As Texas braces for hurricane Ike to come onshore tonight, the rest of the country braces for the effect it will have on gas prices. There hundreds of oil platforms in the gulf near the Texas shore and a large portion of the nations refineries are in Texas. Many of those have already shut down in preparation of the storm. Depending on the amount of damage from the hurricane, they could be shut down for days or weeks. What does that mean to you and me?
A funny caption for this picture might begin with "How many employees does it take to change the gas prices?" Three employees are changing the price to $3.99 per gallon at the Chevron on Hwy. 231 today. That is up nearly 50 cents in 2 days. In parts of South Carolina, the gas is already at $5.79 per gallon. The wholesale price has risen by $1 per gallon and most of that will likely be passed on to consumers. Much of that is logical and simply the result of supply and demand. Many will accuse stations of price gouging and perhaps rightly so in some cases. However, much of the problem is created by the masses. Every time this happens (and it is not unusual), pleas go out to conserve gasoline by curtailing trips and carpooling--at least for a few days until the storm passes and repairs are made. Every time the reaction is the same. Conservation and concern for community? Hardly. E-mails fire in every direction warning of sharp rises in gas prices and advising people to "fill up as soon as possible". Then everybody does. They fill up not just one vehicle, but as many as they own. There, that should take care of us for a few days, right? Nope, they come back with 5 gallon gas cans and fill them-4, 5, or 6 gas cans. Naturally, this depletes the reserves and stations begin to run out. If we could just learn to have a little patience and be a little less selfish, the result of the storm would not be nearly as severe.