Fifty dollars?!?!

I’m not one who likes to use exclamation points when I write. Exclamation points–like boldface and italics– lose their effectiveness when used too often, so it’s better not to use them in the first place. And don’t even get me started on using all caps. But I’ll make an exception here.

Fifty dollars! You must be kidding me!

One of the cars I drive is a big Nissan minivan. It has a large tank, and I try not to let the gas tank get too empty, in order to keep the cost of fill-ups low. But gas is always just a bit more where I live than in many other places, and even going to the suburbs to fill up can be a pretty heavy hit.

The tank was half empty this morning, so I figured it was time to fill up. I guesstimated something in the $35-38 range should do it. So I inserted my credit card, selected my grade (always the cheapest, because gas costs enough already), and went to it.

I watched with dismay as the pump hit $38 and kept right on going. $40, then $45, and finally it shut off at just a hair over $50. The difference between what I had expected to pay, and what I finally will pay when the credit card bill comes, is only $12. But that’s less money I’ll have for food, or the cable bill, or whatever else comes my way in the weeks ahead. And every additional $12 counts, in this economy.

What gets me the most is that, in two or three days’ time, I’ll be right back at another pump, spending more that I want to, for another few days’ worth of mobility. The nation can not long survive, financially at least, with gas at $4 a gallon and up. We’re too spread out, and too unwilling to change habits and start carpooling or riding bicycles across long distances.  I’m not sure what will happen to change this, but something needs to give, and soon.

Soon, I say!

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