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Time to bring back horse and buggy
Rick Bussler, Publisher
gas prices, Owatonna, Steele County

Like most Americans, I’m certainly feeling the bite when it comes to filling up the vehicle with gas. Ouch!

I normally don’t focus on the negative and try to roll with the punches as I often feel there isn’t much one can do.

But after a trip to the gas station last week, I thought I had a case of highway robbery that needed immediate attention from law enforcement. I had left my gas gauge get down to the dreaded “E” mark before finally making the trip to the gas pumps.

Big mistake!

I put the handle into my gas tank and watched as the dollar sign kept rolling, rolling and rolling. Finally, after I let out a large gasp, it stopped at $95.00.

I did a double-take around the vehicle to see where all the gas had gone. Certainly it couldn’t all be in my tank, could it? Did I somehow mistakenly allow the handle to slip and gas was pouring out all over the place?

Nope, things were dry as could be around my Subaru.

Thankfully, I had some rewards to use up and saved 50 cents per gallon. With 20 gallons pumped into the beast, I saved myself $10, bringing the total down to $85 and reducing the sting… just slightly.

Numerous factors are pushing prices up with regular gasoline hitting a record $4.87 a gallon on Monday in some spots, according to AAA. That’s up 25 cents a gallon in just a week. It could jump over the $5 a gallon mark within the next few weeks.

What’s going on?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a major reason that U.S. drivers are paying record prices for gasoline. According to my research, Russia is one of the largest oil exporters on the planet. In December, it sent nearly 8 million barrels of oil and other petroleum products to global markets, 5 million of them as crude oil.

Very little of that went to the U.S.

In 2021, Europe got 60% of the oil and 20% went to China. But oil is priced on the global commodity markets, so the loss of Russian oil affects prices around the globe no matter where it is used.

Sadly, I think this surge in gas prices is going to cause many families to shutter vacation plans for this summer. It’s horrible enough that we are just coming out of a pandemic and now we’re faced with our pocketbooks getting gouged in a way we’ve never experienced before.

I have never felt so violated in my life as what I did last week at the gas pump. You can bet I’ll be circling around the gas stations every few miles to fill up so I won’t have the shock that I experienced.

Brace yourself. Many seem to think we haven’t seen anything yet.

Perhaps it’s time to go in hot pursuit of returning to horse and buggy days.

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