Until this year, Mr. Cole said, he always filled his tank. On one recent day, though, he bought only five gallons for $14.35, barely enough to drive to school, work and straight back home.
A guitar lies across his back seat, and his trunk is filled with amplifiers. Mr. Cole plays in a band called In All His Ruin. Before gas prices jumped, band members drove separately to practice at the drummer’s house in Chesterland, 15 miles away. Now they all meet at Mr. Cole’s house and carpool, squeezing themselves and their equipment into a different member’s car every week.
On the way home, Mr. Cole used to stop at Wendy’s and order the No. 6 combo meal: spicy chicken sandwich, medium Dr. Pepper, medium fries. Now he orders junior hamburgers from the dollar menu.
"It’s not a gourmet meal anymore," he says. "French fries are an extravagance now. It makes me angry that I have to change my whole life because of gas prices."
People who have been living on the financial edge – paycheck to paycheck under a mountain of debt are reeling from the increased energy costs. I’m afraid they’re just the first ones to feel the pinch. There’s more pain coming for all of us as the prices start to float higher on everything.
When I was in Dublin I tried to explain why gas at $4/gallon was going to be ruinous for us here in the States. (It didn’t seem luck such a big deal to people who were then paying about $5/gallon.) Our entire infrastructure is based on relatively cheap energy. We can retool – but it’s going to take years and it’s going to be a major disruption.
What sort of impact this is going to have on congregations is still to be determined. But I’m glad our building is in a location where people can walk to it. Parishes that were built out in the suburbs for people to drive to (with a half hour or longer round trip) are going to be in trouble I fear.
Church budgets were already tight. Now this.