One of the local news stations ran an expose on local gas prices, which fluctuate wildly compared to most of the rest of the nation. It’s not uncommon now for prices to jump by 15-20 cents in a day and then slowly drop over the next week. While gas price trends are similar to most of the US, the graph of price changes is a lot more jagged & jumpy versus the smoother curves seen elsewhere.
The apparent reason? The Twin Cities area is one of the metro regions lucky enough to be dominated by the Marathon/Speedway/Super America chains. They have enough market presence that they set the gas prices for most of the metro and appear to have a business strategy of jacking prices way up right before high-demand weekends (holidays, fishing opener, etc.) to increase their profit margins on gasoline from around $.01 per gallon to $.15 or $.20. But that’s not price gouging of course… If you watch the video, you’ll get to see where SA management refused to comment live, but claimed that their gas pricing strategy was ‘business confidential.’
I’m also reading that there are more and more energy experts and industry insiders telling us that Americans’ huge consumption of gasoline is the reason for higher gas prices, and that we need to drive less if we want prices to go down. So much for the “there’s plenty of oil out there; you just have to let us go get it” talking points.
Interestingly enough, prices around here surged to $3.39/gallon last weekend but are now down to around $3.15, which makes little sense since this is Memorial Day weekend, when Minnesotans traditionally start heading north in droves every weekend to get to the cabin. Perhaps the Super America folks are trying to save face after more or less being exposed as price manipulators on the local news?
Enjoy your long weekend. I’ll be spending most of mine on the couch recovering from my first days back at work. The level of work is OK, but crutching around the office has been most effective in telling me how little upper-body strength I’ve retained since college. My triceps and chest muscles are telling me in no uncertain terms that I suck. 🙂