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Views From The Cottage

Views From The Cottage

Views from the Cottage by Melanie Martyn


It’s 1974 and my dad is filling the car with leaded, regular fuel. The expletives I heard as I was tucked comfortably in the back seat, were loud, varied and colourful. Being a young teen at the time, I never gave a second thought to the cost of living; food, shelter, and transportation. It appeared that the price of regular in that moment was 71 cents a gallon. That’s less than three shiny quarters for one full Canadian gallon of fuel. I was still babysitting for pocket money at the time and made 75 cents an hour, plus all the snacks I could eat after putting the kids to bed and tidying the kitchen. I think minimum wage at the time was about $2.00/hr.

OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) was responsible for some heavy-duty oil hikes from primarily Arabian suppliers and no one was happy. Protests in the streets in 1973 with gas line ups and gas rationing were not unusual. To conserve gas, the maximum speed limit was cut to 55 miles per hour in the States. To cut energy consumption in the broader economy, daylight saving time was introduced year-round at the beginning of 1974, facing criticism from parents whose kids had to go to school before sunrise in the winter months.

So this hike was priced in gallonage but in 1978, or thereabouts, we went metric to the tune of 20 cents a litre which was roughly 92 cents a gallon.

Here we are, today, facing up to $2.14 a litre which is upwards to $8.10 a gallon.  There are rumours of even higher prices to come as we continue to rollercoaster up and down for no apparent reason (to me).

I have a 1982 Datsun, 280 ZX which I only drive in Summer. Yes, a Datsun, soon to become the Nissan product line. It has a large tank for its little size and it just cost me $133.00 to fill up! I think I will take it easy on the right foot and maintain the speed limit for maybe the first time in my life, heh heh. The ‘get-around’ truck will sit out any long trips and I’m now looking for that smaller, economy car that I’ve always never wanted. There are just too many projects I have on the go that require that nice, roomy, SUV style ride.

However, bearing in mind the foreshadowing of these ever-increasing gas prices, I’m opting for an E-Bike as my next adventure. I hear you can charge it up and ride to your hearts content up to 100 Kilometers. I can attach saddle bags for my paperwork and you just might see me on the backroads of Springwater Township meeting all the other E-bikers. There will be a special hand wave and we’ll all be smiling because we are passing every gas station along the way. Just peachy with the fresh air, exercise and truly living the dream! I do wonder the impact on my hydro bill though as I’ll be plugging in the charger every night. Seems there’s always a piper to pay. Where is Tesla when I’m searching for free energy….Nyuk, Nyuk!

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