A computer that costs as much as a tank of gas

The first computer I bought with my own money was a 486 from Gateway, and I paid about $2500 for it. I used that computer for years and years. So it blows my mind a little bit that computers have gotten so cheap.

How cheap are they? Well, that Linux-based computer I bought from Wal-Mart was $199. This past week I got stuck at one of those gas stations that is pretty much the only gas station nearby. The prices were so insane that I had to take a picture. This is what I saw when I pulled up to the gas pump:

$7 a gallon!

That’s right, the highest octane cost $7 a gallon! Now to be fair, that was for 100-octane gas, but still — $7 a gallon?! Sheesh. The person before me had gotten 28.336 gallons of gas (which is a huge tank of gas), and they got the cheapest gas. If they’d decided to splurge on the $6.999/gallon gas, it would have cost $198.32.

So, would you rather fill up your gas tank, or would you rather have a new computer? Pretty wild. :)

132 Responses to A computer that costs as much as a tank of gas (Leave a comment)

  1. Dave (original)

    Matt, what’s a “Gallon”? Didn’t the English use “Gallons” to measure the volume of gas they put in their Spitfires during WW2 ;)

  2. As a UK resident I’m still thinking that’s pretty cheap. Trust me!

    Best solution: walk; public transit; or stay in a room with your nice new Linux PC and virtual desktop wherever you need to be :-)

  3. Just as well you had your clothes on when you took the picture Matt!

  4. In the UK petrol costs £1 per litre which is £40+ to fill the tank of an average car.

  5. Hopefully this will finally start the American public to get motivated about developing real renewable solutions to petrol so they will challange the government to actually take action and stop trying to figure out ways to strip the planet of its oil reserves.

    Do I hear GTidalEnergy and GWindPower?

    My first introduction to the internet
    http://microship.com/bike/winnebiko/index.html

    dk

  6. In holland that would cost you 235 dollars. (28.335 gallons = 107.263 liters) You could buy an extra mousepad and an USB Stick also.

  7. Wow, I know that’s not the point of this post, but prices of gas in US really are cheap.

    I mean, $7 a gallon means it’s $1.85 a litre (if my counting’s right). Here in Europe (Czech republic – not a very rich country – EU’s below average) that’s a pretty normal price. $3.5 a gallon is just insanely cheap.

    Anyway, Matt, I’m really looking forward to your review of gOS.

  8. Phantombookman

    Matt,
    I’m in the UK, I just filled my car (4 door saloon not an SUV or anything silly) with standard petrol/gas from the cheapest place in the area.
    It cost me just under £60 or approx $120

    For other UK comparisons that should ring a bell.
    20 Marlboro cigarettes cost me over $11
    A pair of Levi 507s $130

    Regards from England
    PBM

  9. Delo

    Well, for us Germans this is rather cheap. In Germany the current price is around 1.43 € per liter, which is approx. $7.93 per gallon – but for regular gas…

  10. I find it amusing that this has turned into an “English people moan about petrol prices” discussion!

    My local garage charges 103p per litre, which is about $7.90 per gallon. And that’s just the normal cheap fuel, not this high octane “StreetBlaze” stuff!

  11. Tom

    It’s because oil reserves are running out (but I don’t think most Americans get that yet)! Instead of taking photographs and calling it ‘wild’, how about consuming less?

  12. A better analogy besides ‘gas’ would be Rents or Mortgages in metro areas.

    Technology and open trading has made virtually everything much cheaper over the last few decades.

    Ironically however, two things have gotten so extreme in their expense, they actually undue all the lifestyle benefits of everything:

    Housing & Gasoline :-(

  13. Ooooo you Americans, you don’t know what cheap is! We pay more than double that so we could set up a small network every time we fill up our gas tank if we would have these silly big slurpers that use the most expensive fuel around.
    Luckily we don’t and so I have a nice set of PCs and laptops at home. And three bikes!

  14. Prices in the UK are about the same as Holland – that same tank of gas, petrol , whatever it’s called would set you back around $220 – $250. And around 65% of that is Tax, as the boys on Top Gear pointed out last night.

  15. Seems like you’re actually catching us Brits up a bit then :)
    US gallon is different to UK gallon, and it seems to we pay about the equivilent of $8/US Gallon over here at the moment.
    And that for those who are paying £1/litre. In a lot of places it’s a few pence over that.

    Pain in the ass either way. Especially when there isn’t much in the way of a wide spread alternative. Public transport sucks.

  16. And that with the heavily discounted prices Americans still pay for fuel…. it’s really a scandal it’s that cheap!

  17. By my reckoning, 28.3 gallons is about 107 liters, which at £1 per liter and using the current exchange rate, makes the equivalent transaction in the UK cost about $214.

    But at least we have the good weather. Oh, wait…

  18. nikolaus

    big lol – a google shareholder is going insane by a gaz price ?? :-)

    poor matt ;-)

  19. Your petrol is far too cheap. It should be way more expensive than that. Then you might drive nice small cars that won’t kill the planet quite as quickly. Must give you a nice warm feeling inside that you are donating so much money to Chavez’s socialist revolution.

  20. Did you know that there is nothing high about high octane??

    High octane means low burning speed. I have no idea why it is more expensive – maybe it is just clever new language marketing thing?

    I mean – if you buy diesel oil which burns really slow the price is lower again – what is happening?? :-)

  21. Seb

    1 US gallon = $3.53 = £1.73

    1 UK gallon = £4.55 (£1/litre, 4.55 litres) = $9.30

    Admittedly 1 UK gallon = 1.2 US gallons, so the price comparison should be 3.53 : 7.75.

    Cut a long story short though, we still pay over TWICE as much per volume for fuel as you guys do, so shut the hell up, haha!

  22. Sebastian

    People still buy SUVs or other petrol eating monsters.
    So the price needs to go UP UP UP! ;-)

  23. garethjax

    Hey that’s 1.26 euros/litre of fuel :)
    In italy the AVERAGE cost of fuel is 1,377 euros.
    I loved the cheap gas this summer during my vacation (seattle to san diego and back).
    I second the research of alternatives to petrol.

  24. Dave (original)

    There are already loads of alternatives to Petrol! Gas is but one. Then we have what are called “legs” and Bicycles. Nobody is forced to use Petrol, yet we all complain about it.

  25. Dave seen that done at cranfield uni (refueling a spit) – one of the avgas tanks was about 100 m away from my office window we all went out to watch when they where showing off a rebuilt IX heard the refueling oik shout up to the pilot ok you’ve had 500 L

    I suspect that if you have a car that needs 100 octane a couple of hundred bucks isn’t really that much – probably some VC filling up their Ferrari – obviously its not a bugati veyeron as that’s way to little gas (2mg at full chat)

  26. I’m getting a Segway – I will keep my truck for carrying my Kayaks a few miles.

    Our town (which joins onto Charlotte, NC) is very Segway possible.

    If I lived back in my native England (Torquay and Plymouth area chaps ;) ) I’d get a bus or train or a Lambretta if they ever make a comeback

    Best

    David

  27. BTW – My Missus and I were dwelling on getting a boat this January but thought long and not too hard about it – we decided on a couple of new kayaks.

    Bollox to all that gas/petrol and we keep fit too.

    My only problem is juice for my laptop and getting it wet on the local Lake I already have two phones at the bottom of the lake – that would have been the only REAL advantage of having a boat (the power for my laptop)

    PLUS the exercise is great and we don’t want to end up like some of the salad dodgers around here.

    David

  28. in Brazil gasoline is about 6 dollars per US gallon. But here we have also alcohol for cars to run on which goes for about 45% of the gasoline price which makes that about 2.7 dollars per gallon.

    As far as I know Brazil is the only country in the world that implemented alcohol nation wide as an alternative to oil based gasoline. Works great, thought it may not be so practical in colder climate countries.

    Who’s to blame for those high oil prices anyway? ;)

  29. Dude, it costs £1 per litre over here. Which is £3.78 per US gallon. And at the current exchange rate, that’s $7.56 per gallon, for standard fuel.

    Stop moaning.

  30. Sorry, no sympathy. While it’s cheaper in some parts of the country, still only 99.9 pence per litre, where I live petrol is 103.9 pence per litre at the cheapest stations. That translates as US$8.04 per US gallon at the current exchange rate.

  31. In Poland 1 US gallon cost 16.2755 USD (with tax)! (95 octane) ( 4.30 PLN/L)

  32. Jan Tore

    The excellent Google converter-calculator-thingy tells me…:

    3.5 (U.S. dollars per US gallon) = 5.07476662 Norwegian kroner per liter

    And the oil-producing Norwegians pay around 12 Norwegian kroner per liter.

    Do the math on that… ;-)

  33. That might be a good enough reason to move to New Jersey, where the prices are “only” $2.75/gallon or so…

  34. I brought my 1st PC for US$ 1125/- and now prices are half, but its not that we are fool coz if we not brought PC that time, we also not get much knowledge , as people those are purchasing PC now are almost layman it will take more time to be master

  35. Shawn

    The first computer you bought with your own money was a 486?

    I’m feelin kinda old thinking about my Tandy CoCo!

  36. OK, but you’re going to feel sheepish when you try to bring that computer home from the store and your car runs out of fuel.

  37. And this is only the beginning… gas prices will continue going up by the effect of the high price of the oil.

  38. You would have paid about $215 in the UK. So fuel in the US is still very, very cheap. Make the most of it.

  39. Computers should be free as long as they got Google’s great ad network on them right? ;)

    *snark*

  40. Chris Gadient

    While I admit that the price of fuel is relatively cheap in the US you also have to realize that most cars sold in the US do not get great mileage. Especially those ‘merican cars. For example the four vehicle that I have get as follows:

    2001 Saab 95, Auto – ~35mpg
    2000 Saab 93SE, 5-spd – ~32mpg
    1957 Triumph TR3 “small mouth”, 4-spd – ~29mpg
    2001 Ford Focus ZX3, 5-spd – ~25mpg

    its really really sad that the focus only gets 25mpg at best. I bought the car as a commuter vehicle second hand and it has been the worst on the road. I mean why is it that a 50 year old car gets better gas mileage than a 6 year old car? I know it is not due to the restoration on it. The triumph was restored back in 1985 and just seasonal maintenance since then. the saabs and the ford get the synth-oil changed every 7000 miles.

  41. mc

    In Slovakia we pay like $40 per gallon, price was scaled with respect to average salary in Slovakia and USA. If you pay less than $40 you have no right to complain.

  42. To the renewable resources comment:

    We can develop any alternate fuels that we want, but they’re not going to be adopted.

    No gas station will open with alternate fuels until there’s enough cars to be profitable, and nobody will buy such a car until they have a place they can fill it up.

  43. Hampstead

    I’ve just bought a new Range Rover and it costs £90.00 to fill up which is about $185.00.

    I’ll get about 300 miles out of that.

    Still, the car cost £73,000.00 ($150,000.00) so in the scheme of things it’s king of irrelevant really.

    By the way – we pay for too much for our cars too!

    Sorry Sebastian :)

  44. Hampstead

    ^^ That should read “kind of irrelevant”

  45. Don’t worry. You know, for instant, USA is the bigest producter of electrical cars.

  46. Hey Matt,

    GaryTheScubaGuy-that’s-from-Atlanta-living-in-the-UK-and-buying-gas-by-the liter.

    Think 6.99 is bad….that ain’t nuthin!

    I pay £0.99 per liter at a bargain price. Translated to US that’s £4 per gallon or $8.00!!!

    Unfortunately I smoke (cough, cough), a bad habit I picked up back when everyone in this office were just twinkles in their parents eyes…the gas is only the start, but cigarettes (they call them fags here) cost £5.60 on average, which is $12 a pack!!!

    Even better, if you buy them at a pub, you’ll pay £6.50 or over $13 a pack, and then they only give you 16 or 18 in a pack!?!

    Oops, I jst read Phantomboobmans similar post.

    He’s correct about the Levi’s. I just dropped £300+ on 6 pair and a jean jacket and everything was half-priced!

    Needless to say, when I come back to the states after Christmas, I’ll be empty-handed on the way there, and be carrying the largest suitcase that I can loaded with cigs and levis.

    GaryTheScubaguy

  47. here in austria this would, as of today, cost exactly $198. (which is about half as much as it should.)

  48. I remember pulling up to a petrol pump that had served 100 Euro of petrol to the previous customer. I think it may have been a bus! :)

  49. $3.529 / 1 US Gallon = $3.529 / 3.785 L that is $0.932 / L
    Here’s the gas price in Canada
    Last Friday, $CAD 1.02 / L with exchange rate that is $1.05 / L
    Which is not too bad compared to camera gears: lenses (price before any tax: 1.2-1.5 : 1). And then we have to pay 14% tax!

  50. sem4u

    I am paying around £1.02 a litre in the UK at the moment for unleaded petrol.

  51. I hope that wasn’t your cell phone camera. You could blow innocent people up by using it at the pump, you know! :)

    (Yeah, right…there’s another urban myth that needs to be quashed.)

  52. LOL Adam – the gas station near my house recently put up hand written signs on each pump saying to turn of cell phones. The real problem is static when you open the gas tank.. Touch the car before opening the tank =P

  53. Dyce

    Yeah petrol prices here in the UK are high :(

    I have a sports car… older one, its not horrendous on mpg but its not one of these newfangled hybrid or ‘to the moon and back’ mpg style cars…

    £1 per litre just hurts my wallet!

  54. Francisco

    Hi Matt! In Portugal a Gallon (100 octanes) costs 8.11USD. I had no idea the prices over Europe were so insane. Nevertheless the average salary here is way lower the the English one (and way way lower the the American).

  55. Well…never mind the fact of what you were buying was race fuel. You dont show octane lables, but I bet what you were using was something above 93 octane. I wouldnt be suprised if it wasnt 98 unleaded. Atleast you didnt fill up with the more expensive pumps, as i bet those were leaded fuels

  56. Gotta concur with the other correspondents – I couldn’t believe how much news time was devoted to the ‘extraordinarily expensive’ petrol prices when I was in California recently -

    Pretty much standard price in Australia these days is $US 5.32 per gallon – and that’s for the cheap stuff.

    And I don’t actually reckon that’s expensive enough.

    Have a think about it – you can pretty much buy a litre of petrol for the same price as a litre of milk.

    Petrol is something that only exists once. When it’s burnt, it’s gone for ever. The ‘true’ value of something as precious as that is far more than a dollar a litre.

    doc

  57. Matt, everyone knows that geeks live in front of their computers and so, never GO anywhere. ;) I know I don’t….

  58. Yet *another* great reason why I’m so glad I sold my car when I moved from California to New York.

    I spend $76 per month on a subway pass and I can take the subway as many times as I want for 30 days. Sure as heck beats spending $100+ on gas every couple weeks just to commute to and from work!

  59. Re the proponents of ethanol above – I worked in the Sugar industry for lots of years, and we had the ethanol roadshow from Brazil over regularly. The use of ethanol as a replacement for petroleum has done wonders for the sugar price – but I wonder at what cost to the ‘lungs of the planet’ – look how much of the amazon is being cleared for growing cane.

    And in any case – even with the ENORMOUS scale of the Brazillian industry, and the vastly higher yields of sugarcane compared to maize – I doubt, judging from our experience here, that you could produce even a fraction of the fuel required to totally replace petroleum.

    If you’re interested about just how much land would be required to be cropped under cane to replace our petroleum usage with ethanol, you might like to have a read of my recent study – http://www.utheguru.com/curing-the-oil-crisis-starch-or-sugar-based-ethanol-versus-cellulosic-ethanol

  60. Daniel

    I pay about 8 USD per gallon for regular (95 octane) gas here in Germany, 40 cents more for 98 octane.

    I wish I was living in the US. When it comes to gas prices, at least. Better be prepared for even higher gas prices.

    Some guys from the UK commented on clothes and cigarettes etc… I wonder whether your income levels are similarly lower.

  61. Derek

    It’s no secret that Yanks get their fuel on the cheap. It’s quite humerous when they refer to “insane” prices being the prices europeans have to pay on a normal day…

  62. Matt, this might sound crazy, but listen up here.
    I live in Hungary, where 1 liter of the ordinary gas costs around 7 usd per gallons.
    (make your calculation, 1 gallon is 3,7854 liter, here 1 liter costs 300 Forints, (174 forint = 1 usd).
    And the average blue collar worker salary is 300 usd…

  63. Lew

    Matt,

    I know what you mean. I have a diesel pickup that I have to drive sometimes and when I fill it up it costs me around $135.00 with a 40 gallon tank. Boy do I long for the days back in 1996 when you could get gas on the Sub Base down in Kings Bay for .98 a gallon. :(

  64. Simple, gas is now becoming a luxurious item while computers are becoming a commodity.
    Economics 101 :)

  65. What a world we live in. The price of gas in the state seems so high, but it really isn’t. I say add a $2-4 a gallon tax to every gallon, to put us on equal footing with our European friends. You would hear a lot more complain about the lack of quality mass transit in this country, if we did. Norway is a great example of a country (a leading oil producer) who taxes very heavily on their prime export, and have a quality transit system, especially considering how rural most of the country is.

  66. Its cost Malaysian gov around 40 billion MYR in subsidy to maintain the oil prices. So I’m proud to be Malaysian, petrol retail price (Subsidised) is 0.569652 USD per litre. Its Ironic thats most of the local here is rioting over the price.

    Anyway I like what Hugo Chavez’s (Venezuela) said, if US attack the IRAN the crude prices will go skyrocketing from 100 to 200 USD. He has 270 billion barrels of oil in hands thats make him somebody.

    ref: neac.gov.my

  67. At this moment I’m gonna have to go with the tank of gas, so I can drive up to the office and earn a paycheck, hopefully big enough for the next tank.

    In the future, however, the plan is to sit on my adsense account laughing at people who pick gas over a green PC :-)

  68. Ron

    Hmmm I guess now we can play a little guessing game and try to find out what car you’re driving looking at the reflections in the picture… ;-)

  69. Chip

    Woh

    Woh

    Woh

    The bigger question is, where can I get octane 100 gas??? I blew the engine in my car two years ago because I couldn’t get high enough octane. (I supercharged the car, and in the summer it REALLY needed octane booster). To be safe this time around, I took off the supercharger. I had no idea you could get race gas at pumps.

    Where is this gas station?

    Chip-

  70. The above comment about the adsense account brings up another aspect of the low dollar – I’m currently making about 20% less than a year ago for the same clicks, simply because of the dollar having such a low value – that hurts! Please tell the people at Google to create accounts that work on Euros rather than dollars? Back to the subject – I live in an oil exporting country but still have to pay the same for gas as all other Europeans, because there is a tax on oil which varies to keep the price of a gallon of oil at the World market price regardless of the production cost. Add to that 25% VAT and guess why I have a very hard time feeling sorry for whining Americans. :-)

  71. Shawn, the first computer I bought with my own money was a 486. Our very *first* computer was a Sinclair ZX81, but my Dad bought that. :)

  72. That’s cheap! We’re paying US $4.49 per gallon in Australia.

    BTW… I still have a working Apple IIE (my first computer) with a working copy of Spy Hunter on a floppy.

  73. Its still not a whole computer – you need to get a monitor to use it! So almost for a tank of petrol ;)

    BTW: I know its all relative – but US fuel prices are cheap!

  74. Dave (original)

    We can develop any alternate fuels that we want, but they’re not going to be adopted.

    Not true. In Oz many cars use Gas instead of Petrol and the efficiency is far greater. What people don’t like is sacrificing power and Petrol delivers the most power.

    From my understanding, the US has the cheapest fuel of many Countries. Like said above though, Yanks don’t want 4 cylinder misers that run on Gas, they want BIG motors that run on Petrol. The words “shitting in ones nest” come to mind.

    I hope that wasn’t your cell phone camera. You could blow innocent people up by using it at the pump, you know!

    (Yeah, right…there’s another urban myth that needs to be quashed.)

    Aint that the truth! The “myth” has be proven wrong MANY times, yet, women with highly static dresses (which are the cause) are just fine, and they want saftey, go figure!

  75. I’d take the computer :p

  76. McMohan

    Matt, did you take the snap with your cell? Then you would perhaps like to advise not to keep your cell on in a gas station :-)

  77. Matt,

    Soon, it will cost more to ship the product to US than the chip. Poor English wordplay. FYI, in France, I just pay twice the price you pay. So, your math is already true in France. Hopefully, we don’t have many cars that can fit 30 gallon in their tanks.

    Thomas.

  78. Dave (original)

    The cell phone myth has been discounted a few times already.

  79. Things keep heading the direction they are, in a year or two the title will be, “A share of GOOG stock for a tank of gas” (and I’m not predicting any declines in GOOG value. :)

  80. When did you bought that computer? If you bought it 2 to 3 years ago, it must have been too expensive…

  81. dao

    In Bulgaria 1 US gallon cost 5.78 USD (with tax)! (95 octane) ( 2.04 BGN/L)

  82. I am glad that gas price are pretty low in my country.. But the computers are still costly . ..

  83. Tom Tom Tom Tom

    IMHO, you should buy a Sat Nav if you don’t already have it in your car. It pays for itself in saved petrol pretty damn quick. Even the 2 mile trip in my home town I’ve done a million times, it (mine’s a Tom Tom) suggested a slightly shorter route for. Plus the number of times it’s saved me from getting lost, or stuck in traffic must have saved me a few tank fulls of petrol.

  84. Time to start building nucliar power stations. Time to promote more train travel. Around my area of NJ people pay a large premium to be within walking distance of a train station.

  85. NC

    To the Brits commenting here: if you can find fuel for £1/litre, be thankful! Here in North Wales its £1.03/litre. That might not seem like a lot, but on a 65 litre tank, you could buy another 2 litres for the price I have to pay. Don’t even mention diesel!

    We can all laugh at the irony of an American complaining about gas prices, but given that, historically, a gallon used to cost less than 50 pence, the US gas prices are cause for concern.

    The main factor in the cost here is that the US dollar is tragically weak. So much so that OPEC are considering alternatives to pricing oil in US dollars.

  86. I’m suprised it let him go to $100 / tank. He must not have used credit.

    My Visa, Discover, and Amex cards all stop at $50 on the pump.

  87. From my understanding, the US has the cheapest fuel of many Countries. Like said above though, Yanks don’t want 4 cylinder misers that run on Gas, they want BIG motors that run on Petrol. The words “shitting in ones nest” come to mind.

    It could be worse, Dave. Check this out:

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/10/26/electriccar-zenn.html

    Here’s something that would save a buttload of gas in urban centres with centralized populations and that is manufactured in Canada (ironically, the only country that won’t allow its use).

    While I couldn’t use the vehicle personally (since most of the places I go require me to travel on roads > 50 km/h), it would be bigtime useful here.

    Yanks are still one up on us Hosers.

  88. Hi Matt,

    I can’t help but notice that there’s no disclosure on your articles about this Google Linux based computer. Seeing that you work for Google, there is obviously a conflict of interest here. I understand that these are your personal opinions, but google has penalized sites for not disclosing their affiliations (through nofollow attribute) with products they promote. So I find it strange that in the past few weeks you have written quite a bit about this computer without using nofollow tags when linking to wal-mart.

    This is obviously not a paid post, because you’re Matt Cutts, but it could easily be mistaken for one according to your “paid linking” guidelines. Is your PR going to be affected by this?

  89. You Americans know nothing… all your gas is subsidised. in the UK the prices of petrol are insane, its gone up 10p a litre in a month and now at over £1 a litre… costs me £150 that’s over $300 to fill my tank and i’ve only a 1.9 diesel VW Passat.

  90. Dave

    LPG vs Petrol

    yeh thats becuase they ain’t taxed the same you also give up most of your boot/trunk to mount the “gas” tank.

    Calor gas sales guys used to have compnay cars that ran on gas in the uk.

    Hydogen fuel cells could work i’ve seen the test buses in london but stupid people dont want to allow fueling stations (there is some sort of folk memory of the hindenberg disaster)

  91. I waited for this topic a while. We could see in Germany with increasing gas prices, rising loans for parking and now eaven public transport workers going on strike that….. a lot of people switched to car sharing, working from home office, doing more online research and shopping … so our online traffic increased and our conversion rates are going up.

    High costs – and that’s a fact in evolution – put intelligent and flexible people into the winner’s seat. Google and other eCompanies are already there… others will follow or won’t survive.

  92. Time to switch to a hybrid. :)

  93. If you were here in Bulgaria, for those 28 gallons you would’ve paid ~200 $ for 98 octane gas.

  94. Mike Gale

    This demonstrates how little aware we all are of what happens in other countries.

    It also shows the heart of how our species can destroy the planet. Subsidised pricing of a raw material that is running out. Sheesh. Only pork barrel politics can deliver that decade after decade!

  95. Here’s an interesting thing I read recently – http://blog.wired.com/cars/2007/11/the-end-of-oil.html

    For those of you interested in the whole oil question, I’d recommend a great book called ‘twilight in the desert’ – it’s written by a guy called Matt Simmons (it’s basically an extended PhD dissertation, so it goes into quite some technical depth). It’s a really, really interesting read.

  96. It also shows the heart of how our species can destroy the planet. Subsidised pricing of a raw material that is running out. Sheesh. Only pork barrel politics can deliver that decade after decade!

  97. Dave (original)

    Maurice,

    As I keep saying, if one CHOOSES to use Petrol, I can see no reason to whine about prices of it. Public transport IS a viable alternative to many, yet these many choose not to use it. Same goes for smaller cars, motor bikes, scooters, mopeds, push bikes and the list goes on, and the legs God gave us.

  98. Dave (original)

    It could be worse, Dave.

    So could have WW2 ;)

  99. Wow…I am very scared to think that here in San Diego, California we are not far off from those kind of prices at all. Honestly I remember buying gas in March of 2004 for $1.65 a gallon and now approximately 3.5 years later it has more than doubled??? That rate of inflation absolutely has to have set a record. $100 tank of gas…don’t know if I should laugh, cry or buy a bicycle.

  100. That’s way cheap, 1 US gallon is roughly equal to 4 Au litres.

    We pay the equivalent of USD$6.30 per gallon in Australia for standard unleaded, you pay about USD$4.00 – makes you want to go to war!

  101. And happy holiday Matt.

  102. just pray that oil doens’t go pass 100USD a barrel…. else we may even see 10 bucks a gallon… sigh…

  103. I was really surprised the other day when I saw the photo of that $199 Computer. Made me think… gas stations always have promotions, so by the time it costs $199 to fill up, maybe the computers will be $19.99 and you can get a free one after 10 fills and swiping your gas card. :)

    Okay, maybe not. But both gas and computer prices seem to be ridiculous in their own little way now!

  104. Miles

    Design Freak,

    “Best solution: walk; public transit; or stay in a room”?

    Get a bike! It’s far quicker for me to cover the 5 miles to work by bike than by bus. Some mornings it’s even quicker by bike than car (both journeys taking 20 minutes). And this is on a chopper with 2 gears!

    And yes, Matt, without wanting to get political, the US still have incredibly cheap fuel. I’ve just calculated our cheapest fuel, at one of our cheapest garages, at the equivalent of $7.78/G

  105. Shaun

    It’s pathetic how the US strips the world of all its natural resources, and then people are still complaining about the cost. It should be 100 times that cost, will stop you all having heart attacks by the time you’re 40 if you actually walked sometimes too.

  106. Didn’t realize their was a difference between petrol and gas except in the US we call it gas, and in the UK the refer to it as petrol.

    GaryTheScubaGuy

  107. Great article, puts things well into perspective.

    Been away painting landscapes for a while so I am just catching up on your blog articles

    First computer I had was an Epson 33 Mhz, 64 MB disk space and 3 MB RAM. Additionnal RAM was $100 a MB. Used to take 45 minutes to save my work. Didn’t have Windows yet, everything was run in DOS.

  108. Dave (original)

    Is the US ever going to use the Metric system along with the rest of the World? It’s REALLY easy and a whole lot easier than Imperial. You guys thought and died for your Indepence from the British and yet STILL use an British system from the 1800′s.

  109. Well That is true,

    Technology gets cheap as the it gets old and Petrol and petroleum products goes high as they are nonrenewable , So they are depleting from the world each day.

    But As you think i have recent experience of buying a second hand compuet 2.8 ghz pentium P$ processor with combo drive for 120 US $

  110. Scott

    Matt,

    You think that’s expensive?!?

    Your Premium petrol cost and equivalent of 90p per litre. I live in the UK and have just paid £1.04 ($2.14) per litre ($8.10 a gallon) for standard petrol.

    Our government taxes us 73p ($1.50) of every litre ($5.68 per gallon) of petrol we buy!

    Put that in your tank and burn it (but it will cost you!)

  111. Sorry to say this Matt, and don’t take it personally, but I get really fed up with Americans who complain about the price of fuel. Okay, you might not have been complaining but it was certainly clear that you though it was expensive. USA have amongst the cheapest gas prices in the world, think of us poor UK citizens paying aprroximatly 7.8 USD per Gallon for regular 87 Octane gas, thats nearly twice the price of the USA. Now I don’t want to get too pollitical here but suffice to say there are many connections between the US government and the Saudi government who by all accounts own approximatly 4% of the USA in Buildings, Stocks and Shares, many of whom are oil companies.

  112. Dan

    I’ll take the computer and telecommute. :)

  113. You’re a stronger man than me Matt. I think if I saw $7/gal of gas on the pump I would have to go home and change pants.

  114. Blame the Cheney Energy Task Force, it was the one success of the Nixon/Cheney/Kissinger White House.

  115. Wow, can’t believe gas is so cheap in the States!

    If you were in the UK you’d see it is so much more expensive. I’m 35 and have never had a car in my life because the gas here is so pricey.

    I’m glad gas prices are rising in the States as it may encourage people to walk more/buy smaller cars which will be better for their health/help the planet.

    P.S. A belated Happy Thanksgiving :-)

  116. Sheesh … americans and their cheap oil ! Come to europe to feel the true price. Better yet, come to Romania that has the same price for oil as in Europe, but we have 10 times less money (income, salary)

  117. Brett

    Where were you that you could get “racing” grade fuel?

    Thanks

  118. I think that gas will double in the next 5 years, and our way of transportation will be changed forever unless we can get away from leaning on other nations to purchase oil from.

  119. Dave (original)

    While I do agree that the US has some of the cheapest Petrol prices, but one cannot cite price per * without relation to wages and other living costs.

    IMO, Petrol should be double the price in all Countries so people are NOT so quick to use cars!

    Seems like everyone is all for saving the Planet………so long as they are not inconvenienced in the process.

  120. I’m not sure that $199 really gives one a working computer.

    1) What software did the computer contain? OK $199 for the hardware is one thing, but once you’ve added the software it can easily be triple the price:
    - Windows OS
    - MicroSoft office (for standard set of applications)
    - Malware protection (Anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, pop-up blocker, SPAM filters).

    2) With Vista, running multiple applications, one needs minimum 1Gb, 2Gb is better. Also, if one is using the computer for more than a word-processor, a decent-speed processor is needed. I can foresee the need to either upgrade this computer or replace it.

    3) With u-tube and other applications becoming standard, one really needs a set of speakers as well.

  121. Mike12345

    Doug,

    The gPC comes with its own OS, and Openoffice installed. And you get a set of speakers so you can use YouTube.

    Additional software and some malware protection is available for free from the Open Source community.

    I think is $199 is a pretty good deal for what you get. This is definately a working computer for most people, and i think it covers the basic needs of the average user.

  122. Wow $199 is so high for just gas! I was recently in Venezuela where their gas prices are regulated and you can fill up an SUV’s gas tank for around $3… not per gallon, THE WHOLE TANK. That’s cheaper than what water costs there. Of course the economy is failing and the whole country is going downhill so…

  123. That’s insane. It makes me so happy I just bought a diesel bug – 55mpg! I drove 300 miles this week for under 15.00. . . too bad I do feel a little laking an the manliness department with the ride. I’m more blown away by how cheap computers are getting. At this rate, pretty soon, there will be systems that are as expensive as throwaway pocket calulators.

  124. soloway

    buy an old diesel mercedes and convert it to biodiesel using a vegetable oil conversion kit. the old model diesel mercedes last forever and the kits only cost about $1500 (for a good one)

  125. finn

    Now we know why gasprice sites are so popular.

    Get on yer bike !

  126. I don’t see the point of that. You might as well just fill up with the lower cheaper octane gas and then go buy yourself a few bottles of octane boost. We already have the technology for free energy, but the elites have us held hostage to the black crap we suck out of the ground so they can continue to stuff their pockets with our money.

  127. Wow… In brazil we pay around $5 a gallow… and thats not high octane gas!

  128. Hello from Germany,

    that ist realy a lot of money for gas. We in Germany pay around 2,90 Dollar for a gallon. The goverment appreciates the use of gas …. but dont even ask about die benzin prices .. they are nuts.

  129. Everybody knows that the U.S drives the markets all over the world. Therefore you should be concerned if the drivers in my great country start spending less money due to high fuel prices. Without the U.S driving the worlds markets you would be screwed. So you better pray that fuel prices tend downward before we quit buying your crappy products.

  130. Giovanni

    Hi, I´m going to say something out of every proportion and forgive me for telling this. In my country Venezuela the price of gas is cheaper than mineral water, I fill up my tank with $1.67 (50 liters). This is because Venezuela has the largest oil reserves of the western world. But these prices of course are not in proportion with the rest of the world.

  131. That is pretty insane!

    Mineral Water that high??? I always tell myself how lucky those countries who have oil reserves in their land – but come to think of it, in dire needs , people go back to the basic needs. Food, WATER and shelter. So you have oil, but you cant have it all.

    Just my two cents

  132. I’d rather have both the computer and the gas and by buying BOTH at Walmart! lol…yes, it’s insane how much computers have depreciated, even brand new models. Does anyone remember how expensive calculators were when they were first introduced?

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