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Of what need is comedy if there is beer?
-- Head Freezin' Gene

Cheap Gas for Everyone

by Baron Earl

2004-06-16 21:51:00

Tired of bitching about high gas prices and want to do something about them instead? Here's a sure-fire way that your direct action can bring prices at the pump down.

We've all seen net flotsam e-mail forwarded to us by "friends" declaring another "solution" to high gas prices. No, I'm not going to tell you to stop buying gas from company X and company Y. No, I'm not going to try to start a national "don't buy gas on July 4th" movement. And no, I'm not hawking a 200 mile-per-gallon carburetor or the Nazi's secret formula for synthetic gasoline. This solution is based on solid free-market economic principles, it's amazingly simple, and with your participation gas prices will come down. Way down.

It takes months for a barrel of crude oil to make its way across the ocean, get refined, and end up in the tank of your car. But somehow some oil workers get shot in Saudi Arabia and THE NEXT FUCKING DAY THE PRICE AT THE PUMP GOES UP. Why is that? Eventually the price per barrel of oil drops back down to half the inflated price, BUT THE PRICE AT THE PUMP TAKES SIX MONTHS OR MORE TO DROP DOWN TO THE OLD PRICE, IF IT EVER DOES. Why is that?

The answer is simple: YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED. Gas stations jack up prices because they can. Consumers know that there's some relationship between the price of crude and the price of gas, so gas stations jack up the price as soon as there's any possible justification for doing so.

However, gas stations can only jack up prices when consumers are "price insensitive". That is, when convienence, force of habit, marketing, or some other bullshit happens that lulls you into buying gas at a more expensive station when a less expensive station is just a block away or across the street.

How many times have you bought gas at a station because it was the most convienent place to buy gas? Or because they had a mini-mart and you wanted a soda? Or because you bought into the marketing hype and decided that your car needs a gas with Techroline added to it, whatever the hell THAT is?

You may think "Why should I buy gas from a cheaper station if it's only 5 cents a gallon cheaper and not as convienent?" If that describes your shoddy thinking my friend, THEN YOU ARE A PART OF THE PROBLEM. If you want to be PART OF THE SOLUTION, keep reading, because the answer to lower gas prices is incredibly simple.

The solution is called "shop around". It works like this:

  • The next time you need to buy gas, drive past three different gas stations.
  • Check the price for a gallon of gas at each station.
  • Go to the cheapest station and buy gas there. If you have to wait in line, wait in line.
  • The next time you buy gas, do this again.
  • Tell all of your friends to do this as well. This method only works if enough people do it.
  • If you think it will help convince your friends to participate, you can cut and paste this article into an e-mail message and send it to ten people you know. Be sure to tell them to send it to ten people they know.
  • Once enough people are shopping around, the expensive stations will drop their prices. If they become the lowest priced gas, buy from them.

With your efforts, we'll all have lower gas prices.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

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