High Gas Prices To Help The Tech Industry?

from the all-depends dept

We’ve already talked about how high gas prices may be pushing more people to shop online and to telecommute, but what about its overall impact on the tech industry? Some are saying that it’s actually going to be a huge boost. There are a few reasons for this. First, the tech industry doesn’t rely on oil/gas nearly as much as many other industries. That’s not to say there isn’t some reliance on it, but it’s not as important. Second, as mentioned above, it could push for more telecommuting and online shopping, both of which can help tech companies. In general, technology can often be used in ways that help people avoid traveling — and if gas prices make people not want to travel, that can clearly be a boost. Of course, thinking even farther out, high gas prices could help the tech industry by generating more interest in alternative engine technology as well.

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Comments on “High Gas Prices To Help The Tech Industry?”

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dorpus says:

Does it?

The 1990s had historically low gas prices, and the golden era of computing occurred then also. We look at Europe, where gas prices are the world’s highest, and their tech sector has done poorly. We look at India, which has subsidized gasoline and very low gas prices, and their tech sector is doing well. There seems to be zero correlation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Does it?

I mostly agree with “Does it”.
And, whenever there’s a recession, usually spurred by energy costs, the tech sector is almost always hit hardest.
I think if we look longer-term, however, technology does help eliminate some of the reliance on energy and helps to boost the economy out of recession.
So, it’s a bit of a “both-and,” but I mostly agree with the poster.

Pete Austin says:

Gas Prices matter more in America

As so often, dorpus has this entirely wrong, because Americans pay much more for gas than Europeans. India of course has low wages.

The “pump price” for American gasoline is less, but this advantage is more-than cancelled out because average American citizens buy five times as much fuel as average Europeans.

1) European cars are 50% more efficient than American equivalents,
2) few Europeans drive SUVs and a lot of them drive diesel, and
3) many European cities are more compact
Gas prices too high? Try Europe.

If you wonder why some Europeans criticize America for being wasteful, read the article.

clouser (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: EU tech sucks?

Not at all does it such.

SAP, Skype, SQL are others…

And what about biotech (Sweden)?

The four biggest firms are there: Novartis, Roche, Syngeta, and Lonza. Plus another 200 innovative, up and coming dedicated biotechnology firms (DBF’s).

Europe is advancing rapidly too in terms of innovation and new firm development.

I don’t think there is a correlation between fuel prices and innovation.

I believe the best thing that can happen to the country right now is to see increasingly high gas prices. While this will push the US into a recession (not good for tech) it may increase public pressure on the government to increase the amount of R & D for alternative energy research (good for tech). (I am certain there is a breakthrough innovation — a really disruptive technology — out there waiting to be created — but first we need lotsa research and lotsa research funding). This will lead to alternative energy innovations, and help move the country away from a reliance on oil.

Then we can curtail this current upward trend of trading blood for oil. It will only get worse if we don’t — despite the rhetoric, the troops are not going anywhere and look for more and more of our young men and women to be sent to the middle east to shed their blood so we can drive our SUV’s. Unfortunately America’s political structure and system is too short-sighted and motivated for the short-term to change it otherwise. But in this case, technology is politics.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: Re:2 EU tech sucks?

If high gas prices continue, then the US will indeed invest in alternative sources of energy — coal, gas, and nuclear, that is. 😉

Do-gooder suburbanites can attach stupid solar panels to their roofs and call themselves saviours of the Earth, tinkerers can build their corn cob-powered cars that produce 100 times the air pollution and call themselves “green”, college kids can break windows in retail districts and call themselves heroes.

Ivan Sick says:

No Subject Given

“high gas prices could help the tech industry by generating more interest in alternative engine technology” This is the right answer. Not necessarily the cats, (although I am not personally opposed) but that alternative energy sources and tech need to be accomplished (hybrids are nice, but still a compromise).
Of course, the market will still bear these rising prices so probably nothing will happen. Most people who drive already are just willing to suck it up, maybe because there are still very few decent public transportation systems in America.

dorpus says:

Re: No Subject Given

What if oil prices fluctuate back down before any significant adjustments take place?

Back in the 1990s, oil prices seemed to be locked in a downward spiral, and everyone talked about a future in which oil prices would keep going down indefinitely. Today, everyone is talking about a future in which oil prices would go up forever. I see Techdirt is not above this sort of armchair economist hype.

There was a lot of speculation in the ’90s that Central Asian oil would create a global glut. Political instability and geographical remoteness made oil companies back out of the project, but they may go at it again now.

Ray Greenfield says:

Gas is not best

I will say this once and not repeated it” there is absolutely nothing wrong with the internal combustion engine that a little reverse mechanical engineering can’t fix” I don’t care if you drive a great big gas guzzling truck or a muscle car with six four barrel carburetors attached to the intake manifold. Theoretically speaking? “The overall principal of (RPS) remains the same.” Alternative fuels don’t have much of an incentive these days, for they all cost about the same. On the other hand, I have discovered though scientific investigation, that a small linear modification to the fuel injection system as well as the electronic ignition circuits would allow the engine to run on something totally alien to that alcohol-based equivalent to those fossil fuels. In layman’s terms, the internal combustion engine will be around for many years to come. Once I have inquired the necessary funds, I shall embark on a new form of research using our sun as a primary source of fuel. Converting the sun’s awesome solar energy into cheap replacement fuels must be job one. If I’m confusing you a bit here, it’s not that I mean too, we scientists like a doctor who writes prescriptions have our own way of speaking. Just like a politician who uses fancy college level words to confuse his many constituents.

Thank you Professor Ray

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