Monday, February 20, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again

Summer is approaching and like clockwork, the Austin American-Statesman has put out its annual, "Oh shit gas prices are going to up like they do every summer, panic now!" article.

Of course, this year is different, as the spike is happening earlier and the cost will go up more, but all the usual tropes are there. They interviewed the owner of Alien Scooters, who says she has seen a spike in her sales when she usually experiences a slump. Last year motorcycle companies were the benefactors of higher gas prices. They spoke with AAA Texas, which blamed the higher prices on tensions with Iran, but most other Middle Eastern countries have been blamed at one point. Then, the newest in vogue reason brought in is growing global demand, especially India and China. Finally, problems with domestic oil refineries has caused the earlier rise in gas prices.

Articles like this apparently are good for companies that peddle alternative forms of transportation, but at the same time, the hand-wringing over gas prices gets old quick. This is just the start, the Statesman will no doubt analyze every three cent increase throughout the entire summer. Higher gas prices in the summer is just a part of life here, and being horrified when it happens each and every summer is ludicrous. One wonders what the impetus is for sensationalizing a routine occurrence. I doubt the bicycle lobby is so powerful that it can make staff writers all across the country report on gas prices.

I suppose I should be grateful if it gets more people on bicycles and scooters, but I still can't quite help rolling my eyes a little bit. Instead of relying on a groundhog to tell us when winter is over, perhaps we should wait until the first gas price article to know when warmer weather is coming.

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