2007.06.20 Don't like gas costs? Don't price anything else

Written by David Green.


I get a kick out of the television stations that attempt to report the cheapest gas prices in the area. In a competitive market, some stations change their prices several times a day, especially those gas outlets with the new digital price signs. Those announcers think they’re doing a public service when often they are reporting outdated prices, sometimes too low, sometimes too high.

When prices can be changed at the touch of a button, it’s foolish to think that any particular price will stick around for an extended period. Anybody who thinks that a low price they heard about is still going be available when it’s convenient for them to buy is just asking to be disappointed. I have a friend in the convenience store business who told me of a woman who purchased just $3.00 worth of gas because she heard prices were much lower in Toledo.

About two hours later, she returned, complaining that prices in Toledo had gone up and she had to buy another $3.00 of gas in order to return to the same station she was at two hours (and $6.00) before. That’s a wasted evening  and poor use of money and gas anyway you look at it.

Besides, almost any type of liquid product you can buy is more expensive than gasoline. I went through a batch of recent store ads and figured out the per gallon prices of some popular products. In comparison, gasoline doesn’t look all that bad. Obviously, we all use more gallons of gas than we would of these other products, but the results are still interesting.

Most soft drinks and bottled waters fell into the $2 to $3 per gallon range, although that price skyrockets if you buy by the individual can or bottle. I found milk ranging from $2.59 for a gallon of whole milk to $3 for a gallon of 2% milk. That’s kind of like finding premium gas for 40 cents a gallon less than regular. However, if you prefer chocolate milk (or gasoline), Hershey’s syrup runs about $8.00 a gallon. Orange juice ranged from $4.50 to $5.98 a gallon.

Hunt’s Tomato Sauce was available for $4.80 per gallon, and Open Pit BBQ Sauce was $6.26 a gallon. Barilla Pasta Sauce came to $9.85 per gallon, making that spaghetti dinner a bit more expensive than you might have guessed.

Miller High Life and Busch Beer were available at $5.59 a gallon, while Budweiser and Miller Lite were each running $7.81 per gallon. Those with a taste for wine had better have their billfolds ready as prices ran from a low of $15.12 all the way up to $59.00 per gallon.

Generic mouthwash was available for $5.83 per gallon while Crest Pro-Health Rinse was a whopping $17.65 per gallon. Tide liquid laundry detergent was $6.83 per gallon and Spray ‘N Wash was $11.58 per gallon.

Roundup Weed and Grass Killer was $10.00 per gallon, or, as they like to say in the petroleum industry, $9.999. Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid came to $9.75 per gallon while Pert Shampoo led all advertised health and beauty items at $28.44 per gallon.

By far the most expensive consumer product I saw advertised was Visine, which came to over $637 a gallon, although it’s true it would take you a while to use a gallon of it. But, as a person who suffers from glaucoma and has to take several prescription eyedrops,  I consider that Visine price too good to be true.

Of the several eyedrops I’m now taking, the least expensive one comes to $2,774.59 per gallon, although a gallon would last you many years. Then there’s the most expensive drop.

This particular eyedrop costs $69.22 for a one month (2.5 ml) supply. Since I only take this one once a day in each eye, that comes to about $1.15 per drop. If it came in a gallon container, the price would be only (better sit down) $104,853.96 per gallon.

That kind of makes $3.00 for a gallon of regular gasoline look real cheap, doesn’t it? Now to be fair, that gallon of eyedrops would last me about 126 years and who knows what gasoline will cost in the year 2133. Not that I’ll be around to worry about the price of gas (or eyedrops) at that point.

Probably by then, they will have perfected bionic eyes and vehicles that run on water. And water will be $5,000 per gallon.

    – June 20, 2007 
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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