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Thursday, October 30, 2008

What’s That Definition of Insanity Again?

posted by on October 30 at 8:40 AM


The sharp decline in gasoline use earlier this year—with volume down nearly 10 percent in some weeks—suggested to many people, including the automobile companies, that a permanent change in American habits might be at hand. But with gasoline prices falling drastically in recent weeks, some American drivers are returning to their old ways.

With auto companies closing factories that produce sport utility vehicles in favor of smaller, gas-efficient cars, it may be hard to veer back to the gas-guzzling days very quickly. But Dan Lopez, business manager at the Ford dealership in the Louisiana town of Sulphur, near here, says he has already noticed a shift. Truck sales froze over the summer, he said, but now “some people are gradually getting back into the truck market. We’re used to the comforts, frills and whistles, and so if gasoline goes down to a reasonable level, people will not stay in a little boxy fuel-efficient car.”

Because, hey, if there’s any lesson we can draw from current economic conditions—stock markets, currency markets, commodity markets—all the trends we’re seeing are basically stable. It’s not we’ve seen a lot of volatility out there, right? So now that gas prices are trending down it’s a pretty much a sure thing that they’ll keep heading south.

Heck, gas will be free by Christmas and the oil companies will be paying us to take the stuff off their hands by Valentine’s Day.

RSS icon Comments


Woohoo! Orbital party on I-405!

Posted by NaFun | October 30, 2008 8:49 AM

Don't worry. If past elections are any indication I have a feeling the price at the pump will start creeping upwards again shortly after Nov 4.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 30, 2008 8:49 AM

For the protection of the whole economy, any person dumb enough to buy a new truck/SUV now, should prevented from financing that truck or holding any credit cards or any mortgages. Ever. Even if you really have to have one, the market on used trucks and SUVs couldn't be better. Just scrape up $5K and start make offers at any Wal-Mart parking lot.

Posted by mareada | October 30, 2008 8:54 AM

With the records profits the majors posted this morning, they should be paying us.

Posted by Toe Tag | October 30, 2008 9:02 AM

Sweet! Then the entire country will be just like Alaska - free money!

Go ahead and secede then, muthafuckahs! Who needs ya!

Oh, wait. This is a joke, isn't it?


Posted by Stupid, Credulous Voter | October 30, 2008 9:03 AM

This, in a nutshell, is why McCain/Palin is within a few points of Obama/Biden. They're clinging to their old ways. If Americans were rational, SUV sales would stay tanked, and Obama would be up by 20 or 30 points.

Posted by Fnarf | October 30, 2008 9:09 AM

@2 Agreed. This seems to be the American's last hurrah before the gas prices jump back up by 50-75 cents.

As for Savage, he can't really talk without being honest about how much he a) drives to Portland, b) drives to Vancouver, c) takes planes all around the country. What's that definition of hypocrisy again?

Posted by TheMisanthrope | October 30, 2008 9:10 AM

The definition of insanity is to keep using that same stupid cliche quote in your posts, Dan. Ever learn a musical instrument? Any physical skill? Conduct an experiment? Repetition is sometimes necessary and isn't any kind of definition of insanity. Read this for more:

Posted by Greg F. | October 30, 2008 9:12 AM

@8 - God I hate this stupid thing.

That quote doesn't contradict the idea of practice or experimentation.

You practice something specifically so that you'll get better at it - i.e. you'll get a DIFFERENT RESULT.

You experiment to see what changes to the experiment create DIFFERENT RESULTS.

If you get the same result a thousand times, and you keep doing the experiment without changing anything? You might not be insane, but you're certainly an idiot.

Posted by Anthony Hecht | October 30, 2008 9:28 AM

please, people are driven by incentives and environment. The propensity to drive is driven by many factors, and most people don't change their behavior completely based on a drawn out circumstance that has since changed. It'd be like you moving to canada after 2004, i mean, it'd be crazy to vote in election after election where fraud takes place, right? and maybe they do expect gas prices to go up again but a truck will help them with their job and provide a hedge against that?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 30, 2008 9:55 AM

There's always stupid people.

But the major thing you failed to understand from that poll is how many AREN'T changing their driving habits even with gas cheaper.

That has never happened before, this century.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 30, 2008 10:47 AM

Dan, if it makes you feel better, I believe BBC reported a few days ago that OPEC was talking about artificially restricting the oil supply to push the prices back up.

Posted by Kat | October 30, 2008 11:32 AM
Posted by Kat | October 30, 2008 11:33 AM

@12, OPEC is the worst cartel ever and they can't fight prevailing economic conditions. They restrict supply to push up prices up but then that creates even more economic peril and then theres less demand so they cut their supplies even more thus pushing the economy down further. The inherent problem with the cartel is that they love to cheat and sell more oil at a higher price than their quota allows. It's really a paper tiger when it comes down to it.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 30, 2008 11:38 AM

@14 I...wasn't arguing that. I was simply pointing out that the gas crisis isn't necessarily getting better. If more people buy SUV's right now, more people will be caught grabbing their ankles once the effect of the oil restriction takes hold.

Posted by Kat | October 30, 2008 3:18 PM

@9, so you like the "definition of insanity" quote? You like seeing people throw it around over and over again? You like Dan using it here every few days? Well, okay.

I gotta disagree with you, learn a lot of things musically or physically you have to drill skills over and over until they change from something you can barely do, to something you can do in your sleep. Which is, y'know, a different result from barely being able to do something. ANYway, I just find seeing the quote everywhere to be annoying. Insanity is about so much MORE, after all. Let's not undersell it. And I always picture someone leaning back and nodding to themselves, stuffed with delicious self-satisfaction, when they break that out.

Posted by Greg F. | October 30, 2008 3:44 PM

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