Hello "Weekend Live" viewers:
Thanks again for the tremendous response to our question regarding gasoline prices (search). With the cost of a gallon of gas exceeding three bucks a gallon in some places, it seems pretty obvious that the extra expense is hitting folks in the wallet. I was curious if people were shrugging it off and moving forward, or curtailing their lifestyles.
A few of you are in the shrugging mode — like Jon, who wrote:
"I really haven't changed lifestyle a bit. [After] we vacationed in England and got a load of their prices, we feel pretty fortunate."
Dave's family has made the decision to suck it up and keep on driving:
"We still have to get to work, buy groceries, and get the kids to school. We still must have a vehicle large enough for the family — there is no way to go smaller. We must cut back in other areas. I just don't have room for a horse and carriage. Besides hay is not cheap either."
And I really can't blame Fred in Dallas for continuing to drive, no matter how much gas costs:
"Only two broken legs might keep me from driving my '66 Shelby Cobra!"
But the vast majority of those who responded to our question said they were suffering because of high gasoline prices. Here's Jared, from Salt Lake City, Utah:
"Yes, the cost of high gas prices IS taking its toll on me and my business. I own a car dealership. Topping off every newly purchased vehicle with a full tank has become more taxing than ever! This common courtesy amounts to thousands each month."
Nancy from East Texas is getting hit hard in a couple of different ways:
"I drive 15 miles one way to work, and if it doesn't stop soon, then I'll be forced to quit working, since I won't make enough to pay me to keep working. Then we'll be forced to live on what my truck-driving husband makes. We're worried that the trucking industry will be forced to start laying off drivers and park trucks because of the high cost of diesel fuel and then we'll really be in trouble."
You know its bad when a workingman like J.D. decides it time to give up his trusty pickup truck:
"Yesterday, I decided it was time to quit using my 1/2 ton truck and go shop for a fuel efficient car for driving back and forth to work. My daily commute is a roundtrip of 60 miles. Even though it will take a while to realize an overall savings, it is time to make the move before it costs an arm and a leg to buy a compact car."
Speaking of truck drivin' men — we heard from Kevin — who, like Merle Haggard, knows that the "white line is the life-line of our country":
"I am a truck driver I am listening to you on XM Radio (search) from the road. I don't pay for the fuel in my truck because I am a company driver, but it is the reason why I am not an owner/operator. The price of fuel would eat my lunch."
Couple of things, Kevin: First, always remember to keep the "rubber side down." Second, thank you for listening via satellite radio (I love my XM — never go anywhere without it.) Meanwhile, Mike from Baltimore offers up a sensible idea ... think before you drive:
"I find myself combining all small trips into one. I think ahead, write myself notes on what I have to do and find that I get more done in less time AND use less gasoline. When gasoline prices force the average American to re-evaluate their driving habits, we as a nation will use less gas, lower demand and increase supply. We all know what happens then! Happy reduced motoring!! (And use a turn signal!)"
I never use a turn signal — it only let's the other people figure out what you are going to do. Where's the fun in that? Another Mike — this one from Tennessee — thinks the situation may get much worse:
"I was told that the owner was told by Phillips the price of gas would be between $4.00 and $5.00 by the end of the year. I thought she was wrong but as the summer progresses, it seems what she was told, was accurate. What does this say about supply vs. demand or "speculation?" Oil companies knew the prices would go this high, regardless of anything going on in the Middle East! It is time for the American people to say enough is enough! American oil companies are also making record profits. How can we allow that to continue? This goes right to the issue of the rich gets richer and the poor get poorer!"
A few of you wrote to suggest that new technology was the answer. Here's Patrick from Texas:
"There is just no excuse for America's auto industry to be so far behind in the hybrid market. I've reached a point where my days off are spent at home just to save on gas. No matter how bad things get for U.S. automakers and their employees, the hybrid cars from Honda and Toyota are looking better and better."
Patrick, I have to agree. I am puzzled somewhat by the lack of American know-how being directed at this problem. I believe hybrids are the bridge, but the future lies in cars and trucks powered by fuel cells. Imagine owning a car that emits only water vapor. Fuel cells have been around since the days of NASA's Gemini project, so why doesn't my car have one? The problem, of course, is that fuel cells require hydrogen to operate and there is no infrastructure in place to fill up the tank with hydrogen. But, if gasoline prices keep rocketing, maybe that will change.
Frank from Phoenix is selling the SUV (search), buying a Mini-Cooper (cool!) and is thinking about other ways to save gasoline:
"I have never car-pooled to work before, and I have been the type of person that thought I never would, but starting just this last Friday I started carpooling with a co-worker so we could mutually save the cost of gas. I live in Phoenix, Arizona where having a car and driving is pretty much a requirement. Our family has a small boat, but after the Labor Day weekend, we are going to sell the boat, which will allow me to justify getting rid of my Expedition and finally get a vehicle that will not kill me at the pump."
Raymond lives in Florida — and he believes that Americans should take stock of how much they are paying for other important commodities, though my friends Deb and Suki at the corner Starbucks might disagree:
"Paying about $2.75 for a gallon of gas is cheaper than paying about $4.00 for a couple of ounces of a triple latte with extra froth. Let us put things into perspective. People spend a whole lot more money on a gallon of the triple latte than on a gallon of gas. The only difference is that the triple latte's cost is hidden in a space of a week while the gas hits you all at once."
Mona from Ohio makes a similar point:
"It's interesting that people whine about the price of a gallon of gasoline, but will pay $1.00 for a pint of water — which they could have free! Only in America!"
Finally, we have this thought from J.L., also from Ohio:
"Somehow I feel that gas prices are connected to our tax system - that's it, we need to blame the IRS (search)."
You'll notice that J.L. gave us only his initials and not his full name. Good move J.L — and let me quickly add: I personally admire and respect the hard-working men and women of the Internal Revenue Service. For my money, there is no harder working, dedicated group of government employees. Saaaaaalute!
I read today on the front page of The Washington Post that "Roberts Unlikely to Face Big Fight — Many Democrats See Battle as Futile." This would not be surprising to regular readers of the Wilson Watch. Click here to read the blog from August 12. Remember, you read it here first! The Wilson Watch — providing cutting edge news and information to thousands for nearly a month.
If you want to stay on the cusp of relevant news — perhaps you will join me for the Sunday edition of “Weekend Live.” It kicks off at noon Eastern — 9 Pacific. See you then.
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Brian Wilson is a congressional correspondent for FOX News and anchor of the Sunday edition of "Weekend Live."