Again with the hysterical gas-prices stories. The difference in this latest run-up, says analyst Trilby Lundberg, is that the national average price of $3.765 would be even higher had refiners and retailers passed on rising crude-oil prices to consumers, who already seem reluctant to put that tiger in their tanks as the mythical $4-per-gallon ceiling looms like a windshield full of oncoming Peterbilt with a full load of live pigs and a drunk, texting driver who doesn’t realize that he’s drifted across the yellow line into oncoming traffic.
“Demand has been falling at these prices,” Lundberg told the Reuters news agency.
I bet. If you don’t have a job — anyone remember the unemployment figures? You know, the story that kinda-sorta mattered before deficits, gas prices and The Donald sucked all the metaphorical oxygen out of the virtual pressroom? — a tank of gas must look like a bottle of Cristal champagne; too rich for your tastes.
But if cash-strapped drivers are buying less gas, how are they getting from point A to point B? Driving hybrids? Scooters? Bicycles? Skateboards? Hush Puppies?
Being biased, I’d like to think “bicycles.” It’s spring, and the weather is improving — well, as much as a Coloradan can expect in April, anyway — and suddenly that two-mile commute from the family seat to the cube farm looks doable on two wheels.
But can the typical Chubbo-American too pinched to buy gas afford the kind of bikes my people sell, or even look at them without hearing their dads, long dead of heart disease, liver failure and homophobia, calling them gay? Are they gonna trade in the family battlewagon for a couple of gaudy plastic-fantastics with saddles shaped like designer perfume bottles and wheels that look like the rings of Saturn? Will they spring for the reasonably priced, sensible machinery like the bikes I’ve been reviewing for Adventure Cyclist magazine?
Frankly, I have no idea. But, ever the optimist, I keep envisioning a graphic depicting the Descent of Motorist — from SUV to small car to hybrid to motorcycle to scooter to pawn-shop bicycle to Keds.
I’ve always been able to find that dark cloud surrounding the silver lining.*
* And yes, I know those front panniers should be swinging lower than an old man’s testicles over the toilet, but I didn’t have a low-rider rack that would work with disc brakes.