For the first time in my life, this morning, while pumping gas into my girlfriend's truck, I saw the workers at the service station changing the price of gas on the sign. I checked, and still had the lower price on the pump, so I put in an extra five bucks, which resulted in approximately .00004 more gallons of gas than I would have gotten otherwise. (I exaggerate, perhaps, but I'm crappy at math, and gas is fucking ridiculous out here in San Francisco.)
I don't own a car and drive very infrequently, mainly because I don't have to--the Muni and BART systems out here get a lot of grief from locals, but I think that's because they don't realize just how shitty the public transportation system is in much of the rest of the country, if it exists at all. Gas has gone up something like 20 cents a gallon in the last month--I paid $2.57 a gallon this morning, and if I'd waited ten minutes or so, it would have been $2.59. And it's not going to get significantly cheaper any time soon, if ever.
We had planned to take an extended vacation this summer while moving to Florida--ship our stuff and spend some time on the road, camping at exotic locales, that sort of thing, but if gas prices stay this high, we won't be able to afford to drive across the country.
It'll be interesting to see how the American public handles these prices. For a long time now, we've been in denial as a culture about the amount of gas we waste in oversized vehicles (I know, there are places where an SUV or a big truck is a tool instead of a status symbol--I'm not talking about you folks), and I can't help but laugh at the dummies who are dropping a c-note in the tank of their Hummers every time they fill up. If I could afford a new car, I'd buy something like a Prius or an Insight in a heartbeat, or barring that, something small that gets a minimum of 30 mpg in the city. They're still available, and I'll have to be on the lookout, because south Florida, where I'll be living after this summer, has shit for public transportation.