BOSTON - A Boston Globe feature earlier this week highlighted the indifference among motorists as gas prices have reached a two-year high, climbing past $3 a gallon.
"Not so long ago the combination of a weak economy, high unemployment, and steadily rising gasoline prices would have provoked outrage from motorists," the Globe writes. What's the difference this time around? Resignation, it concludes.
"The shock value is gone,€™€™ said Phil Flynn, an energy analyst at the Chicago research firm PFGBest. "People aren€™t like, 'Oh my God, I€™m never going to drive again! $3 a gallon €" I can€™t leave my house!€™ €™€™
Gasoline prices in Massachusetts have increased steadily since September, rising nearly 50 cents to an average of $3.11 for a gallon of regular unleaded, according to the Department of Energy. The last time gasoline cost that much in Massachusetts was in October 2008, but at the time, it was a relief to consumers as it had retreated from the previous high of about $4 a gallon.
"Four dollars was only a couple of years ago, so maybe they feel grateful in some odd way,€™€™ said Jeff Bursaw, an Acton gas station owner, who said he hasn't heard much complaining this time around from customers. "There isn€™t that angst there was two years ago. Nobody is walking through the door angry or calling to complain.€™€™
Laura Forbes, who commutes to her job in Boston from Nashua, said she was resigned to higher fuel prices and has trimmed spending in other areas to compensate.
"There€™s not really anything I can do about gas prices,€™€™ she said, "so it€™s just something you got to suck up and pay.€™€™