Glynn Moore

News editor and local columnist for The Augusta Chronicle.

A gallon of gas leaves me giddy

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Several hours before writing this, I filled up my car’s gas tank at $3.07 a gallon. It left me breathless; I hadn’t bought gas that cheap in a long time.

I wanted to hold off a few more days to see whether the price dipped below $3, but I couldn’t. The nagging light on my dashboard had been on for a while, and I didn’t want to take a chance of running dry in the middle of the night. Maybe next time, I will pay $2.99.

Unless.

There’s always an “unless,” isn’t there? Unless someone somewhere grows weary of the falling prices and flips a switch that reverses them. Unless there’s a new war or rumors of war. Unless the speculators decide they need to buy a bigger boat.

Before you remind me that gas across the state line already has fallen below $3, let me state that I am not going to drive out of my way for a few pennies. Not on hot days when my air conditioning would eat up the profits. I’ll pay what is near my house and not complain.

Let’s face it, a few pennies one way or the other isn’t a big deal. When gas goes up a nickel a gallon, I have to spend about 60 cents or so more. I waste that much money idling at red lights and in drive-thru windows, so I’m not worried.

The most I’ve ever paid for gasoline was $3.99 a gallon; not quite the $4 mark.

The cheapest? Well, let’s see. I remember when I was a kid riding in the back seat of my parents’ old sedan, I saw two stations holding a gas war. They were just outside a Civil War battlefield and were the last stations for miles because none were allowed in the park. The rival stations got down to 17.9 cents a gallon, but that was a long time ago and I wasn’t doing the driving – or the buying.

I recall that in high school, gas cost about 27.9 cents. I don’t actually remember it, but I did see a placard in front of a gas station in a photo in my high school yearbook.

That price didn’t guarantee that I had a full tank. One car I had at the time had a broken fuel gauge and a voracious appetite. I ran out of gas five times in the first few weeks before I learned how to get a grasp on its needs.

When I was in the Navy and driving a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle, the gasoline on base cost 20 cents a gallon. I could fill up my Bug for $2 and drive forever.

It was a shock, then, when I got out of the service shortly after the first energy crisis. I remember driving by a gas station on my college campus and seeing the horrifying sign that advertised regular for 56.9 cents a gallon.

I was driving a gas guzzling Dodge with a big V-8 by that time, and wishing I had kept the VW.

I don’t want to think about the many gallons I have put into automobiles over the years – at any price. All the miles those cars ran were also miles on my personal odometer. Gallon after gallon, mile after mile, year after year. My body’s low-fuel light has been on awhile.


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