Gas Neutrality

I’m absolutely livid. But before I tell you why, here’s the back story:

When I came back from Woodstock, I was appalled to realize how much money I’d spent on gas. Nobody made me go. And nobody made me spend the money. But I decided to tinker with the engine in my VW van anyway to enable it to run on a very precise mixture of recycled vegetable oil (strictly organic, of course) and dog urine.

My van chugged, smoked, and limped along for 46 years. Then, in 2015, the Obama administration’s Department of Energy passed Gas Neutrality (actual name: the Open Fuel Order). It obliterated the heretofore optimally functional equation:

[cost + perceived value = price]

It also prohibited oil companies and gas stations from charging different prices for Regular, Plus, and Premium grades. That meant I could get premium gasoline for my van, at the same price I was paying for my veggie/pee mixture and reap the extra value while some other chump(s) picked up the cost. Woo hoo!

That Was Then

On December 14, 2017, the Trump administration’s Department of Energy, chaired by Homer Speedbump, voted to overturn Gas Neutrality. That leaves me with two options as a consumer: I can decide the price I’m willing to pay for refined gasoline. Or I can go back to running my van on recycled vegetable oil and dog urine. Boy, am I pissed! (No pun intended.)

That means the costs of refining, distributing, and marketing gas will have price implications at the pump. Can you believe that? Can you believe my choices will have price implications? What kind of country is this if the government can’t make the producers of anything eat the cost of producing it? And what in the world are we coming to if I can’t get Premium gasoline for what it costs me to pick up recycled vegetable oil and put a catheter in my dog?

If I didn’t love Fido so much — and if I weren’t determined to avoid puns like the plague — I’d say we’re going to the dogs.

It’s All Downhill From Here

By changing the way gas is sold back to the way it was before 2015, gravity is all we can count on. If we have to go uphill for anything, we’ll have to walk or ride bicycles.

No one will drive anymore. Cars will sit idle, waiting to be claimed by rust and rot. Tires will go flat as they dry and crack. Gas stations will crumble for lack of need and upkeep. The interstate highway system will be reclaimed by the nature it paved over. Local roads will be reduced to the cowpaths whence they came. And the oil refineries in New Jersey will become little more than breeding grounds for the mosquitos that migrate back there every winter.

All that will happen — it’s now as inescapable as it is inevitable — because the greedy, evil oil companies and their insidious dealers will be free to cover their costs and (Egad!) make a profit.

Without Gas Neutrality, we’re doomed. And all we’ll be able to do is sit in our driveways and stew about it.

Image by Activedia, courtesy of