In a rapidly spreading journalistic meme, reporters are describing Americans as “fuming” about the high price of gasoline. But are they, really?
Maybe they’re breathing gasoline fumes. According to the Energy Information Administration, gasoline prices are just 26 cents higher than they were a year ago. Yes, gasoline prices have increased over the last few weeks, but that’s happening after months of declines.
Consumption of gasoline increased by 200,000 barrels per day in just one week, during the same time journalists began to describe Americans as fuming about gas prices. If Americans are really fuming, how come they’re buying more gasoline? It seems more accurate to say that Americans are petulant about gasoline prices.
If people are truly upset about gasoline prices, there’s a simple solution to the problem: Let them buy less of it. Let them stop driving their big cars around so much. Let them walk, or bicycle, or take mass transit more often. Until I see that kind of behavioral change, I won’t be able to regard the talk about Americans fuming as anything but hot air.