Gas Is High Enough….
Watching my local newscast a few nights ago, I was disturbed by the assumption that the anchor made regarding rising gas prices and consumer reaction. In direct response to the possibility that gas would reach $4.00/gallon, he mused at whether even this horrific amount for gas would be enough to “change consumers’ habits.” What? As if we’re not doing that already.
I see many ways that folks are trying to cut down on fuel costs, including, but not limited to: combining shopping trips, using internet mail-order options, carpooling, using bicycles, walking, and even telecommuting for work. These are all very good ways to cut down on gas consumption, and the high costs associated with it. So who are these people that “aren’t” yet affected by gas prices, and what world are they living in?
Perhaps they are the same people that aren’t affected by layoffs, natural disasters, or bankruptcy. Maybe they are the same people who have reacted to financial pitfalls in their own personal lives by spending more. They might be a Working Joe who has a house they can’t afford, or a well-to-do business person with a gambling habit or a penchant for pricey cars and golf retreats. To be honest, I don’t know these people. Maybe they don’t fully understand the Apples and Oranges mentality of money. They might not have ever used a budget. Everyone I know has changed their habits out of necessity and in response to rising gas prices – if only on a subliminal level.
So while my friendly news reporter is blathering on about high costs that aren’t yet high enough to warrant change, I am steaming up about the whole thing. Most people have changed. Most people are still changing. Those of us that know the meaning of a budget understand that a $200 allotment for gas per month means just that… you get $200 and no more. You make it work by driving less or taking money from some other spending category. You certainly do not hang around the pumps eagerly awaiting the magical $4 mark so that you can merely consider more efficient driving habits or kicking in a little acetone.
Maybe we’ve just been to quiet about the whole thing. Yeah, we’re upset about fuel costs, but we’re also responsible adults that understand a thing or two about the economy. We don’t crab and complain and then continue to buy the same amount of gas we bought last year. We adjust. We adapt. We make it work.
I anxiously await the next news report that claims to label all U.S. consumers as oblivious to the gas crisis and the whispers of $5/gallon gas. Then maybe, I’ll trade in my nightly news report for some facts from the Daily News Tribune.