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                                                    Last Friday evening, some friends of mine and I took                                      took  a trip to visit another friend who lives in

                                              Waynesville.  When we left campus, I filled BBT (my    4-wheeled dinosaur) with the libation which allows it to rumble its way along the asphalt paths created for the passage of it and others of its kind.  BBT is old, but in reality is young enough to use the unleaded variety of this beverage. 

     Now this rolling glutton (it will only roll 84,480 feet on one gallon of its favorite brew) has a stomach that holds 23.9 gallons when, when indicating one quarter load, costs over $15.00 to replenish at 82.9 cents at a Sylva refeeding operation.  This brings me to the point of my current consternation.

     When we left the four-lane to commence the final phase of our sojourn to our destination, BBT and I were elated and appalled to see its favorite elixir on sale for a mere 73.9 cents per gallon!  Whoa there, friends!?!  What is this we see?  Of course, the three occupants of the dinosaur's front cushions began an immediate, animated discussion of the situation.  What was the situation?  In a nutshell, or gas tank, as the case may be, the overpricing of tea in China.  Oops - I mean the overpricing of gas in Jackson County.

     You all know how difficult it is for college students, traditional and non-traditional, self- or parent-supported, to feed the dinosaurs which inhabit WCU's fair campus.  Yet it seems to me we have become the object of a bit of a rip-off.  You could never convince me it costs 10 cents plus a gallon to bring gasoline from Waynesville to Sylva or Cullowhee, or that dealers in this area don't have the volume of sales to go with lower prices, especially at this time of year.  The population of this county increases by something over 5,000 in August.  Two-thirds of this increase own vehicles which need to be fed regularly.  So why does it cost 10 cents and more a gallon around here?  C'mon business majors, answer that one for us.  BBT and I would really like to know.

Written for my by-line column in the Western Carolina University weekly newspaper in 1986.