Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Should We Get Upset at Gas Prices When We Drive These Whales?

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Should We Get Upset at Gas Prices When We Drive These Whales?

Article excerpt

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "Look at these prices,"' the guy was grumbling. "Good God!"

I was standing at a gas pump near a superhighway exit, pouring fuel down the gullet of my 17-year-old Cadillac. The gas gauge told me that the Caddy was hungry, and it eats a lot. The Great White Whale consumes a gallon of gas every 14 miles or so around town. If you keep it below 60, it swills down a gallon every 17 or 18 miles on the highway. Under that sweeping hood sits 425 cubic inches of sheer appetite.

But the Caddy was paid off many years and 150,000 miles ago, and it keeps rolling -- the ultimate expression of the massive, rear- wheel-powered American turnpike cruiser, leather-lined and climate- controlled. They don't make them like that anymore -- a solid steel head, cast-iron block and the sort of broad-shouldered, burly bulk we'll never again see rolling off Detroit's assembly lines.

So I keep it around as a backup vehicle and drive it a few days a week. At this point, it has outlasted several newer, less sturdily constructed partners.

The caddy's 25-gallon fuel tank was nearly empty, so I'd pulled off the highway to part with some serious money. I'd been watching the gas prices climb as warm weather approached. They'd annoyed me, but this guy at the next pump was absolutely furious. He was complaining bitterly to whomever might be near as he pumped gas into his Honda Civic -- a vehicle that would fit in my elderly Cadillac's trunk.

"Somebody ought to be shot for this," he told me. "Then they ought to dig up his grave and shoot the son-of-a-bitch again."

The reality is, though, that gas prices rise every spring, and they're even dropping a bit as the July 4 holiday approaches. Sure, there's probably profiteering involved somewhere in the vast, complex network between an oil well in Texas and the yawning pipe into the gas tank of my ancient Cadillac in upstate New York. …

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