COLUMN: Considering the price at the gas pump

At our current price, it costs $69.45 to fill a 50-litre tank — more for mid-grade or premium gasoline

It’s hard to feel good about rising gasoline prices.

At the time of this writing, regular unleaded gasoline in Summerland is at $1.389 a litre at the stations in town, and according to some speculations, the price is expected to jump within the next day or two.

At our current price, it costs $69.45 to fill a 50-litre tank — more for those using mid-grade or premium gasoline.

And in the metro Vancouver area, gas prices have topped $1.70 for some time. If I lived there, I’d have to spend at least $85 on the same 50-litre fill.

To put the prices into perspective, consider that in 1994 — 25 years ago — gas in the Okanagan Valley was 49.9 cents a litre.

Gas has almost tripled in price since that time, but I doubt if wages have risen by the same amount.

Some will remember the days around 50 years ago when the price of gas was 25 cents for an Imperial gallon. That’s 5.5 cents a litre.

No wonder motorists are complaining about the cost of driving. Today’s prices are high enough to cause gas pains.

But after a look at some other prices, the cost of gasoline doesn’t seem all that bad.

Milk is $3.49 for a two-litre container, so filling a 50-litre tank at that cost would be $87.25.

Orange juice costs $5.49 for a 1.65-litre carton. Using this price, filling a 50-litre tank with orange juice would cost $166.36.

A 1.5-litre container of ice cream costs $6.99, which means 50 litres would set me back $233.

A 400-ml bottle of shampoo has a regular price of $9.49. Filling a 50-litre tank with shampoo would come in at $1,186.25.

Toothpaste is even more expensive. A 130-ml tube costs $5.99. Filling a tank with 50 litres of toothpaste would cost $2,303.85.

And those who are shopping for fragrances and perfumes are best off not calculating the price based on a 50-litre fill.

Each of these substances costs a lot more per litre than gasoline, but I don’t hear consumer outrage over the price of toothpaste or orange juice.

Earlier this month, some motorists, upset with the rising prices, called for a one-day “gas out” protest.

Drivers were told not to fill their tanks on April 15 as a protest and a way to drive down fuel prices. (Filling up on April 14 or April 16 was okay.)

Those supporting this protest said a similar event in 1997 resulted in an overnight drop in gas prices by 30 cents a litre, although I do not recall any substantial price drop that year, and I was not able to find any record of a sudden and substantial price drop that year.

This leads me to believe the “gas out” initiative is more of a symbolic gesture than an effective method at price control.

I understand the frustrationbehind the “gas out” protest, but I haven’t heard of a “milk out” protest where consumers are told not to buy milk on a specific day. I haven’t heard anyone asking customers to hold one-day actions as a way of protesting the cost of shampoo or perfume.

Of course, to be fair, I don’t know of anyone who buys 50 litres of these items every week or two.

With gasoline, it’s different.

Many of us consider it to be an essential purchase, while we do not consider any specific grocery item to be an essential item.

Because of this dependence on gasoline, motorists tend to feel much more passionately about the price at the pumps than about the prices of other items. And so a high pump price tends to bring out a much stronger response than an increase in the price of a tube of toothpaste.

That reminds me. I need to stop at the store and pick up a few things before I drive home.

And no, I won’t flinch at the price.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

Just Posted

Chase clinic welcomes two doctors, new patients must go on wait list

Addition of doctors in January brings clinic back to a full complement

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

Up to 25 cm of snow is expected to fall in the region by Thursday

Outdoor ice rink reopening in North Shuswap

Farrells Field in Celista will be ready for skaters this weekend

Salmon Arm elementary school a finalist in CBC Music Class Challenge

Hillcrest Elementary Grade 5 students perform Wolves Don’t Live By The Rules

Salmon Arm business pays it forward with Christmas tree

Food, clothing and hygiene products hang from downtown decoration

VIDEO: Salmon Arm vigil for murdered women includes a call for action

30 years after massacre of 14 female engineering students, violence against women continues

Vandalism closes public washrooms in Penticton’s Okanagan Lake Park indefinitely

A post by the city’s Facebook said the damage is ‘quite extensive’

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Pawsative Pups: Help your dog love their crate

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Spark Joy: The art of giving and receiving

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

Coldstream surf shop welcomes winter with paddle

Winter Chill event Saturday, Dec. 21, on Kal Lake is ‘food’-raiser for food bank

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by BB gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

Most Read