Friday, September 23, 2005

Gas Goes To $12.75 A Litre, Western Civilization Collapses ... Story At 11!

Yesterday was an interesting day. Apparently, some gas station owner "accidentally" posted a price above $2 a litre (more like opportunistic gouging) in advance of Rita's landfall in Texas. People freaked out, as a result of rumours spreading that gas was headed to $1.70, $1.80, $2.05, $2.12, even more then $3.00 a litre across Canada. Other gas stations didn't help matters, raising their prices to $1.79 in some places in Ontario, which falsely validated the mass hysteria. 70's style gas lines sprung up everywhere, especially here in NS, where we bear the highest gasoline prices in the country already!

Now I knew price hikes were coming after Rita shut down the refineries. Expecting gas to go to around $1.50 by next week, I filled my car three days ago (after going to the movies twice this week by tomorrow night, I'll be filling up again, hopefully it won't be too high). What happened yesterday was not justified by the spot price for wholesale gasoline, which only rose 4 cents to 62.5 cents per litre (Source). It was the double menace of spreading unsubstantiated rumours and exploiting the fears of the public via price gouging by greedy retailers (most of them struggle to make a profit on gas though, so don't blame this on all retailers, just the gougers) that drove yesterday's craziness.

Moral of this story: Don't repeat a claim you can't independently verify, and don't prey on people's fears, especially when it involves a product so vital to everyday life.


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