Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I just returned from gassing up my car. I spent $20 on eight gallons of regular.
Across the pumps was a lady dressed in business attire, filling her big red Suburban.
We smiled at each other and said good morning, being polite Texans and all, then I asked, "If you don't mind telling me, what does it cost to fill that thing?"
She cringed, then said, "A hundred dollars."
She said she has three kids and a job, so she has to fill up once a week. That's $400 a month, folks, on gasoline!

What does it cost to fill your tank?


Jade said...

About 32 bucks, as of the last fill-up. Yesterday, at my local bargain, off-brand station, it was $2.69 a gallon for regular. The other stations in the neighborhood are around $2.89 for regular. I'd get agitated about it, but Americans are the only ones with the insane idea that gasoline is inexpensive and unlimited. That woman should leave her SUV by the side of the road, with the keys inside, and hope that someone steals it. They'd be doing her a giant favor. With the insurance settlement she can buy a Prius.

Jade said...

Oy, Blogger logs me in as Jade instead of JadedJu.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Petroleum is indeed a finite resource.
I believe Al Gore spoke at length during his campaign for the presidency about the urgency of finding alternate fuel sources so that we could stop having to kiss ther asses of terrorism central (AKA Saudi Arabia).
But with Bush holding hands with them and Condi Rice's lips planted firmly around the gas nozzles of Standard Oil et. al., we are fucked until we get rid of these crooks and get someone with a semblance of horse sense running this country.
Finding alternatives to fossil fuels is something Bush has had five years to consider.
He hasn't done a thing about it.
He prefers that the big oil companies continue to gouge us- obviously.

Lexie said...
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CLD said...

I paid 33.80 this morning to fill up my vehicle. $2.529 a gallon.

I don't live in the UK.

I don't recall anyone here having an aversion to sweating. In fact, I love it. I do however, have an aversion to death. Avoiding heat stroke does not make me a whimp or a whiner.

And certainly, no one here needs to justify the use of their vehicles to you, oh Lexie of the Bicycle.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Gosh, that felt a little personal, Lexie.

Actually, we do have something to carp about.
This isn't Europe and we haven't had to cope with tripling gas prices in decades.
Europeans drive tiny, fuel efficient cars. Four bucks a gallon to them stretches further. And they too would bitch like hell if they suddenly had to pay $12 a gallon.
And FYI, I do ride a bike for errands within a mile or two of my house, as long as my bike baskets can hold whatever I am in need of. I recently bought 4 bags of groceries and a watermelon that I managed to pedal home quite nicely.
As for an aversion to sweat, I ride five miles a day on a stationary bike in addition to any outdoor riding, plus I knock out about 200 ab crunches and do 30 minutes of free weights every other day. On Monday, I dug up a dead, 12 foot high tree in my yard.
So, now that I have explained that I do get off my ass quite regularly and sweat, I cordially invite *you* to get off my ass.

Lexie said...
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Karen Zipdrive said...

Whoa, Nellie!
I drive a fuel efficient Acura and I put less than 500 miles a month on the odometer. I believe that's half the national average.
And recently, after I did a charity performance for a city council candidate who won, the first thing I asked of her at her victory party was for more bike paths in our neighborhood. She agreed.
I do my part, so I think I have earned the right to bitch about the lack of a national energy policy that legislates related industries to have to find alternative sources to fossil fuels.

Lulu Maude said...

Yesyesyes... gas is comparatively cheap here. All points above well made and well taken. I do feel for the people whose dependence on cheap gas is not recreational--farmers, fisherfolk, truck drivers, etc. Those costs can really hurt, and do raise the price of everything else.

However, as you point out, the Bush Administration, led by two oilmen, isn't going to solve the problem.

I can only hope that the American people will look across the aisle for solutions to this problem, and that the Democrats will be ready.

I still miss Al Gore.

Lexie said...
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Shelley said...

I too drive a fuel-efficient Acura and only put on about 500 miles/month. At $2.52/gallon (cheapest gas in Boston), it costs me about $25 to fill my tank and I only need to do that once every two weeks.

Karen Zipdrive said...

I am not giving up owning a car, period.
But I have abandoned my long-held dream of buying an old, piece of crap used pick-up as a second vehicle.
Not with the gas mileage they get, no way, Jose.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Lexie: Chris Madrid's- yum!
But I actually prefer Casbeer's hamburgers, across the street from CM's.
I like that it's a dark, funky beer joint with a bunch of old bikers and musicians hanging around.
The burgers are fantastic, like the old fashioned kind that weigh about 2 pounds each.
Chris Madrid's has been expanded so many times it's four times its original size and filled with yuppies and Trinity kids drinking imported beer and trying to pick up dates.

JimBob said...

Here's an interesting tidbit to throw on the pile: Saudi Arabians are only paying 91 cents a gallon for their gas as of March, 2005. Info courtesy of CNN.

BTW, I drive an SUV. I pay for the gas that goes into the tank. I don't really care WHO has a problem with it. After YOU have made several cross-country trips with a family of 4 (including 2 children who constantly bicker when they get too physically close) in a 4-cylinder, cramped, non-air-conditioned vehicle, then you can bitch at me all you want (although I still won't listen). I prefer the extra room of the larger vehicle and the extra sanity that comes with the ABSENCE of bickering children.

As much as I'd like to buy into the guilt trip of "you should ride a bike instead", my bike just can't seem to fit my kids and wife on it when we're making the trip out of state to visit the parents...

MJ said...

According to this mornings paper, Palm Springs officially hit the highest priced gas in the lower 48. Average price for regular is $2.879 - Only Hawaii is more expensive.

Lexie - riding bikes is nice if you live in a cool climate and aren't going more than a few miles, like say - oh, most of the UK. The average temp here in the desert is around 108ºF (41ºC). In fact riding a bike during the day can be down right dangerous here. There's sweating and then there's death.

How about recommending public transporation instead? Our clean burning (natural gas) SunBus is a great way to get around as an alternative to driving. Or what about carpooling? So. Cal is king of the solo driver problem. Double up people!

For the record I drive a '05 Honda CR-V that averages 27mpg and I drive less 300 miles a month. 15 gallon tank = $43 to fill 'er up. Thank god I topped it off before I went on vacation. I'm hoping to ride out this price gouging before I need to refuel.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Ijust read today that gas costs a nickel a gallon in Iraq.
But guess who's selling the American troops in Iraq the gas to fill their gigantic, gas guzzling Hummers?
Those fuckers at Halliburton, that's who.
With more than $10 billion already made off various contracts in Iraq, Halliburton's breakdown of fuel costs, contained in Army Corps documents showed that Halliburton charged $2.64 a gallon for fuel it imported from Kuwait and $1.24 per gallon for fuel from Turkey.

And they wonder why people loathe that crooked bastard Dick Cheney and his little chihuahua Bush.

Lexie said...
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JimBob said...

"...Car ownership: Just because you can doesn't mean you should."

I do because I CAN and I WANT TO. Geez, when did my mommy start posting here?

There are many things I don't do because I can't. But you know what? I've been given the opportunity to drive a vehicle that gets me from point A in one state to point B in another state comfortably and the ability to be able to afford it after decades of not having anything.

So when folks try to GUILT me into not enjoying what I have earned by showing me pictures of third world countries and people who CAN'T afford what I have, I just gotta kinda laugh and think to myself, "Gee, am I suppose to go give everything I have away and be destitute and move my family under a bridge and feel BAD cuz I have things that others don't?"

Nah, I don't think so.

Instead of telling us what we SHOULDN'T be doing, why not tell us what YOU do and "lead by example" (an old Army saying).

And please, enough of the "I'm a cyclist" martyr act. We've heard it. It may be good for you, but it ain't practical for most of us. And before you show another picture of 4 people on a bike, I'd like to see that same picture taken on any of the major roads in San Antonio during rush hour. You won't see it, cuz either the police would be arresting them, or they'd be dead from a traffic accident.

Friends don't let friends vote Republican

BigSis said...

Isn't it interesting that we're all blindly willing to take total blame for driving gas guzzling, environment polluting cars? If we blame ourselves for anything we should blame ourselves for not demanding that our government/corporations provide us with safe and adequate mass transit systems and vehicles that don't guzzle gas. Next year we'll be paying through the nose to get an inspection sticker if our cars dare to not pass emission testing. We didn't build the damn cars, why not make the rich-ass auto industries pay to update or repair the emission systems they built? They knew decades ago that their cars were polluting but they kept building and profiting, now we're supposed to pay for their sins.

MJ said...

As for bicycle riding in deserts, they do it in Ethiopia all the time, and those bikes are heavier and far less stylish.

Obviously you've not seen my bicycle.

Holly in Cincinnati said...

$22 for 8 gallons today in Cincinnati OH.

Karen Zipdrive said...

With companies like Exxon/Mobil making record profits in the billions last year, you can't tell me petroleum companies couldn't sacrifice a sliver of their profits and help shoulder the burden of rising OPEC oil costs.

Once again, we must connect the dots.

British Petroleum (BP) has quietly purchased some major American oil companies like Shell and Phillips, etc.
Could that have possibly helped Tony Blair in his decision to join Bush in invading Iraq? Was BP given a multi billion dollar doorprize for signing up for war?

And let's not forget Standard Oil naming an oil tanker after that Condofuckinleezza Rice.

Plus, a few years back, Bush gave HUGE tax incentives to people who bought gigantic Hummers and other heavy, expensive SUVS and trucks. The savings made them end up costing about what a Pontiac Sunbird would cost.
Now they are stuck with the outrageous cost of gassing them up.
Somehow I doubt it.
Bush is just too chummy with Saudi Arabia- the folks who tell OPEC what to do- for current fuel prices to seem even slightly legitimate.

Yo nomas said...

My understanding:
Gas reserves just trended down recently. Less supply and more demand, well, let the market do its thing and you get higher prices. Real simple, right?

Now, what is the government doing to make gas cheaper, because that's what we want, right? Cheap gas! Well, big bad Uncle Sam is requiring cleaner fuels. This means that refineries have to be retro-fitted (no new refineries!) with additional sweetening and treating equipment at a cost of many millions of dollars. Sure, big refineries can make that back, but smaller ones can't. So you end up with smaller refineries closing, tightening the supply further.

Supply & demand.

Meanwhile, Americans still buy the crap that's produced by Detroit/Japan/Korea/Europe and then have the gall to complain that it's not fuel efficient! Why do Europeans drive small cars? Why do they bike more? Expensive gas, good public transit and good bike lanes. Perhaps we should bite the bullet, and just tax another $1.50 per gallon.

Then, just like the 1970s/80s, smaller more efficient cars will appear when people really start buying them. But don't let gas get cheap again. Keep taxing it to fund public transit, trains and bike lanes. More pedestrian-frienly areas, too.

The highway bill $$ should be spent on better trains, better public transit and more bike lanes. Where is my bullet train to Dallas? Where are my bike lanes on my ride to work? Seriously, someone nearly hit me this morning.

Highways must be more important. That, and we need to spend $2 million of our tax-money for UIW's parking garage. Probably for Lou's stretch H2. You go, Lou!

(Don't know if he really has a Hummer)

JimBob said...

Supply and demand is a good theory. However, when there is constant manipulation of the supposed "free market", then supply and demand tend to NOT have the effect they should.

And you can bet that the "free market" is manipulated regularly by Big Energy.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Humidifier- you and Lexie seem to have common knowledge of San Antonio.
Are you the same person and if not, do either of you own a car?
Meanwhile, you must realize the U.S. has millions of barrels of oil in reserve.
Reserve for what, I wonder?
Seems to me this would be the right time to release some of those barrels and get gas prices in line.

Lexie said...
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CLD said...

Act locally, think globally. I may prefer to drive my car -- as I work 20 miles from home [and no, I can not and will not move closer to work to make lexie of the bicycle happier], and as MJ has pointed out, temperatures hovering around or over 97 degrees will keep me from riding a bike.

There are many other things I and my family do to conserve energy and to help the environment. None of which I need to justify here to placate a few guilt-pushers.

The point of Karen's post is that Bush & Co have caused most of the headaches we're experiencing. Attacking each other and making judgments isn't going to stop them -- it's actually just what they're hoping we'll do.

Lexie said...
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JimBob said...

I'm guessing that we'll stop telling you what's possible and what's not possible in our own lives as soon as you stop telling us what we do and don't need...

Preaching rarely works in the company of intelligent and informed free thinkers.

So when you decide to let your intelligence make an appearance and stop preaching, we'll be happy to hear what you have to say!

Until then, it's just personal attacks and guilt-pushing. And if I wanted that, I'd still be going to church.

Lexie said...

Shall I peel your steering wheel from your cold, dead hands?

JimBob said...

Hee hee hee.

Good one. A personal attack as opposed to addressing the issue.

Friends don't let friends vote Republican

Yo nomas said...

People, seriously...

On that note, I'll continue.

I don't buy into this idea that Detroit and Big Oil have conspired to sucker the American public into buying gas guzzling SUV's. Gas got real cheap and we started buying bigger, inefficient cars ("Has that thing got a Hemi?"). Before you complain that Bush wants to drill in ANWR, look at what's parked in your driveway/garage. Big Oil didn't manipulate you into buying that Suburban. You liked the comfort and security of driving a big heavy vehicle, so high up above the road, etc. Detroit didn't build your home out in the Hills 20 miles from work, that was Bob "Swifty" Perry.

You vote with your dollars, in politics and in the free market. If you want cleaner air, maybe you can move within 5 miles of work so you use less gas commuting, maybe you could even bike or take the bus. Sure, keep the SUV/Minivan for big trips. They're great for car-pooling, too. But make the second car something smaller and more efficient. Or just get a bike and a good back-up plan for rainy/hot days.

Don't feel "guilty" if you aren't doing this now. Don't trade in the Avalanche for a mountain bike right away. But remember, you get to make the decision when you do buy your next car/home. No one is telling you where to live and what to drive (or ride).

Karen, it sounds like you are already well on your way to consuming less gasoline. Good for you. I think Lexie's right when she says, "All this grousing about the price of gas and how Bush is a fault negates our own ability to take control of the situation."

JimBob said...

Yeah, but as long as we're complaining, we don't really have to DO anything. - Motto of the Lazy American

CLD said...

It's still the two of you making assumptions about the rest of us.

You do what you feel you need to do, and we'll do what we feel we need to do.

Lexie dear, implying a lack of intelligence with regard to someone you're attempting to debate does nothing to sway anyone to your "side" of any issue.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Sorry folks, I was away for the last 24 hours or so.
But let's get something straight, everyone.
I run a peaceful saloon here and when wranglers come here to post comments, it's okay to grouse about the situation or the Bushes who caused it, but it's not okay to start hassling the regulars.
Recently my team of Internet sleuths and I had to track down a comments stalker who wouldn't go away until I divulged enough info about him to let him know I knew his real name, where he worked and lived.
Forgive my paranoia, but certain "new" commentors have arrived on the scene and taken a less aggressive stance than he, yet still aggressive enough to raise an eyebrow.
Alas, my stalker has raised the terror alert level here at Chez Pulp to orange- and I must politely warn newcomers to keep it in their pants.