Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aghast over gas?

Contrary to the recent headlines proclaiming the entire country to be up in arms and aghast at the price of fuel, I'm not.

I want to be angry. I've tried. In fact, I've spent the last few days trying to get angry just so I could write about how angry I am.

Maybe it's that I don't drive enough. Maybe it's that I'm in a better financial situation than others. Or maybe it's just my cool demeanor. But I doubt it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about $4-plus gas. I certainly don't look forward to spending more and more of my hard-earned money on getting from point A to point B. But I'm certainly not angry.

Who, after all, am I supposed to be angry at?

Should I be angry at the Bush administration for not being able to force OPEC and oil companies to set their prices lower?

Should I be angry at Congress for the same? Or for not having billions of barrels of oil stored out back somewhere to help this crunch we're in?

Should I be angry at the oil companies themselves for wanting to make a profit?

The most frequent excuse I hear for why I should be angry is that "big oil" is reaping larger and larger profits each quarter. Of course, their response is that they actually only make pennies on a gallon and the reason for the high profits is that we keep consuming more and more gallons.

So should I be angry at you? Or myself? Or developing nations in Africa and Asia that are using more oil than they used to?

Cause when it really comes down to it, it's supply and demand. The more in demand something is, the more "they" charge us for the supply.

Sure oil company profits are huge ... but their profit margin is not. Many of you could surely care less about profit margin, but look at it this way: You'd surely invest a dollar to make $10. And you'd likely invest $10 to make $100. But would you be so willing to invest $100 to make $10? You're still making the same $10 you were before when you were investing $1 ... but the deal doesn't look as good now. Profit's the same ... but profit margin is less.

You know the old saying, "Don't cry over spilt milk." Well, I guess I have a similar philosophy on gas. I'm not going to cry over milk someone else spilled ... even if I have to clean it up.

Being angry gets you no where. You still have to spend $4.09 - or whatever it is by the time you read this - on gas ... plus you're angry about it.

Now, if we could bottle anger and use it to run cars ... then I'd be trying even harder to be angry ... and baiting you to do the same.

But that's not the case. Cars run on gasoline. (most of 'em). Gasoline comes from the oil companies. And we're not part of the process until we pull up to the pump.

That's not to say we can't do anything about the amount of gasoline we consume. But most of us - apparently - aren't angry enough to do that yet. I can tell by the amount of SUVs and pickup trucks driving around at any given time.

In the end, unless you're getting 36 miles to the gallon - which many cars get now - the only person you should be angry at about the amount you spend on gasoline ... is you.

And I'm not about to be angry at myself. So I just won't be angry.