Impact of Higher Gas Prices

From today's NY Times, it seems that even a city boasting the largest mass transit system in the nation is suffering under the effects of three dollar (or more) a gallon gasoline.

Many businesses are passing on the costs to their customers, like a messenger service that doubled it's rates from NJ to Manhattan. A friend told me last week that delivery of a rocking chair she was giving to a friend cost $80 more in the suburbs than NYC, because they couldn't save fuel and combine deliveries.

Some interesting stats on how dependent NYC is on gas:
  • Drivers in New York State may pay an extra $600 million a month in fuel costs, based on $3.25 a gallon for unleaded regular gas, according to an estimate by Senator Charles E. Schumer. If such prices persist for a year, he said, it will cost residents $7.2 billion - $1 billion in New York City alone.
  • MTA fuels 5,000 buses everyday - estimated a $119m fuel bill for 2005 based on a price of $2.40/gallon
  • Department of Education - with 6,100 buses carrying nearly 200,000 schoolchildren

Of course higher costs means either higher taxes or less service or trade-offs with other budget items. Or for heaven's sake, perhaps we could actually start finding ways of conserving fuel and lowering our gas bill through less consumption!