Editorial: We Wish We Had Gas
Seriously, this gas thing is out of control.
You’re feeling it… we’re feeling it… the whole nation is feeling it, and soon the petroleum-drenched chicken will come home to roost in the form of increased prices. On everything.
How many products do you buy that don’t make their way to you by truck?
The economists are spinning prophecies that range from $12 a gallon by 2010 to the hear-no-evil crowd who assert that things will return to normal any day now, “normal” meaning that the price will go down to $3.50 again and we should all thank our benevolent overlords for making it so.
But economists are soothsaying hucksters. Everybody knows that.
Meanwhile last week the price for a barrel of crude actually went down to $122.40, a three-week low that represents a minor glitch in a trend that began in January 2007, when light, sweet crude was less than $60 a barrel.
Those were the days, my friends.
But here’s the good news: That dip in the price of oil was a direct result of a decrease in demand.
US consumption dropped nearly 5 percent during a period that included Memorial Day weekend. Astounding, when you consider that it’s the biggest driving weekend of the year, but when taken in context it makes sense.
Regular readers of this space will know that Memorial Day weekend sees an annual spike in gas prices, because that’s when most refineries shut down for “annual maintenance,” wreaking havoc with the supply side of the equation.
And this year, we weren’t having any of it. It looks as if, after what amounts to seven years of steady increase (beginning roughly around 9-11-2001), the drivers of America have finally reached the tipping point.
And this is a great thing.
We’re parking our SUVs, or selling them off if we can find suckers to buy them. We’re taking public transportation, carpooling or riding our bikes. We’re working from home and mapping out driving routes when we run our errands, which we’ve stacked up for maximum efficiency. And when Big Oil set the price of doing business for a weekend drive to the beach or the mountains or our mamas’ houses, we simply took our ball and went home.
Good for us! And good for you, if you contributed in any way to weakening the chokehold that our dependence on oil has on us.
There’s bad news too. Of course.
While the price of that delicious light, sweet crude we love so well managed to come down a few bucks in its asking price last week, the price of gasoline at the pump actually went up, due largely to commodities futures trading and, if you believe Forbes magazine, energy subsidies employed by other countries who of a sudden have acquired a taste for our favorite liquid.
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