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Gas…12 cents a gallon

by Larry Patrick

    I was reading a report the other day from the Associated Press on the price of gasoline across the world.  The U.S. is lucky by comparison.  Germany and Turkey are paying over $11 a gallon for gas while France is paying $9.66 a gallon.  There are four other major countries paying more than what we are.  However, there was one country paying only 12 cents per gallon.  You read it right, just 12 cents a gallon.  That is Venezuela.  Why?  Because they don’t charge taxes on gasoline.  That’s a bit shocking to the senses.  Venezuela does produce their own gas too, which I’m sure helps keep the costs down.

    I remember gas wars in Michigan in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  You could pull into a gas station and get a gallon of gas for just 19 cents.  You would rarely fill up the tank.  You mostly got one or two dollars worth. Back then, there were gas attendants who came out to pump your gas, wash your windshield, check the oil and would also check the air pressure in the tires, if you asked.  It’s amazing that you could drive up to a gas station, roll down the window and tell the attendant to give you a dollars worth of gas, get all of the above mentioned amenities and go on your merry way.  We’ve come a long way from those days haven’t we?

    In big cities in those times, it was common to have a gas station on every corner of a major intersection.  You did have to make sure that you didn’t wait too late to get gas because not all stations stayed open past 9 pm and there were no gas stations with automatic pumping with credit cards after hours.  The fact was, there weren’t too many people that had credit cards in the ‘60s. 

    I’m not really pining for the “good ole days.”  After all, I had more car problems, changed more flat tires, got less gas mileage, had no air conditioning, cassette or cd players, didn’t have cruise control, heated seats or automatic windows back in those times.  However, I do miss some of the classic designs of many of the cars growing up.  That’s why car shows are such popular events.  I certainly liked being able to buy a brand new 1970 Mercury Montego when I got out of the army, for just $3,600.  With payments of $98 per month for 3 years, I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to pay it off.  I wish my car payments today were only that amount for just 3 years.     

    One of the fond memories many of us that remember those days may have, is driving the car with our sweetheart sitting next to us.  Today, we have bucket seats that keep the gals at bay.  I once almost hit a police car going around a corner, steering with one hand and having my arm around my date with the other. I can remember the officer, after stopping me, giving me a choice of a ticket or taking my arm from around my girlfriend.  I still don’t understand why I never got a second date with that girl.  It really bothered me because I had spent a whole dollar for gas just so we wouldn’t run out on some lonely highway.  Sometimes, you just don’t get any appreciation.   

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