Melanie's and my car gets approximately 200 miles per tank of gas. The last time we filled up our gas tank, it was over $40. Luckily, we only have to fill up the tank about once every three weeks. Still, it's a sobering thought to realize it's costing us $.20 per mile to drive. I remember filling up for $15, and though I am young, I needn't even go back as far as my high school days to have such memories. With the same mileage I am getting now, a $15 fill-up would have been equivalent to paying just seven-and-a-half cents per mile driven. Wow.
My library is located 2.5 miles from my home. That means it costs me a buck to drive to my library and back. In contrast, the late fee on overdue books is $.15 per day. Hence, if ever I have plans to visit an establishment that is located near the library (e.g. Wal-Mart) within six days of a book being due, it is in my best interest not to return the book on time, but to wait until I am going to that nearby establishment and to return the book as part of the same outing. Even if I wait the maximum six days, I will have saved myself ten cents by being delinquent in my return of the book than I would have spent returning the book on its proper due date. The more books that are due, the less leeway I will have, but under typical circumstances, procrastination stands a good chance of being a financially viable option.
Sad news for libraries, eh? It seems a $.15 fine will no longer be adequate for encouraging those of us who live more than a couple of blocks from our library to be responsible patrons. It may even result in people frequenting the library less and less often, and before you know it, literacy rates will be plummeting. All because of the price of oil. Crude, indeed.