Monday, June 11, 2007

Cheap Gas

One of the first things I noticed when I got back to the States was the price of gas. It's about 50 cents to a dollar more per gallon than it was when I left. Nobody can stop talking about it. I've already see the "boycott gas on XYZ day" messages, people have taken to citing high gas prices for why they won't go out, and every time I flip past CNN they're recalculating the cost of a road trip from Columbus to Hilton Head. Fortunately my parents returned my car to me with a full tank, but as the needle crept closer to E, I began to fear what number would end up on the display at the pump.

It was about $35.

Considering that I know the size of my tank and that I'm going to be a math teacher, it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise, but I was still stunned. Here I was bracing myself for the worst and it ended up being--in my mind--ridiculously cheap.

It's hard to compare gas prices between NZ and the US because not only do you have to convert $NZ to $US, you also have to convert litres to gallons. And don't even start on fuel economy; once you have to change kilometres to miles, it's just too much (obviously I am going to be a really challenging math teacher). So even though I'd made some roughly converted estimations in my head, the difference didn't really hit me until I filled up my American car and the cost was half what it usually cost me in New Zealand.

Granted, I had a bigger car in NZ, but let's do actually do the math:
1 litre - 0.26 gallons
1 NZ dollar - 0.75 US dollars

When I left New Zealand, petrol was about NZ$1.56 per litre. With a few strokes of the calculator, I find that converts to US$4.43 per gallon. Just think of the headlines on CNN if that were the price here. Don't even get me started on the price on Rarotonga: about NZ$2.30 per litre--that's US$6.54 per gallon.

This all is not to say that gas in the US is cheap, per se, but it's hard for me to be outraged about these prices when the rest of the world pays so much more. The complaining has got to stop and the public transportation infrastructure has got to start.


AP said...

Good math my friend. You will be a good teacher, making your students make conversions like that.

teana said...

yeah...just wait till you get to cali. though, it has been going down a few pennies here and there.

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