According to Twin Cities Gas Prices, the average price of a gallon of regular gas this afternoon is $3.36. Does it feel like a bargain to you compared to what it was a few weeks ago?
How about $3.12? Would it make you start whistling Happy Days Are Here Again?
3.12, for the record, was the price of a gallon of gasoline when the first installment of the increased Minnesota state gas tax went into effect last spring. Minnesotans responded by pumping fewer gallons in April than they did in March.
Tomorrow, the other shoe drops when the gas tax goes up another 3 cents. Last week, at a transportation forum in Worthington, Margaret Donahoe, executive director of The Transportation Alliance, said the financial impact of a two-car family will be about $100 a year
And, the Worthington Daily Globe, the "us against them" atmosphere that has surrounded transportation funding debates in the state for years, hasn't melted...
... commented Rep. Doug Magnus, rural Minnesotans are paying more than those in the metro area. He cited numbers indicating that southwest Minnesotans will pay an estimated $216 per capita in gasoline and special fuel taxes by 2011, while the Twin Cities metropolitan area faces $147 per capita for the same year.
A seven-member panel of politicians and candidates said they were grateful to be taking the first steps in the form of Chapter 152, but emphasized the importance of finding more funding for the state's infrastructure.
"When my family moved here in 1957 all the roads in Iowa were narrow and the roads in Minnesota were wide," said Al Kruse, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in District 21A, "In the last 50 years everyone else has moved ahead and Minnesota has remained stagnant. Our infrastructure is falling farther and farther behind. (Fixing infrastructure is) important for our economic survival. That's just to survive. To thrive we need four-lanes. You see what happens around a four-lane highway -- there's economic development there."
Republicans thought the gas tax issue would anger people enough to carry over at the polls. But that was before overnight swings of 30 to 40 cents a gallon made 2 or 3 cent jumps seem like small potatoes.
With the increasing price of energy, the gas tax funding mechanism faces the same pressures the state's tobacco tax -- or fee -- presents. On the one hand, market forces or the state itself are encouraging people not to smoke -- or drive -- and on the other hand, the state's financial health depends on them doing both.
At least where the price of gasoline is concerned, Minnesotans will have plenty of incentive to cut back. T. Boone Pickens predicted this morning that a barrel of gasoline will be back close to $150 within a year.
And 3 cents a gallon will seem like small potatoes again.
That $100 a year seems like small potatoes, particularly when compared to the cost of an alignment job on the car. I wonder how hard it would be to find data on how much vehicle maintenance costs go up as road quality goes down?
Actually, I feel like the higher the gas price, the more money I save.
Ever since I started driving a scooter to work most days, the gas prices haven't really concerned me, even when it was near $4 a gallon. I spend about $8-$12 a month on gas for my scooter (my scooter gets about 100 mpg). I probably fill my Toyota Corolla up about once a month, not counting out of town driving.
This is one of the biggest non-stories the local media has wasted paper, bandwith and the public airwaves on. Three cents per gallon is nothing compared to the price swings we have seen in reacent years.
The fellow Tim Nelson interviews in this story makes my case:
But Woolsey's not complaining. He, like other members of the Minnesota Trucking Association, actually supported the tax earlier this year.
"Well, no one likes to increase your costs, but three cents, it's dedicated," Woolsey said. "It's constitutionally dedicated, we know its going to our roads, bridges and infrastructure. If we don't invest our three cents or five cents or ten cents today, then it becomes ten cents or fifty cents or whatever tomorrow."