Trying to Look on Bright Side of High Gas Prices

As we continue to track the national average price of gas daily — $3.55 a gallon, according to AAA — it’s sometimes healthy to step back and realize that it isn’t the most expensive commodity we purchase.

This graphic from Good puts things in perspective, charting the price of gas in California against everyday items like orange juice and bottled water.

The full chart (below) will make you feel a little better until the next time you have to fill up your gas tank.

Gas Is Still Way Cheaper Than Water (Gizmodo)


By David Thomas | March 24, 2011 | Comments (28)


DeBinder Dundett

A friend of mine owns several Shell and Chevron gas stations and he tells me that he still pumps the same amount of fuel at $4.++ a gallon. He believes, like I do, that Americans really don't care about the price of fuel. You either buy it if you want to go, or you don't buy it if you don't want to go. When you can no longer afford to buy it, you walk.


Where are people paying $6.04 a gallon for milk?

Costco, 2 gallons under $4.


I guess this is to be expected. Since the White House writers can't write about job growth they put garbage like this. No one is fooled.


The infograph does not include the cost of printer ink per gallon. Ever since the recent spike in gas prices, I haven't really changed the amount that I've driven nor my driving habits. At this point, it's more of an annoyance than an actual pain in terms of budget.

Keep in mind, I'm not driving the most economical car either :)


Compared to European counties are pay almost nothing for gas, yet we are the ones the whine the most. Go figure.

Al. G

While this is an interesting look on the gas issue, the real is. (DT, no offence I am I fan) When would I ever need to buy a gallon of most of the stuff mentioned above? And buy at a gallon at one time? Never! Not even when the wife schleps me up and down the aisles of Sam’s Club or BJ’s. (OK maybe some of those things we have brought in gallon amounts) But, what we do buy in this qty lasts us awhile. However I do need to buy gas (more than 1 gallons worth) to get around (i.e. Commutes to work, grocery shopping etc) At current average price in my area of $3.88/gal. On average I buy gas at the rate of least a fill up per week. I drive a mid-size sedan with a 4 banger, which gets decent mileage. Are gas prices are killing me? Not yet, but the rising price of gas definitely has me on notice and I am feeling the pinch.

The thing that does kill me is recently hearing on the news that the reason for the gas increases has less to do world usage increase and more to do with Stock Market Traders speculations. The practice of buying and trading oil futures in an attempt to predict the cost of oil later is what is really raising the price. This is not to say that increases in oil usage and mess in the Middle East play no part. I believe these things also raise gas prices. I just fear unlike last time when gas hit $4.00/gal This time $4.00/gal may just be the beginning for us. Boy! I hope I am wrong.


I think the gas price panic is mostly psychological, unless you happen to be in a situation where you are driving hundreds of miles per week. Seems to me that's where the "real pain" comes in for most Americans - when ALL our goods and services start to cost more because of the cost for businesses and transportation of goods.

Psychologically, we "react" to what we see and especially what the media reports all the time. While I am now paying double for gas from what I did say 10-15 years ago, the same is true for lots of other things too, and I rarely complain about that.

From week to week, the increases really don't add up to much. A spike of 20 cents might mean $3.00 more or so for a fill-up. Most people driving relatively normal amounts can bear that burden, yet we feel like there's no way we can afford the current price of gas. I think there are lots of psychological factors at play, including the fact that most humans don't like to feel like they're being taken advantage of or that someone/something has them over a barrel (no pun intended). Oil companies definitely have most of us in that position.

Matt C

I think we are all missing the point here... We need to figure out how we can run our cars on bleach!

Al. G

@ DT and MC
Now that's funny! Thanks for the laugh.

I'm sorry, "GOOD," but until you can run a car on water or drink gasoline (more than once), this is pointless and ridiculous, as it has been every time it's been raised over the years.

This comparison has meaning because all of these things are liquids that can be measured in gallons? I'm appalled by the rising price of lumber, but I get no comfort out of the fact that, pound for pound, it's still less expensive than cheese.


That's a lame comparison. Yes, maybe milk might cost $6 per gallon, but you buy that once a week.

How many gallon of gas do we buy week?

Max Reid

When Oil prices increase, Diesel prices also increase, then the price of all commodities increase.

Its time to cut the consumption.

Matt C

@ Max

Or we could increase domestic production until we have a viable alternative. Battery powered cars just aren't close and ethanol is a joke. If we can increase production then the cost will go down.


Yes, but I don't have to buy orange juice 20 gallons at a time twice a month.

The fact is, a good deal of the prices those products are tied to gasoline. Farmers have to run their tractors, shippers need to fuel their trucks to deliver these products. Oh, and those plastic containers? Made from crude oil.

That's why this chart is bOOooOOoogus!

Ken Miller

Someone wrote that the comparison is lame because you only buy milk once per week.

Actually, I only buy milk about once every two weeks.

And I only buy gas about once every two weeks.


I don't think this needs to become a political statement, it's just a fun comparison.

Jstant01 is right, it's a mental thing mostly. This past week I was doing my biweekly fill-up (yes, I fill up every other week, and I drive 15 miles each way in heavy traffic to work...but I drive a Pontiac Vibe with a Toyota engine and get marvelous mileage) and accidentally hit the premium button on the pump rather than the regular. I was immediately almost nauseous at what I'd done, and almost in a panic, until I realized it was a whole $1.60 difference.

I have a friend in France who says gas there is about 1.5 euros per liter. Do the math, if you like.

Ken Miller

Typically, people complain about a 20 cent increase, although as someone pointed out, that increase would only make your fillup about $3.00 more expensive. Most people I know waste that much money every single day. There are plenty of ways to save three bucks. Look how many crappy bags of chips cost three bucks! Somebody buys them! Don't be the guy who buys the next one. Don't be a sucka.


1. It's meant to be some what humorous
2. Oh there very much is a valid point. We don't have to drive as much as we do/use as much gas as we do - it's a choice. I choose to live in a better school area and commute. When my child no longer is in school, I will live as close to work as I possibly can and walk. People buy all of the things on the list and use them at their discretion, just like gas.

Janet Wehlitz

Interesting...I'm caregiver for my 95 yr old father-in-law. I can just see me getting him to walk (or getting pushed in a wheelchair) to his Dr. appointments...

The point is: I HAVE to buy gasoline to get him around, I DON'T have to buy milk or wine to drive him where he needs to go.

Yes, the gasoline prices have changed our lives and the prices HURT our budget and what we can and cannot do. My car is a 1995 sedan that gets about 18-20mpg in town and 26+ mpg on the freeway: can't afford to buy a newer car that gets 30+ mpg.

The phrase from WWII is really applicable: "Is this trip necessary?"


I am currently living in Germany and I drive a VW Beetle TDI which gets roughly 45-48mpg. When I go to fill up I want to cry, because I spend about €68 that is about $100! I can't believe how much it costs here! Keep in mind that diesel here is MUCH cheaper than gasoline.

I wanted to change my oil here and just for 4 quarts of synthetic it would have cost over $130! I can't wait to get back to the US in July and pay $4.00!


I'm amused by the people who are saying this chart is bogus (and Obama fed ... good Lord) because they have to buy gas in greater quantities and more often.

Well, here's a thought: I buy gas maybe once a week or week and a half, 'cause I don't live in a McMansion in an extended suburb, live close to my place of employment, and drive a car with good gas mileage!

And Janet makes a good point. If you can't do the aforementioned things, then you're going to have to think harder about the way you live if gas is expensive. And you could always encourage your politicians (by voting for the ones who care) to use the power of government to help private industry wean itself from the Middle Eastern oil teat ... then we won't have spikes every time oil speculators on Wall Street want to make a quick easy profit when a political crisis occurs in a country that we don't even import oil from (yes, I'm looking at you Libya) ...


One question: How do I run my car on Coke?


It's either a gallon latte or a 16oz grande latte, it can't be both.


I spent $2000 on gas last year, and this year it will be a bit more. So you'd think I'd mind a 10-20% jump in gas prices, but actually, I am willing to put up with a small amount of pain if that's what it takes to get the US to drive cars that are more fuel efficient.



The idea is that the 16oz coffee price was used to determine the gallon. If you bought small coffees it would be more money per gallon.

Also who the heck is buying $8 pints of guinness?


if only we could. drive are cars on air.per gallon? are bananas lol. are hair jail. omglol smileyface maybe salt are pepper, 1dollar togather, lol.the lil ones cant but suger. it will mess up tho well darn/. haa haa, but i bet we would save money,r yogert parfa. from mcdollas

The soaring gas price has reached the ceiling. Sometimes, I'd rather ride the public utility vehicle to save money.

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