Gas Price Stories Get Out of Town

Over the last few weeks, one cannot turn on the news without a story (or two, three, sometimes even four) concerning gas prices. The first story is always about the actual increase, followed by the inevitable customer response, culminating with a cheesy graphic to show you just how the hike affects tourism, truck drivers, or other businesses that involve driving. Quite often, that last story will include a shot of somebody actually piling money to illustrate their point.
The national news has even jumped on the bandwagon. This past Monday, the insufferable Katie Couric actually intro’d her story by stating “I had to get a loan just to fill up my minivan”. Let’s talk about this inane quote for a second. I realize that Ms. Couric has long attempted to portray herself as just a typical soccer mom. It’s pure b.s. She makes around twelve million a year, and lives in a multi-million dollar Manhattan apartment. My bet is that this twit rarely drives herself anywhere, let alone rounds up her family in a middle class minivan with a “my son/daughter is a junior high honor student” sticker. Even on those few occasions where she may venture out without a driver, my guess is that she travels in a vehicle that costs more than what you and I make in a year or two.
Back to the local scene – I certainly am not happy whenever gas prices go up. But I’m also not happy when any prices go up. Yet I don’t see a news story whenever the price of a steak increases. Or how the rise in price of a Windsor-Coke will now cost me an additional ten bucks every time I venture out of my guarded east side bunker.
The costs of goods rise all the time. It’s one of those unfortunate facts of life that haunt us to the day we die. When I purchased “Sgt. Pepper” back when I was six years old, it cost me four bucks. Today that same album is around sixteen dollars.
The reality is that, for the majority of people, the rise in gas prices really makes little impact in our day to day lives. What is the typical daily gas usage for a Sioux Falls resident? Maybe twenty miles. That’s approximately one gallon for most vehicles. That’s forty more cents a day, three bucks a week. Not exactly a ball-busting amount.
Sure, those costs are higher for those that live in neighboring communities. But that’s part of the deal if you choose to live outside of Sioux Falls. In exchange for cheaper land, taxes, and other cost breaks, it is going to cost you a bit more to hit the big city. The same with traveling – ok, it’s going to cost you a few extra bucks to go to a Vikings game in Minneapolis but where are the news stories when the cost of hotel rooms or meals (or even parking) skyrocket?
Again, I’ll admit that it sucks whenever I see that convenience store across from my office changes their signs. But what sucks more is when it becomes the only story on the tube. Imagine if there was some way they could up the ante. What if there was a price hike at a gas station next door to a puppy mill owned by a sex offender who sells drugs…a few blocks away from a school. That would be the ultimate KELO story!


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