We’re all watchers of the gas-station “flip sign” now.
They call it that — the flip sign — because it has replaceable plastic numbers, or electronic ones, that “flip” as the price fluctuates. For months the national average for a price of regular unleaded has been flipping in a downward direction, from $3.68 a gallon in June to $2.11 on Tuesday.
We keep track of such details because (relatively) cheap gas means more money stays in our pockets. Depending on where you live, how far you drive, and whether your chariot sips gas or guzzles it, you’re saving $50, $75, $100 a month that can be used for other purposes.
Low fuel prices are great for consumers, but we shouldn’t expect the windfall to last. American drivers deserve the cost certainty of permanently low prices, and the best way to achieve that is through fuel choice, so gasoline isn’t the only alternative when we fill up.
PUMP, narrated by Jason Bateman, played in theaters in more than 40 cities last fall, receiving favorable reviews from critics and high marks from audiences. Check out PUMPtheMovie.com to watch the trailer, view a photo gallery and read bios of the stars, including Elon Musk.
PUMP traces the century-long history of how gasoline, refined from crude oil, came to monopolize transportation in the United States. It shows how dependent we’ve always been on oil, to the detriment of the country’s economic well-being, national security, health and environment.
The solution is to diversify the U.S. fuels market by allowing other types of fuel to compete on an even footing with gasoline. Technological innovation has brought us cars that can run on multiple types of fuel, including ethanol and methanol (made from a variety of “feedstocks,” including plants, natural gas and landfill waste). Other vehicles are powered by compressed or liquefied natural gas, hydrogen fuel cells, and of course, lithium ion batteries.
The choices are practically endless, and yet the vast majority of drivers are stuck with only one choice: gasoline.
Creating the market conditions that will lead to a diversified fuels market will produce a variety of benefits, but for the moment let’s get back to the economic benefit. No one saw the oil-price drop coming, and experts have been consistently wrong every step of the way. But reasonable people have predicted that prices, inevitably, will rise again. We know this because it’s happened again and again in recent American history.
Fuel choice will ensure that you lock in your monthly savings for the long term, instead of enjoying only short-term relief.
If permanently cheap gas sounds like attractive, watch PUMP. The solutions are in there.