Over the weekend, several of my car-drivin' friends were bitching about the soaring prices at the gas pumps. They whined about how they are forced to spend $100/week to keep their big SUV on the road, and how the government should really step in and do something to ease their fiscal pain.
I have never owned a car. Sometimes I rent one when I need to take a road trip, but I live and work in a large city with a decent transit system, where a monthly transit pass is about $110.00, and you can claim those passes in your tax return every year and get a good amount of it back. I don't rely on a vehicle to get around, and therefore I can't relate to my friends' anger and anxiety.
I understand that a lot of folks live and work in a place where there's no transit and they absolutely need a car in their life, but I also believe that driving and owning a car is a privilege, not a right, and that people really oughta shut the fuck up if they can't manage the financial costs associated with that privilege.
So I offered my friends some badly needed perspective on gasoline prices, and pointed out that gas is actually much cheaper than they think it is, when you compare it to the prices of other nations:
Current average gas price in Canada: $1.23 CDN/litre or $4.60 US/gallon
Current average gas price in the U.S.: $ 3.50 US/gallon
Current average gas price in Europe: 1.45€/Liter = $2.30 CDN/Liter = $8.70 US/gallon
Be thankful you don't live in Europe.
I went one step further, and calculated how much we willingly spend on other liquid goods, without feeling any sense of outrage. You might be a little surprised at what you've been shelling out for:
prices are in CDN dollars, which today is almost par with the US dollar
($1 CDN = $0.99 USD)
a can of Coke (12 oz = $1.25) .... $13.87 per gallon
Diet Snapple (16 oz = $1.29) .... $10.32 per gallon
Evian water (9 oz = $1.49) .... $21.19 per gallon
Molson Canadian beer (12 oz bottle = $1.65) .... $17.60 per gallon
Vick's Nyquil (6 oz = $8.35) .... $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol (4 oz = $3.85) .... $123.20 per gallon
Whiteout/Liquid Paper (7 oz = $1.39) .... $25.42 per gallon
Scope mouthwash (1.5 oz = $0.99) .... $84.48 per gallon
and then there's THIS:
HP Inkjet Printer ink (17ml = $32.99) .... $7,343.69 per gallon
So the moral to this story is: suck it up, bitches. If you really need to drive your car everywhere, then you really need to keep the costs in perspective with the big picture, because when you think about all the soliders and civilians and vast acres of land that have died in order for you to drive your fucking SUV to the supermarket, then I say you're not paying nearly enough.