The ‘Tragedy’ of High Gas Prices

I saw this in a front page article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (emphasis mine):

“It’s just gotten out of hand,” said 53-year-old Yvonne Brune of Des Moines, Iowa, referring to the rising cost of gasoline. Because of higher gasoline prices, Ms. Brune, who works for a printing company doing marketing on weekdays and separately as a bridal consultant on nights and weekends, no longer makes the drive home at lunchtime — a 30-mile round trip — to spend time with her dogs. Because of rising airfares, she has canceled plans for a trip to Texas to visit relatives. “I think the airlines are going to see their industry implode because people are going to stop flying,” she said.

The article doesn’t mention what kind of car this lady drives but it doesn’t matter. Driving 30 extra miles a day (150 miles per week, 7,500 per year) is silly. If she got 30 miles per gallon, she’d be using up 5 gallons a week or 250 per year. Why can’t she spend time with her dogs when she gets home in the evening?

Maybe high gas prices are a good thing if it will keep people from doing stupid stuff! LOL!

25 thoughts on “The ‘Tragedy’ of High Gas Prices”

  1. That gas is probably cheaper than paying for a dog-walker. 5 gallons is only $20, assuming she has 30 minutes to spend with her dogs at lunchtime before she has to go back to work it comes out like this: Assuming she has 2 dogs she would spend $21.00 a day on a dog walker (I found this one on craigslist for my city – http://www.impromptudogwalking.com/services)… and would save $85 over the course of a week by doing it herself (and you know, the point of a dog is companionship). Either that, or she could just wait until she gets home, but that might not be an option if she works long hours or goes straight to her 2nd job. She could save money by fencing in her yard and having a doggie door, but this would increase heating and A/C costs because it is basically a hole in your door you can’t keep covered up when you are not home. Also, the initial outlay would be humongous. On top of that, due to wildlife, doggie doors are a supremely bad idea in some areas.

  2. Wow, at 250 gallons a year, and $4.00 a gallon, she’s at $1,000 annually just so she can drive home and she her dogs at lunchtime. If it’s just a matter of letting them out of the house to do their business, she could pay someone to come over every day cheaper than that.

  3. I see this as a good thing, cutting out unneeded trips, reducing overall gas consumption will be a good thing.

    Gas prices are here to stay. $4 is the new norm and people need to realize it and change their ways.

  4. Life is full of choices. She made the choice to live 30 miles from work. If that’s too far, make another move. That’s the great thing about the USA no one is forcing you to live or work anywhere. It’s all up to you!

    I for one would like to see gas at $10 or $20 dollars a gallon. Then someone could make a profit on alternative energy and a few problems would be solved.

  5. I guess 15 miles each way isn’t such a far drive… I personally wouldn’t do it. That sounds like a 20 minute drive each way at best and I wouldn’t have time to eat and unwind from my own stressful workday. Wouldn’t it be easier to just get a job closer to home?

  6. When I see stuff like this, it kind of makes me glad that gas prices are going up. This is incredibly wasteful.

  7. I think that’s sad. Some people love and appreciate their dogs and do the best they can for them. I can understand trying not to encourage the raising of gas prices by cutting usage and cancelling her trip plans, because complacently continuing to subsidize our own exploitation is the way to keep it going. I just heard on the news that consumption has not decreased, in spite of prices. Taking care of one’s loved ones, human or canine, is not the stupid thing. What seems stupid to me is to commute and actually pay for a job, but I understand that once you start something like that, it is very hard to just up and quit the job. The bottom line is that consumers would not be so horribly exploited if they did not allow it. And that means voting with the wallet all the time.

  8. How long is this lady’s lunch break?

    I have a 13-mile commute 3 days per week (I work from home the other 2) and it takes me about 17-18 minutes to drive it. There’s no way on God’s green earth I’d drive that twice a day, just to play with my dog.

  9. I find it ironic that this article is posted just after the previous topic. People dicussing how they can’t give up beer, cable or internet and it’s all fine. When someone is spending their extra cash to go home to see a living creature and take care of it, people bash because it involves gas.

    I drive home from work for lunch, 4 miles each way, to attend to my two adopted Greyhounds. Two dogs that if their owner has been ‘frugal’ would be dead, as it costs $5 to kill these wonderful creatures after their ‘monetary’ value has passed and $15 to have a kennel hold them for an adoption group.

    I find it humorous the judgemental attitudes because it involves a dog and gas. The meat industry and factory farming has a huge negative environmental impact, but would you want anyone to tell you’re an idiot or stupid because you consume meat and dairy? I choose not to for various reason, but I would guarantee nobody in here would like me to throw verbal abuse at their lifestyle choices.

    I also find it interesting everytime I hear, ‘I hope the gas goes up to X price’. Do people not realize this will just put even more stress on people who are already stretched? People with the available income will still keep consuming and the people who are struggling will still not be able to afford the available alternatives.

    So just to be clear, it it alright to spend your available cash on special higher priced foods, beverages, electronics, restaurants and various other personal preferences to enjoy yourself, it just cannot involve going to special lengths for a living creature and gas. Got it.

  10. Seamus,

    None of us is advocating NOT taking care of pets. The article mentioned that the lady went home each day at lunch to spend time with her dogs, not take care of them.

    My statement about high gas prices being good was a joke. I think most readers know that I would like lower rather than higher gas prices.

  11. I go home for lunch too. I live 4 miles from work. It is wonderful stress release – eat my own food (healthier than cafeteria), jump in the pool, get things done, just relax a little away from coworkers. Stress release is important to health. Gas costs, but so does health issues caused by high stress. If she loves her dogs, this is her stress release, and gas costs less than heart problems.

  12. Seamus,

    I think the issue is more about how ridiculous the media is and not about the fact it is talking about gas prices or a dog. They take some absurd circumstance to get a reaction from people, and these are usually situations where people are not really suffering like they make it out to be.The story of the lady with the dog would be no different than if the reported interviewed someone like me and I was saying, “Costs are outrageous! I had to stop buying a 12-pack of Guinness every week, and I have to cut my grocery trips to once a week instead of every other day.”

    People would have the same judgmental attitude. The media portrays my story as something that highlights how “bad” things are, when this type of tragic sacrifice is nothing compared to the people who are really suffering.

    If the media wants to make people stop and think, maybe they should do more stories on a single mother of four who’s barely able to keep up with the bills, shuffling the kids to school, hold a job, and put food on the table. Those stories will show you just how gas, food, and inflation are affecting people.

    But instead, the CNNs and Fox news and such channels will continue to highlight stories about someone who drives 150 miles a week to pet their dog at lunch, someone who had to give up steak for hamburger, or someone having to switch from $8/gal organic milk to $4/gal regular milk. Yes, these are such great sacrifices, things are so bad, and the sky really is falling.

    Of course, talking about people living in borderline poverty and actually making painful sacrifices due to rising prices is clearly depressing and not as entertaining some middle-class yuppie whining about giving up one of their luxuries.

  13. I think the gas prices are such a scam . The oil companies are just getting richer and richer. They say its supply and demand but now people are not driving and the gas prices are still up. The oil companies are manipulating the prices and gouging us at the pumps. Everyone needs to get together and pick out two days and not drive anywhere. and effect their pocket books like they are effecting ours. We need to pump the oil in the USA and not buy from foreign oil.

  14. Terry,

    I think your blame of the oil companies is misplaced. The price of oil is out of the oil companies’ control.

    In order to experience lower prices we have to see worldwide demand decrease.

  15. Terry – if people stopped buying gas for two days the only result would be everyone would buy gas on the third day because of all the errands they didn’t run that required driving and gas. Its a great idea but completely flawed in execution.

    As for the article, I think its sweet that this lady travels to see her dogs but the extra gas might be a bit much not to mention a 30 mile trip to see your pets at lunch is a bit of a lengthy trip. Now I’m sure she’s used to spending a certain amount of money on gas.. why get rid of the trips altogether? Just do it 3 times a week rather than 5? Or if the money is an issue cut back on something like that cable tv and cover the balance?

  16. If that lady loves her dog, she’d better be a vegetarian. If she eats animal, her story would be real funny:)

  17. If you want to lower gas prices, nuke China and India. Around 2001, China and India both began to import oil, and China’s adding about 750,000 new cars per year to its inventory. India is adding about 1.1 million new cars per year – and both are adding lots of scooters, motorcycles, delivery trucks, long-haul semis, etc.

    And what do we get from our glorious politicians? Jimmy Carter 2.0, also known as the “Windfall Profits Tax”.

    Yup – that’ll do a lot to lower the price of oil…

  18. JLP…I wasn’t directing the wanting higher gas prices comment at you or implying that you were suggestion not caring for your animals. My problem with the people who could have cared less when gas was $1.40 a gallon. Back then these same people weren’t up in arms about the environmental impact. This whole new attitude has been brought on by one thing on, the PRICE of gas, not the impact of gas. Many of the posters above were implying it was idiotic to do such a thing for an animal and some where also very serious in implying higher gas prices are a good thing. My point can be made by the argument that they should allow drilling in the USA. This doesn’t show a serious concern for the environment or in finding a solution to consume less gas, it serves one purpose, lowering the price of gas.

    JLP…you stated….

    “If she got 30 miles per gallon, she’d be using up 5 gallons a week or 250 per year. Why can’t she spend time with her dogs when she gets home in the evening?”

    Maybe it’s her form of a luxury. Everyone in here has something they spend money on when it’s unnecessary. Why can’t people just not do those things? They can, they choose not to, but don’t get bashed in here because it doesn’t involve the new taboo subject, the use of gas. You can see this from your previous post all the things in everyday life people know are an extra, but don’t want to give up.

    I still stand by my view that this was a ‘humorous’ topic because it involved her going to see her dog. If the situation was she drove 30 miles round trip spend time with her child that was home or at a daycare, I don’t think the response would have been the same.

  19. I like higher gas price, which makes SUV/Truck POSEURS feel depressed. This is called Karma, LMAO …

  20. This ‘Tragedy’ might just be the best thing that ever happened for the environment. If one million ‘burbers stop driving 30 minutes every day to ‘spend quality time’ with their pomeranians…

    All I can say is I have no pity for a lifestyle that existed at the expense of everything else. Wasteful and polluting, for the most trivial benefits.

    There is a lot that needs to change in this country. We’ve been ripped off by the automotive industry and we’re receiving the bill now.

    It was time to invest in public transit and non-petrochemical power. For as long as we keep paying these arab nations for our oil, the longer we will be funding these people to have the weapons with which to wage war against us.

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