my sister just emailed me with a very good point concerning the previous post on indianapolis being the #7 most expensive city to drive in.
she points out that the study lists indy's gas price (presumably some kind of average) as $2.335. "for premium maybe!" she says. but the article clearly states they looked at "the cost of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline".
i drive past at least one gas station every day (except some sundays), and i have to agree. the absolute highest i've seen regular go for here in indy was about $2.19. that was at the height of the price gouging a few months ago, and people were absolutely flipping out about gas prices. i sure as hell have never ever seen the price of regular gas in the indianapolis metro area come even close to $2.33.
so where the hell did they get that number? and are the numbers for other cities similarly overpriced?
well i found the AAA fuel gauge report, which is cited as one of their sources in their methodology. and it lists the current indiana average gas price at $2.043, which i can believe (i paid $2.09 the other day).
in fact it lists the highest recorded price for indianapolis as $2.340 on 4/8/2005. so how can the average price be $2.335 if the price has never even gone over $2.340?
something is seriously screwy here.
so let's keep looking. atlanta is listed as #1 most expensive. the sperling study lists atlanta's gas price as $2.200. the AAA says atlanta's highest recorded price $2.200.
#2: birmingham, AL. sperling gas price: $2.192. AAA highest recorded price: $2.192.
#3: nashville, TN. sperling price: $2.205. AAA highest recorded price: $2.200.
#4: orlando, FL. sperling price: $2.270. AAA highest recorded price: $2.273.
#5: jacksonville, FL. sperling price: $2.281. AAA highest recorded price: $2.283.
#6: pensacola, FL. sperling price: $2.281. AAA highest recorded price: $2.281.
#7: indianapols, IN. sperling price $2.335. AAA highest recorded price: $2.340.
#8: san francisco/oakland, CA. sperling price: $2.699. AAA highest recorded price: $2.748 for SF and $2.689 for oakland.
#9: raleigh/durham, NC. sperling price: $2.252. AAA highest recorded price: $2.252.
#10: LA/long beach/santa ana, CA. sperling price: $2.610. AAA highest recorded price: $2.625.
so the sperling study does not use average gas prices. the prices used in that study are pretty much the highest they've ever been... and 10-20 cents or more higher than they are currently. study authors used the "current" average from two months ago (4/11/2005), which happens to be a week of record-high prices.
thos prices are then treated as though they were "average" and used to extrapolate other stuff, such as percentage of family income spent on gas. that seems pretty disingenuous to me. and the findings of the study should be regarded with extreme scepticism because of this. though their points about urban sprawl should not be disregarded.