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We have to work to pay less
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Everybody would like to blame someone else for the sky-rocketing at the gas pumps.
Because we can’t figure out a way to get to work without our cars.
We have to drive to the grocery store — and enjoy more inflation.
And, let’s be honest, we just enjoy getting behind the wheel of the good ol’ “Wagon Queen Family Truckster” to cruise.
Sure, we’d love to blame the president, or Congress, and we’d love for them to lean on the gas companies, but the reality is that the only answer is for us to drive less — and buy less gas.
The Associated Press recently announced: “Americans have pumped less gas every week for the past year.
“During those 52 weeks, gasoline consumption dropped by 4.2 billion gallons, or 3 percent, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. The decline is the longest since a 51-week period during the recession.
“The main reason: higher gas prices.”
When prices go up, we drive less. It’s a cause-and-effect situation.
“Americans have cut back on fill-ups for extended periods before. In 2008, gas spiked from $3.04 to $4.11 per gallon in seven months. It wasn’t until January 2009, when the national average for gas had dropped to $1.86 that consumption increased.”
As we deal with prices over $4 — again — it is going to take Americans being intentional to bring prices down, and even that isn’t likely to be seen until after the summer.
That means, of course, Americans are going to cut elsewhere — from tithing to vacation stays — the heat is on.
And if you think it feels like you’re spending more of what you earn on fuel, you are correct, according to the AP.
Gasoline prices rose by 24 percent in the last 52 weeks, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. In 2011, Americans spent 8.4 percent of their household income on gasoline, compared with 6.7 percent in 2010.
And, as is always drummed in to us from the discount store to the diner, when gas prices hike, so does everything else — everything except wages, of course.
It is up to Americans to do something about this.
That “something” is to change our driving habits.
We have to decide we will make fewer trips, we will drive less and shop wiser.
Saving a few bucks on cutting out impulse purchases — like that bottle of pop when you get gas — will make up for a lot of pump hikes.
Cutting back on recreational car use, or just planning your day better, will accomplish the same.
It might even be worthwhile to actually create a home budget and use it to keep track of how your family is combating the hikes.
This challenge is like any other. If we are intentional in our reaction, we can have an impact on it.
If we just go with the flow, who knows how high the price can go?
There are, after all, those in our culture who have the intent that we pay as much as drivers do in Europe — or at least that is what members of the current federal administration have commented.
Surely we would like to prove them wrong.
— Chuck Smith