There was a time in this great country that when a man said he had five dollars on the gas, it meant something. It meant you could get somewhere. It made it worthwhile for you to give that man a ride. You would have enough gas to take him where he needed to go and back home and still have some left.
Those days are over, long killed by greedy oil executives who somehow justify raising gas prices every few months even though they are enjoying larger profit margins than ever before. Five dollars now brings you just enough fuel to make it to the next gas station before your engine sputters to a stop sounding that terrible “last gasp for air” noise that we all know so well.
The last time such a thing happened to us, Nixon was our president. Go figure. We were paying a little over a dollar a gallon when Clinton was president. One would assume that having a Texas oil man in office accompanied by the fact we no longer have to haggle with the Iraqi government over oil purchases would bring the price at the pump down. Hell, everything about our current situation says that we should have cheaper gas.
Somehow, though, it has had the opposite effect. Something like this could only happen in America, the home of 2 dollar bottled waters and vending machines with the credit card option. In a country where football is a sport played with your hands and getting the most votes isn’t enough to get you into political office, it almost makes sense in some strange, twisted way.
This is not a good thing. Complacency is near death. With no alternative fuel readily available, the corporations have got us by our balls on this one. It is now merely a choice of which local gas station you would like to be sodomized by today. To make things worse, we must blindly put our trust in the infernal machines that distribute this liquid gold to not skim a few quarters off the top. It is the only business where you can never be sure if you actually got the entire amount of the product you paid for.
It is a wicked game and the other side is holding all the cards this time. We might as well be strapped spread eagle and naked to a sawhorse with the leather-clad gimp giggling madly in the corner at our most foul predicament. However, like the movie I referenced, there is a proverbial Bruce Willis coming in with a samurai sword to save us all at the last minute.
The oil can’t last forever. The last legacy left by the great lizards who once roamed our land is nearly gone. Fossil fuels will be replaced by other options all too soon. Maybe the oil company’s know something we don’t and are trying to squeeze every last bit of money they can out of the public before the wells run dry and they are forced into an honest line of work?
Then again, maybe they don’t. Maybe they are simply greedy bastards.