Highway Robbery!

Highway RobberIt is now official… air is no longer free in the town where I live! I used to have a gas station in town where I would fill up the tires on my car if they ever got soft.  I knew there were those annoying ‘charity’ air filling pumps but I was of the opinion, ‘You cannot buy or sell the air.’  Slowly but surely there were fewer and fewer places for me to go and for a while now I had one choice… until this week.

Now I am stuck.  I drove there tonight and discovered first that they are now charging money for air. Secondly, they are charging 50 cents!  In Quarters Only!!  I was outraged! Now to fill up your tires with air (which I remind you is everywhere) you need to have exact change too!  Well that does it.  I am now properly motivated to start a campaign against this outrageous example of opportunistic highway robbery.

For starters, no one should be able to charge for air.  We are surrounded by it!  You don’t need to truck it in or anything!  And for those who say that the compressor uses electricity and somebody needs to pay for that I would say this:

  • The power use of a compressor like that would peak at less than 15 amps.  For the sake of arguement let’s say that it ran at 15 amps constantly (which it surely doesn’t)  That would mean it would use 1.5 KW of power.  At that rate, at current utility prices (6.7 cents per KW) 50 cents should last you almost 7 1/2 hours!
  • The kicker of course is that the gas station, not the air pump company is paying for the power anyway.

Secondly, calling this a ‘charity’ is a crock.  From the company website I read tonight that:

… a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 20% of all revenues generated by each air pump.  It is important to note that the Service Station Operator or Oil Company Location which is participating in the program does not receive any revenue generated by the air pump. 

So what you’re saying is that between 80% and 90% of the revenue that comes to these machines goes back into the company’s hands?  A charity that only distributes 20% of it’s revenue is pathetic by charitable standards.

Thirdly, if they would lose the ‘charity’ charade I would probably begrudgingly use the dumb things and just consider it the cost of running a vehicle; except that the units are in such poor repair you can almost never find one working!  My first attempt tonight was thwarted by an ‘out of order’ sign.  When I found one that ‘worked’ I found that the pressure gauge was useless.  I happened to have an air chuck in my car and was further annoyed to learn tonight that the gauge on the pump is complete useless.  It’s readings bear no resemblance to reality in any way.

O.K. I feel a bit better now.  I will keep you posted on my campaign but this has reminded me of something else I read recently…

An employer was recently ranting (imagine that) that they were going to disconnect internet use at this particular office because it was being used nearly exclusively for personal purposes.  The employer argued that they owned their employee’s time while they were at work and deserved therefore to be able to direct that time toward productive purposes.  Which begs the question…

Who owns your time?

 We believe that time is money. We make time, find time, use time, save time, leverage time, kill time, waste time, bide time, burn time etc.

People have not always perceived time in such peculiar ways. In Europe throughout the Middle Ages the very notion of a secular time, of owning and dividing it into measured units, was considered sacrilegious. The developing merchant class of that day was criticized for “mortgaging’ time which was supposed to be eternal and belonging to God alone. In the 14th century a lector-general of the Franciscan order remarked:

“To the question: Is a merchant entitled to demand a greater payment from one who cannot settle his account immediately than from one who can? No, because in doing so he would be selling time and would be committing usury by selling what does not belong to him.’


Time Belongs to God. He made all of it. It belongs to Him. In the same way he has left us as a steward of the skills we have, of the money we hold, he has made us a steward of the time we are given.

The creation account is full of references to God’s dominion over time:

  • On day one God created time. “God called the light day and the darkness night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day (Gen 1: 5)

  • On day four the very existence of celestial bodies as they exist is to reinforce the passing of time. “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,’” (Gen. 1: 14)

The amazing thing is that although some of us are blessed with many talents, and some with few; some are blessed with much wealth, and some with little; God saw fit to bless us all with the same amount of time!  168 hrs; not a moment more, not a moment less.

 Consider today how you can use some of this precious resource to His glory!  After all, it’s all His anyway!




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