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Share your story of gas-price outrage

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.

If you want to be profiled in a “Share Our Story” post, send your contact info to [email protected]

Angry about rising gas prices? Do something about it

Silly American driver. Did you think gas prices were going to stay low forever?

When we say low, we should really say “low,” with derisive air quotes, because gas prices never really got to what a historian would certify as “low” anyway, even after crude oil dropped 60 percent between June and January. As New York Times columnist David Leonhardt noted in late January, for 17 years — from the beginning of 1986 to the end of 2002 — gasoline averaged $1.87 a gallon.

But gasoline had soared so high over the past decade that a sudden drop late last year, which pushed prices down to $2 or less in many places, felt like a tax holiday.

Well, holiday season is officially over. Oil set another 2015 high on Tuesday, with Brent crude, the international benchmark, rising $1.13 to $62.53. The peak of the session, $63, was the highest level it’s reached since Dec. 18.

The surge — which caught analysts and experts off-guard, just as the plunge did before it — wasted no time in carrying over to the pump. According to the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the national average Tuesday was $2.259, up from $2.185 a week before and $2.076 a month before.

In some states, obviously, it’s climbed higher and faster than others. At my neighborhood station in Southern California, the price for basic 87-octane went from $2.39 to $2.85 in only a few weeks. At a different station across the intersection, the price has tracked an identical arc. I imagine the owners watching each other with infrared binoculars late at night, ready to hoist new digits onto their respective marquees when one rival dares to up the ante a dime.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at Gas Buddy, wrote Monday:

“Motorists in California are getting a taste of the sourness that will hit across the country in a month or two as Los Angeles switches over to cleaner burning gasoline, followed by San Francisco in short order, with the rest of the nation making moves in the weeks and months ahead. I’m also starting to hear more frustration from motorists about rising prices- and while the concerns are well rooted, they should take solace that gas prices this summer are still expected to be some $1/gal lower than last summer.”

Raise your hand if you’re in the mood for some solace.

Drivers are more likely to feel confused and exasperated by the inexplicable price spikes and the baseless predictions.

If you’re angry about rising gas prices ebbing away at the money you thought you were saving last fall, you can do something about it: First, watch PUMP the movie, on Amazon, iTunes, DVD or at a public screening. Second, convince your friends to watch it, or volunteer to host a screening in your city. (Do you get the idea we want people to watch this important film?) Third, sign our petition urging fueling retailers to make alternative fuels, like E85, available to consumers.

Ending our reliance on oil as the only fuel option for vehicles is possible in the next few years, but only if we act. It sure beats complaining about the price of gas.