Gasoline, Saltines & Chanel Bags

Get out the Hummer – Gas is cheap! As the economy spirals, oil and gas prices are falling precipitously from all-time highs. At $2.914 per gallon, and after 37 consecutive days of decline, American’s haven’t seen levels this low in nearly a year. So how will grad students and Americans alike respond to this breath of fresh air as gas prices fall below $3.00?

Well thank goodness gas is cheap again. The value of an investment portfolio I had hoped would shield me from the stereotypical bleak grad student standard of living is rapidly approaching zero. However, it may cost me less than $1,000 to drive home to New York from Boston this year for Thanksgiving.

Along with every other tanking market and investment, oil and gas prices are falling precipitously from all-time highs. At $2.914 per gallon, and after 37 consecutive days of decline, American’s haven’t seen levels this low in nearly a year.

In July, when oil flirted with an all-time high around $145 per barrel, gasoline peaked at $4.11 per gallon. Although I was working on a commodities desk that traded oil and gas derivatives, it was an article I read on my Bloomberg that put into perspective for me just how widespread the effect of the summer’s record oil and gas prices on your every day consumer actually was.

“‘It’s like pumping Chanel bags into a boat’s hull,'” the article quoted the wife of a 75-foot white-hot yacht owner who paid out $10,800 to fill his vessel’s tank. “‘Every time we fill up it’s like two Chanel bags, minus the wallet.'”

The suspense was killer tag heuer replica for sale – which would it be this weekend: trip to the mall for two Chanel bags minus the wallet – the said couple only had a 75 footer after all – or fill up the tank for a weekend trip to The Vineyard? This summer, they wouldn’t have their Chanel bags and fill their tank too.

But gas prices weren’t so funny when it came to filling up my own tank for the drive back to Boston at the end of August. Visions of burning Chanel bags danced before my eyes as I watched the dollars fly at the pump. Well maybe in the case of my Silver Mercury Mariner it was more like second hand Coach bags.

And upon arriving back at on campus after my harrowing journey on the road, I discovered that Harvard Real Estate Services, my landlord, was also feeling the pinch of high energy prices. HRES had replaced my shower-head with (no not an Evian designer-water spurting faucet) but a single-drop-dispensing mechanism in an effort to cut back on water and energy costs. After all, “Green is the New Crimson!”

HRES tenants may have to rinse our hair for an additional 49 minutes in order to use the full 41.1 gallons necessary to rinse out the shampoo, but at least residents of One Western still enjoy the all-you-can-heat special.

While inhabitants of the North East brace themselves ahead of another expensive heating season, inhabitants of One Western Avenue (OWA) shrug and scoff at the cold. Boston Winter, you may snow out there in May, but it’s a warm’n’sunny 90 degrees year round in OWA. Heating costs are fixed in our rent.

But we in OWA are no energy consuming fiends breitling superocean replica. Rather, our heat use is as guilt-free and green just like our water-saving shower heads. Before moving into my apartment in OWA, I briefed myself with a 2007 Harvard Gazette article which reported how efficient and easy it is to heat my precious 429 sq feet of OWA heaven:

“One Western Avenue, was designed to be up to 50 percent more energy-efficient than required by code. Waste heat is recovered from bathroom and kitchen exhaust at One Western Avenue, making the 15-story complex more efficient to heat in the winter.” Waste Heat, huh, well that’s a charming step or two below burning second hand Coach Bags.

In all seriousness, I highlight the impressive HRES energy efficiency initiatives. In fact, OWA was awarded a Silver in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

But I digress. My first response to recent declining prices, likely like yours, is relief. In fact, with sub $3.00 gas prices, nothing would raise my spirits more from the doom and gloom of the downward spiraling economy than revvin’ up that old 9 mpg Hummer that’s been so lonely in the garage through all this gas conservation, rollin’ down the windows and blastin’ “Proud to be an American.”

If gas prices fall even further, maybe I’ll drive the Hummer to the mall and treat myself to a Chanel bag, plus the wallet. Back to my portfolio, however. Looks like I’m going to be eating saltines and ketchup till graduation.