The Story of the Little Red Wagon and
Why Gas Costs So Much

We often get emails from people mad about the cost of gas and trying to come up with new ways to bring down the cost of gasoline either through a protest at the gas pump or some gimmick, so we jumped into our little red red wagon and went to see if we could figure out what was going on.
The little red wagon is actually a 1992 Honda Civic VX hatchback. We normally get 40 - 45 MPG around town and around 50 MPG on the road. Our best was when we got 59 MPG on the road. So, when we went out exploring to find out why gas is so expensive, we chose our little red wagon as our trusty ride.
As we went looking for answers, the answers seemed to be right before our eyes, or actually, blocking our view. We can seat four and still have room for overnight luggage for each. When we go for groceries, we have plenty of room for a month’s load. So, we began to wonder, what are people buying that they need such large vehicles?

How much are these people expecting to buy today?!!!! We’ve been able to get things into our little hatchback that many SUVs can’t get into their rears. Plus since, SUVs are already top heavy, they should not carry much weight on their roofs.

As we parked our little red wagon in a sea of behemoths, we wondered where America’s understanding of efficiency had gone? Was there a trend? Was there a general breakdown in understanding of physics, math and ethics?

At times, we felt out numbered so we decided to move elsewhere...
Yikes!!! They were everywhere!
So, we headed for the outskirts of the parking lot for some solitude. But, double-yikes, they are even bigger out here! Is there an invisible group of huge earthlings in our midst that we don't know about?

So far, the best we can tell, it’s a let down of the educational system. First, it appears to be a Science (Physics problem), secondly, a Math Problem, and thirdly, there seems to be a rapid duplication of trends that are questionable if you are wanting to bring down the cost of gasoline. Are there logic and ethics problems also involved?

Back when I was a kid in school, we were taught that it takes much more force and energy to move 10 lbs. than it does to move 1 lb. And, if you have to use all that force to move 10 lbs., then you need to have a bigger energy source, a bigger transportation system and more of everything. But, if you can figure out how to move 10 lbs. using 1 lb. of force, then we have made an improvement in efficiency as measured in science.

In our trip in the Little Red Wagon, it became obvious that this is something that is not understood in our modern U.S. world of general transportation. Yes, figuring out that stuff about force and energy does take an understanding of basic science & physics plus some basic math skills. I remember learning some of these skills back in elementary school.

Oh yeah, we have to throw in one more discipline, economics, and the law of Supply and Demand. See, the less there is of something and the more people want it, the higher it will cost. If you can make a little go farther through efficiency, the demand lessens and the price follows. That's what we are told anyway by the economic geniuses. So, did we see efficiency or inefficiency in our quest? Plus, the real math comes in handy when we multiply inefficiency in attempting to understand why gas prices are so high.

In the charts below, we have attempted to put our observations into accepted figures for efficiency. We found a government website, www.fueleconomy.gov that lists the MPG of all vehicles and we used that for the source of our figures found here. In the basic assessment of why gas prices are so high, we really only need to look at two figures: Avg (mpg) and the Barrels per Year figure. The Average MPG is a measure of efficiency, the Barrels per Year a measure of the Supply.

Vehicle
City
Hiway
Avg
Cost to go
25 Miles
Gals to go
25 Miles
Barrels
Per Yr.
Tons
Carbon
1.
1992 Honda Civic VX
39
49
43
$2.37
.58
7.9
4.3
2.
2008 GMC Yukon XL500 2WD
12
17
14
$7.29
1.79
24.5
13.1
3.
2008 Ford Expedition 2WD
12
18
14
$7.29
1.79
24.5
13.1
4.
2008 Hummer H3 4WD
14
18
15
$6.80
1.67
22.8
12.2
5.
2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
11
14
12
$8.98
2.08
28.6
15.2

So, using our basic math skills, we calculate that we are anywhere from 65% - 73% more efficient in basic transportation than what we see in the comparisons we have made. How much room and space do you need on a daily basis to commute, buy groceries and run to the mall? I began to really see a breakdown of our educational system when it came to math, science and logic.

For example, if we are driving vehicles that are 70% more inefficient than a baseline of efficiency, what would happen if we increased our efficiency?

So, in conclusion, we hear that many people want to drill more. We AGREE! There should be much more drilling in Math, Physics, Ethics and even Geography. Most of all, Logic needs to be taught in our schools because the efficiency design skills of our manufacturers are lacking and the intelligence of our buying public is questionable. If you want to know why gas is so high, think inefficiency, poor education system, and a social belief in entitlement where some think they deserve to drive highly inefficient modes of everyday personal transportation.

We are great believers in personal transportation and feel fortunate and blessed to have been able to travel to many magnificent places on Earth.

We know that some people need big vehicles for their job or large family. Our concern is with those that use highly-inefficient vehicles during everyday use and there are so many of them!

What would happen if we could INCREASE OUR OVERALL EFFICIENCY by say 20-30%? That would REDUCE THE DEMAND which would LOWER THE COST. How to lower the cost of gas?

We still wonder why some people make such bad purchasing decisions that affect us all? Maybe there is more involved than bad Science, Math, Economic, Logic and Ethics skills. So, why are our gas prices so high? Poor efficiency, poor math, science, logic and ethics skills.

We know that our country needs more Drilling:

1. More Math Drills

2. More Science Drills

3. More Drills in Logic

4. More Drills in Ethics

5. More Drills in Geography (and history)

The current supply of oil is sufficient. New demands in supply should be handled through new efficiencies and better and wiser purchase choices by Americans. Then, we will see prices begin to fall...unless the Supply-and-Demand economists are lying!