$1.1 billion per day

The United States spent a record $34.4 billion on foreign oil in November, according to a U.S. Commerce Department report. That’s $1,130,000,000 we’re sending overseas every single day, and is a whopping 25% increase over 2006 in nominal dollars.

World grain stocks are currently at their lowest levels in modern times. Traders are apparently “shocked” at the much lower than expected plantings of winter wheat, but when North Dakota crops rot in the field and lie fallow because farmers can’t get diesel to harvest and plant it’s not surprising news, though of course there are other factors in play.

Exports from the US up 12% from 2006.

For 2008, I predict:

  • Less driving by the American population, and perhaps some more getting around by bicycle.
  • Less high fructose corn syrup in the American diet.
  • Higher prices for all foods.
  • Dramatic price increases in Made In China bikes.
  • Maybe some more localized American industry and more locally produced food.
  • You might want to think about plowing up your yard to plant a vegetable garden.

    Here’s something for Noah — the current issue of the Journal of Public Transportation published research on U.S. Guaranteed Ride Home (or Emergency Ride Home) programs. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) looked at the characteristics, costs and utilization of 55 (out of 63) Guaranteed Ride Home programs. Bicyclists and walkers are eligible in 54% of surveyed programs, and in one (Santa Cruz!) rollerbladers are eligible.

    Another article in the same issue of the Journal surveys Employer Perceptions and Implementation of Commute Alternatives Strategies in the Atlanta area, which include things like bicycle lockers and showers. The survey shows, unfortunately, most employers perceive that non-car commuter benefits for employees provide minimal benefits for the company, that employers believe their employees lack interest in such measures, and that upper management does not provide support.

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