I had an interesting experience today while bicycling home from the library, where I had checked out two books and two movies.
I pulled up to an intersection to wait my turn through the stop light and noticed a medium size SUV (read: HUGE!) pull up to the gas station on the corner. A woman got out (hopped down) from the vehicle and inserted her credit card in the gas pump, then pulled it out and put it away. She then proceeded to fill the tank on her tank … er … car, uh, whatever it was, with gasoline. When the pump clicked off, she put the nozzle away, climbed back up into the drivers seat and drove away. (There was undoubtedly a cell phone conversation or two in the process, as well.)
It occurred to me, as I pedaled down the street toward home, that she had not paid any attention to how much it cost to fill the tank of her vehicle with gas! She just used her credit card when the little stick pointed toward "E," just as she always has. She will pay the minimum payment on her credit card bill, just as she always has, and she will never know how much the price of gas has gone up. Since she uses plastic, she never has to "pay" for anything at the source of purchase, so has no incentive to pay attention to how much things cost.
Multiply this by bazillions of Americans making bazillions of purchases, and you get some idea of why people in this country have no idea that they're consuming themselves, and the planet, to death!