Driving- Necessity or Luxury?

So.. I normally stay out of political/news stories, but I read this article

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter.

That profit works out to $1,485.55 a second.


The big international oil companies have been criticized for plowing much of their profits back into stock buybacks and other programs to benefit shareholders, as opposed to exploring for more oil which could bring down the price of crude for everyone.
"While oil companies are earning record profits and gas prices are soaring, the largest oil companies have invested more resources in stock buybacks than U.S. production," said Congressional Democrats in a press release shortly after Exxon announced its earnings.
Other critics charge the oil companies with deliberately restricting production in an attempt to keep prices high. ......

Several bills have been introduced in Congress to enact a "windfall" profits tax on these earnings, or at the very least eliminate manufacturing tax exemption oil companies now enjoy. ....

Most plans would either use this new found tax money to fund investments in renewable energy, or give it to low income Americans struggling with high energy prices.
But so far those efforts have been blocked

Now.. at the rate of $1500 a second (that was PROFIT for Exxon) it would take less than 90 seconds to earn what my husband makes in a year. Pretty outrageous IMO. So.. the point of this poll.. My hubby & I were on our way to take him to work this morning, & the radio DJ called it un-American, Hubby disagrees, & says that it's what the "American dream" is all about, but that it sucks that they're stepping on the "little people" to make all that money. Then we got into a discussion about supply vs demand, and He believes that Driving is pure luxury & isn't necessary. Now, while I *partially* agree with him in certain circumstances, in today's society, it has become a necessity. So.. which do you think it is? Luxury, or necessary evil?

I would love nothing more than to take "alternative transportation" such as busing, however, Bozeman's busing system is still in it's initial stages, & the routes are scattered & not very often. (we also live about 2 miles outside of town, so walking to the store, various other places is out, as is Biking, since I'd be riding along the highway with a trailer carrying my 2 year old)

Alot of places have no busing at all, or it's very inadequate, so walking/biking or driving is necessary to get around. And some people with disabilities are unable to walk/bike, thus they have to drive, or be driven to get around.

Those are just my opinion(s) on why driving has become more necessity than luxury in today's society. I'd be plenty interesting in hearing arguments to the contrary, or whatever you guy's opinions are.

Oh.. best thing Hubby's said in a long time... " I really hope the price of gas keeps going up, because that is the only thing that will force our society to become less oil dependent, and make us start looking more seriously at renewable energy"

PS.. Roz, I put this in the news section due to the fact that I'm sure it will end up going OT about the price of oil & stuff.... Hope I pout it in the right place.

Verileah 15 years ago
Aren't the federal and state governments making a fucking absurd amount of money off the price of gas in taxes? I say don't punish the oil companies, who actually are making innovations. It's not like they get a say in where they're allowed to drill anyway. Seems to me the government has three fingers pointed back at them on this one. Yet another case of pissing on our heads and telling us it's raining.

Yeah, I love that expression.

I would propose molotov cocktails, but who can afford it?
ROzbeans 15 years ago
Some oil company CEO said that even though they make billion dollar profits, they have to make billions to stay in the black.

Boo hoo.

There's no one to blame but ourselves for relying on depleted and environmentally dangerous resource. I'm not saying go out and buy hybrids, but after fucking up the 20th century (and profiting from it) maybe we'll spend the next century righting the mistakes.

It's funny, Catherine asked what The Happening was about and I told her it was the Earth trying to save itself, albeit pretty violently. I told her that it would be her generation that rights the wrongs that mine and her grandparents generation are pretty much responsible for.


Well yeah, it isn't. =/ Then I told her to go to bed.
Verity 15 years ago
Yeah.. they are making an absurd amount of money off taxing the oil companies.. *however* they also give the oil companies tons of tax breaks. How about they dismiss those tax breaks & use that extra money to help out those people who can't pay their heating bills because the oil company values their exorbitant profits so much, or put that extra money towards funding or renewable energy.

Anyways.. I'd like to hear opinions about whether you think driving is a necessity or luxury y.
ROzbeans 15 years ago
Well of course driving is a necessity for some. The housing market in the past 10 years has made living close to your job either extremely expensive or just not possible. Back in 2002 Mike and I couldn't afford a house near the base he was stationed at, so we had to commute 40 minutes for him, 1 1/2 hrs for me. Then we moved to Alaska...again, a single income military family cannot afford a house in Anchorage and surrounding areas were going through the roof. So we bought a house 1hr away (1 1/2hrs in the winter).

I think carpooling is a viable option but it's hard to find people to fit your schedule - much less adjust your schedule to the inconvenience of not having transportation readily available. We're resorting to buying a little beater from Mike's dad that runs 50 miles to the gallon. It's a piece of shit and I don't even think it has a backseat, but the 2004 jeep Cherokee that gets 18 miles to the gallon sitting in the carport is 80 bucks to fill. Do the math.

We've basically bought ourselves into a corner. We're the greatest country in the world but for our success those in the lower income brackets are suffering for our ability to indulge ourselves. Is driving a luxury? Nowadays, yes. Is it a necessity? Unfortunately...yes.
Vulash 15 years ago
I mean if you're asking from a huge overview and generalization - then it's necessary. The population has exceeded the limit of how people lived before vehicles.

I am saying go out and buy a hybrid.....if you can afford it =/

Are you in Montana?
Verity 15 years ago
I keep telling my husband that after we're done paying off our 4 runner*, and buy a second car, it's going to be a hybrid, unless they come up with something more energy efficient in the next couple years.

*Yeah.. I know.. it's a "gas guzzler".. but with 4 kids, it was either that, or minivan, and frankly, my 4 runner gets better gas mileage than some minivans, others only get 1 or 2 mpg more than our 4 runner, so it really doesn't make that much difference. And we do several things to reduce our driving, and to make he most out of a tank of gas.

And yeah Roz.. it's pretty fucked that our kids have to fix the shit that we've broke. Hubby & I have been slowly been trying to become more green, making little changes little by little.

Eventually, I'd love to buy a small bit of land up in the Front Range (CO), and build a *green* home with renewable solar (or whatever has been developed by then) energy, and whatever cool environmentally friendly stuff has been developed by then.
Yeah.. I'm a dirty hippie/granola chick... (according to the hubby )
ROzbeans 15 years ago
I'm all about bamboo floors. I'd LOVE to put that instead of just hardwood down.
Verity 15 years ago
I mean if you're asking from a huge overview and generalization - then it's necessary. The population has exceeded the limit of how people lived before vehicles.

I am saying go out and buy a hybrid.....if you can afford it =/

Are you in Montana?

Yep. Moved up here to Bozeman nearly 2 years ago, when a killer job was offered to my husband. I like it, the pace of life is so much more laid back, & less hectic than living in Denver (where we were originally). It gets friggen cold in the winter, and winter lasts about twice as long as Denver.
Vulash 15 years ago
Oh I was asking because you said Bozeman - i'm working GNP until Sat (been here a month)

Anyway - 4runners are awesome, and if you have to you have to. My dad has a huge truck because he runs a construction business, and honestly he couldn't get by with less with what he has to pull. He uses a diseal, and I'm trying to talk him into the bio kind But many people buy SUVs that don't need them, one kid families in Scottsdale AZ with no boat or anything. I want a prius, but well - I can't afford it - in fact my car is dead and I can't replace it so I'm not guilty yet! I have a bike and live close to downtown and campus.
Vulash 15 years ago
I'm considering UM for grad school - I've heard about the wind in Bozeman and I don't want windy again :P Otherwise I love the state - at least what I've seen
Verity 15 years ago
lol.. silly question.. What's GNP?

Anyways.. yeah. I love my 4runner to death. It came down o that or the Sienna.. I wanted the 4runner, & my very practical hubby wanted the sienna. I made him shove his practical self in the closet till we'd signed the papers & had the 4runner keys in hand . He's told me the last 3 winters in a row now how grateful he is that I made him do that. 4wheel on the fly is the best thing since sliced bread

A prius is probably what we'll get for our second car. And y Dad drives a big Diesel Ram, that he converted to Biodiesel, and he even rigged up an old waterheater to make his own fuel! (I get my hippyness/wanting to be natural & green from him)
Jetamio 15 years ago
Well I can only say from a British point of view tbh. But...

In the UK, I think driving is mostly a luxury if you live in towns and cities. There are always well established bus routes in place in them, and even in the more rural areas sometimes. We have trains that run to pretty much every major town and city in the country on a regular basis, and buses too.
However, its not very cheap in my opinion. To go from my town to Edinburgh which is 30mins on the train its nearly $10. But when I went from Kenosha to Chicago which was at least an hour, it was $2.50 for an all weekend pass?! lol
If I got the bus to work and back every day, that would be £3.40 a day (about $7) or £10 for a week pass ($20). I use my van instead, and it costs me about the same to run it and I get to stay in my bed for an extra 45 mins a day

From what I have seen of America a car is more of a nessessity. In general your towns are more spread out than ours (easy considering some of your States are bigger than the UK lol), but there doesnt seem to be the same emphasis on public transport. I dont think I saw a bus when I was in Madison for 2 weeks lol. I did see them in Chicago though, so maybe its more a big city thing. US also seems to use trains mostly for freight, and unless you happen to live near the line, you dont see a train.

Just my 2cp
Verity 15 years ago
Hrm... Honestly, the 2 years I've been here, the wind has't been too bad. In fact, I think it was worse when we ere in Colorado. It *does* get windy on occation, but it seems to actually be more at night than anything else.
Bozeman is really an aesome place to live. Housing is a bit pricey, but the culture & pace of life is very laid back & casual. If you can come up for School, I would do it! if you like the outdoors, this is an awesome place. We're surrounded by mountains on 3 sides, & the 4th has them, they're just further away
I love driving my hubby to work, the view is gorgeous, with the mountains right there.
Vulash 15 years ago
It really depends on the city Jet. There are some very green smaller towns (Flagstaff has a great bus system, bike lanes, a yellow bike service on campus, a bus that picks up drunk people to go back to campus, etc) and then there are areas that don't have anything. WV is very green poor - we have so much "green" and wilderness that you can't see the impact - so people think its just something they don't need to deal with. They barely recycle- I was talkign to my mom and she said they couldn't recycle if they wanted too without driving it a really long ways themselves, and with gas prices...

The west coast is much more "green" than the east coast, and I really believe it is in large part because in the west you can see the impact - its there and fresh and now, and on the east you can't really - its intangible.

GNP - Glacier National Park
Vulash 15 years ago
Verity - the cold is also a concern for my GF after our last winter in Flag, but I think we're both leaning towards the view that its worth it for the outdoors there. There are some other nice places we are looking at as well though.

I like the 4 runners because of their stability - the newer ones aren't quite as good as older, but still one of the best out there. I've taken old 4 runners up some crazy jeep trails, and a professor once had me leading a field trip in a rented 4 runner completely off the road in the desert just climbing banks and rocks and shit
ROzbeans 15 years ago
You know anyone that says you need a 4wheel drive up in alaska actually hasn't been through one of their winters yet. We bought the Jeep thinking we were going to the fucking arctic circle or some shit. Our first winter we spent in BFE and even then you don't need 4 wheel drive. I think it's a gimmick. All you need are snow tires, not then expensive kind, but 300 will do ya for 4 and a little god damn common sense.

The only vehicles we saw on the side of the road, spun out and stuck in the ditch were trucks with 4 wheel drive.
Laschae 15 years ago
It really does depend on where you live. There is NO public transportation in my little corner of Wyoming and to add to that the nearest town with a population of more than 3k is 2+hours away. So it's very dependent on where you live. I think we can all do our part, no matter how small, to not make such a mess of things.

I won't comment directly on the oil industry since it keeps me and mine fed.

Such a hippy Toni, next thing ya know you will be trying acid or some shit! /spank
Laschae 15 years ago
And no shit about the west coast being more green. When I moved from Oregon to Chicago I was in shock at how filthy the city was compared to Portland/Seattle. I think people on the west coast take more pride in their environment due to the natural beauty that is around.
Verity 15 years ago
Lol Roz.. same here.. Only vehicles in the ditches during the winter are trucks & SUV's. I think it's mostly in part because idiots think they're invincible in a 4wheel drive, and are less cautious, and drive like speedracers.. Since I usually have 1 or more more of my kiddos with me when I'm driving, I usually drive on the cautious side.

Vul.. too bad you won't be working Glacier another couple weeks. Hubby & I are going to Gen con in a couple weeks, then the following Thurs-saturday we'll be up there in Glacier with my mother in law.

In the next couple days, I'll get some pictures taken of the views for ya & post them
Vulash 15 years ago
I don't know, 4 wheel drive can be really nice - but I do a lot of really backwoods stuff where you can have half the vehicle unable to get traction at all. I wish I could get one.

Last winter though we got multiple 2+ feet nows and I just used a ford escort delivering pizza (paying for college) - If it got real bad I just put my chains on, and my car became a tank. 30 bucks. I mean you have to put them on, but you get good at it. I would pass 4 wheel drives spinning out and could go through snow deeper than my tires.

4 wheel drive definitely helps, but isn't usually necessary - the real problem is they think 4 wheel drive makes them invincible, and that's why you see so many in ditches - they also somehow think it helps them stop better and fly around real fast. Idiots. We get a lot of those from Phoenix - they're young, and mommy and daddy bought them a brand new 4 wheel drive. They're actually dangerous.