$93.00 USD

The other day, I spent $93.00 to fill the tank on my 2000 Ford Windstar. 

Ninety three dollars

Now, I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a hell of a lot of money.  I’m none too thrilled that it takes me almost $34 a tank more to fill up that just a year ago.  Gas has gone up approximately 35% in the last year, according to the information I got at this website.

Some people can afford this kind of increase, and fortunately I’m one of them…barely.  My family has made adjustments, though.  My venerable old 1998 Grand Voyager and it’s 18 mpg has been replaced by a Saturn SL1 that gets about 30 mpg.  That helps a bit, but at some point we’re going to have to make some more decisions that won’t be so easy as just replacing a vehicle.  We both work, so we both need vehicles.  I’ve got three kids, and I need something capable of carrying the whole family without causing a shooting war among the kids.  There will need to be larger changes in our daily life in order to afford increasing costs, since the price of gas will inevitably (and has begun to already) jack up the cost of everything from bread and milk to the taxes we pay to maintain our roads and infrastructure. 

I suppose that here we’ll go with the inevitable bitching about the oil companies and how they’re raking in money hand over fist.  Well, yes they are, on pretty much the same margin that they’ve always made.  Only now the volume is greater because of greater demand.  So duh, they’re going to make more money.  I think everyone that bitches about the oil companies’ profits might want to check their 401k if they have one and see who’s making money for them right now.  There aren’t many stocks that are going well, but oil companies are among the good ones. 

I think there are a lot of reasons for oil – and especially gasoline and other distillates – going through the roof.  Among the more obvious: There’s an ever-accelerating demand from China and other Asian countries that are hitting the developmental speedway.  Our own country’s demand continues to increase.  Within our own borders – thanks to environmental laws, Al Gore, and a prevailing NIMBY attitude, among other factors – it would take an act of Congress, the wrath of God, and 145,365 tons of pixie dust to get any more refineries built.  There are lots of other reasons, but we can’t just look at Big Oil and wash our own hands of any responsibilty for what’s going on.

Sooner or later, ladies and gentlemen, that tank of gas for my Windstar is going to be too much for me – for a lot of people.  For some folks it already is.  Sure, the price of gas might moderate for a while, but it’s not going to go down too far anytime soon.  Me, I’ve made a small step in the right direction by buying a smaller, more fuel-efficient car.  I think maybe it’s time we all took some steps.  If we don’t, we’re going to get left behind.

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