Friday, September 23, 2005

I'm Going to Get Very, Very Angry...

Gasoline has crept up again from $2.59 to $2.89, and Rita hasn't even made landfall in Texas yet.

For those of you playing along at home, that's 30 cents in about 3 days. Over nothing.

Don't tell me about futures, don't tell me about possible reduced refinery capacity, don't tell me about slow repairs on existing refineries that were damaged during Katrina.

It is gouging by gasoline companies, slowly and surely, and there's nothing we can do about it. And some people say gas could go up to $5.00/gal in the next few days, after the 'cane hits the coast and maybe nudges the refineries around a bit.

I wish I had access to three concurrent sets of data: 1) A list of all hurricanes to hit the US Coast in the last, say, 10 years, their categories and their damage results, and 2) a general map of where all those on-shore and off-shore refineries are along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and 3) a graph of the price of gasoline over those time periods immediately preceding and following hurricane strikes. Also I'd need to take into account proportional oil price increases, if they happened during those times.

I've been buying gasoline for over 20 years, and I seriously don't recall until Katrina seeing gas prices take such huge hikes (10-25 cents/day) after a hurricane. Can anyone provide concrete evidence where gas has jumped significantly before Katrina?

And if not, are we supposed to suddenly accept that two hurricanes in a row, even if they strike that same general region, could produce such a shortage or disruption in distribution?

And if the answers to all these questions are still suspicious, I don't have any idea what we can do about it.

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