Son and Cooper at Lac Saint-Jean, Québec, Canada
Yesterday, I filled my Mini Cooper’s fuel tank for $51.00: that’s €38.98, or £32.12 at the present currency-exchange rates. The Cooper only has a 13.2-gallon fuel tank or 50 liters full, not much gas actually. The Mini-S runs only on premium at $4.09 per gallon, €3.13, or £2.58; but in these days of skyrocketing gas prices, it is still quite expensive. One US gallon of gas equals 3.78 liters of petrol. Really hurting are those with vehicles equipped with 20- to 30-gallon tanks, in which 76, and 114 liters fit respectively; for owners of semis or lorries, forget about it!
In England, petrol is going for £1.50 per liter. When multiplied by 3.78, that equals £5.67 for a gallon of gas. Converted into US currency, the price of what folks in the UK are paying per gallon of fuel is $8.99 (€6.89). Europeans are spending as much, so we American’s can’t complain; although, as the result, everything else here is going up-up-up.
A small jar of instant coffee in Philadelphia is now $4.25, close to our cost for a gallon of premium gas; but the container holds enough java to make 60 cups, for which 16 cups make a gallon; or 3.75 gallons of coffee can be brewed from its contents. Tap water costs essentially next to nothing, so compared to gasoline, that breaks down to 89 cents per gallon, much closer to the gas prices back in the late ’70s. The price in England for the same size jar of comparable coffee is £2.68 for 100 grams, or $4.25; remarkably the same. I’m going out on limb to say the expense of coffee in Europe is most likely the same as well for the similar brand.
Milk costs $3.50 for a gallon here in Pennsylvania. In the UK it is cheaper. Three-point-four liters, which equates to nine tenths of a gallon, runs £1.74, or $2.75 US. Adding the additional .1 gallon to the mix, that brings the cost to $3.05 US per gallon, or £1.92 GBP. Milk in France is more expensive: about €1 per liter, or $4.96 US per gallon.
Aside from all of this, utility bills are going up; clothes are more expensive. Everything seems to be effected by the cost of a gallon of gas and diesel fuel, or more specifically, the price of a barrel of crude oil. Even the Power Ball Lottery Commission raised their ticket price by an extra dollar, albeit the chance of winning got no better; but I’ll keep on buying them until my ship comes in.
This essay could turn into a political rant about offshore drilling and finding greener forms of energy to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Lambasting those responsible for manipulating the commodity-futures indices deserves mentioning. All it takes is for someone to pass gas loudly overnight in some oil field in the Middle East, and bingo: the price of a crude-oil barrel just went up fifteen percent.
Hark back to the oil embargo of 1973. In America, gasoline was rationed, whereby motorists were only allowed to fill up their vehicles on alternating days, depending on whether the last numeral of one’s license plate was even or odd. Even numbers corresponded to even dates of the month, and the odd numerals or vanity plates could only get gas on odd-numbered days. The pricing exploded, economically excused by the law of supply and demand. Meanwhile, tankers offshore were filled with black gold and reportedly awaited while the cost of a gallon of gas further soared. Nixon’s devaluation of the dollar was detrimental too, in my most humble opinion.
What got me going on this tirade? I had turned on some music earlier by The Kinks. “A Gallon of Gas” began to play, whose lyrics read:
I’ve been waiting for years to buy a brand new Cadillac,
But now that I’ve got one, I wanna send it right back;
I can’t afford the gas for my luxury limousine,
But even if I had the dough, no one’s got no gasoline.