Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gas prices rise as you fill your tank

This cartoon is not far-fetched. As my husband was filling up the tank yesterday, it was as if the machine got "stuck" and stopped. Gas was about $3.79 when he started. After it got stuck he had to reinsert his credit card and in that amount of time the gas went up to $3.89! Two seconds!

I wonder how people will afford to get to work if gas prices get to be $6 a gallon by the end of summer like some are predicting. Our bills are going up, house prices are slipping, people can't give their homes away, our jobs are being sent overseas, food prices are soaring. What a fine mess we are in, and it would be oh, so convenient to blame the Bush administration. But is he totally to blame? He did run two companies into the ground and there were those of us who said he would run the country into the ground before his term was over, also. It appears he will leave us in one fine mess.


tina FCD said...

I know it's painful about the rising cost of gasoline. But it will make some people change their way of doing things.

Stardust said...

tina, unfortunately I don't think it's going to change a whole lot of people. At least not enough to make a difference. Expressways here in Chicagoland are still filled with SUVs and traffic is horrendous despite that Chicago has public transportation options. And what I don't get are the speeders. So in a hurry that they drive like maniacs, floor it the minute the light turns green. It's not slowing anyone down, and just slowing down some will save fuel.

The way we are changing the way of doing things is that we have no choice. We are forced to consolidate errands, and we don't go out so much anymore. Traveling by car doesn't look like a very good option right now.

Since China wants cars now like us, and everyone wants to be like us, we are all going to have to pay the price for that.

Jason H. Bowden said...

1) Our bills are going up

Bush isn't responsible for that, except for prescription drugs. Government subsidizing demand raises equilibrium price -- look at school tuition, to take a classic example.

2) house prices are slipping

Not Bush's fault.

3) our jobs are being sent overseas

This just isn't true at the aggregate level, no matter how many times Lou Dobbs says DEY TURK MUH JERRRRB! Between 1995-2002, for instance, America lost 11% of its manufacturing capacity. During the same period, China lost 15% of its manufacturing base. Capitalism provides incentives to improve productivity, so change is something citizens must deal with in a progressive society. Some people long for feudalism, where we have the same station our entire lives.

4) food prices are soaring

Partly Bush's fault, acting like a liberal again. The best of intentions, but unintended consequence of trying to save the Earth via ethanol subsidies. See #1 above.

Stardust said...

Well, he didn't do much to help matters now, did he? He had eight years.

Everyone has excuses on both sides. We elect our leaders with great hopes and expectations and they all let us down equally. Republican....Democrats, it doesn't really matter. Like I said in another thread, I look around at my yuppie community and can't tell who is republican or who is democrat...they are all alike till people just start having lip wars with one another...but do nothing.

We don't know who we vote for at the local and state levels or don't vote at all. So, while Bush is indeed a dumbass, we can all take a bit of the blame for the mess we are in.

Tommy said...

Wow, that is unbelievable! I can only guess that the station was in the process of reprogramming the fuel pumps when your husband was filling up his tank. It would have been nice if they actually bothered to tell him beforehand.

What is primarily at fault is that ours is a car dependent society, and gas has been so cheap for so long that we simply took it for granted.

I am in part at fault. Several years ago, when my wife worked every weekend and I was home along with my kids, I would put them in the car and go for scenic drives on Long Island. All that gasoline was burned up simply for no tangible benefit. Now I have repented and I limit my consumption to a quarter of a tank per week, and that is only for things I can't avoid like driving to the train station and back, dropping off and picking up my daughter from day care and such. For local errands I walk or ride my bicycle.

What I fault the Bush administration for was its blithe dismissal of fuel conservation and not being out front after 9/11 to promote increased fuel efficiency in automobiles. Furthermore, according to Joseph Stiglitz, assuming he is correct, the war in Iraq has contributed to an increase in the price per barrel of oil.

Jason H. Bowden said...


If I could force American citizens to read just one easy to read book, it would be Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell.

Too many see economic outcomes in Messianic terms, as if we could make things right by believing in the right personalities. Things are much more simple and pedestrian than this.

Stardust said...

I'm open. I will add that to my reading list. I must admit, I know very little about economics.

Tommy said...

Star, I think you will find this article interesting.

A tactic you and your husband might want to employ that has been working out for me so far is to not let your tank get below 3/4 of a tank. That way you provide a hedge for yourself if the price keeps going up.

For example, if you go 3 weeks and you are down to a quarter of a tank, and the price has risen 20 cents a gallon, you are paying 20 cents a gallon more for however many gallons it takes to fill your tank up from 1/4 to full. However, if you fill it up on a weekly basis starting at 3/4 of a tank, say the first week the price rose 5 cents a gallon, then the second week 10 cents a gallon, then the third week 5 cents a gallon, you will have at least gotten a chance to buy some of your gas when it was a bit cheaper than if you try and hold out until you have a quarter tank left.

Whew! I hope I explained that properly.

Anonymous said...

You can't blame everything on Dubya's fault, true. However, you CAN blame him for hiring the most incompetent fools ever to run the economy, and of course Fema.

And for getting us into a war that we should never have in the first place, with so many american soldiers dying because of this idiot and his cronies. Not to mention how many millions of dollars are being wasted continually in Iraq when we could have used that money to TRULY invest in better technologies, making us independent of the OPEC countries so that we would never have to deal with their crazyness in the first place.

But - yeah - he's not at fault.... lol

Stardust said...

greg, the big "red alert" to be when Dubya was first running was his history as a businessman. Terrible, terrible, terrible and probably a disgrace to the family. Daddy got his buddies to back up his little boy and probably hoped he would do something well for once...nope...flubbed it up. So, as leader of the country, yes...he needs to accept some kind of responsibility for the way things are. All politicians in office right now must accept responsibility for not working together and fucking things up. They spend so much time fingerpointing and blaming that they don't notice the ship's going down.

Stardust said...

Thanks Tommy for the article link. I passed it on to my hubby's email so he can read it.

As for the not letting your tank get below 3/4...well he would be adding gas every day because he drives so far to work. That's the problem here in Chicagoland. The jobs are all moving to the far north, northwest suburbs and people in the city and far south suburbs like we are have to drive so far to get to work. Then the housing in the north and northwest suburbs are some of the highest prices so can't afford to live there. We are stuck in a Catch-22. We could move, but then the jobs in other states pay so crappy and don't cover the bills. One thing is for certain...we have to get our plan together soon because we are gradually approaching retirement. Jon is 53 this year, I am turning 54. Time is tickin' and everything is going up and up.

Tommy said...

Yes, that is a difficult situation to be in.

I wonder how much money it would cost if the federal government offered to provide a hybrid vehicle for anyone who wanted one. Surely less than the amount of money we spend to maintain a military presence in the Persian Gulf.