President George Bush is in Riyady, Saudi Arabia today. He is meeting with Saudi Arabia's leaders. One item on their meeting agenda is to talk about oil production and gasoline costs. The president is asking King Abdullah for greater production to help halt rising gas prices in the United States.
Unfortunately, Saudi officials are sticking to their position that they already are meeting demand.
When President Bush met Abdullah in January, the president also asked Saudi Arabia to raise production to ease high prices at the pump. But he got a chilly response to that plea. The kingdom said it would increase production only when the market justified it, and that production levels appeared normal.
Well, as of noon central time, oil prices have climbed to a new high, above $127 a barrel. At the gas pump, gas prices rose to a national average of $3.78 per gallon, according to a survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.
Wow! Who would have ever thought we would see this day! I am getting old, I realize that, but when I am tempted to say, "When I was a kid, gasoline was $.25 a gallon!" I realize just how old I must sound! Yet, as a boy, my first paying job was cutting grass for my neighborhood. I had a pretty good deal worked out. My dad furnished the lawn mower and I paid for the gas from my business profits. In those days, I only charged a couple of dollars a yard, max. But, when gas cost only $.25 I was making a good profit. I could cut several yards on a single tank of gas, and it took several tanks to equal a gallon of gas.
Now, gas is over $3.70 a gallon. The last time I filled up my car, it costs $53. That's a single fill-up!
I don't have the answers to this problem. In my part of the world, public transportation isn't an option. You see, even though I live 10 miles from a major city, and there are 1.7 million people in our region, there is NO regional transit system. We have no trains, no light rail, no buses, no commuter lots, etc. So, we depend upon our cars, trucks, and SUVs to get everywhere.
For nearly seven years, I lived in Northern Virginia, only about 30 miles from downtown Washington, DC. Mass transit was a way of life there. We had commuter lots, trains, light rail, even carpool systems operated on the Internet. Most people I knew commuted to work using one of these systems.
My favorite commuting system though was something I had never heard of before moving to the area and I've never heard of it since. Many people commute to DC by "Slugging" to work. Ever heard of it? Don't be ashamed to admit if you haven't. As I said, I had never heard of it either.
Slugging is an interesting way to commute. Slugs, don't you love what they call themselves, go to commuter lots and wait in line for people to stop and ask if they need a ride to a certain part of DC. You see, in Northern Virginia, the fastest way to get to work, by car, is in the HOV lanes (High Occupancy Vehicle). Cars must carry at least three people in the car to use the HOV lanes. These lanes can mean getting to work in 30 minutes compared to 1 1/2 hours. So, if you normally had three people in your carpool, yet someone was out sick or on vacation, what could you do to use the HOV lanes? Well, some very smart person came up with the idea of slugging to work. These people literally stand around, in line, waiting for someone to drive up (someone they have never seen before and probably will never see again), offer to give them a ride to whatever part of DC, they get in, ride to work (free) and the others get to use the HOV lane, saving time to work! In the afternoon, they reverse the process, and catch a free ride back home.
What happens if they don't get picked up? Simple. Most of them carry a bus token, and at a certain point, they get on the bus and ride it to work. Most of the people I knew never had to use the bus token! They found rides every day!
I doubt such a system would work in Alabama. I'm not sure I want to get into a car with someone I've never met before. That just doesn't seem to be a logical (nor safe) idea to me.
So, I guess I will just continue to fill up my gas tank each week, watching the dial spin faster and faster, and my costs going up and up. Oh well, I really didn't need that gallon of milk or medical checkup.
But, let's not talk about the price of a gallon of milk...that's a whole different story. Thank goodness, I really don't like milk!