We’ve cut back on auto usage this year, after buying a used golf cart. We just have to carefully check each other’s schedule in operating with only one car. The 2005 Lexus Sc 430 convertible has about 117,000 miles on it, needing a tune-up, boot replacement, and rear struts. Granddaughter Nora calls it the “sweaty car,” stuck in the small back seat where the air conditioning is marginal. To her, the golf cart is the “go cart.” We sold the Toyota Solara convertible, knowing that it needed major work after the long drive from Portland. We will need to rent, borrow my son’s car, or buy a new one before we can carry 3 or 4 full-sized passengers or travel long distances. At least the golf cart holds four adults comfortably and one spoiled dog. 

According to AARP, American Association of Retired People, like me, the national average cost of a gallon of gas today is about $3.88, but it varies, depending on where you live. When I was a kid in the 50s the average price of this basic expense was apparently about 18 cents! I got a 25-cent-per-gallon discount through Circle K and pumped a tank-full of Mid-Grade at $3.23, the lowest I’ve paid this year, even at Costco. The golf cart is plug and go, and we may have it licensed to utilize outside our neighborhood. 

Other cost of living statistics from my childhood (1962) provided by Seek Publishing included average income at $5,556 per year, a new house going for $12, 550, new car $2,924, average rent $110 per month, tuition to Harvard University $1,520 per year, movie ticket for a buck, and a postage stamp for 4-cents. A gallon of milk sold for $1.04 per gallon while bread was 21-cents per loaf, while today bread in the state of Florida averages $3.62. Got Milk? A gallon now sells for $3.97, ten cents more than an equal amount of gasoline and 35-cents more than a loaf of bread. 

We own an all-electric home but use propane for the outdoor kitchen. My wife prefers cooking with gas and was disappointed to find out that our only option here in Islandwalk was to bury a tank. Ironically, she used to handle the media buying for Citizen’s Gas in Indianapolis. She also worked with Coca-Cola that can result in a different kind of gas, if only it too could be bottled. We have a back-up supply, that can be very valuable after a storm. For example, a neighbor was stuck here in Hurricane Ian, while we were safely evacuated on a luxury cruise ship in Alaska. He frantically searched our snowbird-vacant homes for extra tanks to provide generator power and cooking needs during the lengthy power outage that we experienced. We sadly lost most of our freezer food while traveling.

We’ve somehow managed to miss both hurricanes since moving to Florida. During the most recent, Idalia, we were on our way back from Indiana after attending a wedding and funeral. We spent an extra night in Huntsville, Alabama as the storm hit Tallahassee. There were no damage issues with our house.  Before we decided to move here, my son and his family, who lives nearby, evacuated their home for Irma in 2017. They spent a few uncomfortable nights at a nearby schoolhouse, while we worried for their safety back in Portland.

While traveling in Alaska, we visited the site of the Exxon Valdez disaster, spilling 11-million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound and the surrounding cities. That was back in 1989, 25-years ago and 14-years after the first section of pipe was laid. Alaska oil production peaked in 1988 at 738 million barrels, providing about 25 percent of U.S. oil production. However, when you see the current state of Valdez, you can’t help but see that this led to severe consequences, while the pipeline has been the subject of years of controversy ever since. More than half the cost of filling-up a car is influenced by the price of crude oil. Oil and gas affect every aspect of our lives, like it or not. Got Gas?