I ran into reporter, Shawn Neisteadt in the Keloland newsroom this morning and had to congratulate him on his story this week about the latest surge in gasoline prices. Most reports I’ve seen lately on the subject feature folks filling up at the pump who are South Dakota nice..meaning when asked how they feel about the high cost of fuel, they’ll say with a smile, “Well, there’s not much we can do about it, I guess.” Or, “I suppose we’re lucky. I hear gas prices are much higher in other parts of the world.” I hear stuff like that and want to scream. So that’s why it was so refreshing for Shawn to find people to interview who more accurately reflect the feelings of nearly all of us. We’re P.O.’d. I’m not totally jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon just yet but I do think that a rebellion of some sort is in order. Remember 4 years ago when gas prices got this high? A few lawmakers started pushing for a windfall tax on oil companies or economically punishing oil producing countries taking advantage of the situation. But what finally worked was when Americans just said screw this and stopped all unnecessary driving. Not only did big oil start feeling the pinch but so did those who rely on the traveling public for their livelihood and, before too long, it didn’t matter how much new demand there was from India and China (The popular oil expert excuse for increased demand)..OUR prices came down because we were using less. So, after filling up this morning at $3.56 a gallon for ethanol blend..and hearing all the warnings about five dollar gas by summer..I’m going to start my own rebellion by cutting way back on consumption. I’m not going to spend 25 thousand dollars or more on an underpowered, unattractive, undersized and unsafe hybrid vehicle no matter how many tax incentives are offered. I’m keeping what I have and, like the guy in Shawn’s report said, “If that means I’ve got to get a damn moped, I’ll get a moped. They ain’t going to put me down.” I’ve got a Kawasaki motorcycle in the garage that is going to get a lot more use when the weather gets nice this year. I might even convince Linda to be my “Chicky Baby” like the old days and ride along with me even though she’d much rather experience the wind through her hair from the comfortable confines of our old Camaro convertible. Just wait, before too long someone is going to go on the airwaves, like they always do, pointing out the cost of fuel in today’s dollars isn’t proportionately much higher than what we’ve been paying for decades. Well, that guy has never seen my retirement portfolio or looked closely at the average income of those who actually work for a living; people who not only have to deal with exorbitant prices at the pump but for every other commodity and service that has gone up because of them. I’m hearing a lot about health care, unemployment, immigration and even same sex marriage in the current political campaigns. I guarantee that whichever candidate vows to do whatever is necessary to stop Americans from being robbed at the gas station will get my vote.
Oh, that’s right. My motorcycle needs a new battery. Good thing Sturdevents is within walking distance.