Eventually, it was hoped that Venezuelan oil would alleviate the transport fuel shortage, although he doubted that in his lifetime he would again see gasoline for sale to private citizens.
Pat Frank, Alas, Babylon
Dock the land yacht, Cap'n:
The gas pirates have raised the black flag
GASOLINE PRICES ARE SKYROCKETING AGAIN, and I couldn't care less. Maybe once they hit the $6-per-gallon figure cited in the fabled Bagni Hypothesis, there will be fewer bloodthirsty motorheads sucking my wheel like rubber-freak Draculas before flapping past generally in a blind corner marked with a double-yellow line to vanish in a cloud of noxious gases, wild gesticulations and bad noise.
Imagine it. Rural highways freed of the lumbering commuter traffic that has transformed them from pleasant cycling routes into NASCAR races without skill. Autos grow smaller and more efficient. Pudgy motorists move back downtown, switch to tennies or two-wheelers, and gain a new respect for self-propulsion and their rapidly thinning selves.
Nah. If $6 gas parks anyone, it will be the working stiffs, the men and women who know how to make things, or do stuff, at wages that make welfare look like winning the lottery. The gentry will keep steering their land schooners between town and country, spending more for a tankful of Saudi gas than I do for a case of French wine, and getting madder and madder and madder, but at the wrong people.
Green Acres Ain't The Place To Be. I should know. This latest gas-price spike would have me barking at myself if we had decided to stick it out in Weirdcliffe, where procuring drinkable wine of any nationality involved a three-hour, five-gallon round trip. Tote up the cost of the go-juice and the time spent not working and you've taken a $130 trip to town for a jug of undistinguished California cabernet.
Incidentally, California is where the gas bill came due with a vengeance in mid-March $2.10 per gallon, the highest average price in the country, with rumors of $3 and $4 per gallon in San Francisco and San Diego. Gov. Gray Davis was wondering out loud whether "anything more than normal market forces" were involved. No flies on that boy, are there?
Here in Bibleburg, it's not quite that bad. Buck-seventy-five for 87 octane, and since the Safeway is a 10-minute walk instead of a 55-mile drive, I'm trying very hard not to buy it. The wife's employer pays her Texaco tab, since her job involves a bunch of travel. So I'm feeling pretty smug about leaving Green Acres for Mayberry.
Just Gimme That Countryside. Except when I ride out on what used to be sparsely traveled rural highways, and now are traffic-jammed commuter routes, where everybody seems to be wearing his Jockeys a size too small all of a sudden.
Cyclists who fear the mindless rage of the stereotypical redneck in a battered pickup with an ax handle in the rifle rack should try sharing a shoulderless road with a few of these country squires galloping their pudgy iron horses between the Roy Rogers ranchettes out east and the paper-shuffling gigs in town. I've had more close calls in six months here than I did during six years in Crusty County, where if they had a bridge some odd-looking person surely would be playing banjo on it.
Hey, there are plenty of lovely houses available here in town for harried folks who find that endlessly navigating two-lane roads in four-wheeled behemoths at 12 miles to the ever-more-costly gallon is getting them nowhere but closer to the edge. Swap the tank for an Echo, or better yet, a bike. Slow down. Calm down.
The simple fact of the matter, one of the many that brought me down from the mountain, is that the life of a country squire is unsustainable as long as the city remains the source of his living. If $6 gas will drive that home, it's a small price to pay.