Monday, March 15, 2010

$3 a Gallon - Here It Comes....

This weekend, gas prices in the Madison area ranged from about $2.62 a gallon to $2.79 a gallon. The high price was at a gas station a few blocks from my daughter’s apartment in McFarland. The low price was at the CP mart on East Washington Ave, according to

I filled the tank of my giant gas-sucking foreign-made SUV at a PDQ in Fitchburg last Wednesday and paid $2.77 a gallon. At $2.77 a gallon, it costs me about 50 bucks to fill up, if I run it down to “E”. This time they only got about 40 bucks out of me.

And why is the price of gas going up again? Because it’s springtime. Not because demand is up – no, indeed. Demand is about the same as it was a year ago. Not because there’s tight supply – we have plenty of gas. Because the refiners tell us it’s time to switch to the “more costly” springtime blends of gasoline.

Dang it! Spring just snuck up on us again, and we have to switch over to those “more costly” blends.

Does that mean the winter blends are “less costly”, and come next December, we’ll see gas prices drop because the refiners are switching to the winter blends?

You know the answer to that question.

Gas prices have gone up about a dime a gallon in the last month, and the reasons the refiners give are the changeover to the “more costly” springtime blends, and a rise in the price of crude oil, which is now at its highest level in 2010. Over the weekend it was $83.95 a barrel.

They want us to believe that the cost of a gallon of gas in Madison is somehow tied to the price of crude oil, but we’ve been down that path before, and we know it ends in a circle.

Gas will be three bucks a gallon in a few weeks because we’ll pay it, and big oil knows we will. We don’t cut down our driving until it hits four bucks a gallon, a fact demonstrated clearly in recent years.

So they might as well just shove it up to three bucks a gallon and leave it there ‘till Memorial Day, when they traditionally jack the prices up again.

At least this year, a pal of mine who owns a Prius won’t laugh at me for driving a gas-hog. My vehicle weighs 4916 pounds; his weighs 2765. I get about 16 mpg; he gets around 45, he tells me.

But any time I want to stop or slow down, I can. And the only time my gas-hog goes faster is when I want it to.

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