Highway Robbery

Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm
By: Doug Lund
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gas-pricesI 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.


  1. JDS says:

    The problem I have is that I keep teling myself I need the gas in my vehicles ot go to work and live in general. That has devolpe a “Idon’t care” attitude about gas prices. In my town, all the stations are at identical prices (except for the one cosest to I-29, and he charges 5 cents more per gallon than everyone else. He knows he has a good thing going. Us town folks refer to the station pricing as the “Gas Mafia”. No one station dares change price downward without fear of retaliation.
    I got my body fixed up in the past couple of years and my Schwinn will be coming down off the hooks in my lawn shed and get some miles on it again.

  2. Matt Hendrickson says:

    Riding my bike to work in the summer sounds like a pretty darn good idea.

  3. SD Transplant says:

    On my way to work this morning (Fresno, CA) and almost wrecked the car when I glanced at the gas station sign… $4.40/gal. Up from $4.26 yesterday……… Oh how I miss SD prices!

  4. blueeyes says:

    With these gas prices, we find it necessary to cut back in other ways & it has an effect on our life. For example – we don’t make the trip to visit our parents as often now and that’s sad but I don’t think there’s an oil executive or a congressman/woman that gives a fig.

  5. Michael says:

    Gee, I guess all we would have to do for $2.00 a gallon gasoline is elect Michelle Bachman president. That’s what she promised, right? Apparently, people saw that for what it was. And Doug, don’t poo poo hybrids until you drive one. A friend of mine has a Ford Escape 4×4 hybrid. I’ve driven it on a couple occasions and was impressed. It gets great gas mileage, has a lot of zip to it, and is a gas (pun intended) to drive.

  6. j ab says:

    I think it is amazing all the news stating gas will be $5.00 this year, so why wouldn’t the big oil companies say if that is what they expect we better give it to them regardless of all the profit we (big oil)are making already.

  7. kawalski says:

    every dime that gas goes up, takes a dime out of the local ecomomy and gives it to the oil companies that are already making near record if not record profits. so the more i spend on gas the less i spend at resturants and other shopping. just think of how many gallons of gas is sold a day and figure how much is taken out of the local economy every time gas takes a jump. but big oil or your local gas station isn’t the main colprit. gas is traded on the open market and every time someone sneezed in the middle east the traders get nervous and raise the price of gas/oil. there are other americans that are doing this to us and they aren’t all politictions.

  8. dakotagirl says:

    I work at a gas selling related workplace. Gas prices are nuts, I agree. But the local gas stations, etc aren’t the ones making a fortune on their sales. Any convenience store owner will tell you that they make money on the pop and candy bars you buy inside, not much on the gas you put in your car. In fact our margin stays pretty much the same if gas is $2.00, or $4.00 a gallon, people don’t believe that, but it’s true. Also if we take a credit card for that purchase, that costs us 2.5%, which at current prices is approximately 9 cents a gallon. Big Oil….yes they have record profits, but don’t holler at your local station owner. He’s just trying to make a living. Just food for thought.

  9. Per Pål P says:

    As we are supposedly just “coming out” of a recession….I would think these higher gas prices would just put us back … higher grocery prices, higher delivery charges for most every product….You can bet that every retailer will add on their higher cost…. Crazy…

  10. ClaudeM. says:

    The fastest way to ease your gas consumption…park the gas guzzlers
    and buy something with decent MPG. Look around, you usually see
    1 or 2 people tops in a vehicle that seats 6 ! Or, one guy in a pickup
    that can haul 2,000 lbs. but he never uses it except to haul a couple
    bags of leaves . All he really needs is a mini-truck. Not a F-350!
    You don’t pile onto a ocean liner when all you really need is a row boat. That’s just not intelligent thinking. Yes, gasoline is high priced. Everything is. A candy bar, milk, groceries, utilites,
    tires, entertainment, restaurants, movies, etc., ect. Its the price we pay for todays society.

  11. Michael says:

    The most reliable car I ever owned was a 1994 Toyota Tercel. 40 mpg on the highway, 29 mpg in town. I had that car for 11 years. I wish I still had it.

  12. DANIEL JOHNSON says:

    Here are the facts : Speculators account for 70% of daily oil contracts which it is estimated adds 30% to the price of oil. Currently the largest export by the USA is gas and oil . Oil companies apparently can get a higher price abroad . More drilling will only result in more exports not lower prices since we do not have the customer relationship between supply and demand . It is a sellers market. and also a global market. Doug your future is in a 1982 Chevette with a diesel engine which will give you 50 mi to the gal. Some progress .

  13. TT says:

    Somehow I think that some of it is political and I am not even sure what side is to blame. This is not cool, most of us have not had a decent cost of living increase in years and it is getting very frustrating.

  14. Mark says:

    I am considering a hybrid – a full size Camry LE. It isn’t underpowered, undersized or unsafe and it gets 40 combined mpg but it is about $28,000. It may change the way the guy on the street looks at hybrids – you can’t tell it isn’t a regular 4 door sedan!

  15. S Evans says:

    We are spending the winter in the Rio Grand Valley. In our RV park there are hundreds of people from Canada and all over the US. At the present time there are 52 units for sale. Mostly because people don’t think they will be able to afford the gas to come back next year. Mulitply that by the 1000 Rv parks down here, that is alot of dollars not been spent. Southern Texas depends on the winter Texans.

  16. Tim says:

    so they just need to ensure that anyone that buys oil as a speculator take delivery of it before they are allowed to resell it. wonder where they would store a million barrels of oil?

  17. Tim says:

    I llive in the Mitchell area and when the gas goes up in price half the stations go up one day and the other half goes up the next day only–because they can’t all go up the same day-price fixing (gouging) is a better name for it. No competition between stations like years back. Someone would start a gas war where they wanted to sell the cheapest in town-then you would find cheaper gas prices at different stations. Are all the stations owned by one or two people?

  18. George says:

    Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, Congress had some guts and stopped artificially high prices on produced goods with what was known as anti-trust laws. Now the oil companies have figured out a “legal” way to get around that. For about 40 years we have been told that, “if only we had the reserves in this country we could tell the mid-east to keep their oil ….” Now, the oil billionaires realized they might lose a dime if we only used American oil – their foreign investments would not pay out so well and they would have to sell here for a reasonable profit. So what if they bankrupt this country – they have their billions and their condos in Europe.

    It is about time the press takes on the oil companies – investigate and expose their thievery – Our problems are not immigration or redefining society – our problem is being sold out by our own greedy billionaires. I read where BP has filed legal briefs relative to their multimillion dollar oil spill that could take over 100 years to go through the courts. What kind of crap is that? Thousands of people were hurt by that spill and some may never recover from their loses.

    Whatever happened to honor and integrity, the belief that “one should respect others, charge only to make an honest profit, and actually care about the good of the community/country.”

  19. Tim too says:

    4 or 5 years ago, when prices went to $4.00 and more, I bought a bike. I have been biking to work in the summer ever since. Just my little part of the uprising and a great way to stay in shape. one little rant, Subaru has developed a diesel which gets 45+mpg, guess what, you won’t see it in the states simply because it uses an injector that CA emissions standards wont accept!!! Not a hybred, not some tiny little two seat clown car, but a full size Outback and Forester model.

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