Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: Hey, how about one price for all?

By From page A2 | June 17, 2014

“Welcome to the City of Davis Fast Fossil Fuel Fillup, can I help you?”
“City of Davis what?”
“City of Davis Fast Fossil Fuel Fillup. This gas station is wholly owned by the city of Davis to keep prices low and fair for everyone.”
“Boy is that unusual. What a breath of fresh air.”
“Yep, we’re the first city in the nation to do so. Now, can I put some gas in your tank and wash your windshield with some fresh Sacramento River water?
“No thanks, I’ll just pump my own today. But kind of you to offer.”
“Um, you’re not allowed to do that, sir. We have a lot of families come through here and we’re concerned about the children getting hurt if people start getting out of their cars.”
“I think maybe I’ll just go on down the street to the Arco station and fill up there.”
“There is no Arco station. Or Shell or anyone else. The city took them all over under the power of Eminent Complain. It’s the only way we can keep prices low and encourage conservation. All citizens who drive in Davis must buy their gas from us. We’ve added a special odor to it so we can tell if anyone is breaking the law.”
“Well, I’m all in favor of cheaper gas. And I’m no fan of Big Oil. So how much cheaper is it?”
“It depends, sir. Do you live in a single-family home or an apartment?”
“What difference does that make?”
“I’m afraid it makes all the difference in the world.”
“OK, we live in a single-family home.”
“That’ll be $11.85 per gallon. Plus an extra dollar per gallon for every person in the car besides the driver.”
“$11.85? I saw gas for $3.89 at the Chevron in West Sac just a few minutes ago.”
“We’re working to bring the price down, but we have to pay off the debt for taking over all these stations. Once that’s done, we’ll have the cheapest gas in the country.”
“How long will that take?”
“About 140 years.”
“What if I live in an apartment?”
“Then it’s $9.79 a gallon.”
“Do they get a different grade of gas or what?”
“Nope, it’s exactly the same gas.”
“So why am I paying more?”
“Because you live in a single-family home. I thought we already went over that.”
“Very well. Fill ‘er up.”
“First I need to ask you a few questions.”
“Now what?”
“Will you be using this gas to drive for business or pleasure?”
“What the hell?”
“The commercial rate is $17.69.”
“Well, actually, I’ll use part of the gas to get to work and the other part to go to the ball game.”
“That’s mixed use, sir. $22.49 a gallon.”
“That’s highway robbery. Who came up with these prices?”
“The Gas Advisory Sales Panel (GASP) comes up with all these rates to ensure fairness for everyone.”
“Well I’m completely on empty and I have a long ride ahead, so I guess you’d better fill ‘er up.”
“How big is your tank?”
“I don’t know. I think it’s around 12 gallons. Or maybe 15 or 20. I honestly have no idea. What difference does it make?”
“Can you check the manual?”
“OK, it says it’s a 22-gallon tank, but the red light won’t come on until I have just two gallons left.”
“That will place you in Tier III, sir, due to the fact your tank has a higher capacity than that Ford Focus over there. The first 10 gallons are $22.49 per gallon. The second 10 will be $34.59 per gallon and the final two will be $224.89 per gallon.”
“You have got to be kidding.”
“No sir. It’s the only way we can stop the gross polluters who would just drive around town all day if we let them.”
“I think I’m just going to park the car over there and take the bus instead.”
“Now you’re beginning to understand.”
“Thanks for taking the time to explain everything to me.”
“No problem at all. But there’s one more thing before you go.”
“What’s that?”
“Parking is 10 dollars. Or in your case, 15 dollars for single-family parking.”

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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