Sunday, April 30, 2006

Gas prices

I love all these people who are bitching about the price of gasoline today.

Without even bringing up the politicians (okay, maybe I just did...) who are nothing but blowhards, on both sides of the aisle, people seem to forget when gas was really expensive. The 1970's.

In 1975 my father made (in the military) approximately $850 per month. He and my mother had five kids, one car, and luckily, lived on base. They didn't have to pay rent or utilities. If they had, they wouldn't have made it. The base we lived on was in the California desert, in the middle of nowhere. There were no public buses, no taxi service. The only "stores" on base, which had to be driven to, were the Commissary (groceries) and the Base Exchange (department store). No sales taxes were charged at either. But if they didn't have what you needed, you had to go out into "town". It was a sleepy town, I have no idea how large it was, since I was only nine, and didn't think about such things. I knew it seemed to take forever to drive there, though.

And all the stores were closed on Sundays (remember that?). Everything was a store front, there were no malls yet. My mother bought our school clothes once a year. Either out of the Sears catalog (so they could be shipped to us via mail) or we would make the trip to the K-mart - hours away.

I remember my mother bitching about the price of gas. Regular leaded gas, which had reached the unheard of price -on base- of 50 cents a gallon. That was, of course, exactly twice the amount I received each week as an allowance (IF I did my chores).
Anyway, the only point I am trying to make is that bitching about it is not going to do anything. You have to act. Raising the taxes, as some pundits have suggested, will not accomplish anything except to make the poorer Americans suffer. Cutting the taxes might be a way to go, as 40% of each dollar you spend is taxes - unacceptable in my mind.

And I don't care that the big oil companies are making record profits, either. That's what company's, successful ones, do. It is -after all- the American Way.

But if you are living in Deland and working at Disney*, driving your SUV or F350 to work each day, stop your bitching. Move, change jobs, take a bus, carpool, whatever.

I did. You can too.

I bought my car two years ago, used. It gets approximately 30 miles to the gallon in local traffic. I drive less, so my 13 gallon tank lasts me two weeks. It had 22,000 miles on it at one year old and now it has 35,000 miles on it.

(* The City of Deland and the employer Disney are only used as examples)


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