Hurricane Ike blew through and I noticed the blatant price gouging immediately on the evening of the 12th. That afternoon, I was enjoying gas (petrol - hereafter referred to as gas) at $3.499 per U.S. Gallon. I came home that night and stopped at a station and took this picture:
So the price had jumped $0.80 in a matter of hours. But still there was no shortage. Its been pretty much the same since this whole thing blew up sometime in 2005. Lies, counter-lies and misinformation. We see the price of oil jump to an incredible and record-breaking amount and then fall almost as quickly. It appears as if one of the driving factors for this is conflict in Iraq (both in 1991 and in 2003-present):
While the rest of the country including California was enjoying a decrease in gas prices due to oil going down to $100 a barrel, we here in the mid south were getting the highest prices in the country. Reports of $5 per gallon were not uncommon. I frequented nashvillegasprices.com for updates and insight. I see across the board how cities in this area have a spike after Ike and cities in Missouri and Texas have no such spike as demonstrated in the below graph comparison of Nashville and Austin:
I see recently people in Laredo enjoying gas at $2.959:
So as luck would have it -I thought the Ike gouging would be over with and we could all get back to our lives with the price bumpy- but ever increasing. I can deal with that. I realize that gas is never going to get below $2 a gallon again and I accept this. I just went about my normal business on Thursday (18th) and then by Friday (19th) I was down to a 1/4 of a tank. I thought nothing was amiss as I walked to lunch. I figured I would fill up on the way home or that afternoon. With the power of hindsight, I now see that this was a very stupid mistake. Here it was 5 PM and I was going to be stranded. I realized that afternoon that there was no gas anywhere and the stations that did have gas were going to run out very quickly with lines of cars hundreds deep - the line extending on to the interstate. It took my boss - to drive home get the 1.5 gallons out of his gas can for his lawnmower and pour it into my truck's tank for me to get home. I drove 50-55mph on the interstate with my emergency flashers and no air con but I made it.
Then CNN wrongly reported it was because of people hoarding due to a rumor. The local news outlets followed suit. Finally admitting Monday that there actually was a shortage. I don't buy any of this crap that there was a rumor. No one seems to be able to come up with any source of this rumor. Here's how I think it went down:
- Some stations started running dry. Those stations that had gas even limiting sales to $10, $20, $25.
- Less supply = more demand. The lines grew longer.
The house of cards collapsed. It just shows how dependent we are on this petroleum. Made from dead dinosaurs and plants. America's heroin. Oil. We live every day and the cogs of industry and society survive by hanging on a single thread. We can see what happens when that thread breaks. Chaos and anarchy on an apocalyptic scale. This begs the question. When this happened in the 1970's, Why didn't we look at alternatives THEN?!?! Why are we only just now, in 2008 coming out with cars like the Chevy Volt? Why do we still sell brand new cars that get 7 mpg? What year do we live in? Why are we still pouring petroleum based fuels into our vehicles in the year 2008? A fuel that took millions of years to come into existence. A fuel where 2/3 or more is wasted in heat and only 1/3 is actually used to chuck the car down the road. We have cars that can run on air. We need to find out Who killed the electric car, try them and make them bust rocks for the rest of their lives. We need to ask questions like "Why do these bastards make RECORD PROFITS and still try and downplay their right to print money.
Here's an idea. STOP giving these crooks tax breaks! Is McCain going to do this? No.