Because I grew up in an Old World household where I routinely absorbed tales of the privation my ancestors suffered—the five-mile uphill walk to school, laundry lists of all the things I had as a kid that my elders had to slaughter a herd of sheep to even feel OK dreaming about—I tend to have a relatively un-American attitude toward a dollar. Which is to say, I can be a cheapskate at times. So, yes, I know I’m about to grouse about a dollar.

Last Thursday I took a cab after rush hour from the Metro Center Metro station to CP‘s offices in Adams Morgan. At the end of the trip, the cabbie told me the fare was $9.80—$8.80 for crossing two zones, plus a $1 gas surcharge. I didn’t see anything posted in the cab about such a thing, and said so.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha,” said the cabbie, who then reassured me that there was indeed a gas surcharge.

I stiffed him on the tip. My ancestors could only dream of taking a cab to Adams Morgan one day.

I also dropped a line to the D.C. Taxi Commission, which today informed me that the latest gas surcharge expired weeks ago. “You are correct, the gas surcharge ended on September 19, 2007 @ 11:59 p.m.,” the anonymous respondent e-mailed me.

I thought about getting a snack from the vending machine to celebrate this small victory of fiscal rightitude, but they recently raised the prices to 80 cents.