I miss the good old days. I remember, as if it were yesterday, a month ago when gas was just $2.29.9 per gallon. Or a really ancient time: February. Geez, way back then the pump price at the local Kroger or Wally World was an amazing $2.03.9. Wasn’t that a great era?
Some oldsters with really long memories can recall a couple or three years ago when gasoline was — you’re not going to believe this — as low as $1.01.9. I kid you not. Why, it was almost as if Exxon or Shell or Mobil were saying, “Golly, we’re sorry for those years of extortionate $3.50 and $4 per gallon prices; let us make it up to you … and lull you into thinking these good times will last forever.”
Would our grandchildren believe such a thing as near-$1.00.9 gasoline? Or would they, if they deigned to divert their attention from their electronic devices for a nanosecond, only scoff and sneer, as at our memories of childhood, walking two miles to school in the snow? Uphill. While lugging a heavy satchel of books and being accosted at every turn by snarling cur dogs. With only a biscuit and a piece of ham in our lunch bucket. Ah, what we endured in those days for education's sake.
And who was the marketing genius who came up with the idea of pricing gasoline with a .9 at the end? Does anyone in this day and age think 1/10 of a cent makes a difference to the buyer (but 9/10 of a cent, multiplied by 384.7 million gallons [2015 figure) pumped in the U.S. each day adds up to a whale of a lot).
The upswing in gas prices over the past couple of months has been meteoric — today $2.59.9 at several stations, and going higher, we’re told, as we move into summer.
But not to worry, the president feels our pain. “Looks like OPEC is at it again,” he tweeted. “Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!” He conveniently overlooks that his saber rattling in the Mideast, particularly with Iran, has been a factor in the upsurge in oil prices.
And besides, isn’t it now a free-for-all in the U.S., drilling-wise? From sea to shining sea, and all points in between and offshore, including a lot of fragile federal lands, it’s drill, baby, drill.
Despite the president’s bluster, OPEC still controls the spigots of a major chunk of the world’s oil output, and still has the power to influence prices. And even though the U.S may now have enough oil to theoretically be energy-independent, that means zilch in terms of the price at the pump, because like any world commodity, oil is going to trade at the world price — which results in the irony of American oil being exported at the same time we’re importing OPEC oil.