Being one of the few people on these internet tubes who can add, subtract, divide, and multiply, I thought I should use my superpowers to put gas prices in perspective. So I went looking for numbers to crunch and found that there were too many available. Yeah, it's not that information isn't available; it's too available. And the Wikipedia-effect taints most of them. Accuracy is guaranteed by SGOI, some guy on the internet.
But you can do the math yourself. The radio is talking about how families from the DC area want to go to the beach for the Fourth of July but can't because of gas prices. So check the numbers. The distance from DC to OC is 150 miles. Most family cars/mini-vans get 15 miles per gallon or better, so that's 10 gallons to get there, and 10 to get back. So how does an extra dollar per gallon kill the deal? "Twenty dollars extra is too much, dear, let the kids play in the backyard with the hose." Come on, the first game of miniature golf will cost you twice that.
I'm not saying that four dollar gas is insignificant, but neither is it disastrous. I drive many miles for work and get terrible gas mileage. Back of the napkin calculations show me paying maybe $1500 more for gas this year. That seems like a lot until you consider how much driving those miles will bring in. Spread it out over the year and only the pickiest customers would even notice if I raise my rates to compensate.
This feels like a case of the media whipping up a frenzy because:
- It's an election year and Republicans are evil/dumb/dangerous.
- Reporters and News Directors avoid math just as much as everyone else.
- Reporters and News Directors are as easily scared as everyone else.
- Scare stories are very easy to do.
***Update: visual aid -