Arise, you prisoners of gasflation!

May 15, 2007, 3:35 PM UTC
Fortune

Okay, I saw a little piece this morning on TV that explained why gasoline prices just reached an all-time high today. The average price of a gallon of gas in the United States is now $3.10, up a nickel over last week. The reason, it turns out, is NOT that we’re nearing Memorial Day and the gas companies are sliding the prices up to make sure they squeeze every last nickel out of us as we drive around looking for someplace to swim.

No, it has to do, apparently, with Law of Supply and Demand. See, for some reason production of gasoline is down while demand is up 1% over a year ago. This reduction in production is unrelated, it seems, to the desire to maximize price.  It’s just, you know, a coincidence of some sort. Around this time every year, supply goes down, demand goes up, and gas prices hit record highs because it’s all some kind of coincidental situation.

The President has appeared to appeal to all citizens to rely less on foreign oil. Who could argue with that? See, if we rely less on foreign oil then demand will go down and prices will fall, right around the time, I bet, when we all stop driving so much because it’s snowing outside. That will be a big coincidence too.

Well, you know what? I believe in the law of supply and demand. I believe that we should be less dependent on foreign oil, indeed on any oil, except olive oil, which is exceptionally good in both salads and the sauteeing of veal, chicken and vegetables.  One thing I do not believe in, however, is coincidence.

I am now at the age of reason, if only briefly. And I believe that something very, very suspicious is going on here. I won’t say what. But no sir, I don’t like it.

That’s why I think all of us who drive anything that requires carbon-based fuels should stand up, go to the window, open it wide, lean our heads out and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” No, wait a minute. That’s from a movie. Nonetheless, I think we may have reached a point, at which gasoline rises coincidentally around Labor Day to $4.00 a gallon, for us to band together and send a message loud and clear to the behemoths that float our boats, cars and other transportation.

Impossible? I think not! Here are just a few actions we can all take to make our voices heard in the oil capitals of the world and Texas.

  1. We can walk. Over Memorial Day Weekend, I’m planning to leave my car at home and walk to Sonoma County, which is only 60 or 70 miles from my place just north of San Francisco. If my wife and I walk very briskly, I believe we can make it to the bed and breakfast we’ve got picked out, spend a few hours there, turn around and walk home. Take that, oil barons!
  2. We can swim. My friends, the Norbert-Harberts, usually eat up thousands of gallons of gasoline taking their big, fat, disgusting yacht out for the full four days of the Memorial Day weekend, sometimes going as far as Jamaica in search of rum, fun and sun. This year, the Norbert-Harberts are saying Nerts! to the oil industry and setting out for Jamaica Bay in matching outfits from Saks Fifth Avenue. True, the Jamaica Bay in question is in Queens, a suburb of New York, but hey — baby steps, ladies and gentlemen.
  3. We can make a loud noise! Each time we go to a pump sporting the average price or higher, we can make our opinion known to the gentleman who is taking our credit card. Give him a piece of your mind! I bet that’ll upset him and he’ll pass the message all the way up to the big boys!
  4. Give Praise: All those gas stations who charge even one penny less than the national average should be congratulated for not taking part in the cynical dance. Bring flowers to the guys in that little office with the maps and overflowing ashtray. Perhaps a sandwich. Tell your friends that there are still places in the world where greed does not rule and an American citizen can get a break, even if it is only for a penny.
  5. Stay put: Enormous, flat-screen TVs do not run on gasoline. Cold cuts and chips require no cooking. You CAN make a difference!

Those are just a few beginning ideas. I’m open to yours. What are YOU going to do?