other small misc tools stay in the tank bag with the bigger stuff in the saddle bags. It's the way to go.


The Cachemobile/Benchmarkmobile....



GPSr mount...





- Kewaneh

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but hey, I'm getting about 33 mpg on a 13 year-old, carburated bike

Well, Kewaneh, I really like your solution (LOVE the GPS on the handlebars idea!), but I get nearly that in my Saturn (30 mpg). Still, yes, I'm cutting back significantly on my benchmark hunting. I'm only looking in areas that I'm going to be in anyway, for one reason or another. Fortunatly, I've still a lot of "virgin territory" to cover, so my recoveries aren't suffering too badly yet. And the only caching I've done was one about 20 feet off the centerline of my commute. <_<



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On Sunday, I'm driving to Vermont for six bm's and to climb Mt. Mansfield. Round trip is 480 miles. I think that this will be the last real long trip for awhile. There are not to many interesting bm's very close to my house to find anymore. I get around 25 mpg with my Subaru Baja.


Edited by ddnutzy
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Something does need to be done about the price gouging. It is unconscionable to raise gas prices $.55 in one day! And I do hold our honorable president guilty for permitting this. Gas prices hit $3.00 a gallon in north Jersey on Wednesday, and we have the lowest gas tax in the conuntry. As our newspaper proclaiomed: Highway Robbery.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of caches and benchmarks within an hour's drive of here. No need to drive any further.

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Well, if Harry wouldn't keep snagging the benchmarks in my backyard, I wouldn't have to drive so far! (Good find, Harry! For some reason, I kept delaying a visit to that one, thinking I'd leave it for a rainy day. Now that you've dug it up, I won't have to look so hard. <_< )


Since I work at home (telecommuter), I drive very few miles a week. My car gets close to 30 mpg, so benchmarking, while a large percentage of the few discretionery miles I do drive, isn't a big hole in the budget. If there were shortages, I might cut back, but as long as gas is available without lines at the stations, even at a high price, it's not going to change my habits. The next few weeks will tell whether rationing and long lines are going to come, and if they do, my car will stay in the garage.


Summer heat, undergrowth, and poison ivy are much more important factors right now.

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I just got back from a 76 mile round trip hunt. (Looked for 7 PID's, found 4). My 10 year old Jeep gets about 22 MPG.


But this was a special day. A Geocacher by the name of Stonedust contacted me and asked if I could show him some of the ins and outs of BM hunting. We need someone besides me in this area!


We had a great and typical time. Five Tri-stations all with AZ marks but only two of them having their own PID's. We found 3 of the Stations and 1 of the AZ's.


Hopefully we will start seeing Stonedust as a regular contributor to the BM site and to this forum.

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Up here, we're paying $1.20 / litre, which is close to $5 a US gallon. That's not too far off what we would normally pay, in the range of $4 a US gallon. Quite frankly, I think that the spike in gas prices is a good thing. Hopefully, it will be a bit of a shock that encourages people to think about ways drive less and find other ways to get around.


I hate the idea of driving to geocache or benchmark hunt, because the whole reason I like the activity is to get out on the land. I always try to walk or bike all or at least partway, or I do it when I'm traveling into the area for some other reason.




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I have to say that I don't plan on letting the price of gasoline seriously affect my benchmarking until it affects all other aspects of my life.


I drive, and have alway driven, decenly gas-efficient cars, getting in the 30+ mpg range, so I don't feel guilty about driving where I want to when I want to. I work 8 miles from home so that isn't a big issue.


To me it comes down to "can I afford it?" and at this time the answer is definitely "yes". When I see Hummers, Escalades, Navigators, etc., by the dozen at my local grocery store, with only a soccer mom driving them, I just can't feel guilty about my one indulgence that involves driving, when I am doing it in my 30 mpg Ford.


<rant> I have been secretly hoping for $3.00 gas for a while in the hopes that it would create a nationwide need for more gas efficient cars and get some of these gas hogs off the road. The most recent "gas crisis" happened in 1979 (and led to the first $1.00 per gallon gas) and if we are all lucky it will happen again. After the 1970s carmakers made a concerted effort to make vehicles fuel efficient, but years of cheap gas has gotten everyone lazy and self-serving. Adjusted for inflation, gas prices are JUST NOW getting to the 1980 level.</RANT>

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Well, if Harry wouldn't keep snagging the benchmarks in my backyard, I wouldn't have to drive so far! (Good find, Harry! For some reason, I kept delaying a visit to that one, thinking I'd leave it for a rainy day. Now that you've dug it up, I won't have to look so hard. :laughing: )

Oops, sorry about that Holograph. Well, not too sorry. ;)

We wander about geocaching and pick a few benchmarks to look for on the way. That was the first one I've dug for. "Hmm..." said I, looking at the piers. "In the top of the southwest corner of the concrete foundation." I don't see any foundation! I measured the other piers, and decided it must be about 8" underground! Southwest corner threw me, until I read NJGS 1996 recovery. I'd call it the west corner. Hope you get a better picture of it than I did.

It's interesting to compare notes with other 'benchmark' finders here.

More later.

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<rant> I have been secretly hoping for $3.00 gas for a while in the hopes that it would create a nationwide need for more gas efficient cars and get some of these gas hogs off the road. The most recent "gas crisis" happened in 1979 (and led to the first $1.00 per gallon gas) and if we are all lucky it will happen again. After the 1970s carmakers made a concerted effort to make vehicles fuel efficient, but years of cheap gas has gotten everyone lazy and self-serving. Adjusted for inflation, gas prices are JUST NOW getting to the 1980 level.</RANT>


And how much stock in the oil companies do you own? Last year they made about 58 BILLION dollars in profits!


The oil companies are claiming that the price increase is due to the hurricane, but the gas in the Gas Station's holding tanks was there before the price increased and now we are paying an increased price for gas that was produced at the old price rate! Price gouging?


If you want more fuel efficient cars try buying stock in the manufacturers and have your friends do the same thing and then you will have a say in how they do things....


The next town "larger" than Page, AZ. is over 140 miles away and you think we should be penalized for this? :laughing:



To the OP - We will find something else to drop from our list of fun things to do in order to continue Benchmarking and Geocaching.



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I never said that the oil companies deserved what they got, just that I wanted the monster vehicles off the roads.


I own no stock in either oil nor auto manufacturers, and don't believe that at my purchasing level stock ownership would have any effect on what they do or don't do. I have been to stockholder meetings and seen the "small guy" ramble on and on about his subject of choice and watched the face of the CEO as he waited for the guy to pipe down so he could get on with the rest of the meeting.


I agree that the oil companies are ripping us off, and feel that the gas prices are being raised with all companies in collusion. Typically, a price increase comes with a big spike, then once we all stop complaining, the price drops back a bit. Then we all feel like it was just a short term thing, but we don't pay attention to the fact that the price didn't drop back to where it used to be. However, now that we have seen it go real high, but drop, we are mentally prepared when it creeps back up to, and then past, where it went in the spike, and we don't complain, at least as much. That is how they work human nature.


My opinion still stands--I am tired of seeing gas-hogging SUVs driving with one pretentious idiot lacking any social conscience in them, and think that getting hit in the pocketbook is the only way people will stop buying them. Yes, it is an American right to buy the biggest, meanest, shiniest of anything and everything, but having passed my most impressionable years in the early 1970s--the age of "ecology", I pay attention to gas mileage, turn out the lights when I leave a room, don't run water when I don't need it, and recycle as much as possible. I don't go crazy with it, as I feel there is a happy medium, but I just can't see a need to personally own what amounts to a small bus to go the grocery store.

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Well Matt,


This much is true. You can chuckle every time you see a monster SUV filling up. They have big tanks and the price of the status symbol cuts deep. Worse than people who could afford to buy such a vehicle and drive it, (perhaps the soccer mom who wants a safe vehicle for her family,) are the people who design it to be as inefficient as it is, and the people who have no problem raising the price of gas.


Does anyone ever really know the truth behind the price of Gas? Now that IS a nice Conspiracy.


But please remember that most people are more sensible and the up and rising price of gas is nothing less that the corporate taking of America. When the political will becomes what it should have been a long time ago, perhaps we can begin to take back a few things that should be ours. The things we loved about America, are something we can retain, if refuse to allow them to be taken. All it takes is resolve.


Let's hope we begin to see the resolve. And Remember, If you haven't looked in on some of your marks in 2-3 years, there is no harm in a fresh visit, and you can file that report as well. Maybe that will save you some Gas.


Good Luck in the coming times,



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I am tired of seeing gas-hogging SUVs driving with one pretentious idiot lacking any social conscience in them, and think that getting hit in the pocketbook is the only way people will stop buying them.


This is not the forum to be spousing those kind of views.

Edited by Z15
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Today I hopped on the Metro — Washington's rail transit system — for an hour or two of what turned out to be mostly unsuccessful hunting in DC's underappreciated Brookland neighborhood, near Catholic University. Car stayed in the garage, and I got some always-needed exercise while enjoying a gorgeous day.


I haven't run the numbers, but it seems like a significant percentage of the benchmarks in the District of Columbia itself remain unlogged. The Mall area is heavily overrun with benchmarkers, as you would expect, but most benchmarkers seem to stay out of the neighborhoods. Possibly this is because of not unreasonable security concerns in some areas; or possibly it's because many DC marks are underground and our fine Homeland Security types would likely send you to Guantanamo and throw away the key if they found you prying open an 8" iron survey vault.


Anyway, like several other benchmarkers in this area, I've been more likely to drive 50 miles looking for virgin territory when there are quite a few unlogged benchmarks just a few minutes away. I'm going to try to focus more on filling the holes in the local map.



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...<rant> I have been secretly hoping for $3.00 gas for a while in the hopes that it would create a nationwide need for more gas efficient cars and get some of these gas hogs off the road. The most recent "gas crisis" happened in 1979 (and led to the first $1.00 per gallon gas) and if we are all lucky it will happen again. After the 1970s carmakers made a concerted effort to make vehicles fuel efficient, but years of cheap gas has gotten everyone lazy and self-serving. Adjusted for inflation, gas prices are JUST NOW getting to the 1980 level.</RANT>

I've been hoping that everyone who would fill our landfills with scrap vehicles that are not entirely recyclable, or who would create demand for those plastic dioxin emitting wonders that new cars are would stop and think. They are so selfish they can't see the bigger picture and are actually worse than the people they are bitching about.


The truth about gas.

It costs money to explore, drill, pump, refine, distribute and sell. Once you meet those costs you are making profit. Then there is supply and demand. Supply is constrained right now. In part due to the difficulty of building a refinery. Econobox hugging eco freaks sue and make them not worth building. This indirectly causes inflation and keep the poor from making progress on a decent living. Whoop's sorry, that's part of the bigger picture some don't see. Back on track. Supply is limited and demand exceeds supply so prices go up. You have a choice. Rationing at lower prices or Higher prices until demand drops to what can be supplied. Pick one. The US generally lets price sort itself out so you don't have to ration. So long as supply is constrained prices will remain high and oil companies will post record profits. If they actually held gas to a lower price our entire economy that is now about twice as efficient with fuel would still be as inefficient as it used to be, and gas would be rationed because when you stop and think about it there isn't enough gas for the efficient version of the economy let alone the old wasteful one we used to have.


Gas won't sell for less than it's cost, but it will sell for it's price based on supply and demand above cost.


One other part of the picture. The commodities market. The cost per barrel that people are speculating on has nothing whatsoever to do with the cost of gas, or the actual price based on supply and demand. What it is though is an indicator of what people think demand or supply will be. If prices go up they are betting demand will rise or supply will fall and vice versa. If speculation pushes this cost to 2000.000 a barrel and Oil companies follow with price increases nobody will busy gas, everybody will buy bikes, fund wind and solar power for their homes, and try as they might to sell gas it will sit and rot in the refineries with the exception of a few rich people who drive crap that nobody else can afford anyway.


For proof, watch Hawaii who just put a price cap on gas. If prices rise above their cap, less gas will be supplied and they will end up with rationing. Demand becomes greater than supply with an artificially low price.


There is more too it than that but that's close enough. My Big Full Size SUV will go in for a rebuild on the motor in October. Fixing the old one is better than buying a new one insofar as this planets limited resources. But some would have us strip mine more of the planet for the sake of 3 more mpg. (Alas I only expect 20-24mpg in my full size...)


One last thing. For my purposes a motorcycle would work as well as an SUV the catch being I'd need to buy 5 of them for my family to do 3/4 of the work the SUV could do. 5 *50mpg*50 miles= 5 gal. 50miles/5gal in 1 SUV = 10mpg. Even the worse SUV I've ever driven gets better than that. The SUV wins. Yes I could use a Car, but I'm tired of catching the undercarriage on rocks, so it' an SUV as the car isn't the right tool for the job. For commuting though I do have a car. It's much nicer to drive for most purposes.

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This is about a year old. But it gives an idea. It's from this site.


Production cost 15¢ to 60¢

Producer profit 53¢ to 8¢

Refining cost 13¢

Marketing cost 5¢

Transportation cost 15¢

Retailer cost 6¢

Refiner, marketer,

transp. & retailer profit 10¢

US Taxes 19¢

Average state taxes 23¢

TOTAL $1.59


Everthing above that 1.59 is supply and demand related. If the USA dropped the speed limit to 55mph the decrease in demand would be immediate. As would everone buying an econobox for transporation and saving the trucks and SUVs for actual work like hauling stuff.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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ArtMan, We took a list of benchmarks near the Mall with us to DC. We had very little luck finding them. Yes, we were only in for the day, doing tourist things. The only interesting one we found was: HV1837 84=Smithsonian

I think they should throw the White House open to a day of benchmarking! There are a lot there. ;)

We do get into NYC every other weekend or so (and that's thirty-five miles for me), and I'm working my way through benchmarks of Manhattan.

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Nor some of the others expressed above mine.


I apologize for my rant.






A very good freind (ER nurse) has new Hummer H-3 and she was recently acosted by two ladies one night out and ridiculed for having an H3. Her vehicle was vandalized, scratchs along the side of it.


They were saying things along the same line (only much worse) as you did. Her friend saw them same people a day later with import MB SUV, the police are investigating if those ladies or their husbands did the vandalism, 95% sure but no one actually seen it. She said those ladies used the F word so many time she lost count. Over 2500 to fix her new H3.

Edited by Z15
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I'm pretty disgusted that so many of my fellow Americans make irrational, selfish choices in what they buy. Unnecessarily large and thirsty vehicles are only one of the more conspicuous of those choices.


In traffic, I'm much more likely to cut a break to the driver of a Mini or an old Geo Metro than the driver of a GMC Testosterone. I might even engage the driver of a a vehicle that I consider irresponsible in conversation. But certainly there is no excuse in vandalizing even a vehicle as offensive as a Hummer.



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I'm pretty disgusted that so many of my fellow Americans make irrational, selfish choices in what they buy. Unnecessarily large and thirsty vehicles are only one of the more conspicuous of those choices....

In traffic I'm more likley to cut the person who is signaling their intent a break. The other people I can't tell what they want. Alas, signals are attached to all vehicles. When you cut them a break a lot of them wave to say thanks. So far I can't tell a trend over who is more or less likely to wave a thanks. Drivers seem to be drivers.


Once out of the car and into the forums though I find irrationality to be more of a issue with econobox huggers than testosterone drivers. Of course you can't explain that to the Econobox hugging card carrying members of the he man SUV Haters club...


Irrational. What a term. 5 motorcyles, 2 Geo Metros or 1 SUV to do one job. It's a pretty easy choice when you only use logic. The total life impact of a vehcile comes from the materials used to make it, the gas it's going to burn, and how often it needs replaced and repaired. You also have to factor in the elusive "worth reparing" factor. A Geo Metro will be thrown away, where a lot of Trucks and SUVs of the same era are repaired and kept on the road. A 90's Toytoa Land Cruiser was gas hog. But they last about twice a long as most other vehicles, and probaby 4 times as long as an Exploder, plus they get fixed instead of scrapped. I would have to rate it higher than an Explorer and a Geo Metro since both get scrapped and replaced with something else. MPG is nice and it should not be underrated since virtualy all vechiles built can do better than they do with some simple upgrades - If you have the money. However it's only one part of the picture.


When it comes to "Unneccarially Large" I could probably pick apart anything you are driving now and you could do the same to me.

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Today I drove to Mt. Mansfield in Stowe, Vt. This is a 472 mile round trip.The Baja only got 24.5 mpg because of the high speed. This came to just under 20 gallons of gas. At 3.99 per, it cost $79.40 plus tolls for the trip.

The only bm I was really interested in was Mt Mansfield (PG1699) but checking out the NGS site I found that no one had logged any of the bm's on the mountain to the NGS so I got all of them and logged them in to the NGS.

It was a 7 mile hike with a 2800 ft elevation gain plus almost 61/2 hours of driving to find these benchmarks. Needless to say I'm one tired puppy.

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Interesting thread. I have three things to say:


First, Harry Dolphin - congrats on finding HV1837. You found a mark that I failed to find. Interestingly, you found a mark that, probably, several hunters passed on (given the extent of hunting on the Mall and the accessibility of this mark, maybe dozens). Maybe they passed on it because I logged it as NOT FOUND. Thumbs up to you for your scepticism. You have much more work to do, however, as I have failed to find 573 benchmarks.


Second, I agree with the Renegade Knight - the retail price of gasoline is (except in the occasional instance of illegal price gouging) determined by supply and demand. Big oil should be making a good profit in this market. In the long run, the return on invetsment of Big Oil is not much better than you could get from a decent certificate of deposit. In a commodities market driven higher by uncertainty and speculation, companies that successfully hedge the price of their raw materials earn a profit and stay in business. Those that don't, don't. I also agree with the Knight that rationing would be disasterous - I remember the mid-70's very clearly. I would much rather pay $3.00 + for gas than not have it available at all.


Finally (full disclosure - I don't own an SUV nor do I own an economy car. the average for my two vehicles is a bit over 20 mpg). I prefer not to demonize SUV drivers. The consumption of non-renewable resources, like oil, is a global challenge. But SUV drivers are not evil (as some of the comments, above, suggest) because they consume more energy than 99% of the people in the world. Even if you get 30 mpg, you're still consuming more energy than 98% of the people on the planet. So, you're a little less evil, but just a little. If I were inclined to demonize anybody, I'd get a donkey and demonize all internal combustion fans (like me). ALL things considered, it may be better to drive an SUV than something more fuel efficient. The Knight is right again: Overall efficiency is a life-cycle measure, and not merely a measure of today's mpg.


To me, the ability to haul sheetrock is very very important. So, I drive a pickup, even when I don't need any sheetrock. My choice, and I'll be as evil as I can afford to be.




edited to add p.s.

p.s. I seldom haul sheetrock; maybe once every three or four years. I just want to be able to if the need ever arises.

Edited by seventhings
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Just because it is my opinion that owning a large gas-guzzling vehicle is self-centered and socially unjustifiable (...in most cases. There are many valid reasons to own an SUV), I also realize that it is their right to do so, and just as much not my right to do anything about it. For me to take illegal action, either by verbally accosting an owner (which is assault, in case your friend wants to push it), or by destroying personal property, in unconscionable and inexcusable.


That is part of what makes this country great. I can have my opinion, and speak freely of it. However, if i act on that opinion to the detriment of others, I must face the music.


That said, this board isn't really a place for that sort of opinion. I just wanted you to be sure I am not some radical freak who is going around vandalising SUVs.


Give your friend my condolences, and tell her I hope she manages to press her case to the fullest extent of the law.



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Ah, Seventhings, as a hobbyist, sometimes I just look for benchmarks that intrigue me, especially when travelling. I stopped by on the way back from a caching event yesterday only to find a locked rail yard. Oh, well.

Locally, I'm trying to be a bit more intensive. Since I seem to be getting into NYC more frequently, I'm looking for most of the ones on Manhattan. There I won't let a DNF stop me. KU4567. :D

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The oil companies are claiming that the price increase is due to the hurricane, but the gas in the Gas Station's holding tanks was there before the price increased and now we are paying an increased price for gas that was produced at the old price rate! Price gouging?


I believe what you pay is the station's anticipated REPLACEMENT cost, not the purchase price.



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Unusual thread for a benchmarking forum, but what the heck, let's all jump in. I haven't seen this much heat since the discussion of benchmark vs. bench mark.


The divide between SUV owners and the rest of us is very much like the divide between smokers and non-smokers. The rest of us are annoyed that SUVs take up so much room in parking lots, block our vision at intersections, and threaten our lives in collisions, and consume twice as much gas and raise the costs for all of us. The SUV owners take umbrage at any suggestion that they own a social nuisance, and insist on their right to drive whatever they choose.


I did some research and found that the embodied energy cost of an SUV is about 1.5 times that of a small car. If you also factor in the operating energy consumption, you find that an SUV would indeed have to last twice as long as a small car to break even. However, no one has demonstrated that SUVs do indeed stay in use twice as long as small cars, and I doubt they do. [FWIW, that sounds like an argument put forward by the auto companies, just like the arguments that were put forward by tobacco companies.]


I observe that SUV drivers tend to be the very same drivers who trade in their vehicles frequently; they probably have the SUV on lease and get a new one about as often as a small car driver would (in fact, a small car driver that has chosen the small car out of economic necessity may likely keep theirs longer.)


I've kept my cars on average 10 years, and they were still in usable condition when I sold them -- they probably stayed on the road at least another 5 years, if not longer. I have to doubt that most SUVs will stay on the road for 30 or more years. For one thing, they are no longer the durable trucks they were in the 80's -- the majority of models are now built like oversize the cars they are and have the same expected life as any other car.

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OK - Here is my little bit too. Just so you know...this is Shirley speaking.


We own both a small car & a Dodge Ram 4X4 with a Hemi. The Truck is our caching & benching machine. It surprisingly gets pretty good gas mileage, and can get us to where the remote areas are without worry. It has been engineered so nicely that it uses regular gas just like my little, bitty Saturn. We actually prefer using the truck to go on vacations or long distances (which is about anywhere else than Page-where we live) because it is so much easier for John to get in & out of...he is 6' 3" - and the little cars now days are built for small people. The comfort of the truck on the long distance drive is better, as is the cruise (that saves gas) as is the bigger engine that actually saves gas going up & down the mountain roads.


I guess what I am saying, it might be the East ideas versus the West ideas of what a vehicle should do. I say this because we were born & raised in northern Indiana, Everything is close by, no off roading available anywhere, no idea what it would be like to live 'out west' till we moved. This is a totally different way of life. Some places that you drive here "require" a 4X4 to get through the mud or deep sand or over a very rocky road or a washed out length of road where you are actually driving in a creek bed. Most of you people who live back East do not comprehend just how many people here own both a car & a truck or SUV just to get around. Just about "every family".


So, get real, quit your complaining about other people & what they do. Look at yourself, find your own faults (we all have them), keep doing what makes you happy - BUT - *Leave Other Peoples Lifestyles Alone!* You have no clue as to their requirements or family lifestyle. You all sound just like a bunch of old women...oh wait a minute....I resemble that remark! :huh:


We had a blast over the weekend...went caching....


Happy benchmarking---



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Harry -


Whatever your motivation is for hunting a mark, you still get kudos for finding a mark that I couldn't find and that (probably) a dozen or so other benchmark hunters decided not to look for. I suspect that BDT would say the same thing re: KU4567.


While argument and sarcasm are not unknown in these fora, sometimes a compliment is just a compliment.



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I find the SUV thing interesting because it often seems to be limited to SUV's. A guy at work the other day was ranting about SUV's and low gas mileage. I bristled, defending my choice of driving a full size pickup as I do end up off the beaten path from time to time, and also tow trailers for a number of reasons. I put up with the low mileage to/from work to keep those capabilities. I can't tow a car on a trailer behind a geo metro.


The strange thing is he quickly reponded that he didn't care about pickups. They served a useful purpose, it was SUV's that were evil. People who should be in cars and were wasting gas on an overly large vehicle.


Makes no sense to me. I'm thinking about a new vehicle to replace my truck. Another truck is on the top of my list, but I'm also considering a full size SUV. Why? I don't need an open bed (not required for off roading nor for trailer towing), and the extra enclosed space would be handy for traveling, or now that I have a dog for putting the dog in back. They get the same mileage as my truck. Really, not that much of a difference.


To bring things back to benchmarking. I wouldn't feel safe finding many of the marks we find out here without a beefy vehicle. Pulling off the road in the country here is often a rough wet mess, a 4x4 makes it much easier to get safely on and off the road. Finding marks in the median of large highways is much safer if you can jump the curb and park on the median. Some in the hills here are up some rather poorly maintained dirt roads.


Do I think many people drive vehicles that "waste resources" compared to what they need? Sure they do. An H2 with 24" spinner rims isn't going to be slogging through the back woods. However, a lot of people who deamonize SUV's forget there are legitimate reasons to want such a vehicle. The price of gas will change how many people think they are worth while to some degree, but I doubt much.


The fact of the matter is no vehicle is perfect. I'd like to have a jeep, a nice sedan, a sports car, a motor bike, a truck....but none of them are right 100% of the time. We each make our own choices. In many cases it's hard to tell the guy driving the SUV because he likes a big car for his single person commute from the person driving the SUV because they deliver meals on wheels in the winter to shut ins in the country and they need a solid 4x4 to get there.

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SUV's are nothing more than a Truck with a shell on it all the time. You give up the ability to haul dirt, in exchange for the ability to haul more people. About everthing else can be accomodated on a truck with a camper or lock box though the SUV gives that security automatily while you have to buy equipment for the Truck.


Someone above said SUV's don't last twice as long. Read your paper. There were a ton of Pinto's, K-Cars, Chevvettes, Citations, Omnies etc sold. More than the SUV's since SUV's had not hit their boom. However most of what you can find from that era is the trucks and SUV's. They may not actually be any more reliable but they do get repaired. The other fact they pointed out is right. The best bang for the buck does belong to the little commuter car.


Since I don't know anyone who can actually afford a new truck or SUV I haven't been able to make the observation that they are the ones who trade them in often. I can only observe that I have bought them used, put very few miles on them compaired to my Corolla since they have a role that that role is not commuter car. However if I could only have one rig it would be the single one that best does everthing I need a vehicle to do. That would be an SUV and not the Corolla. But that's if there was to be only one.


Some people point at safety "what gives you the right to put us at risk in our econobox" like that's an issue. Really it's "why do you insist on driving the unsafe econobox when there are other safer choices, even in econoboxes?" Plus why should their lack of concern for their personal safety (as demonstrated by the only action taken is words and not buying a safer vehicle" require that someone else actually be less safe? In other words, safety is your own concern, and what you do about it should not lesson the safety of others. Some models of SUV have been rated as the safest on the road. Yes SUV's are more likely to suffer a rollover, it's the nature of the beast, just as you are more likley to be pancaked in an econobox when you hit a Tractor Trailer (not that SUV's come out much bettter in that line up).


For the most part the SUVs have become for some nothing more than a flag to rally around. The hatred is irrational. Why not hate the lousy designs, the lousy MPG and other things that can be fixed while keeping the utility that sells them to begin with? Case in point is the H2. I drove one. It handled better than I thought. The tires are a good size. It's smaller than a Suburban and when you look at it' size it's really not as big as it seems. Very little over hang front and rear. The 4 Doors are not oversized for letting people in and out. When you look at where you could shrink it yet still seat 5 and have 4 doors there isn't much you can subtract. Yet somehow they managed to give this thing a smaller functional interior than an Explorer along with bad MPG. A lot of full size SUV's have this issue. My GMC Jimmy does. They could of shaved 3" off each side saved 500lb of metal and still had it just as big but more roomy inside. Still it's what I had to choose from based on my budget.


If you really want to be rational, don't hate SUV's hate the Pinto's and Omni's of the world that make SUV's seem like such a nice alternate to the point where you can still buy the Trucks and SUV's but the econoboxes of the day are all but gone. I like my Corolla. One reason I got it was that it's rated as the economy car most likley to last forever in it's era. I wish they all could be that nice. Yes the early 80's had some great MPG cars, just not great cars.

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Last time I checked, this was still a free Country, sort of. I suppose we will just have to learn to get along. With or without an SUV.


Since there will always be no end to this discussion, as there are so many valid points of view, being little different from Ford vs Chevy, Lets drop the SUV subject, and concentrate on Artman's concern about how the price of fuel will impact the game playing. If we have said all there is to say about that, then let's allow this to float away, since it is sort of off topic.



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Just for kicks I wrote up some the evils of Hybrids. Exagerated slightly.



Electrical Lines: OMG! They have high voltage lines in them and can zap the emergency crews when using the Jaws of Life!!!! What gives them the right to endanger others!


Battery: OMG! They use extra batteries which are full of toxic materials, they can crash and spill them into our rivers and streams and endanger our drinking water, wild life, emergency crews and the lives of other drivers, what gives them the right to endanger others!


Capacity: OMG! A real hybrid like the Prius seats TWO, How can you car pool?, how can you carry a family?, how can you do the right thing!!?


Safety: OMG! It’s so small! How dare the drivers of those big rigs like the Chevy Impala, and the Honda Civic endanger our lives for driving one of these! They should all be on MOTORCYLES!


Size: OMG! I can’t even carry my bike to ride it on a benchmarking tour!


Cost: OMG! These cost so much more than a regular car! How dare the big bad corporate wolves not make them cost the same as the other cars! Their cost factor is 1.25 that of a regular car. What kind of selfish jackass would buy a car that isn’t as viable as a regular econobox! (Note, the Prius actually comes close to paying for itself in a reasonable amount of time, but it still falls short).


You can make a case for and against anything. The only comment in this entire rant worth anything is the high voltage lines. Emergency crews do have to cope with them. Everything else is just part of the bigger equation. If you were a single occupant driver and gas hits 4.00 a gallon that Prious would look very nice, and it would be very nice. A single soccer mom though just won’t have enough room in it to do the job life demands of her. She could get by with a 4 Door economy car. 50mpg in a Jetta TDI is nothing to sneeze at. The price difference of that Jetta over a Kia that get 34 mpg though is a big deal. The price difference between the Hybrid Economy car and the regular version is also a big deal.


All in all this is the most civil SUV discussion I've ever seen.

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The way I see it, the SUV issue is a bit of a red herring. I think the real problem is that people drive too much, no matter what they're driving.


I'm not saying stop driving around, as I know that isn't an option for most people, myself included. But, there are always ways to drive less. Walk places, use a bike in good weather, plan your driving so that you can combine things into one trip, share rides with people, that sort of thing. Try to use your vehicle three days a week instead of five, even that makes a difference.





If you're curious where I stand, I've got a 1986 Subaru wagon that has seen its share of fire roads, cat trails and the like.

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I'm reminded of something else amusing. Many people may not know, but the Hummer H2 has the same "guts" as a GMC Yukon, and/or a Chevrolet Tahoe. They have the same engine, transmission, etc, and get the same gas mileage. For some reason though people think the H2 is far more evil than a Yukon, IMHO. Makes no sense to me.


Note too, a Corvette Z06 gets the same gas mileage around town, and holds 3 fewer people can't tow anything, can't go off road, etc....plus costs twice as much, offers less crash protection, and is probably driven more dangerously on average.

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Like evenfall said - back on topic (for just a moment): No serious effect on my caching / hiking / benchmarking yet. Luckily, SoCal has lots of all three within reasoanable distances (say, an hour drive). Until I can't afford the gas, which isn't likely for the foreseeable future, and I want to do it, I guess I will. It helps most (80% or so) of my gas is company paid for, also. I fought in the military for your and my freedom to do what we want to do (within the law), and our freedom to express our opinions. OK, begin the rant. I have no intention of checking back on this topic, and I ain't watchin' it, so have at me!

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