Dinah Washington topped Billboard’s Rhythm and Blues Hot 100 in 1959 with “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Lyricist Stanley Adams’ next line is “24 little hours.”

Fast forward 62 years and, with apologies to the artist and her lyricist, I take liberties with the chart-topper: “What a difference 4,985 miles make, four little months.”

What is the difference? $20.61 for an oil change for a 2016 Grand Caravan. A mere 120 or so days ago, a 5-quart blended synthetic oil change with filter was $58.53. Last week it was $79.14.

Worse still, the first quick-change shop at which I stopped for routine maintenance had no blended ... not a drop. And the manager knew not when any would arrive.

If that isn’t rampant inflation then, with apologies this time to Roger Miller, “God didn’t make little green apples, and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.”

If, as certain learned economists are predicting, this round of inflation is but transitory, 5,000 or so miles from now, all fast change shops will have an ample supply of blended synthetic and the cost will be back to around $60. But I’m not making book on those predictions. At 78, I’ve heard such hollow promises before.


retired association executive

Baton Rouge