Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Price of Gas

I managed to get gas this morning for $2.76. My favorite gas station has always been a penny less than the gas station at the supermarket across the street, even with it's member discount card. When I passed the supermarket, it was priced at $2.79. My favorite gas station was at $2.98, up $0.53 from three days ago. I stopped to fill up, and stood at the pump for a moment, pondering. Why is this station so unusually desolate today? Is the supermarket station out of gas, like they were three days ago? Even if they are, I could go to the one down the road for $2.85, and I know they're open 'cause there's cars there. It's worth a shot. I got back in and went over to the supermarket station, and got gas for $2.79 with a $0.03 member discount for $2.76.

Three days ago, I got gas at my then-favorite gas station for $2.45.

A couple of weeks before that, I was getting gas there for $2.15.

Factors affecting the price of gas at this time are:
  • Hurricane Katrina. Refineries in Florida are shut down. There has been talk in the news of "supply disruptions." I suppose that means that delivery trucks aren't running, and oil pipelines have been shutdown.
  • King whats-his-name in Saudi Arabia died. I suppose everyone expects the new guy to turn off the oil spigot. I understand that he hasn't, that he's been the guy making all the decisions all along while the old guy was dying for a long time and nobody said anything. I also understand that the new guy has been considering turning up oil production, and that he's also saying it's the supply lines and distribution that's been making the price of gas go up so much. Anyway, I expect that it takes a bit more than a week for oil to make it's way from Saudi Arabia, through the oil tankers across the ocean, through the refineries, through the trucks and stations to my gas tank. It's just the expectation that makes the prices go up everywhere at once, simultaneously.
  • The war in Iraq. Oh boo-freakin-hoo, the Islamofascist extremists think we're stealing their oil in Iraq. I still haven't seen any sign of our soldiers seizing oil fields, operating oil pumps, pipelines, or tankers, or even having the training to know how to do such a thing if it was even their mission. They're just trying to keep the terrorist sunnis out of the faces of the honest Iraqi citizens so they can set up a new government - any government - so the oil people can get their oil production going again, and sell it at fair market prices. Iraq only produces 20% of the world oil, and the war started two years ago, which doesn't add up to the 50% increase in the price of gasoline in the last month.
  • Labor Day weekend is upon us. This is one year where I think that the traditional drivingest weekend of the year, marking the end of summer vacations, will come in as a minor blip on a hard uptrend in the price of gas.

Some personal gasoline usage facts

  • I deliver newspapers for a living. I drive two routes, for a total of 50 miles each night.
  • 20 of those miles are driving to and from the route from my house. It's exactly 10.0 miles from my house to the distribution center.
  • I have to fill my tank every three days. It cost me $30 to fill the tank now, so that's $10 a day to deliver the newspapers.
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I deliver the fewest papers: 236. At $0.10 per paper, that's $23.60 income, minus $10 in gas for a net income of $13.60 for each of those two days.
  • My vehicle, a 1988 Toyota pickup, gets 15 miles per gallon on the route.
  • On the hiway, I've gotten as much as 22 miles per gallon.
  • The truck has 230,000 miles on it. I've put a lot of money into repairs and tires and oil changes, especially since I started doing this.
  • It now costs me $4 to go into town for that social club meeting. That shall now be eliminated as being a luxery item that I can't afford!
  • My birthday is this next Monday - Labor Day. Happy Birthday to me! My parents live in Fort Collins, 62 miles away. They always invite me up for my birthday. It'll cost me $20 to drive up there and back. For my birthday, I should ask for the $20 it cost me to go up there and see them. Luxery Item!
  • A friend wants me to come visit to do some spiritual healing practice together. That's 41 miles and $16 away. Luxery Item!

Some more facts, unrelated to the price of gas, that I'd like to acknowledge

I'm really sorry that so many people down in New Orleans are having such a hard time with the hurricane, and the flooding and destruction and all. There's nothing I can do physically or financially to help out. But I'll send my prayers.

I'm also really sorry that so many people over in Iraq died in a stampede. I hear that someone shouted "suicide bomber!" on a crowded bridge or something like that. It was during an important annual shiite religious festival. Some 965 people were trampled. Again, there's nothing I can do but to send my prayers.

I can't control the weather, or the economy, or the price of gasoline, or the terrorists. I can't go to New Orleans, or Florida, or Iraq, or Washington D.C.. I can't afford to send money to all those people in need, no matter how much the people on TV hold up hungry kids, begging for donations. The best thing that I can do is to send my prayers, and put all that aside, and get on with taking care of my own affairs to the best of my ability.

If you subscribe to a newspaper with home delivery service, remember that generous tips are always greatly appreciated.

No comments: