Rising gas prices curb teenage huffing
on 5/20/2004 (9)
For Timmy and his friends, Saturdays had always been spent at their secret clubhouse, huffing gasoline and laughing hysterically at shadow puppets and imaginary dinosaurs. But as gas prices have risen to their highest point in years, the frequency of their favorite Saturday night activity has dwindled.
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"We used to be able to find enough money in the couch to buy a couple gallons of gas and have a good time every week," said 14 year old Timmy. "Now, many weeks we're left huffing fumes out of an empty container."
The steep rise in oil prices can be attributed to issues overseas. The rapidly expanding world economy is creating more demand than ever before for oil. Along with the recent turmoil in the Middle East and subsequent fear of an interruption in oil supply, this has caused the price increases.
Gasoline prices in many areas top $2 a gallon, fifty cents more than the cost only a year ago. This has made gasoline huffing too expensive for many teenagers, by far the largest demographic for gasoline huffing. Huffing is rapidly becoming an activity that can only be afforded by the well to do Americans.
"Neither me or any of my friends have jobs," said Timmy's friend Brian. "We get a small allowance and make some extra cash raking leaves and cutting grass, but it's not always enough."
Parents fear that the rising price of gasoline will put an end to teenage gas huffing and turn their children on to other cheaper and more dangerous highs like glue sniffing or cocaine.
"I always felt safe knowing that my little Bobby was out huffing gasoline," said Lisa Summers. "But if he can't afford it anymore, there is no telling what he could get into."
"I huffed gasoline when I was younger, and besides the chronic bedwetting and a fear of intimacy, I turned out fine," said Timmy's father John. "There are worse things he could be into, and I'm really worried these days that financial constraints might force him into some of those things. I'd hate to see him turn into a cokehead, or worse yet, have him start watching Dawson's Creek."
It is also feared that teens may become so desperate for gasoline that they will turn to siphoning gas out of parked vehicles. This could leave hundreds of drivers stranded in deserts where they will be forced to walk dozens of miles in sweltering heat to the nearest gas station, which likely will be closed. Fear of this scenario has lead to a major sales spike in locking gas caps, the largest increase seen since the mid 1980s when peeing in gas tanks became a nationwide fad.
There are currently two plans to attempt to remedy this situation, as the price of gasoline doesn't appear to be declining in the near future.
"One idea is to allow discounts for teenagers," says Ted McBride, owner of the Bad Gas gas station. "Since they don't cause pollution with the gasoline like burning it in automobiles does, the government is considering allowing them a break in price."
This plan will require the support of the US government along with many of the oil companies.
"It shouldn't be a problem to get the support of the oil companies though," claimed US Vice President Dick Cheney. "We hav
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