Monthly Archives: August 2014

No wonder gas is so expensive…

OK, so this is apropos of not much, but here are a few interesting facts. ExxonMobil recently announced its 2013 earnings, reaching $32 billion on sales of $438 billion, or 7.4%. Admittedly, a 7.4% rate of return is pretty good (although not stunning–it’s a little better than I do on my 401(k)). So, is that why gasoline is so expensive? Because ExxonMobil (among others) is making a lot of money every time I buy a gallon of gas? As it turns out, no.

The same post points out that ExxonMobil’s profits work out to about 5.5 cents for every gallon of gasoline it produces, transports, and sells. That’s a lot of work to earn 5.5 cents. So we could whack ExxonMobil’s profits entirely and save 5.5 cents on a gallon. Whoopdeedoo. But someone is making money on that gallon. I wonder who it could be. This map explains it.


Gas taxes per gallon. More information is available here.

So … every time I buy a gallon of gas, ExxonMobil makes 5.5 cents, the federal government makes 18.4 cents, and the State of Georgia makes over 28 cents. That makes the burden here in Georgia almost 49 cents/gallon. Maybe I’m lucky, though. It’s over 70 cents/gallon in California. Think about that when you’re pumping 80 gallons of gas into a motorhome that gets 7.5 mpg.

I guess that means you can add me to the list of people who are hopping mad about gouging at the pump!

15-18 August 2014: Back to Mountain Falls RV Resort

So, August in Atlanta is normally a lot like sitting in a sauna, so we have made it our practice over the years to get a few days respite by traveling up to the mountains of North Carolina. For many years, that meant a small dumpy hotel in Cashiers, and lately it means taking Ace to the Mountain Falls RV Resort. As described in a previous post, Mountain Falls is an unbelievably luxurious, upscale “RV resort” (even their website says, “Don’t call us an RV park”) where the lots go for, no kidding, $130,000 (for resales in the “lower” area) to $250,000 for the lots under construction up on “The Ridge.” That works out to $7+ million per acre. Slightly out of our price range. The owners next to us (he’s retired Navy) have a lot at Mountain Falls, where they spend 5 months, and another lot in Deland, FL, where they spend the rest of year.

This year’s trip, we did something new … we headed off to Gorges State Park for a half-day of hiking and waterfall viewing.

20140816 IMG_0996 (Custom)Wow. I read that the park should be called “Gorgeous State Park,” and I’ll second the suggestion. Getting over 90 inches of rain per year, with an elevation gain of 2000 feet in only 4 miles, the Horsepasture River presents one waterfall after another, culminating in Rainbow Falls.
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It’s impossible to do justice to a waterfall with an amateur still photo, but even in this meager depiction, perhaps one can sense the beauty of this area. Or perhaps this more accurately captures my impression:
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The area was fairly crowded, although not unpleasantly so, including a fair contingent of college-age young people. It’s said that for everything that exists: (1) if it moves, someone will figure out a way to race it, and (2) if it doesn’t move, someone will figure out a way to jump off of it. So, not surprisingly, waterfall jumping appears to be an important objective for the younger contingent.

The next day we drove up and toured the Blue Ridge Parkway, including a hike to the top of of Devil’s Courthouse.
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Well, 3 of us hiked. Sally the Wonder Dachshund got a ride.
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The weather over the entire trip was just as we expected: mid- to upper-70s each day, beautiful Carolina Blue skies with billowy white clouds, and a gentle breeze. We’re already looking forward to next year’s trip.