Dec 28, 2006

On Air Inflation and Motorist Irritation

compressed air machine (Toledo, OH) Since taking the graduate student vow of poverty a few years ago (a phrase, by the way, I believe I have coined - check Google), I have had to make some concessions in my lifestyle. One of these has been the obvious decision to forego new vehicles in favor of used.

Friends, I drive hoopties, and I am a certified hooptiholic (think I coined another one - I'm on a roll). Alas, though I love the trusty-but-rusty genre, they do require a lot of additional attention.

My current hooptymobile is a Saturn SL, and I believe that the acronym stands for "Slow Leak," as it always seems to need five or ten pounds of air in one of its tires. I drove to the 7-Eleven store on Secor and Laskey Roads yesterday with two quarters in my pocket to fill a tire that had wasted away to an especially dire 15 pounds of pressure.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that air had jumped from 50 cents to 75 cents some time in the past two weeks (vacuum services jumped from 75 cents to a dollar). Imagine, too, my irritation when I drove across the street to Speedway, only to find that they had also joined in on the seemingly collusive behavior.

Now I had to drive back home, beg a quarter from my wife, and drive back to the scene of the highway robbery. Had I not been in a hurry, I would have taken out the foot pump I have in the trunk and pocketed the coins.

I can remember a time in the not-so-distant past when air was free, and a friendly service offered by gas stations to its customers. Without delving into a long-winded Marxist analysis about the commodification of air and the inherent vampirism of capitalism, it certainly irritated me that the profit-minded air merchants have ratcheted up the economic pain on the working poor or, in my case, the working not-quite-poor-but-still-pissed-about-a-quarter.


LTLOP said...

Mike, I seem to remember awhile back where it stated someplace that any gas station in Toledo that had air had to offer it for free. Might be worth looking into or it could turn into a Quixote windmill. Just a thought...

historymike said...

There is a gas station on Monroe at Luann (1 street west of Harvest) with free air.

Nice literary reference, by the way, LTLOP.

microdot said...

Eh merde! I didn't realize it had gotten that I haven't driven my own car in the States for years...Paying for air!
Someday I'll publish a picture of my funky little garage in Hautefort.

Mr. Schwartz said...

When I was in college (1980s) my cars were

a) 1967 Plymouth Fury - which I still own. Sits around 20.
b) 1972 Mercury Comet - similiar to a Ford Maverick
c) 1976 Chevy Impala - 350 4bbl

All got around 10 miles per gallon. Considering gas back then was more expensive then gas is now when you consider inflation, I was quite a dope.

None of them had an FM radio. The Fury still doesn't.

When I was in South Carolina, a lot of the rural gas stations still had free air. I have yet to find one that had free air here in MD or PA.

However... One way to get free air almost anywhere is a truck stop. All the truck diesel pumps usually have a air hose for free next to them. Just be quick about it....

Lisa Renee said...

Speedway will give you free air if you buy gas. At least the one over here on Arlington and S. Detroit. However if you don't know to ask? The air machine says 75 cents.

ToledoNative said...

The only free air I know of on the east side is the Sunoco at Woodville and Pickle.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I paid for air exactly once.

Since then, my air fill-up station is just inside my my garage door.

Pay for air, never again sir!