OUR VOICE: High gas prices? Here are some questions

Farm Forum

When gas prices spike in the city, readers call and ask the newspaper, “What is going on? Why are prices so high?”

This latest increase, with gas prices over $4 in Aberdeen and around the area, is partly because of unexpected refinery shutdowns, according to AAA South Dakota.

But while we’re on the subject, we have some questions that all of us should try to answer:

Show of hands: How many are doing all we can to save gas as we drive? This includes driving the speed limit, driving defensively rather than aggressively and coasting toward stops rather than riding right up to a light. Are we leaving the guzzler to idle in the supermarket parking lot while we “just run in to get a couple of things”? Are we waiting in a long drive-through line rather than going in to pick up an order? According to Google Maps, it takes about eight minutes to drive 2.7 miles from Target on the east side back to the Brown County Courthouse. That same distance can be covered in just 17 minutes by bicycle, according to Google. How many of us complain about gas prices but keep filling our tanks when there is a much cheaper, greener and healthier alternative? What do you have in your garage? Many of us have big trucks or SUVs. That’s a given in this climate. But do we have two big trucks? Do we need two? There are cars that get fantastic gas mileage — or use very little gas — that gas prices don’t matter. How many of us have really looked at those cars or looked at them and dismissed them or said, “Not yet”? Do we price-conscious shoppers still say driving to Watertown to use their airport is still more cost-effective than flying from Aberdeen Regional Airport? Plane ticket cost can be locked in a couple of months in advance, but 93 miles is a long way to drive when gas prices have gone up 50 cents unexpectedly. How many of us are carpooling to work? Or do 25 people drive 25 cars every day? How many of us pack a lunch, instead of running out for a bite? Does everyone leave at noon to grab a sub, or does one person take orders to bring back for the group? Do we just complain and fill our tanks as always, or do we do something different? Remember the definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.

Gas prices aren’t completely in the hands of the distributors: We can lower our personal gas cost by changing our habits and behaviors.

— American News editorial board