The new gold ...

Seems everyone this days is giving gas away as part of a promotional package. Buy a car, get free gas. Buy a boat. Get free gas. Buy a burrito, get gas. Well ... kind of.

Anyway, people aren't interesting in money, jewelery, or even gold. Diamonds aren't a girls best friend any more. Give 'em gas.

Even the Florida lottery has added gasoline to their list of prizes.

A lottery spokesperson said, “Once a week for the next two months, the second-prize winner in the latest lottery promotion, Summer Cash, will win free gasoline for life. And some people think that is a better deal than the game’s first prize, a quarter of a million dollars. ”

Actually, they'll be getting a $100 gas card every other week for the remainder of their life. That's $50 free dollars in gas a week. Or just over 10 gallons. Not that grand of a prize, really. Especially since later this year it will be just under 10 gallons ... and will likely quickly diminish.

Funny thing is, people don't notice that the value of the prize isn't nearly as good as the first place prize ... the quarter million dollars. They just hear free gas and go gaga.

The price of gasoline, of course, makes up a little bit of the price of just about everything; the food we eat, the stuff we buy ... and of course the places we go.

But keep in mind, it's only a portion of the cost of those things.

With the price of gas at $4.20 a gallon, and assuming, 20 miles per gallon, it's 21 cents a mile. Or $101.01 to get from my home in Lockport to my favorite vacation destination, Washington, DC. Round trip makes it $200 (give or take).

Two years ago, it would have only been $100 for gas for the same trip.

Of course, while on vacation, you'd spend a bunch of money on a hotel, tourist attractions, trinkets, etc. Let's say $1,000.

So add the gas in, and you've got a $1,200 vacation. As opposed to what would have been an $1,100 vacation if gas were $2.10.

Are you really going to skip your vacation over $100?

We need to stop treating gas as though it were gold. Otherwise, it might end up at $1,000 an ounce. And then we really couldn't afford to go anywhere.