Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sold American

Potential good news with the increase in gas prices. Bike sales are at a near record high. The US Chamber of Commerce says more bicycles have been sold than cars over the past 12 months.

However, the cynic in me says that once our refineries in the Gulf Coast are back on line most of the bikes bought because of high gas prices will be gathering dust hanging in garages across the nation. "Bicycle sales are near an all-time high with 19 million sold last year -- close to the 20 million sold during the oil embargo in the early 1970s," said Tim Blumenthal, whose association Bikes Belong is based in Boulder in the western state of Colorado.

There's a pattern here. 1973 oil embargo, people bought scads of bikes. However, once the oil embargo was over there was no huge sustained increase of people riding for utility rather than strictly for pleasure on weekends. I would guess that there is an inverse relationship between gas prices and bike sales. And since we seem to have an increase in gas prices every 5-10 years you would think that there would be a corresponding increase in people riding bikes for utility. But, seeing how Minneapolis has one of the highest percentages of bike commuters at 2.62% it doesn't seem that fuel prices have any long term effect on our habits.

That's a big reason I'm not concerned about fuel economy. There's only a finite amount of oil available. And, in my opinion the only thing that will truly make any long term difference is if we use it all. So build the H3 and the H4 and the H12. Burn it up.

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