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High gas prices bring out the beasts in American drivers

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Festive summer is still in full swing. Yes, the birds are singing and beaches are open, but rising gas prices are keeping our cars in our garages. This is causing complete apoplexy across America. The automobile is so deeply rooted in our psyche that anything affecting our accessibility to our vehicles brings out our beastliness.

With gas prices so high, beasts are devising alternate ways to beat the high costs. Hybrid, full-electric and hydrogen-powered cars are just around the corner, but how do I and other beasts say goodbye to our vehicles?

The number of accidents involving golf carts has risen because the beasts are using them as alternates to their gas-guzzling cars.

As an example, my great American rite of passage, the road trip, had bitten the dust. I am not experiencing my usual summer monotony of traveling hundreds of miles at 80 mph to places like Orlando, Las Vegas and Branson, Mo., stuffed with Mallomars and Big Macs, breaking down and/or attacked by mosquitoes near places like Bad Breath, Ark.; Pinky-Finger, Miss.; and Tight Shorts, Neb.

But I am saving hundreds of dollars on unused gallons of unleaded "gold" by staying home.

The police discovered a hidden 800-gallon tank in the pickup of a beast in Orlando. He was arrested when they deduced he was not using it to store orange juice.

Instead, my planned road trip was unceremoniously downsized by walks to Fort Totten, bicycling around my housing development and watching Orlando and Las Vegas on the Travel Channel.

With low gas mileage seriously hurting big car sales, now is the time to buy one — to live in.

I should not gripe. European beasts are paying 1.3 euros a liter ($7.75 a gallon), and the unfortunate beasts who earn less than $42,000 this year are getting hit by a whopping regressive tax in the form of paying the soaring prices. For many of them, fuel is not a discretionary item that can be cut from travel expenses and the family budget.

I, an average beast, must spend approximately 4 percent of my income on gas. Beasts living in impoverished areas spend 16 percent and the lucky affluent beasts only 2 percent.

In the 1970s, pre-beasts proposed that America offer OPEC a barrel of wheat for a barrel of gas. I now propose we offer one barrel of cigarettes, two barrels of Arkansas corn likker and three barrels of barrels for one barrel of oil.

Public transportation is also taking hits, with train and bus services around the country cutting service. So, is it not worth the time and effort for this beast to drive to New Jersey for its slightly lower prices? Or carpool? Or get a motor scooter?

No. Why? Because in my misery, I like the idea of friends and relatives driving less to visit me and me driving less to see them.

What is the answer to our gas problem? Merely telling beasts to cut back on driving will not elicit compliance. We know government subsidies and tax breaks are being given to energy companies and car makers to encourage them to find ways to conserve energy.

So why not a "conservation credit" program for the beasts? Congress could set a minimum annual driving distance for every registered vehicle of 12,000 miles, the amount the average beast drives.

In this "pay-for-miles" system, beasts would be awarded credits based on how many fewer miles they drive. Those who drive during off-peak hours, maintain moderate speeds or do not drive at all would receive the maximum number of credits.

On second thought, this plan would only amplify the roars of the savage beasts.

An irate, elderly beast set fires in the restrooms of two gas stations to do something about the high gas prices.

Perhaps we should restore the 1970s plan to cut gas consumption. Drivers whose license plates ended in an even number could only buy gas on even-numbered days and drivers whose plates ended in odd numbers only on odd-numbered days.

No, I do not think that would work today.

A Georgia town has added a $12 fuel "surcharge" to speeding beasts to cover the cost of pulling them over.

With cameras, DVDs, eyeglasses, lipstick, shoes, clothes, shampoo and shaving cream also made from petroleum, I guess I will have to call Gas-Guzzlers Anonymous every time I dream of taking my car out for a spin.

Contact Alex Berger at news@timesledger.com.

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