When a line was drawn on the price of gas

gas prices
The sign shows gas prices at the OnCue at Western Ave. and Edmond Road on Tuesday morning.

As I fueled up my vehicle the other day with unleaded gas priced at the bargain price of $4.57.9 a gallon, it stirred a memory that I clearly recalled from 1973.

Gas prices were suddenly rising in the early ’70s when I heard an angry young man defiantly declare the line he was drawing in the sand.  It was in a time when Americans had been comfortable for years paying 30, 40, 50 cents a gallon.  

“I’ll never pay $1 for a gallon of gas,” he said.

So, how did that work out for you, fella?

I was living in Western Arkansas at the time, two years out of high school. A Sunday afternoon of what I will call sandlot football brought me into contact with a dozen or so local yahoos.

Somehow, the topic of the Arab oil embargo and gas prices became the focus of discussion among the group, when one guy defiantly declared what he would never pay for a gallon of gasoline.

Nearly 50 years later, I can still clearly hear his defiant tone and how I wondered at the time how a young man living in small town Arkansas could be so delusional. 

Would he beat the $1 gas price by purchasing fuel with a gun? Hunting down robber barons in the oil industry? Committing suicide just before the price crossed over the $1 rainbow from $.99.9?

Turns out, gas prices topped $1 a gallon not too many months after the bravado that I heard on that Sunday afternoon.

So, nearly half a century later, we find ourselves in another situation where gasoline prices are setting all-time highs. I’m not assigning blame like I read from so many who think President Biden should just pull a lever and prices will fall back to $1 and some change.

In today’s world, we’re at the mercy of Putin’s war, limited refining capacity, and, well, the robber barons who control the flow.

I will say this. Climbing fuel prices are a great incentive to get people to try public transportation.  Or electric vehicles.

Surely, in 2022 there’s no one foolish enough to declare that he will “never pay, uh, $6? $7?, for a gallon of gas.”

It could happen tomorrow.

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jimstafford

I'm an Oklahoma City-based freelance writer with interests in Oklahoma startup community, Apple Inc, OKC Thunder & Texas Rangers.

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