Fill Up the Tank in Luxembourg

The price of gasoline is currently outrageous in the Netherlands, about €1.60/liter (about $8.80 per U.S. gallon). What do residents do? They arbitrage, so that if they’re headed south they plan to drive through and fill up in Luxembourg, where the price is “only” about €1/liter. This is a bad idea, unless your trip would take you near there anyway. Also, because there are often long lines of liked-minded arbitrageurs waiting to fill up, this is a bad idea if your time is valuable.

A Mandate to Be Inefficient

This week, the United States Supreme Court delivered a decisive blow to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan for New York City taxicabs to go green, to switch to hybrid cars. This all started a few years ago when Bloomberg announced a plan to mandate that the famous New York City taxi fleet go all-hybrid. The classic Crown Victoria gets about 12 miles per gallon, whereas a hybrid taxi gets 30 miles per gallon. Quite a difference! So this is great for the environment.

How to Kill Small-Car Sales

U.S. auto sales are looking a bit better this year. Trucks in particular are doing well. But one category is moving in the opposite direction. Why? Some blame has to go to the fall in gas prices from a peak of more than $4 a gallon. That's right: it's the tiny, gas-stingy cars that aren't moving off the lot.

Better Late Than Never: The Explanation for a Puzzling Pattern in Gas Prices

More than two years ago, I blogged on this site about a puzzling pattern that I had observed in gas prices.

Watt's Next: Your Thoughts

With a large number of electric vehicles in the pipeline (see this new piece in The Economist), my staff EV expert (my brother Brad) and I asked for your wit and wisdom on their prospects. Some of your thoughts on whether EV's will “clean up”:

It Won't Be So Bad: A Q&A With the Author of $20 Per Gallon

It's notoriously hard to predict gas prices. Who would have thought in 2006 that we'd be paying $4 a gallon in 2008? Or, as prices peaked last year, that we'd be filling up for $2.50 a gallon this summer?

That said, civil engineer and Forbes reporter Chris Steiner argues that prices will rise precipitously over the next few decades. (It would probably make as much sense to argue that electric cars will take over and gas prices will fall, but that's another argument for another day.)

Turning the Corner on Driving?

Nate Silver, a Freakonomics favorite, wonders if the American car culture is finally coming to an end. Silver points out that Americans drove much less this January than last January, even less than expected in a bad economy with high unemployment. Part of the decrease may be explained by a delayed response to last summer’s […]

Want A Politically Viable Gas Tax? Make It Voluntary

Like Greg Mankiw, I think it’s a no-brainer that we should raise the gas tax. But it’s incredibly difficult to muster the political will to impose a traditional tax. (Witness California’s inability to increase the state gas tax by a measly 12 cents.) Last year, Robert Samuelson (and a host of others) proposed a contingent […]

Security Blanket — With Sleeves!

The marketing hook for the suddenly-everywhere Snuggie is that its form-fitting coziness helps you keep down your home-heating bills. (O.K., that's only one hook: the ads also claim that ordinary blankets are too cumbersome and may, tragically, entrap your hands.)

I'm Sorry, But We're All Paying Less for Gas

A story in our local paper talks about the problems of West Texas. This area, the center of the Texas oil industry, is suffering. People are being laid off from the oil fields, because drilling has, as it were, dried up. No surprise: With the price of oil below $40, and with drilling a supply […]