Two-Fifty-Nine Nine

August 12, 2005

When I was a child there were two service stations a mile from my parents house, a Shell station and across the road a Standard station. (Who else remembers Standard stations?) These were full-service stations; when you pulled in next to the pump island your car ran over the annunciator cord causing a bell to ring inside the station itself. The attendant, dressed in an collared shirt with his name embroidered over the left pocket, came out and asked you what kind of gas you wanted, and should he check the oil. The front and rear windows were cleaned as a matter of course.

All of this service for 29 or 30 cents a gallon.

By the time I was sixteen the oil shortage had occurred and gasoline prices had passed the 60 cent per gallon mark. Before I was out of high school prices were $1.30. Once or twice while I was in college I remember the price dipping below a dollar, but only briefly.

This morning I had to fill our car up. When the "miles to empty" value that is displayed on the dashboard computer reads 80 or so, the car takes 20 gallons to fill. This morning I put 19.380 gallons into the car. It cost me $50.37.

Fifty bucks for a tank of gas that will last me until next Thursday or Friday.

Two dollars and fifty-nine point nine cents per gallon.

Un-freaking-believable.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.