Name That Gas Price!

Sep 13, 2008

“Character building.” That’s what I always try to tell myself when I am hit with an unexpected hardship.

Ah, but how sorely we are all being tried of late! We shall all have developed the character of Solomon by the time we resolve our fuel and transporation issues.

As I finished up some errands around sunset yesterday, I could easily see that, though Hurricane Ike had yet to hit in the U.S., it had already driven us to our local gas pumps amid rumors of yet more ghastly price hikes in the (hopefully) short-term.

By the time I gassed up, the rumors had all come true.

It seems that oil refineries along the Gulf Coast were shutting down or cutting capacity in a bid to prep their facilities for the coming of Ike, which has already been responsible for monumental damage in Haiti and Cuba. That’s all it took for people to start the mad dash to the pumps.

Wow. On Monday I bought gasoline at one price; and yesterday, Friday, I bought it again, only this time at 40 cents more per gallon! Didn’t know it had gone up that much; but I was told by the cashier that it had risen by close to a full dollar at some Poplar Bluff stations.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of how many powerful, seemingly arbitrary factors are working me like a puppet on a string in connection with gasoline use, I think, “We’ve gotta go into overdrive on the groundwork for Plan B.” It strikes me that today, too many countries, too many agencies, too many companies, too many egos, too many lobbying dollars, and too many unforeseen circumstances are firmly wedged between me and affordable gasoline. No honeymoon in the world has been more “OVAH!” than the one we Americans once delighted in with cheap gas.

As a citizen, I’m determined to get behind the research, development, and production of energy alternatives across the board in whatever ways I can. We need to work toward the expansion of our energy arsenal, and to recognize that such culture-shifting transformations do not take place overnight.

If, historically speaking, our economy could endure the transitions from horse-powered transport to the rail, automotive, and aviation varieties, then surely we, in our time, can back the change in our fuel model that will help to usher an ailing economy to restored health.

It is said that the alcoholic generally must reach a place called “rock bottom” before acknowledging there’s a problem, and attempting to address it.

How much more can you personally endure of the “Chef’s Surprise” that is today’s fuel pricing before you begin looking for ways—political, economic, personal—to exert your own influence in the dialogue on this make-or-break issue for our country?

Yes, we suffer today—but I’m not waiting for a bleak, chaotic Mad Max scenario to take shape before aligning myself with the alternative-energy wave of our American future. 

In our case as a nation, I think we may be assured that a “rock bottom” response will have come too late.

* * * * * *

For a glimpse of southeast Missouri’s reaction to Hurricane Ike, read here, and here

For the perspective of Mike Wright, spokesperson for Missouri’s American Automobile Association branch, read here.

A slight departure here: For an in-person account by someone whose family actually weathered Hurricane Ike, read here.

 So many people to keep in our thoughts and prayers.


* * * * * *