As we prepared for our road trip, I remember being asked by several people if we had considered the cost of gas. We had but the decision was made last year as we planned our first trip that we would travel somewhere each year to see part of the country that we had not been to before. The road trip idea was so that we could see as much as possible with a limited budget. I was a bit concerned about the cost of gas when added to driving across the country in an SUV. But we still wanted to go. The price of gas was actually only slightly less as we traveled into the south although it was pretty consistent. We arrived home on Thursday and I pretty much lounged around while I tried to get my sleep schedule back on track. So my real surprise came yesterday when I went out to fill the house with groceries.
The shock was the price of gas. Even in our town, it is $4.25 (or was yesterday). I nearly fainted. There was only one time on the trip where we paid $3.99 and the rest of the time it was lower. I couldn’t believe the price jumped over $0.25 while we were away. We are not in a major war. There is no gas shortage. People are certainly not using more gas than they have in the past. If anything we already use less. So why the increase? I could not come up with a possible answer until considering Exxon’s recent earnings report. The only answer that makes any sense is that the oil/gas companies are looking to increase their next earnings report for the shareholders. Any company wants to show good profits but at what cost? I do believe that we are being gouged at the pump. The cost of gas has been inflated because of the backwards competition of gas stations. I remember when I was younger and a new driver that one station would lower their price, increasing their business, and thereby other stations nearby would do the same. In this way, the price was somewhat controlled. But it’s backwards now. One station raises their prices and the others do so to match. Does anyone else see something wrong with that?
So what can we do? Well, we cannot stop buying gas. That much is clear. I have to get to work, as do many other Americans, and there is just no public transportation when you live in certain places. People have tried the “don’t buy gas for a day” campaign but that doesn’t work because we are just going to buy it before or after that day so there is no sales really lost. But we are not powerless. We could try to engineer a national boycott of specific brands but it is difficult to get enough cooperation to make a difference and it would be temporary. The best remedy that I could think of was to appeal to our elected officials. It is their job to protect our economy, among other things. So, I encourage you to write to your elected officials, all of them. I wrote a single letter and copy/pasted it to each. It is important that they understand how the rising cost of gas has affected you and will affect you in the future if it continues to rise. We all know, if it continues on this trend, that many will find themselves in a very tough spot. Make your position clear. Gas prices must come down.