Hitting the Brakes on Gas Cost

My low gas light came on yesterday and I just couldn't bring myself to fill my tank like I usually do. $45 a hit was just too much to take yet again, so I just got $20 worth. It came to a whole whopping just over 6 gallons.

And even though I'll have to do this all over again in half the time it usually took, I can be pretty sure that I'll be paying even more each time.

And I have changed my driving habits because of the cost of gas. I cut my vacation in half and didn't go visit a friend who was having a hard time or give myself a much needed break. I avoid running errands at lunch time, instead mapping out a drive from work to home that is as close to a straight line with the other stops in between. I try to maintain a constant speed and avoid rapid accelerations and hard breaks. I use cruise control. The air conditioner stays off unless I'm on the highway, though even then, I avoid using it. Staying at 65 mph not only keeps my driving record clean, but it also gives me better mileage.

Granted, none of that is a significant hardship. Of course the budget has been shifted around to be able to pay the increased gas cost, but I'm still getting to work, seeing friends, etc.

I'm lucky.

Right after Katrina hit and gas prices went through the roof, I saw a number of students and parents who found that the cost of getting to college was more than they could afford. Most of our students commute, several from over an hour away. If they have internships, they usually need to drive to campus then drive to their site then perhaps return to campus. We worked with the local, but new, bus company to try to better accommodate our students' needs.

We set up a way for student, faculty and staff to connect with others who they might be able to car pool with, but did it with a great deal of trepidation. Car pooling runs the risk of physical danger and when the gas crisis under Carter faded, most colleges dismantled their car pooling mechanism simply for the sake of safety. But now we had to find an option for those students who needed that linkage, in spite of the safety worries.

So, when those oil companies earned more profit than they'd ever seen before, I knew it came at the cost of students stopping their education or putting themselves in possible danger in order to continue school.

And though I have a hard time looking at that part of myself, I do hope that their profit comes with a heaping dose of Karma too.

$3.15/gallon @ $20 got me a bit over 6 gallons

31.9 cents of that $3.15 is NYS tax.
18.4 cents of it is Federal Gas tax.

Unless there's a one-tenth of a penny coin out there that's also legal, that's 50.3 cents per gallon that's not for the gas, but the tax.

Bill Frist, in the typical generosity of the Republicans, offered each of us $100. Whether it was a free-bee, a 2007 tax rebate, or income in 2006, I still don't know. By the time it got here, it probably wouldn't even pay for 2 tanks of gas. Thanks a lot, Bill. But what could I expect from a creep who tortured cats?

Michael Arcuri is the only candidate in the NY 24th CD race who is calling for a temporary suspension of the Federal gas tax. That would bring my immediate gas payments down to $2.97/gallon. WOW Gas below $3/gallon!!?? And given that this Badministration could figure out how to give so many tax breaks to so many who need it so little, giving us 18 cents/gallon shouldn't be hard.

Another feature of Mike's plan is to end the "royalty relief" that allows oil companies to just take oil from American public lands. Windfall profits are a lot easier to get if you don't have to pay rent. Everyone else pays rent or mortgage. Why to the oil companies get to live off our land for free?

And Mike's also supporting developing new fuel sources. With the full range of higher education options, including the Community Colleges and trade schools as well as the 4-year colleges and Universities, the potential of developing new energy sources can have the additional benefit of helping our district.

For more coverage on Mike's comments on gas prices, see News 10 Now.

When I was in junior high, another student made an electric car for the regional science fair. It was the neatest idea, it made sense, and it seemed like a given that someday I'd be driving one.

And maybe it'll even be developed by one of my students?


Anonymous said...

Good job to Mike Arcuri for talking about gas tax relief. But, do you think $2.97 is really the answer as you say? I think even you have to give Les Roberts credit on this issue. He was talking about an energy plan the day he launched his campaign on January 7th. I was there - I heard it. The plan is on his website if you want to read it.

A tax credit is great, but very temporary. Let's get real about this and say it - we need to spend a lot to save a lot. We need a new energy plan that will give us alternative sources on energy now! Car companies say it is 10 years away. I am certain our government could do it quickly.


"shocked at the pump also"

maimun said...

I'm sorry you got the impression that I felt that just lifting the gas tax was the answer to the energy problem. I was writing about the cost of gas and the taxes. Developing new energy sources and technology is certainly related, but I don't see them as an either-or choice. We need both.

And you are right that we need a new energy plan. One that's not written by the energy industry would be a good idea too.

But the Apollo Mission was a directive from President Kennedy. I think it's a lot easier for any President to push through their initiative than it would be for any freshman Congressmen.

The lifting of the federal gas tax gives the immediate break that's needed now and by investing the royalty relief into the development of new energy projects and incentives for energy efficiency and conservation, we have a actual method of funding for the new energy plan for our long-term energy use.

Certainly all the colleges, universities and alternative energy businesses in the 24th CD would benefit from such an incentive, but the broad range possibilities of such a plan would increase the likelihood of others in Congress (House and Senate) to also sign on so the plan can actually be passed.

(I did smirk today though as I drove home. Gas here was now $2.99/gallon. Can't say that I got very excited or suddenly start planning road trips!)

maimun said...
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