Thursday, July 10, 2008

It’s a Gas-tly Situation

I’d like to report a crime.

Last night, a local gas station robbed me of my hard-earned dough. The loss was $62.78. And I didn’t even fill my tank.
All I wanted to do was treat my family to a nice Fourth of July weekend at the beach. So I went to the gas station to refuel my vehicle for the trip. I stuck my debit card into the ATM receptacle and then I raised my hands into the air while the pump robbed me of more than 60 bucks.

Then, as I was getting back into my car, I heard some happy-go-lucky voice over the station’s loudspeaker tell me to come back again and to stop by the snack shack to buy an $8 doughnut. I waited for the brash voice to add, “And bring your wife’s car next time. We know she commutes.”

Did you know that the world’s first gas station for automobiles opened for business in 1905? According to sources, gas was about 7 cents a gallon at that time. Between 1905 and 1999, gas went up about 90 cents a gallon.

So how is it that in a month’s time in 2008, gas went from $4 a gallon to $5 a gallon, the same dollar increase we experienced within almost 100 years time?

I’m kinda shocked I let the gas station take me for so much money for such a puny amount of fuel. And now that I have this “gold” in my car, I don’t want to go to the beach. I don’t want to drive anywhere. It’ll cost too much in fuel.

My 4-year-old son was very upset when I said we couldn’t go to the beach. I told him that for a cheaper price I could buy him his very own pet dolphin and we could build the marine mammal an aquarium in the backyard. He was happy.

I wonder: Has gasoline gone on the black market yet? I can see the dark figure now, in the shadows of a film noir-ish alleyway, the figure wearing a black overcoat, with keys to what looks like an ice cream truck, but instead of ice cream for sale the entrepreneur offers fuel at a price gas stations can’t compete with.

“Pull up to the truck,” the mysterious man would say to the person who wants his supply, and then he’d open up the back doors, and inside there’d be a big tank of gas. The man would fill up the buyer’s vehicle, and as he finishes the job, he’d tell the buyer, “Call me again when you need another fix.”

Gas is getting so expensive that I wonder if, in the very near future, having the fortune to buy a tank of gas will be considered a status symbol. The type of gas you buy might even determine your class. I can see rich teens bragging about having Chevron gas in their sport utility vehicles. Those same kids will ridicule less fortunate kids who have to fill up their economy-sized tanks with bargain gases from places like “Don’s Cheaper.”

The movie industry has a whole new set piece to utilize for its crime genre films. Instead of knocking over a bank and depleting the fortune within, masterminds will plan the heist of a lifetime at a Shell gas station. The criminals think they have the perfect plan, but while making a getaway with the fuel, two members of the four-man crew die in a firefight with armed guards who protect the precious contents within the pumps. Then the twist: The criminals get back to their hideout only to discover that the gas they stole was a mixture of one part fuel, nine parts water. No good.

Sure, gas is expensive today and on the rise. And sure, my family will be staying home for Independence Day due to high gas costs. But all is well because everyone I know is staying home for the same reasons. It’s the few people at the beach who are going to be lonely.

-July 2008

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