Archive for Monday, July 4, 2005

Comparison finds gas not priciest ‘fuel’ we use

July 4, 2005


Be thankful your car doesn't run on Starbucks coffee.

Because if it did, when you pull up to the pump to fill your tank, you'd be shelling out $12.88 per gallon of the black, aromatic beverage.

Or - just for conversation's sake - say you have a vehicle powered by beer.

If your fuel of choice happens to be Budweiser or Bud Light, you'd be paying $9.73 per gallon of amber suds.

These scenarios might sound ridiculous, but there's a point to be made here.

As you're gassing up your car or truck for the Fourth of July holiday, consider this: Gas prices feel painfully high these days, but they're a relative bargain compared to the cost of other consumer products sold by the fluid ounce or gallon.

Check it out.

The average cost of a gallon of regular gas in Lawrence is $2.135, according to the American Automobile Assn.'s online Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Meanwhile, Starbucks Coffee, 647 Mass., sells a one-gallon container of black coffee (the "Coffee Traveler") for $12.88, including cups, cream and sugar.

You can buy a six-pack of Budweiser or Bud Light for $5.49 at Alvin's Wines & Spirits, 4000 W. Sixth St. Each can or bottle contains 12 fluid ounces. So a gallon of Bud would cost you $9.73.

The fact is, you pay less for a gallon of gas than you would for the same amount of Blue Bunny Vanilla Flavored Ice Cream ($8.38), Pure Wesson Vegetable Oil ($5.47) or bottled Evian Natural Spring Water ($5.12).

Even milk's more expensive than gas. A gallon of Hy-Vee Vitamin D milk costs $3.49.

Here's something else to put the current cost of gas into perspective.

Pump prices

If you're heading out on the road for the Fourth of July and are looking for the best prices for gasoline in the area - or anywhere in the country - here are two good resources to check out.

Go to the American Automobile Assn.'s Kansas Web site at and find "AAA Quick Links" on the upper left-hand side of the page. A click on "Current Fuel Prices" will take you to the AAA's Fuel Price Finder, which lists the latest fuel prices at more than 85,000 stations nationwide.

Or go online to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report at, which can show you the average retail gasoline prices and other cost details in markets across the country.

Both these Web sites can automatically calculate the estimated fuel cost for your trip from one point to another.

In 1980-81, the average retail price of a gallon of gas was $1.38. In 2005 dollars, adjusted for inflation, that works out to $2.95 per gallon.


That's according to Paul Hesse, an information specialist with the Energy Information Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, in Washington, D.C.

But putting today's gas prices into context doesn't do much to assuage the pain of Brad Sorrick, who drives a delivery route for Frito-Lay in Lawrence.

"You have to have gas to go to work (unlike coffee, beer, milk or ice cream). When you put your income into the gas tank, you don't have money to buy a bag of Fritos or a pop, and that's my business," says Sorrick, who lives south of Lecompton.

He's not impressed by the per-gallon cost comparison of gas and other consumer products.

"If you can afford Starbucks, more power to you. I can't afford it. Four-dollar gas wouldn't affect a rich person, if they can afford a $4 cup of coffee," Sorrick says.

Phil Myrick, a Lawrence man who drives a 1994 Dodge Caravan, shrugs off the suggestion that gas is relatively cheap, compared to other staple items.

"You can do without some of the other stuff, but you can't do without gas," he says. "I know we're paying less (for gas) than they are in Canada."


Richard Heckler 12 years, 9 months ago

We are constantly being given information that is suppose to make us feel good about the high cost of gasoline. The higher the cost of oil the more oil companies profits surge upward.

Because we are making more per hour etc. the actual cost of gaoline is no different than back in the 80's? This sounds like Phillips 66/Conoco propaganda.

Consumers continue to buy gas hogs as if they have more expendable income. Oil giants take notice and decide that gouging consumers is OK. Maybe too many consumers do not give a damn.

The more money we make the higher the cost of living as corporate retailers in general want more from us. Isn't there something wrong with this picture?

The more energy efficient our HVAC units become the more utility companies want for electricity and natural gas? Ever get the feeling we are being screwed?

justathought 12 years, 9 months ago

I say get over it. We are going to pay for the gas no matter what the cost, because we are lazy americans who won't walk anywhere. We are obese slobs who pay for overpriced coffee, beer, soda...and yes even WATER. Spoiled Americans....happy Independance day.

eotw33 12 years, 9 months ago

the fact is if gas were cheaper everyone would be happier except george w. bush and his oil buddies. maybe if gas cost less the economy would be a little better. You wouldn't have to tell your kid, no we can't get that today, because you have to get gas. Or you could go to the movies whenever you wanted, or go out to eat or do anything but spend it on gas. it cost $5 just to drive to south lawrence from north lawrence. that $5 more dollars that could be going to local business'. remember when gas was like $.98. that was just a couple years ago. thats almost $20 more dollars PER Tank of gas, depending on the size of your tank. it would probably help if we weren't fighting asnd spending billions of dollars on a pointless war in a country we could be getting oil from too. thanks george, your doin great!

linux_chick 12 years, 9 months ago

Send the price of gas through the roof.

I wouldn't mind seeing the sale of some automobiles plummet, like the 2005 Ford Earth Destroyer cough I mean Ford Excursion...

lunacydetector 12 years, 9 months ago

shoot, what about the BIGGEST rip off, bottled water? the thing is, tap water is safer than bottled water because it is monitored better. those companies are laughing their way to the bank. talk about corporate rip off.

...let's convince everyone that a bottle of water is better than tap water - after all tap water has fluoride in it snicker

...we'll have every health nut out there jumping on board within a couple of years

...the major cost will be the plastic bottles and having the water bottled snicker

...the cost of the water and having it filtered will be $0.05 per gallon snicker

...the bottles will cost $0.10 a piece including the label snicker

...the major cost will be distrubution, lets tack on $0.20 to every bottle.

..we'll sell them to the retailer for $0.75 each with a suggested retail of $1.69 each.

PT Barnum was right, there IS a sucker born every minute.

heck, i too am a victim to the bottled water craze. come to think of it, soda pop is cheaper to buy, so i think i will drink soda pop instead. :) it pays to be frugal.

linux_chick 12 years, 9 months ago

There's lots of chlorine in tap water, so bottled tends to taste better ...

I've read, too, that many times bottled water is as clean or less than tap water.

Evian=naive backwards afterall... :)

Richard Heckler 12 years, 9 months ago

Some years ago we had a tap vs. filtered bottle water test. The Chlorine was gone but otherwise tested the same...except the bottled water did taste better to us.

In your home reverse osmosis or distilled is the only way to go if you want to remove a lot of stuff(crap).

Smart Water is distilled with electrolytes choice when away from home. We distill our water in the home.

Meanwhile back to getting ripped off by the energy people.

Dean Royal 12 years, 9 months ago

I, too, feel that we all could use a little more exercise and fewer of those "Earth Destroyers."

I've heard that if we actually used less gas, the prices would drop and that larger vehicles are contributing to the higher costs per gallon...

opinionated 12 years, 9 months ago

Maybe gas wouldn't be so high if they just took that $0.40 of the price of each gallon that we pay in tax.

And to those of you who think that you can just hop on a bike or walk everywhere you need to go, your wrong. Try living outside of town off a busy highway with speeds of about 70mph and a 7 year old. i'M SORRY, BUT I'm not getting up 3 hours earlier so I can ride my bike to work and get hit by a speeding car on the way there. No thanks.

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