Even with the national average at $3.36, Americans spend less on a gallon of gasoline than folks in 90 percent of the other nations in the world. Still, a lot of us can’t help but grumble when we see those $3-plus prices, whether the precious petrol for sale is “real gas” or a gas and ethanol mix.
For at least two generations of Americans, gas that costs over $3 a gallon is irritating and foreboding. Despite our journey into memory loss, we can recall when things were much different.
The gray-haired end of our society still remembers the 1950s, when a gallon of regular cost between 21 and 31 — that’s 21 and 31 CENTS, by cracky. We yearn for 1969, when the average gallon was 35 cents, and we think back on the ’70s, when gas remained under a dollar.
We still have visions of elderly ladies having attacks of the vapors when a gallon of gas surged to $1.25 in 1980. (Which is just something else we can blame on Jimmy Carter, right?)
Granted, as gasoline prices have reached their current levels, most of us who’ve been around awhile realize the days of dirt-cheap petrol are long gone — and there’s nothing the Average Joe and Jolene can do about it.
Still, when seen through our rear view mirrors, gas prices of over $3 a gallon are just another reason for the tribal elders to be grumpy.
Obviously, I’m directing that observation at the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers, because the drivers in the three generations behind us don’t remember those 31 cent days. The 16 to 45 crowd are thinking, “Geez, Pops, why so uptight about gas prices?”
And with that in mind, maybe it would help we older folks — and enlighten the young’uns — to look at gas prices from a different perspective.
I mean, imagine if our vehicles were propelled by liquid substances other than gasoline; something like, oh, bottled water that even the 50-plus group now consumes with regularity.
The price of a gallon of Evian is $6.40, which makes spring water no bargain as a propulsion source.
That lowfat milk you’re putting on your Cheerios to help lower cholesterol is about $3.79 a gallon, and when you indulge yourself with a “chocolate fix,” the Hershey’s syrup you’re lacing on a bowl of ice cream is $13.23 a gallon.
No matter your age, how far out of socket would your eyes pop if autos burned orange juice at $7.68 a gallon or Coca-Cola syrup at $8.20 or Windex at $10.21?
Does your car need a little pick-me-up? What about a fill up with Red Bull at $30.69 per?
Yogurt and olive oil are hot items these days, but would that be the case if you filled up with Greek-style blueberry yogurt at $12.80 a gallon or extra virgin olive oil at $60.16?
What if your jalopy ran on a refreshing adult drink? Well, as you’d expect, beer is the bargain on the liquor-as-a-propellant list. A gallon of the “King of Beers” (Budweiser) is a measly $8.88.
But for the more sophisticated imbiber, topping the tank with Absolute Vodka would run $58.26 a gallon and Dom Perignon would be $755.20.
A tank of Kikkoman soy sauce would really be salty at $15.33 a gallon, and although Tobasco sauce can give your taste buds a kick, shelling out $58.26 a gallon might cause you to give up driving and Cajun food.
Want to add a pleasant fragrance to your propulsion? How about some Chanel No. 5 at $25,600 a gallon? And a fill up with $1,024 per gallon nail polish would cause you to start biting your nails.
Aging hippies might think it’s cool if their VW micro bus ran on patchouli oil, but not at $806.40 a gallon. And what a bummer if the gas tank was filled with liquid LSD, at $122,880 a gallon.
So, are you catching my drift? No matter what generation is involved, paying $3 to $3.50 a gallon is a bargain compared to some other liquids we could be pouring into our vehicles to make them go.
Viewed from a different angle, it’s a blessing the internal combustible engine operates on gasoline. Well, okay, maybe not a blessing, but it could be worse than we think it is, as we stand there pumping the precious liquid into the tank.
After all, we could have autos that run on scorpion venom at a mere $38,858,507.46 a gallon!
So, happy motoring!
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