According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. in July 2012 was $3.49. The average price of a gallon of milk was $3.42. I often feel bamboozled by the machinations Big Oil but is there now a milk price conspiracy being perpetrated on us by Big Bossy?
I am usually a pretty upbeat sort of guy as manic as Professor Harold Hill selling band instruments to folks how can’t tell tubas from tube socks. But gas and milk prices have me as depressed as Willy Loman without a new spring line.
Experts (who just might be employed by oil companies) tell us gas is not high compared to 1960 dollars. I don’t have any 1960 dollars – and I’m running darn low on 2012 dollars because of how much I am spending on gas.
Yet a gallon of gas almost seem reasonable compared to milk prices. I have little knowledge of how milk and gas are produced. But I do know you don’t have to drill for cows and spend millions of dollars on dry cow holes before you strike a gusher. Basically, you just squeeze a cow and voila – you got milk!
I haven’t looked lately but I don’t think we’ve built an expensive pipe line from Berkeley Farms to Monterey to keep us supplied with milk. When is the last time a milk tanker ran aground and caused a major milk spill? Even if that happened it could be cleaned up by a couple of three-year olds with a package of Oreos. Certainly the uncertainty in the Middle East has driven up gas prices but why is milk so high? I mean it’s not like the Taliban have moved into Western Wisconsin.
There’s not a lot we can do to put pressure on OMEC (Organization of Milk Exporting Counties) to reduce prices. Kids need milk and we use it in so many different ways. I tried cutting back on some of the foods that I associate with a glass of milk. I’m eating fewer saltines, and I’ve made the ultimate sacrifice by cutting way back on mashed potatoes. Just as using a lower Octane saves money on gas I tried using a more diluted kind of milk. However, when I put 1% milk on my cereal the little O’s looked like they were floating in dirty dish water. Perhaps, if we reduced our dependency on dairy products we’d have OMEC shaking in their butterfat.
I did decide to take on the gas problem single handedly. I put in a call to one of the major oil companies. I managed to get through to a very pleasant marketing person. He told me there was no collusion among oil executives to keep prices high. He assured me they are all fine fellows, free from avarice, and deserved to be absolved from any pecuniary peculiarities.
Then he placed the blame where it probably rightly belongs.
“You’re the one who insists of driving so much,” he reasoned, “if you drove less and stayed home worrying about milk prices, gas prices would tumble.”
When someone blames me I do what any reasonable person does – pass the buck. I blamed my car. No question about it – my car is an addict. So I sought help for it by enrolling it in a 12-step program. I’ll never forget the first meeting held in the lower level of a parking garage that’s now a drive-in church. I watched sadly, but proudly as my car stood before a small fleet of addicted gas guzzlers and said:
“Hi, my name is Datsun. I’m a gasaholic.”
Then my car dramatically told its sad story of (fuel) injecting more and more gasoline into its system just to get through each day without stalling.
There wasn’t a dry windshield in the place.