Monday, May 08, 2006

The Gas Wall

Last summer I paid just under $1,000 for a flight from JFK to Florence, Italy. I left on July 1, and returned August 28. This year the same flight, according to an Orbitz seach will run about $1,100.
Similarly, flights from JFK to rome have gone up from about $1,100 to $1,600 for a non-stop flight. If you are willing to make one or two layovers you can still do the trip for about $1,100.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, airfares out of New York/Newark have increase 8.2% over last year's prices god for 46th place. Cincinatti takes top honors with a whopping 26% increase over last year; so New Yorkers aren't doing that bad.

Articles keep popping up about skyrocketing airfares due to high fuel prices.
According to ABC News

"I have seen a 20 percent increase in ticket prices," said Ines Lormand, a frequent business flier in Houston.

Her recent $900 round trip ticket to Detroit was a shocker. Last year, she says, the same trip was $300.
Analysts say recent fare increases are only the beginning as the skyrocketing fuel prices threaten the airlines' already shaky balance sheets. For the nation's biggest airline, American, every penny increase in the price of jet fuel adds another $28 million a year in costs.


According to the Energy Information Agency, jet fuel cost about 82 cents a gallon three years ago. Today it costs $3.45.

To save fuel, airlines are taking unprecedented steps to lighten their planes. American cut onboard water by one-fourth, saving $3 million this year. Taxiing with only one engine running has saved another $8 million. Airlines are also saving millions each by removing extra dishes and catering carts. But those savings aren't enough.

In the US, as we approach the summer road-trip season, many are finding that it will be cheaper to fly than to drive. The Wall Street Journal urges traveles to take the bus.
These are neat little interest/advice articles, but they don't really address the bigger issue, if I can be forboding for a minute.

Consider the summary of price increases on trans-Atlantic flights from the San Luis Obispo Tribune:
Besides the supply-and-demand factor, all airlines are adding fuel surcharges to their tickets - $110 to $130.

Here's an example of how fares rise and fall. If you were to fly Chicago-London round-trip on British Airways April 26-May 3, the fare, including taxes, fees and a fuel surcharges, would be $587.39. Fly the same route June 13-27 and the fare totals $978.39, a $391 difference. If you were to do the trip from Sept. 2-13, the fare would be $738.39, $240 less that the peak season summer fare.

We are approaching what I call the Gas Wall. I fear fuel prices will continue to go up and up until fewer and fewer people can afford them. I am not even concerned about the bankruptcy of the airlines and the inevitable goverment bailouts. I am worried that we are going to be trapped in this country. I think that if we do not remove this neo-con cabal one day they are going to come for all of us dissenters with national id cards, rf or gps tracking microchips, and the only way you will be able to leave the country is when they send you to fight a war.

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