Before I vent, I hope all of you that live in the path of Hurricane Ike, have evacuated safely, and are no longer in harms way. That you have been able to prep your homes and any other interests in the area. For those of you that chose to stay, you have my prayers as are in my prayers, this storm is huge.
Once again, us regular people are being strong armed by the Oil Companies, and the people who own Gas Stores. Ike is on it's way, threatening the Gulf Coast. The vast storm is shutting down the oil refineries that operate within the Gulf. And with this threat, price gouging has already begun.
Gas here in the Triangle area is already high. The state has a ridiculously high gas tax that is added to each gallon of gas purchased. You leave this area, go into different areas and the price drops substantially. After Hurricane Katrina hit, the Atlantic pipeline had been substantially damaged, add to it the increase in price of fuel already seen from post Katrina, this area was hit hard. We saw stations run out of fuel, record high prices, with no relief in sight.
As Ike threatens, the Gulf Coast, people in this area are panicking, long lines are forming everywhere. Gas prices went from around $3.70 this morning, to some stations charging as high as $4.79. BJ's warehouse is out of gas at the moment at one location. I drove by one station that was charging $4.77, while the station immediately next to it was charging $4.17. I drove to BJ's thinking I could get my car filled up and then get the items I need there. While en route, I passed by three stations, two right next to each other, one was charging $4.25 the other, $3.99, the one that was about 1/3 mile down the road, $4.19. The variance from station to station is absolutely amazing. Once I got to BJ's, I realized they were dry, I turned around hoping to get gas for under $4.00 a gallon. I was successful. Thankfully, I had just over a half a tank, and was merely topping off.
Can someone please tell me why it is justified to increase the price for gas when a threat as this imposes, it is not the cost that the vendor paid for the fuel, it is simply price gouging. I understand the entire supply and demand issue, but to be able to increase your price simply because of the threat of a hurricane immobilizing the pipeline is not warranted, nor justifiable. The oil companies and the local gas vendors have us consumers by the jugular, as this is something we need to make our vehicles go, to get to work, to get to the store. When is someone going to make and take a stand against these big oil giants and say enough is enough...we aren't talking millions in profits, we are talking billions.
The economy has suffered greatly over the past few years, yet these corporations still push forth and make profit after profit, quarter after quater, year after year. Everyone has been hit hard by this fuel situation, alternate fuels are not readily available, neither are the vehicles that utilize them, nor are they rather affordable.
In the past month, I switched vehicles from a 2004 Saturn VUE to a 1993 Honda Accord. There was a lady at the station where I was topping off this afternoon, filling up a huge SUV, she commented, I wish I had your car...really, than why are you driving that big thing when it's just you?
I do not have time to drive around looking for the cheapest fuel. But I also do not have money to throw away into the wind like I have a surplus. I also do not have time to sit and wait at a gas station for 45 minutes because they are the cheapest.
Remember when gas was 99 cents a gallon in the 80's? I am sure some of you remember it being even cheaper. I doubt it will ever get this low again. The bottom line, the fuel price hitting where it is now, is putting pressure on other aspects of our economy, people are losing homes, unable to pay bills, because they are putting fuel in vehicles. You may think this an extreme thought, but look at what your fuel cost was two to three years ago...what are you doing now? Look at the home foreclosure rate now compared to two to three years ago, it has increased tremendously.
I am tired of big oil getting all the breaks, this needs to end...and end NOW.