I went into a cafe for a hamburger but soon discovered that I could not afford it. There was a sign on the wall that said: “Notice: If you are grouchy, irritable, or just plain mean, there will be a $10. charge for putting up with you.”

Next I went down the street to see if I could get a sandwich and chips at a gas station. All that did was depress me as I looked at the gas prices. Now we think $2 a gallon would be a windfall.

Several test plants around the country are making synthetic gasoline, known as synfuel. But we know how much the oil industry does not like such research and persuaded Washington to abandon such research.

Presidents and Congresses have not been willing to take on the oil industry. They will not combat Big Oil and give us citizens a fair break. It is not the local gas station operator that is gouging us, but Big Oil and their greedy CEOs and stock holders. More is never enough for this crowd.

Making America independent of foreign oil is not in the cards as long as the spineless politicians we elected to office hang around the halls of congress, listening only to the lobbyists.

China, Malaysia and even the Middle East country of Qatar are building large synfuel facilities. I read where Brazil now has built a car that runs on any combination of ethanol or gasoline in a single tank.

The governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, is a man after my own heart. He writes: “We are tired of paying $3 a gallon for gas, tired of watching third-world nations overtake us in energy innovation, and tired of supporting the kind of tyrants that young Americans have spent two centuries fighting and dying to defeat.”

Drive west of Abilene and San Angelo and see the huge windmills giving us more and more wind power. Solar power and hydrogen power are already used many places. To be as advanced a nation as we are and depend on foreign oil is a disgrace. I hear used cooking grease will even run cars.

In that connection it is also a disgrace that auto makers continue to drag their feet in making cars with better fuel consumption. Synfuel, ethanol, biodiesel should be a priority now, not the 22nd century. To kick the foreign oil habit will take commitment. Woe to us if we shirk this challenge.

Now you see why I could not stay in that cafe and have a bite. I was one of those folks the notice on the wall was aimed at. Thanks to high oil prices that increase the price of everything and the unwillingness of our leaders to do something about it, I must admit to being grouchy, irritable (but not yet mean) but with the hope for better days ahead (before the next century).

Britt Towery, a retired missionary, writes for the
Brownwood Bulletin in Brownwood, Texas.

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