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The Price of Gasoline

First, let me say that my heart goes out to the unfortunate victims of hurricane Katrina. I can not imagine the loss of family, friends, and home on that scale. A gasoline shortage is a small inconvenience when compared to their plight.
But this isn’t about a recent jump in gasoline prices. It’s about the trend that these companies have been setting for years. Allow me to explain:
Monday, the gas truck comes to Joe’s Gas Station and fills the resevoir. Joe pays the gas truck man and set his price at $2.00 a gallon based on that price.
Tuesday, there is a rumor of a gasoline shortage because some guy in some Arab nation said something mean. Joe marks his price up to $2.10 per gallon, even though the gasoline in his tanks has already been paid for.
Friday, it turns out that there was smaller shortage in gasoline than expected, so Joe marks his price down to $2.06 per gallon. When asked, he will say that the price is still inflated above the $2.00 he set on Monday because the price of gasoline went up.
The point is that gasoline is not a stock. Just because the price goes up on Wall Street doesn’t mean that gasoline you’ve already paid for goes up. I’m sure an economist will blather on about the law of supply and demand, but I’m going to retort with the law of Common Sense. Joe paid a flat rate for a tank full of gas. He should sell that entire tank of gas based on that price. If his next tank costs more, then I see no problem with him upping his price to cover that.
The worst thing about it is that there’s nothing to be done. These greedy bastards will continue to up their prices because we can’t live without gasoline. (At least not here in Columbia, where the mass transmit system is such a disgrace that low-income individuals would rather walk.) So I’m just going to sit here and bitch about it, because that what blogs are for, right?

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