Now, maybe I've forgotten my gazintas over the years, but a couple things seem a tad odd. Let's ballpark a few things -- gas in Thomasville is currently about $3.97, so let's say $4.00 even just to simplify the math. A Silverado gets roughly 16 mpg; this particular model has a 26-34 gallon tank, but let's say Cooter has one-a them 20-galloners, so $80 a fillup as he claims, and roughly 320 miles per tank.
So basically we're looking at a 72-year-old guy in Buttfuck, Alabama who has to fill up twice a week to drive over 90 miles every single day on average, for some bizarre reason. And this $600/month he spends equals 10% of his income as a retired lumber-mill worker. Yes, a retired lumber-mill worker in Alabama is pulling down $72K a year, and spending that time doing nothing but driving. Right. That is one sweet-ass pension, especially in one of the most chronically poor states.
Either this old fart is growing and/or muling large quantities of dope and/or migrant workers to supplement his pension, or someone didn't bother to wonder about those crazy-ass ballpark numbers. Even if the numbers turned out to be accurate, they don't seem to be typical or average in any way. I mean shit, Herman, maybe hang out around the house and read a book once in a while. That's why it's called retirement.
Oh, and as for the main point of the article, this local incremental boost from the townies staying home 'cause of gas prices seems anecdotal and temporary. As long as people in rural towns have to commute elsewhere to get a living wage, and look out-of-town for basic stores and services, the greater part of their discretionary income is leaving town, and the tax base remains dispersed.