It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The High Cost of Driving

Gas prices have risen again. Strangely though, Hurricane Rita has well passed, the Labour Day holiday is well behind us, OPEC is talking about increasing volume, President Bush is openly considering going to the Strategic Oil Reserves, and Tom Cruise hasn't said a single crazy thing about petrol (gasoline) or oil, at least this month. These are all normally signs that prices will come down, but today, at a local petrol station (CITGO, if you must know...of course, I normally prefer BP) the prices jumped up by twenty cents a gallon. This can only mean one thing...a conspiracy.

I'm not normally conspiritorially minded. So many conspiracy theories are bland attempts by people to attack their political enemies, rationalize their vices, or explain why they get that throbbing pain in the back of their skull when AM radio is on. Still, petrol prices are ridiculously high.

I realize some people argue that they were higher in the 70's during the Nixon and Carter Presidencies specifically. They may have been high when Ford was in office, but his term was so short, many of you may not have had to fill up during that period. Anyway, these immensely high prices during that era are now "adjusted for inflation." That means that if petrol was $1.75 a gallon then, today, given the reduced price of the American dollar, it would have sold for $256.22 a gallon (my figures may be slightly off.) This is hardly comforting in an age when it costs me more to fill up my sedan than to take Mrs. Fando and the Littlest Fando out for steak and frites and a film.

So a conspiracy it must be. I decided to call my most immediate contact in the oil industry, a former service station grease monkey turned convenience store manager named Kelvin Zebrawinkle (Not his real name. His real name is Hubert Whistlebritches.)

I asked Kelvin who he thought was behind the conspircay to raise petrol prices. "What's petrol?" he asked. "Gasoline," I replied. "Who's behind the conspiracy to raise gasoline prices?" "What conspiracy?" he responded.

Instantly, I knew he too was in on it. It was like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only with the faint smell of unleaded, windsheld washer fluid, and Splurge.

Next I decided to contact an activist, someone outspoken and well-known, but also crazy enough to out a conspiracy as murky and devious as this one. I immediately dialed up Arriana Huffington to get her take. Unfortunately, her answerphone said that she was on her honeymoon with new husband Lucas P. Short. Talk about a whirlwind romance. I hope Lukas got a good prenup. I suspect she married him to get a chunk of the inevitable Grassoline royalties. I was interested to find out about Arianna's upcoming role in a film based on the television series Green Acres. She was born for the part.

Unable to contact oil industry reps and activists/Eva Gabor impersonators, I was left trying to use pure reason to deduce who was behind this plot. Finally, after ruling out the Olsen twins, Captain Beany, and Lance Armstrong, I came to a frightening conclusion: It's the Friends of the National Zoo.

No wonder I can't get them to respond to me. They've been busy. All those Golden Marmosets are just a front.

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