The end of this past week was a little unusual with regard to the sale of gasoline. I filled my tank on Tuesday at a gasoline station that usually has the lowest fuel prices. The price I paid was $4.19 per gallon for regular. Four days later, that same gasoline station is selling regular for $4.67 per gallon. That’s an increase of $0.48 per gallon in just a few days.
My wife called me as she was leaving work yesterday and asked if I thought she should fill up her car before the price of gasoline got too high. I suggested to her that she could check for lines and decide if it was worth trying to fill up. She had a half-tank, so she probably didn’t need to fill up yet.
When she got to her chosen gasoline station, she had to wait in line. Apparently an increase of around $0.50 per gallon in less than a week was enough to cause a lot of people to try to fill up when they would not normally do so. This reminded me of the gasoline shortages in the 1970’s. I even saw news reports on TV of some gasoline stations being out of gasoline and some refusing to sell more gasoline because the price they have to charge is “too high.”
A little over 18 months ago, I posted a blog entry entitle Oil Madness. In the article, I wrote that I believed (and I still believe) gasoline will continue to rise in price until it gets to a point where most people cannot afford to buy it. I can image that someone probably read that post and thought that $5 per gallon gasoline was not possible. What is depressing is that I have a clear memory of sub-$2 per gallon gasoline. Talk about days gone forever.
Yes, gasoline selling at $4.75 per gallon is hard on the pocketbook. But that’s still way better than the price people living in France are paying. I recently researched the price of gasoline in Paris and found that it was selling for over $9 per gallon. Now, they don’t sell it by the gallon there, but when you calculate the conversion from liters to gallons, that’s the price they’re paying.
In a city where mass transit is available, one can avoid having to pay a lot for gasoline. But when you live in an area that does not have mass transit, traveling by automobile is the only way most people can get around. I can’t imagine what it would be like to pay $9 per gallon if I needed to drive to Los Angeles or San Francisco. But as quickly as the price of gasoline is going up, we’ll be there before the end of this decade. Consider how you would live if you had to pay $9 per gallon for gasoline. Not a pleasant thought, is it?
The average citizen continues to be interviewed by the local TV news station and these people express their shock at the price of gasoline. It’s not shocking to me. I saw this coming in the middle of the last decade. That was about the time I traded in my pickup truck, which managed 21 miles per gallon on a really good day. I opted for a small gasoline/electric hybrid that gets between 40 and 50 miles per gallon. What I would really like to have is something that runs on a fuel other than gasoline. But that probably won’t be a reality in my lifetime, at least not on a national scale.
The oil companies and many politicians have most people convinced that if we just drill for more oil, everything will be just fine. Of course it will, at least for them anyway. As long as everyone keeps paying for gasoline that costs more and more, the oil companies will continue to make bigger profits, which means the politicians who are funded by the oil companies will make more money as well. Oh, by the way. If you’re not part of an oil company or involved in politics, you will likely not be fine.
As I stated in my article last year, our society is headed over a cliff. What I’ve seen during these past 18+ months is that none of our leaders is doing anything about it. As a matter of fact, they’re pressing harder on the accelerator and many in the public are cheering them on. By the time the majority of the citizens realizes where we are, it will be too late. I imagine it’s too late now anyway. But it was one heck of a ride, wasn’t it?