Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sounding Off

Well, here we go. Hurricane Ike was poised to hit the Texas coast with nasty force, but its so called effects were already swirling around the gas station community hours before the storm had any major impact on the market. I am not belittling the force, vengeance, or threat of Hurricane Ike -- sure am glad I'm not in that part of the country right now. However, as I looked out from the store at the gas station in the parking lot, you'd have thought they were giving something away. Then I headed for home -- the first other station I passed had jumped their price a dime this evening -- not unheard of I guess in these uncertain times. I drove on toward home, gambling that I might still get a decent price for a fill up in preparation for the weekend. When I got off the freeway, the signs were reading 3.91 (right where they were when I went speeding by -- another subject -- last night. I pulled in and was pleasantly greeted by the pump price of 3.89. I filled up and headed out. The next two stations I passed had signs with prices of 4.59 and 4.49 respectively. I heard rumors of some neighboring communities with gas in excess of 5 dollars per gallon. Now -- they are going to attribute this huge jump in price to the Hurricane. I grant you that the oil refineries will be lucky if they survive the storm. BUT -- the gas that is in the tanks at the stations today is not impacted by storm damage that has not even occurred as yet! I can only attribute the premature jump to two possible motives -- fear and greed. Some stations may fear that they won't be able to get gas next week, so they are going to try to cover potential future losses. Others, I believe, see the opportunity to gouge (Yes, I said it) the communities in which they function and hike the price for gas that they already have purchased for a lower price to new record prices. My guess is that if the motive is gree, then we can see those stations hike their prices even higher next week because "our costs took a big jump." I wish that I could convince my employer to pay me based on what my rent and utilities might be next month. I will remember the stations that are holding the line on prices for the moment and will likely give them my future business. No doubt by tomorrow or Monday at the latest even these stations will jump to new record prices, but they will do it based on what they are paying for new gas, not on what they paid for their gas on hand. The whole issue of oil and gas prices is a major issue, and I pray that we can elect some leaders who have the guts (I would have said "balls" but that might be seen as sexist) to develop a comprehensive plan and to regulate pricing. I know who I am voting for and it is NOT more of the same old song and dance -- and that not a very entertaining song and dance. I do not approve of price gouging -- come on station owners, stop practicing economic voodoo and behave responsibly. I guess I've said my piece. What's your take on the situation?

1 comment:

Lemuel said...

My take is very similar to yours. When you've got (a) friend(s) in power whose pockets you continually line, you are permitted to do anything you want. It is long overdue that someone grow a set (I am sexist) and slap some limits AND profiteering fines on the gougers.