The Price of Greed

[NOTE: I wrote this prior to hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Currently in Richmond–at least at the gas stations closest to us–prices have already risen to $2.49 and may easily go higher because of the hurricanes’ effect on oil production and processing.]

 

     

 

If you’re ever on Interstate 95 going through Richmond, Virginia, and looking for gas, you can take exit 86A towards Atlee and find a reasonably priced Sheets station a mile or two up the road.  Or take exit 86B towards Elmont for an equally reasonable Wawa station that’s probably a little closer. The right-hand picture above shows Wawa’s sign; the station itself is much more visible. Almost within spitting distance is a little BP station–you’ll recognize it as a former 7/Eleven store–that’s usually just a penny or so more expensive than Wawa and Sheets.

But heaven help you if you are on Rt. 295 getting off at the Rt. 1 exit going north towards Ashland. You’ll eventually come to the Shell station pictured on the left above. Even though it appears to be the only one in that neighborhood, the Wawa and BP stations are actually only a couple of miles further. But if you’re like us, you probably don’t want to drive additional miles to gas up when traveling, even if you know other choices exist further up the road. You want to get back on the road.

If you haven’t clicked yet to look at larger versions of those two pictures, you might want to do so now.

Did you notice the difference in gas prices? $2.11.9 for regular at the Wawa and $2.79.9 at the Shell! That’s a sixty-eight cent difference.

I doubt seriously whether the Shell station gets much business from us locals. And no wonder. If I waited to get gas until the fuel gauge told me I really needed to, I would spend at least $6.80 more than I would at Wawa, Sheets, or even the little BP station.

My wife and I periodically take road trips, and I’m always thrilled that my Honda Civic that only gets 25-28 mpg in city driving makes it up to 45 mpg on the highway. Even so, I don’t want to pay more for gas than I have to. I could be wrong, but I doubt seriously that I’ve ever been charged unreasonably at a highway-accessible gas station.

Hmm. Maybe because of competition?

And the Shell station doesn’t really have any competition. Or at least it appears not to.

I feel so sorry for travelers who stop at the Shell station. Not just because paying that much more for gas than they should might be hard on peoples’ budgets, but because I hate the thought that their only memory of Richmond might be the way they got fleeced by somebody’s greed.

I’d be embarrassed to be that greedy. And to know I’d angered and frustrated numerous other people because of it.

What do you think? How about leaving a comment?

 

    

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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Additives for the Soul

For years I had an unfortunate and unconventional attitude towards lawn mowers. I’d buy the cheapest one available and use it till it quit working. I never did any maintenance except for adding oil–I never changed the oil–and occasionally replacing the spark plug. Not only that, I never drained the gas tank at the end of the mowing season.

Why bother? It seemed like a nuisance.

Because I kept the mower in a shed, it would normally last four or five years being (mis)treated that way. I rationalized that the replacement cost was about equal to the total of yearly tuneups by someone who knew (and cared) more about it than I did.

Last year I started having real problems with the mower. It was acting even more sluggish than usual, and I had trouble keeping it running. No telling how often I had to restart it just to get the grass cut. As the end of grass cutting season approached, the mower had grown nearly impossible to start. Time for a new mower–just to get me through the last couple of mowings before cold weather.

The new mower was different from the old ones, though. It came with a sample of gas additive and some important information about why I should treat the gas with it. It seems that the ethanol in regular gas turns gas to water over a period of time–like from one year to the next. I had been using a can of the previous year’s gas.

Out of curiosity, I asked a mechanic friend’s opinion. Based on what I told him, he verified that the water in the old mower had probably done a serious number on the carburetor. Replacing it would have cost $75-85. In ignorance and laziness, I’d outsmarted myself.

So I used the additive to finish last year’s mowing season, drained the gas just in case, and disposed of what was left in the can. I bought fresh gas this year and put the additive in it. Not only is the mower working great, it sounds and acts like new, which it almost still is!

God didn’t design the human body to last forever, although proper care of the body is apt to add many additional years of life. But at the end, the body will die.

The soul is something else, though. It’s eternal. Even so, it requires proper maintenance. It can get too easily overgrown with sin and concerns about this world. Not the way God intended for our souls to be.

God has a special additive for the soul. If we read His Word, talk with Him in prayer on a regular basis, and worship with other Christians, God’s Holy Spirit can keep our souls functioning properly. We rely more fully on God rather than on ourselves and are less less inclined to give in to temptation.

Taking advantage of the gasoline additive is my decision based on past experience. So is allowing the Holy Spirit to keep my soul sound.

Is your soul in good working order or have you allowed it to grow unusable? You can’t replace your soul, but you can allow God’s Holy Spirit to work in your life and renew your soul and make it as good as new.

~*~

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger

One of My Little Quirks

CarEconomy    economyDriving 

It’s no wonder I write quirky fiction. I’m a quirky person. Not dangerously so, I hope. Not yet, anyhow.

Since my wife, Kathleen, loves to tease me about this particular quirk–she dares to call me obsessive about it–I decided to share it here. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Long before gas got so terribly expensive, I was a real Scrooge about wasting it. I haven’t changed.

When I go to Sonic for my daily diet cherry limeade, I use the drive through. I didn’t used to, but I’ve moderated my habits a tad over the years. But that doesn’t mean I’m less economical.

If there’s a car in front of me, I turn off the engine. Same if they don’t take my order the instant I stop at the intercom. And I turn it off again when I reach the pick up window.

Each time the cars in front of me move, I start the car and move, too. Then I turn it off again. I don’t know if this is a fact, but I remember hearing back during those horrible days of gas shortages that if a car has to idle longer than a minute, it’s more economical to stop and restart it.

Even if someone were to prove to me that my belief is inaccurate, I doubt that I’d change my habit. It’s too deeply ingrained.

Let me assure you of one thing, however. I do NOT follow that rule at stop signs or traffic lights. Safety comes first.

One thing I love about my Honda Civic is the equipment that shows me how economically I’m driving. One gauge shows blue if I’m being totally wasteful, teal if I’m only somewhere between wasteful and economical, and a nice bright green if I’m doing really well.

In the first picture above, I’m not doing very well. Of course, maybe that’s because I had to stop in order to take the picture. The gauges don’t function unless the car is running. Kathleen took the second picture while I was doing seventy on the Interstate. Green and getting more than thirty-five mpg.

Accelerating is tough. No matter what. A jack rabbit start–I’ll do one only for safety–is sure to be blue. But so is any and acceleration that’s not uber-gradual. I pay attention to whether I appear to be holding up whoever is behind me and may accelerate faster than I want to.

There’s also a gauge that shows how many miles per gallon I’m getting at that particular moment. It’s such fun to coast downhill and see my car getting seventy mpg! (The gauge only goes to seventy.) And I’m always clicking the “I” button on the steering wheel to see what my overall average is for that tank of gas.

People sometimes ask if I write about myself in my novels, and in many instances the answer is a resounding YES! In my yet-to-be-published novel, Impractically Yours, the female protagonist teases the male protagonist about having the exact same gas-economy practices I have.

Did I mention that I rarely let Kathleen drive my car? That’s because she refuses to pay attention to what the gauges are telling her about how she’s driving. Doesn’t that explain why she likes to tease me so much?

I told you I was quirky, didn’t I? Is there some characteristic of yours that others describe as quirky? Or do you have something to say about driving or being economical? How about sharing it with us in a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger