A sudden return to the good ole days?

1019588124_88a590ab58Everyone who gets a bit on in years starts to reflect on the "good ole days".  Well, in reality, the days gone by were never that good…we just remember them that way.  Our memories are selective depending on the pain or joys of life.  Well, it is interesting to me that suddenly we are being thrust back to the "good ole days".  With rising gas prices and the rapidly escalating costs of owning and running a car or truck, the ole days may be returning…for some of us, that will bring a smile to our faces…for others, this will be the beginning of new struggles and a ton of painful change.  Remember, for those of you old enough, when the average family in the USA could only afford one car?  Hey, when I was 16 years old, as a child of a middle class family, we had access to one family vehicle.  It was a Ford LTD…big sucker.  When I received my driver’s license, I had to ask for permission to drive the family car…I was third in the priority list.  My dad used it for work or my mom drove my dad to and from work and used it for errands.  It was stated very clearly that if I was to "borrow" the car from my parents that I was responsible to fill the tank with gas with money I earned by having a part-time job.  No money, no car.  Simple as that.  Now, I remember the days when gas was 35 cents a gallon…that’s right…I’m old!  Anyway, it was still a struggle for gas money then.  Of course, we were working for $1.65 an hour…so economics were different.  You see, OWNING AND DRIVING AND USING A CAR WAS NOT A RIGHT…it was a PRIVILEGE.  It was an expensive privilege because even with what seems like "cheap gas", gas money was hard to come by.  I remember many times when my buddies and I had to chip in to buy a buck or two worth of gas just to drive around for a night.  You see, transportation for kids in those days was simple – walking or riding a bike or bus.  Well, without waxing too nostalgic, it looks like the rising cost of gas and the very rapidly increasing cost of automobile usage might be suddenly throwing our whole society back old school.  I tell you, if my kids were home right now (all of them are adults struggling with car payments, insurance and gas as well), there would NOT be personal cars unless they could own them, insure them and run the costs themselves.  Figure it out here – the cost of gas alone runs $50-60 tankful.  Insurance for a teenager is about $100 to $150 a month.  So, let’s be conservative…without even taking into account a car payment and maintenance, you are looking at about $350 a month.  At $8 per hour of working a part time job, the kid would have to about 11 hours per week…add that to school, sports, church activities and the like and you have a family "in stress".  Truth is, some families I know try to get a car for EACH teen.  Well…times are a changin…and I have a feeling that there are going to be TONS of families that are going to be having to make some tough decisions.  We might be seeing economic realities that throw us kicking and screaming back to the good ole days…one car per family…kids walking to school…and other alternatives being considered.  I wondered today as I was thinking about this post…if we only had one car per family how much less burden we would be putting on the "supply and demand" for oil?  Wouldn’t our decreased demand lower prices?  mmmmmm…that’s worth some thought!  Maybe the good ole days weren’t so idealistic…maybe they were "good" for a reason!  More to come…

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