Apr 26, 2006

Gas Prices

Gas prices are up, way up, and we all know what that means. Yes, hairdos from news outlets across America are being dispatched to gas stations with two objectives, look serious while standing in front of the station and to find outraged drivers to interview. Taking these in reverse order I have the following observation. There is an inverse relationship between people who are willing to be interviewed and their fitness to offer an opinion. The dopier the subject the more likely they are to make the news. This is in part due to the sheer entertainment value in putting half-wits on the news and in part to the trend toward "no-fair" journalism. Victims are the cash cow of the news business. Intelligent people are not willing to get on the TV and whine about gas prices. They have better things to do. Moving along to the news readers. The average reporter, print or television, can't do math and will buy pretty much any story so long as it plays on the outrage of the citizens. In Hairdo Land everyone is entitled to everything. When they can't have it it is no damn fair. Some drivers are cash-strapped, some drive a bunch because they have to, cabbies, sales people, etc. and this is a real crisis for them. I get it. But most of us are not in that situation, so calm down. When gas was $2 per gallon the average driver who drove 12000 per year and got 20 miles per gallon spent $1200 per year on gas. At 3 bucks per, the same driver is going to spend $1800. That's not insignificant, but it is only $1.65 per day. What is a buck sixty five in the big scheme? Plenty to those who don't have, but not much compared to how many of us spend our money. For instance, I bought a cup of cheap coffee this morning for $1.28. 25% of American adults still smoke at $5.00 per pack. A Big Gulp at 7-11, $1.29. How about that lunch at McD's for $5 or 6 dollars? Don't even get me started on Starbucks or bottled water or Powerball tickets. Get some perspective for Pete's sake. The real deal though, is that this must be a conspiracy. That's the point the news folks are really trying to make. This is no fair and something is fishy. Chevron and Exxon are screwing consumers and we know it. Chuckie "I'm Outraged" Schummer rushed to the microphone to let us know that Bush sucks and he and his oil pals are screwing us. Plus the news people bring us stories about what folks are resorting to in order to get some gas. I saw where drivers in SoCal are purposely running out of gas on the freeway so that the courtesy patrol will rescue them. I don't get how this helps them. Someone else was selling his DVD collection to buy gas. Very sad, I feel very sad. The real deal is that a lot of people live on the financial edge because of their poor choices. Drivers all over the world pay far more that we do, but it has to be ChevBushon. Oil at $75 buck per barrel? Cheney. Forget China and its 18 bazillion cars. Forget its economy growing at 10% per year. Forget that America has relatively little oil and forget that guys like Chuckie Schummer won't let us drill for what we do have. Forget all that, because Goober at the corner station told Mindy from Channel 8 that something is fishy. It must be true. Look, I'm as unhappy about these prices as the next guy, but that is the way markets work. If you want to make a difference in your life in particular and the world in general, cut back on your driving. Walk somewhere, don't take that spur-of-the-moment trip to Target, ride the bus. Do something and stop complaining.

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