I had my weekly chiropractor appointment this morning. I have to go from the westernmost part of the county to the east side of the city — about a half hour trip if traffic is moving. On the way there, I noticed that my gas supply was getting low. The indicator showed just a smidge below a quarter tank. I get pretty decent mileage in that RAV4 (about 25, on average) so I figured I’d be okay to get there and then to work, but would need to get gas after work.

When I got back in the vehicle after my appointment, I was distressed to see that gauge registering just a smidge above the “E.” I made the decision to get some gas before I went anywhere else. The problem is, the only gas station in that area is one that typically sells gas for about 30 cents a gallon more than anywhere else on the planet. But, I had no choice, so I decided I’d get a gallon — just enough to get me to BJs to get it at a better price.

I pulled in and winced at the $3.88/gallon price. I opened the fuel door, removed the cap, slid my card into the machine and processed the transaction. I picked up the fuel nozzle, which promply dripped gasoline all over my hand and my shoes. I pumped $5 worth of gas into the RAV4, got more gas all over my hand replacing the nozzle, and completed the transaction.

I went inside and asked the little Japanese lady there if anyone had told her that the nozzle leaked gas. She said “It’s been doing that for a while now.” I asked her “And you don’t think there’s anything wrong with that???” I went into the bathroom and tried to wash the stench of gasoline off my hands and left.

I got into the RAV4, turned on the ignition with an eye on the gas gauge and saw….nothing. The frickin’ thing never moved, even though I put about 1.25 gallons of gas in it (and ON me).

Remember when you could go a couple of days on $5 worth of gas? Unfortunately, I still do. I remember when $5 worth of gas put almost a half tank of gas in my car. Obviously those days are long gone but damn, when $5 worth of gas doesn’t even make the gas gauge move, that makes me feel pretty damn old — and broke.

How do people do it? Put gas in these huge vehicles with 25 or 30 gallon tanks? How do they do it AND still afford food, rent, etc?

I followed a SmartCar in this morning — they are just the coolest looking vehicles, but still remind me of those cars you’d see at the cartoon circus where, after it stops, 25 or so clowns exit the vehicle. I find myself wondering how much they cost. I see that there will be 25,000 of them manufactured for US sales, for the more than 40,000 people on a wait list for them. Hybrids also have a long waiting list. So, I guess I stick with my RAV4 for now.

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