May 15th was the day of National Gas Boycott and I’m sure most of us got an e-mail from a well meaning friend asking us not to gas up our cars on that day. I didn’t gas up on Tuesday but it was out of a sense of solidarity ; I had no real expectation that the “boycott” would have any effect. The oil companies know that they have us over a barrel. We may stay away for a day or two but eventually we have to fill up. As a TV reporter put it ” The only way that you can make the oil companies take notice is if you trade in your SUV for a bicycle” and that is not going to happen.
In our part of New Jersey, gas is almost at the $3 / gallon mark and this is only the middle of May. Gas prices usually crest around Independence Day.This year they are certain to hit $3.50, if not $4 per gallon – and these are among the cheapest prices in the country. Then they start coming down and by October will , hopefully, be “down” to “only” $ 2.50 and people will go out and buy more gas guzzling behemoths.
What gets me is the the short term thinking of many drivers. When prices reach their summer high, there are newspaper articles in which drivers are quoted as being fed up with the high price of gas and how they are going to switch to more fuel efficient cars. Yet when the prices go “down” they seem to forget their resolutions. Today there seem to be more ultra heavy SUVs on the road than ever before.
I filled up yesterday and it cost me $40 ; it used to cost less than $30 the month before. Generally, I am conscious of gas prices only when I gas up but yesterday was different. I drove 30 miles altogether yesterday and I figured it cost me about $ 4 in gas money. A sobering thought.
It doesn’t help much to remind myself that prices are much higher elsewhere in the world. In Europe prices may be twice as much but the cities there were built in the pre -automobile age; distances are shorter and the public transportation system is much better and wide-ranging.
Oh well, all I can do is conserve as much as I can by combining errands and driving less.