In the 1976 movie “Network,” the news anchor Howard Beale, sopping wet and on the edge, invited viewers to stick their heads out their windows and yell that they were mad as hell, and they weren’t going to take it anymore.
To listen to our audience, all Fuel Freedom has to do is poke our heads into the modern window to the world, Facebook, and hear people venting about what they’re mad about. Lately, that’s the price of gas.
When we posted yet another rising-gas-prices story to our Facebook page last week, we asked our followers to tell us what gas prices were where they lived. More than 70 people chimed in, from all over the country, to let us know. ($3.87 in Pasadena, really?) They also shared their unvarnished feelings about the impact that the recent price spike has had on their family budgets.
I followed up with one of the mad-as-hellers, Ann Kooi of Pahrump, Nevada. Her husband Larry drives 150 miles round-trip, east to North Las Vegas and back, for his job as a heavy-equipment mechanic. He has to fill up his Kia Soul every other day, bringing his total gasoline bill to almost what it was last year before prices plummeted, roughly $75 a week.
“When the price of gas goes up, it hurts us bad, big time,” said Ann, 59. “We rob Peter to pay Paul.”
She and Larry, 60, know it would be easier to move to Las Vegas, but they feel they’re priced out of the market. They had rented an apartment in the city for $500 a month, but Ann says their rent went up and they couldn’t afford to stay.
The price of gas in Nevada averaged $2.826 a gallon Tuesday, up from $2.219 a month earlier, according to GasBuddy.com. Nationally, it was $2.453, compared with $2.060 a month earlier. It has to be said that prices were much higher one year ago: $3.45 in Nevada and $3.463 nationally.
But the average national price for E85 ethanol blend, we should point out, was just $1.96 on Tuesday, according to E85Prices.com.
It’s the volatility, the unexpected price shock, that makes it impossible to predict how much cash you’ll need to get to payday. And consumers everywhere are frustrated by the multiple factors, and lack of warning, that went into the latest spike.
“They find every excuse in the book to raise the prices. And they keep us in limbo, and we can’t get ahead, no matter how hard we try,” Ann said.
Tell us your story about what the rising price of gas has cost you, and tell us what you’re prepared to do about it.
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