Like I suppose the rest of you who drive have been doing, I have been drawing some modest satisfaction from the recent dip in gasoline prices. While the lowest price in my neighborhood was 3.70 per gallon, still a dime higher than when I first blogged about the rise in gasoline prices back in April, it was still a welcome relief from the 4.30 plus per gallon I was shelling out during the better part of the last three or four months.
Imagine my shock then when I was riding my bicycle to my mom's this evening and I saw the price of regular unleaded at the Exxon at the corner of South Oyster Bay Road and Old Country Road had shot up to 4.10 a gallon, after having been as low as 3.70 just a couple of days ago.
"WTF?" I thought to myself. What was really weird about it though is that the Hess station right across the street from the Exxon station was charging 3.74 for a gallon of regular unleaded, the same as the BP station up the road at the corner of South Oyster Bay Road and Woodbury Road. I can't imagine that there were many people who opted to fill up their tanks at the Exxon station.
I surmised that the price increase might be due to the Hurricane Ike, which recently hit the Texas coast, along with the after effects of Hurricane Gustav. Sure enough, I found confirmation from this article in Newsday, which reported that:
Some big refineries along the Gulf Coast had been shut for nearly two weeks following Hurricane Gustav.
Power outages caused by Ike threatened to keep millions of gallons of gasoline output idled for at least several days.
I feel bad for motorists who have to drive long distances to go to work or tend to ill family members and such. After getting a little bit of relief in their wallets, it would be a shame to see the recent trend in declining gasoline prices come to an end. If it is a temporary spike, I hope to be able to ride it out, as I drove a lot less this past week and still have over three quarters of a tank in my car. The price spike might also serve as a dash of cold water in the faces of those who started getting complacent in their fuel conservation efforts in the wake of the recent price decline.