How much is too much at the pump?

First of all, the oil companies don’t care.

We just wanted to get that out of the way. Much like a veteran hockey referee or the weather, the fat cats in the board rooms don’t hear our complaints or, when they do, pretend they haven’t.

Your local gas station owners may hear, and may even care. But they are in no position to do much about it.

There has been plenty of vocal response to the recent rise in gas prices in British Columbia. Prices vary by region, and while Parksville Qualicum Beach hasn’t seen the worst of the numbers, we are edging toward the Vancouver-area gas prices some news sources are hyping as the highest in the history of North America.

As of midday Wednesday, GasBuddy.com reported gas prices in the area to be between $1.45 to $1.47 per litre.

Just this week The NEWS polled readers whether or not they have changed their driving habits due to the rise in gas prices.

So far the results show about 59 per cent of people have changed their driving habits while 41 per cent haven’t.

Responses ranged from people angry over the price of gas to others saying “it is what is” and why bother complaining. However one woman said she would have to pass the cost onto her customers as her truck is her office five days a week.

That is a prime example of a genuine economic impact from a rise in fuel costs.

Consider those who must work two jobs simply to make ends meet, and who now find they are burning even more of their money getting from Job A to Job B.

Or those who have managed to get by with a single job in Parksville Qualicum Beach, but who, because they cannot find affordable housing in the region, are exhausting their resources while battling the Nanaimo crawl or the hump to and from Port Alberni.

Our simple yes-or-no survey does not indicate the degree to which people have changed their driving habits, But the 59 per cent figure of those who claim they have changed something is the kind of thing that may eventually get through the cone of silence that keeps our wailing and complaints from the oil companies.

We will have their undivided attention when the price reaches a point that keeps us from the pumps. But we’re the only ones who can determine that price.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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