Lately, gas prices in Tallahassee have been hovering around $3.65 a gallon; perhaps a few cents higher than the national average. It's making an impact on me, I can tell you, since simply taking the kids to school and picking them up again is an investment of about 40 miles of travel. 40 miles is about 2.1 gallons of gas in my old, trusty 1996 Volvo 850 (with 210,000 miles!) which gets roughly 18 miles to the gallon.
If you look at the national average commute distances (I think it's 27 miles one way) and gas mileage (I believe it's 25 MPG) it's apparent that your average worker is paying $2-3 more per day to go to work than last year. Ugh. And it isn't going to get any better; I would estimate seeing trends that the average price for a gallon of gas by Summer, 2009 will probably be about $4.50. Another $2 per day gone.
There are attempts to manufacture an outcry versus the oil companies but they only produce about an 8% net profit in a highly speculative market so there's no real objective cause to rally against them. Having a gas tax holiday is just plain stupid - it won't impact consumers that much and we need that revenue for infrastructure.
Europeans have paid $4 a gallon and more since the early 90's. Maybe the chickens have finally come home to roost and we, as Americans, just have to deal with it.
Maybe, just maybe, the current "crisis" will spure shale-oil conversion and other domestically friendly energy initiatives and alternatives that will once again make this all affordable.
Then again, that assumes intelligence and objectivity in Congress. Hahahaha.