Past Peak?

Parkridge—unlike oil—has yet to peak in price

2041 Jefferson Ave.

1,856 sq. ft., 3 bdrm, 1.5 bath
Jennifer Montgomery
Coldwell Banker

Filled up the car lately? Or are you, like a lot of Knoxvillians, milking that last quarter tank, hoping to ride out the crisis before your next fill-up? Or maybe you tried to fill up, only to be turned away by a "sorry, no gas" sign at the pump?

The reasons behind the almost unbelievable uptick in area gas prices are complicated. High wholesale prices driven by worries that hurricanes could damage Gulf Coast refineries, delivery schedules, some old-fashioned fear mongering on the part of the media, and the opportunistic cent or two added to prices by some retailers resulted in a scenario not seen around town since the 1970s. Prices may soon be back to normal, but the mini-crisis does show how vulnerable the entire system, and perhaps our entire way of life, is. And, when you think about it, so does the realization that paying about three bucks for a gallon of gas is becoming "normal."

That's where the concept of "Peak Oil" comes in. Unlike what you may have experienced at the pump of your neighborhood convenience store this past weekend, the gas isn't going to suddenly disappear. It will, however, become more expensive as supplies tighten and producers, attempting to meet demand, chase after more elusive, expensive fields. The days of a Spindletop-type "gusher" are long gone. Coupled with rising demand in India and China, the whole complicated system becomes more prone to shocks and shudders, making the pricing hiccup Knoxville just went through more commonplace.

Luckily, there are options. Drive a hybrid, ride the bus, or, best of all, reduce the miles between you and everywhere you need to go. Peak oil, in that regard, is driving an urban renaissance around the country as increasing numbers of folks choose the city over suburbia.

But before you consider making such a "sacrifice," check out what urban living has to offer. This recently restored Victorian on Jefferson Avenue in Parkridge, for instance, offers a newly renovated kitchen that mixes original wainscoting with granite tile and stainless steel appliances. There are hardwood floors, a gorgeous staircase, and fireplaces with original mantles and tile, while the full bath features ceramic black and white tile alongside original wainscoting and a claw-foot tub.

At under $100 a square foot, it's even possible to have all these features at an affordable price, close to downtown and convenient to transit. Plus, looking around at the amount of renovation that's recently swept through the neighborhood, it's apparent that Parkridge—unlike oil—has yet to peak.