By Nora Vincent
I was in auto-centric downtown Los Angeles about two weeks ago around Olvera Street and saw a price sign at a gas station.
Regular gasoline was selling for $4.59 a gallon.
A station near my house in Monterey Park was selling it for $3.99 a gallon.
Before the disruptions occurred in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya the average price for a gallon of gas in Los Angeles was $3.34 according to Gasbuddy.com.
I n 2 0 0 1 , b e f o r e George Bush became President for the first time, gas was selling for about $1.46 a gallon.
After his second inauguration in 2005 it was $2.16 a gallon.
In 2008 oil prices reached their highest levels yet.
A barrel was selling at about $145.
Had it not been for the global economic crisis, who knows how high prices would have become.
Before the crisis the average gas price in Los Angeles was $4.61; after, it went down to $1.69.
Gas companies are like any other company that has a product they sell to the consumer.
They determine the price of their product to the consumer by how much it costs them to get the product to them such as labor, salaries, and operating and business expenses, then determine how much profit they would like to see.
The more profit they make the happier the owners are and, of course, the more investors they have.
S o l o n g a s t h e consumer continues to pay the price they ask, they keep the price at that rate.
As a consumer, what can one do to take a stand against the oil companies from going into ones pockets and taking money one can ill afford to pay?
I asked someone what he thought about the prices he had to pay for gas and he said “just get over it.”
Do I “just get over” someone taking advantage of me?
For me, I see what the oil companies are charging for gas as a means of taking advantage of me, someone who lives in an auto-centric society; taking from me what I do not willingly want to hand over since I know it is not a fair price.
In 2008, truck drivers went to Washington D.C and state capitols in the U.S. to make a statement to politicians.
Without truck drivers delivering goods, commerce was affected.
I do believe that if thousands and maybe even millions of consumers made a decision to do something to reduce their gas consumption to adversely affect oil company profits, oil companies would take notice.
Like the truck drivers in 2008, stay home, or buy a more efficient vehicle, take the bus, bike, walk, and/or quit using oil-based products.
March 2, Los Angeles celebrated its city bike plan which will be implemented within five years.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, “At a time when gas prices exceed $4 a gallon, we are investing in bicycling as a mode of transportation, and in the process encouraging Angelinos to lead healthy active lifestyles.”
More than 1,600 miles of interconnected bike routes will span the city.
This is being funded by Measure R, a 2008 sales tax increase that set aside money for transportation.
It is time to take a stand against the high prices of gas and oil.
It affects everyone negatively and the product is not sustainable. Oil companies are crippling our nation, our homes, our budget and our daily lives.