Feb 21, 2009

No Sympathy for Exxon

I usually try to post a pretty picture on my blog. This is about as pretty as I have seen the diesel prices in a long, long time – so even though it is only a cell phone shot, it is beautiful in my eyes!

When we bought our 1998 Chevrolet Silverado 1 ton diesel truck in the year 2000, diesel prices were right around .98 cents a gallon. Our 30+ gallon tank could be filled for $30 and some change. And when we took our summer vacation to Texas that year, we drove the truck and I recorded about 17 mpg highway. Not bad. When we pulled the four-horse trailer fully loaded, we were getting around 12 mpg. At a buck a gallon, it wasn’t a burden.

Then, it was like the world knew that the one person in the world who spends money foolishly now bought horses! The price of horse flesh went down and the price of fuel went up. As fuel went up, so did hay prices and everything else! Heck, I boycotted eggs when they were over $2 a dozen at the store. And when a bag of grapes rang up for over $7, I told the family, “No More Grapes!” My horse’s trims are up $10 per horse and to shoe four horses for our vacation to South Dakota last summer, I considered a second mortgage! And wouldn’t you know it, when we finally do leave for our trip last June, diesel tops out that week at $4.75 a gallon!

And another funny thing happened; in the last nine years, my truck’s mileage started to drop and we are lucky to get 7 mpg pulling 4 horses! What is up with that? I am pretty sure the oil companies are to blame! A colleague questioned this trip to South Dakota which was now going to cost hundreds in fuel. He said, “Just think, Tammy, every 7 miles you drive, you may as well just toss five bucks out the window!” Riding in South Dakota was worth every penny!

I wish I kept track of what I spent on fuel last year but glad I didn’t. My heart couldn’t take it. I could have probably fed the poor in some remote country. I am serious as a heart attack when I say I blame the economic crisis on the oil companies. When fuel prices triple, more of the paycheck is needed to just get a person to work. Then there is the increased price of food and goods. Many just didn’t have enough left to pay the mortgage. People do live that close to the edge. Those in the oil companies who took home bonuses after their record year -- in amounts we could never fathom -- would never understand what it is like to make the decision between food and shelter. And that’s about as political as I will get on this blog.

In horse talk, what $1.99 diesel does for me is makes me want to plan another trip! I’d go back to South Dakota in a heartbeat; or Colorado or Wyoming. John's job took a nosedive in this economy, so looks like Hi-Ho Silverado will be with us for awhile. We'll doctor his "last leg" for another horse trip. Doesn’t seem so bad when I’m only throwing $2 out the window every 7 miles! We'll be eating grapes on the way!



  1. HAMBURGERS!!!!!

    As you know, my job is pedaling fuel. I have people writing bad checks just to get some propane in their tank. And that's just to survive winter... not to plan a vacation.

    It sucks. Hopefully this year will be better. All those petroleum barons who made money in the stock market can kiss my big jiggly butt for bragging about their earnings. There are young families and old people who are wondering "Do I eat? or do I freeze?"

  2. Anonymous7:44 PM

    Farrier work is expensive, If you have found a good farrier that shows up on time they are worth every penny. A second mortage would buy a lot of horseshoes!!

  3. Absolutely agree farriers have a lot of expense & I respect that & their time. They have taken it in the shorts last year, too, with the outragous price of fuel. And I feel my farrier is very reasonably priced for the work involved. Having a self-employed husband, I can certainly relate to the increased expenses and regretfully having to pass it on to the customer. Everything is higher today -- the context of my blog was that the price of fuel - in 2008 in particular - really jacked up things fast. And our own paychecks didn't keep up with everything else. Everything was sticker shock.

    The shoe comment was tongue in cheek. We don't normally shoe where we ride. But shoes were necessary for the Black Hills. Fours sets x 4 horses was a big check for us to write that day. And it was more than the mortgage payment on my first house! But I never meant to imply it wasn't worth it or he didn't work hard to put them on. It was a hotter than hell day & what he was paid probably wasn't enough

  4. Anonymous2:33 AM

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  5. Anonymous2:39 PM

    Just a thought - I use Mobil 1 for my oil and my mileage went up (only a few miles, but every bit helps)and I only have to change the oil every 6 months. It cost more than regular oil, but I figure I am saving in the long run.

    I remember just a few years ago, I filled the tank on the farm for $.99/gal. and my propane to heat the house was $.49. It sure is amazing how much everything has gone up except our paychecks!


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