Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rant #1,192: I Have Gas

No, not from Passover matzoh.

The holiday ended yesterday evening at sundown, and my stomach held up pretty well.

Everything in moderation, and I think that is how I conquered the dreaded "matzoh stomach."

What I am talking about is gas over the price of gas.

I don't know about where you are, but in my neck of the woods, gas has gone up tremendously over the past few weeks, probably a dime or more from what it was.

And even with that, gas is higher in price this year than last year.

I think the average national price is in the $3.30s, but by me, the price is approaching the $4.00 plateau once again.

If I look around, I can get gas for about $3.75 or so, but most stations are at $3.79 or higher.

Why has gas skyrocketed?

As usual, it has risen because of every excuse in the book.

Let's see ... unrest in the Middle East ... refineries not pumping out what they should for one reason or another ... or perhaps the dreaded "summer mix" of gas that we get in New York, which is different than the "winter mix," and pricier.

No one has yet to explain to me why we have to have "mixes" by season. Isn't gas gas, and wouldn't a standard mix power my car through all the seasons?

And once again the average Joe like me gets the bill.

What else is new?

But also, what can you do?

I need gas to power my car to get to work, to go to the supermarket to shop for groceries on the weekend, even to get myself and my family to the movies on the weekend, if we so choose to do that.

We aren't wasting the gas, it is something that we need to live.

I don't really know what we can do to preserve the gas we have, and use it more wisely.

The days of joyrides are over, and have been over for years.

I guess it is simply supply and demand, and we are just going to have to live with the reality that gas prices are going to go up and down with regularity.

When I first got my driver's license in 1974, I think gas was 67 cents a gallon.

Now, it is more than five times that price, moving up the ladder during the past 40 years.

Who would have thought such things when I first started to drive?

But things are different now, and we are just going to have to live with it.


  1. Gas isn't just gas.

    This summer blend is mainly designed to be better for the environment. On hot summer days, gasoline can create more ozone. The summer blend has chemicals that reduce the creation of that pollutant.

    You get a price break in winter because we're not so concerned about the buildup of ozone in the cold months.

    Frankly I don't have a problem with that. I'd rather the gas companies think about the environment for once. I've spent far to much of my employer's funds cleaning up gas and its byproducts, especially benzene and MTBE, to complain about the oil companies doing something good for the environment for once.

    But as for the rest of it...

    When I bought my car in 1995, ten gallons of gas (my average fill up) was about $15. Same car now costs me $38 for 10 gallons. That's a good deal more than the rate of inflation over the last 20 years, I suspect.

    "Unrest in the Middle East" and "bad weather in the Gulf of Mexico" means that the oil dealers are anticipating shortages and are speculating on future supplies, driving the price up. The shortages don't materialize, but the price hikes do, and get passed on to us.

    And that's the real problem.

  2. Ask most people about preserving the environment vs. the high cost of gas, and they would take a lower cost of gas anytime. Right or wrong, your pocketbook comes first.

  3. I don't agree that it's "most people", though I am sure a lot would agree with you. But the cost of the additives is really not what's driving the price up.

    Hey, if I told you that I'm going to charge you extra in the grocery store for plastic bags, a lot of people would bring their own bags, but a lot would just pay the extra money for the bags.

  4. All that I know is that I drove past a local gas station today, and in one day, the price went up 10 cents. Yes, in one day. Frankly, air quality is important, but it is secondary to the fact that gas is creeping closer to $4 a gallon. My wallet can't breathe!

  5. Back in the MTBE days, the additive was used in all seasons, and had no effect on the changing price of gas. If we did that with the current additives, they'd lose the excuse to raise the prices every spring.



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