Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Gas Whores

A while back, around the beginning of the summer, I started to see postings on Facebook from many people complaining about the price of gas. One of the things I saw posted by a few people was a copied and pasted call to action for a one-day gas boycott. This little tidbit started off by claiming that "This worked when we did it last year..."

Which is, of course, complete bullshit. These stupid gas price protests have been floating around the Internet since I've known there was such a thing called the Internet. Not only is there no evidence to suggest that any of them worked, there is not even any evidence of a significant drop in gas sales on the day of the supposed boycott. But that's not even the point.

I commented on one of these posts put up by a "friend" (one of those people I knew for ten minutes in college who I never even thought about again until she "friended" me on Facebook). What I basically said was that she was wrong if she thought that "worked" last year and that in reality we have the cheapest gasoline in the industrialized world due to our government heavily subsidizing it through direct payments and tax breaks to oil companies, spending trillions of dollars on wars to keep friendly-to-the-US regimes in power and paying off those regimes with "economic aid." All to keep the oil flowing. So the true cost of gas is a hell of a lot more than we're paying for it in this country. I also suggested that a way to save money would be to drive less.

The reaction my points was amazingly vitriolic, from the person whose status I was commenting on as well as a bunch of her friends. She went after me for being someone who "doesn't" understand what it's like to have to depend on a car since I live in the "big city" (seriously, she called me a big city folk) and have access to public transportation but she doesn't. And she needs her car to do things like shop for groceries, pick up the kids and go to church. Why she made a point of telling me what she does with her car I'll never know, but I would tell her that skipping church would save you money in many ways and maybe restore some brain cells lost to the ignorance of faith in the process.

She also made some sort of reference to me being married to a rich doctor as to allude to the idea that I don't understand the struggle of regular folk. Comical comment seeing as how I lived below the poverty level for the entirety of my 20s and a good portion of my 30s, my wife has been an attending physician making real "doctor money" for less than two years (and I think a lot of people who know I'm married to a doctor have an exaggerated number in their head about what my wife makes that does not match reality) and the person making this comment is herself married to a quack...er...chiropracter.

Then I was called the "most negative person" she knows - despite that she doesn't really "know" me. The oddest thing about this was I was being called negative for pointing out that we Americans have got it pretty good and our fuel is pretty cheap considering the human, environmental and political cost. We have cheap, subsidized fuel that she was whining about being too expensive, but I'm the negative one?

Thing is, everybody who participates in this little exercise of bitching about the price of gasoline always say they don't have a choice, they need their car for everything they do and they have no way to cut down their driving. This is usually bullshit. Everybody has a choice. Especially middle class white people, who are always the ones bitching the most about shit like this. Even if you live in a tiny town without any buses there are ways to drive less.

How many times do people in suburban and semi-rural areas take car trips that are one mile or just a few miles? The kind of distance that can be taken on a bike in a fairly short amount of time? It just takes a willingness on the part of these corn-fed lard asses do climb on one and do it. But no, wouldn't want to that, it might require some energy.

This isn't about gas being too expensive. This is about Americans being being the laziest fucking people in the world who also don't have any sense of cause and effect. Gas cost what it cost because we use so goddamn much of it. Pretty straightforward economics involving the rule of supply and demand. We use such an insane amount of the stuff that the price goes up. If we used less the price would go down and you'd be saving money in two ways. and there would be better air quality to boot.

It is amazing to me that gasoline is really the only thing that people seem to be so hypersensitive about the cost. Where is the outrage over all of the things that cost a lot more than fuel?

I did a little looking up of prices of items that most of us probably use and many should be more crucial to your life than gas. I then figured out the per gallon price of these things. No, this is not an extensively researched list, I just checked the general price of some things on Peapod and figured it out. But look how much we are paying for some things.

Milk - $3-$4/gallon
Soy milk (what we drink in our family) - $6-$8/gallon
Ketchup - $9-$15/gallon
Bottled water - $9-$10/gallon (I'm also a fierce opponent of individual plastic bottles of water, but look how much you see people walking around with it and you don't hear a peep that it cost too much)
6-pack of Stella beer - $16/gallon (You can half this amount if you drink shitty beer like Coors, Bud or Miller and add a little more if you like good craft beers. I went middle of the road with Stella)
Pint of Stella at a bar - $35/gallon
Salad dressing or baby food or pasta sauce - $20-$40/gallon
Cheap shampoo (like Suave) - $20/gallon

And my favorite one is printer ink. If you ink cartridges new for your printer you are paying over $11, 000/gallon for ink! Even if you go the cheapest route possible, buying a refill kit that gives you bottles of ink that you then painstakingly fill the empty cartridges yourself, you would still pay over $700/gallon. Talk about something that is way more expensive than it should be. Especially if you look in to how much it cost to produce.

Look at that list and tell me that any of those things should cost more than gasoline. Why do we hear no bitching about the price of all this other - I would say more important - stuff?

Fact is, we are a country of gas whores. That would make the oil companies our pimps. And when you are a whore you have choices to make when your pimp starts slapping you around and taking all your money.

Stop being a whore.