October 16, 2004 by Allen George
The dollar’s @ 79.74 cents US and crude just poked its nose above the $55 mark.
As us former Qualcomm employees like to say “Our money’s disappearing down them tubes”. Each cent costs us quite a bit when it comes to currency conversion. Transferring 1000 USD now instead of in August means that we just ‘lost’ $103 CDN. That’s a significant amount of cash. From my amateurish viewpoint a higher Canadian dollar (while making it cheaper for us to buy foreign goods) is going to be quite a concern for exporters – both in natural resources and manufacturing. To some extent Canadian industry has been insulated from the effects of low(er) productivity growth by the weakness of the dollar. That shield’s slowly being lifted.
Oh yeah – gas prices. I think this is the most noticeable effect of the price of crude. Doesn’t everyone remember when gas used to cost 6X cents/L? To put it in a historical perspective however, this price is no where near the inflation adjusted price hit in the oil crisis of the 70s. Apparently crude should be $80 (approx) in current dollars for us to come close to that. With any luck (unlikely) the higher gas prices climb, the more it’ll force people to take a serious look at their vehicle & transportation choices.
Coming from Brampton, I see my fair share of SUVs and pickups. And I remember driving down the 401 in the Corolla, dwarfed by all the sport-utes surrounding me. The irony being of course, that each seated one person and had no more dirt on it than my car. I’ve never liked SUVs and in my personal opinion: “an environmental travesty foisted on us by car companies and bought into by the populace”. We’re all responsible. I honestly wish that there was more investment in public transit/better urban planning (Brampton – I’m looking @ you)/purchasing smaller cars. Every little bit helps.
Brampton. Oh yes.
Brampton, being a typical sub-urban development is highly car-centric and its transit system suffers from the poor choices made while designing the city itself. As a result, getting to Toronto can be expensive/a pain in the neck. Most people drive. When I came to Brampton 10 years ago, the 410 was manageable. Now, its been widened to 3 lanes each way and even then, in the morning it is jammed. And I mean packed tight. When I lived at my old house, places down the street had 3 or 4 cars jammed onto their driveway. And that’s not an oddity by any means. I’m positive the Peel region has the highest cars per capita in North America – and there’s no doubt that higher gas prices have eaten a significant chunk out of the disposable income available to Brampton’s residents.
Kinda makes you wonder what the effect is going to be.