Hello dear viewers,
As is often the case on “Weekend Live,” we have asked you to weigh in on a topic in the news and the response has been amazing. We asked: How has the high price of gasoline changed your life? I found it interesting that many of the early responses were from people who say they are really feeling the pinch. Like the viewer below, who did not give a name or city:
“I will tell you how the high price of gas is affecting me, I CAN'T DRIVE MY CAR!!!!!!!”
There were several letters like this one from Sarah in Pensacola. She has observed some slowing in the local economy in the store where she works:
“I am a college student and I work in the mall selling shoes for $9.60 an hour. We also make commission if we sell any amount over our quotas. But lately nobody has been buying shoes. I’m guessing that it’s because the gas prices are set from $2.89 to $2.99 throughout Pensacola. People are not shopping like they usually would be this time of year. Three out of five employees in my department are getting a pay cut because we have not made our quotas in the last three months because we have had no customers to sell shoes to. Soon I’m going to be making $7.20 an hour and that’s a big cut, especially when I have to pay $2.99 per gallon at the pump. I’m a full-time student and a part-time employee, but I have been working full-time hours lately just to get by. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get a pay cut especially since gas prices keep going up.”
K. from Texas has been doing the math and for her things are not adding up:
“The high cost of gas is costing me the opportunity to work! I work 30 miles away and drive over 5 days a week. We are paying $2.79 a gallon right now, but with the prices continuing to rise, I will be forced to quit my job! With the cost of gas and wear and tear on my vehicle, I can no longer afford the drive.”
Rob from Kentucky hopes the government can provide some relief soon:
“I am a rural letter carrier in Kentucky and my route is 122 miles long and I am now paying $33.00 a day just to carry my route. We receive 41cents per mile, but that doesn't even cover my gas and all of my car repairs. I carry my route 5 days a week so that means I am spending 660.00 dollars a month in gas alone. We need relief in a major way.”
But somewhere along the way, the e-mails started to change direction. This well-written note from Gail in California is very typical:
“We live in California where the tax on gasoline is one of the worst! We don't care about the $100 rebate and would rather see the debt reduced. However, we calculated a chart on the potential increase of gas over the next year, using regular gasoline and getting only 16mpg driving our old '97 Ford Explorer. Commuting to work for one driver at 30 miles per day, using the old price of gas at $2.75/gal costs us $112/month. If gas goes to $3.50/gal (for regular) the cost would be $142/month, an increase from $112 to $142, costs us $30.00 more per month, or an increase of approx. $366 more every year. Effectively, if gas were $3.50 per gallon, we would need to find $30.50 a month. We learned that if we gave up Jamba Juice at $4.25 day x 10 days, we would offset the price of gasoline entirely. If we gave up bottled water and Coca-Cola by both of us, we could also offset the increased expense of gas by at least half; if we reduced our intake of wine by two bottles a month we could save the entire amount of the gas increase. If we exercised more and watched fewer movies we could save close to $20, or 2/3 of the increase in gas per month. This does not seem at all unreasonable compared to the hysteria we're hearing in the liberal media and that the GOP is so worried about in an election year.
We were curious, if our state were to remove gas taxes (permanently) how much we would save for a year? If we subtracted the 60 cents per gallon in taxes we are currently charged, and found we would save $24.38/month or $293 annually. If we had that money to spend, we could take an extra weekend getaway each year (drive to Santa Barbara for dinner), see another movie every month, buy another book every month or pick-up Chinese food once more in a month. If 8 million people were to spend $293 more per year, that would put $2.3 billion into circulation. Definitely a thought. That produces a better result. We vote to cut spending, and we vote to repeal the gas taxes and make the federal tax cuts permanent.”
This viewer came to a similar conclusion:
I burn about a tank of gas per week. I have a large truck that will take about 30 gallons to fill. Therefore, a dollar-a-gallon change in the price of gas costs me 30 bucks a week. I fritter away more than that on lunches and vending without a thought. A moderate smoker will burn that and more up in a week. I watch folks that don't have any money spend more than that on lottery tickets in a day. People are spending more than that on bottled water when they could drink it free from the tap. This isn't life-changing stuff. Go take a 25-mile walk and then tell me you wouldn't give $3 to get a ride back.”
Here's Mark from Illinois:
“Starting Monday, I will change my driving habits by riding my bike to work four out of six working days. I bought my bike not at a Wal-Mart or Kmart but at the local mom and pop store. I also made sure that the bike was made anywhere else but CHINA. To put this into perspective, I am ‘Sticking it to the Man’ twice, doing good for the local community and getting a little exercise.”
We'll close with this from Greg in Michigan:
“The problem isn't the current higher price, it is the short term view of a fix and the grandstanding. The U.S. has had such inexpensive gas prices for a long time that our BEHAVIORS and geographic design reflect that. Hence, our consumption of energy was placed at a lower value in relation to other (more valued) aspects of life (costs). (FREEDOM) It is more costly in the long term to make superficial short-term fixes, especial the trivial ones currently mentioned by Congress.
Let the markets do their thing! Higher prices lead to behavioral change (ride share), consolidation of processes (gas grades), and change in government policies, which will help to create business (new refineries), competition with other forms of energy production (nuclear, ocean wave)… No stupid short term fixes please!”
Thank you all for taking the time to write. New blog coming Wednesday that you might find entertaining.
See you again next weekend.
“Weekend Live” hosted by Brian Wilson airs 12 – 2 p.m. ET on Sundays.
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Brian Wilson is a congressional correspondent for FOX News and anchor of the Sunday edition of "Weekend Live."