On Saturday, June 14, 2008 my family and I decided to visit the incredible Travel Town Museumin Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. We headed out at approximately 10:00 a.m., but once we left the house realized we needed to get gas. So, we stopped at a Shell station on The Old Road, near Rye Canyon and a stone’s throw away from the Southbound 5 Freeway.
When I got out of the car to gas it up, I nearly fell over when I saw that the cost per gallon of 87 octane fuel (the “cheap stuff”) was an astonishing $4.65! I could barely believe my eyes and had to check again to make sure I had read the numbers correctly. Yep, $4.65 a gallon!
I was in shock and quickly cycled through the five stages of grief:
- Denial: There is no way gas costs this much!
- Anger: This is outrageous, I am being robbed!
- Bargaining: Well, maybe if I just get $10 worth the prices will drop and I can fill up the rest of the tank later at a lower price?
- Depression: I can’t believe this, I will never be able to afford to drive anywhere again….the world is conspiring against me!
- Acceptance: It will be ok, gas prices will eventually even out – I have no control over the prices so why get riled up by them?
I filled up the tank with 9.123 gallons, resulting in a grand total of $42.50!
A few days earlier, on May 31 through June 3 (the last two days I filled up) the per gallon cost of 87 octane fuel was $4.23 at a Mobile and 7-11 down the street from my house — which was bad enough, but crossing $4.50 a gallon seemed like an entirely different level of extortion.
I’ve often heard the argument made that in some European countries gas can cost $8 to $10 a gallon, so we should be grateful that our prices are so much less. However, this argument is a fallacy, because these same European countries that have gas prices double our currently ridiculous rates are socialist — meaning that the additional cost of the fuel is intended to cover any number of social programs designed to benefit citizens of that country.
Therefore, in those cases, it makes sense that gas would cost so much more. But America, being a capitalist economy, the additional cost we are now paying for fuel does not result in any equivalent increase in services made available to the citizens of the country.
So, until I get free healthcare — that I would likely not want anyway, given the propensity of anything run by a government agency to foul things up — I will fail to feel “grateful” that we don’t have it any worse.
Although, there is a chance I qualify for dual Italian/American citizenship — so I might just ride out this “oil storm” living with my family in a Tuscan villa zipping around on a Vespa and exclaiming “Ciao!” to everyone (props to Eddie Izzard!)! I think I am liking the sound of this!