Ever wonder what will happen when the price of gasoline gets close to $7 a gallon?
Well, take a lesson from Auckland, New Zealand. Gas was at about $2.15 per liter when we were there. At approximately 3.8 liters per gallon, and at current exchange rates, that translates into a price of about $6.70 per gallon in U.S. dollars.
And at that price, small cars are the norm, including lots of tiny ones like this. We saw few full size cars, and virtually no pick-up trucks, not even small trucks. There were some small vans, and a few SUVs, but we didn’t see any of the big, gas guzzling models.
Auckland also has what appears to be a pretty robust transit system, including regular ferry service used by some commuters, in addition to lots of buses and trains. All this transit is necessary, since the city seems to sprawl out across a very wide area.
And a lot of people walk. A former student of Meda’s who now teaches in Auckland commented on that right away. Everyone walks. And it shows. We had only a limited sample, but we saw far fewer obese people as we walked around downtown Auckland than we would see on a typical street here in Hawaii. I’m probably assuming too much, but walking appears to make a difference. [Note: I don't know if the data supports this conclusion….]
So life doesn’t stop when the price of gas soars, but buying choices and lifestyles certainly do change.