Snakes and Stones

I originally wrote the entire post on my phone, but the mobile version of Blogger failed me--I clicked "publish" and nothing happened. Oh well, I guess I'll just rewrite it again.

Why would I attempt blogging on a phone? Well, I was stuck in the airport when my flight got delayed due to bad weather, so I decided to read the news. Aptly enough, the New York Times had an article on how some airlines have jacked up ticket prices by as much as $60 for a round-trip, citing fuel costs. And it so happens that someone had asked me earlier if my plane tickets have gotten more expensive, though I have no idea because I didn't book them.

Is the fuel cost rationalization as slippery as snake oil, or is fossilized flora and fauna really that expensive now? I'm inclined to think it's more of the latter, with perhaps a trickle of the former. The prices at the pumps is probably a good barometer. Those prices have risen at an alarming rate literally overnight. The only places I know of that has gas for under $4 are those that take cash (the savings result from avoiding the credit card terminal transaction fee). When I was in Sacramento, my tank was almost empty, so I went to an Arco that had gas at $3.91 per gallon. That price, of course, was the cash price. I had little of the greenbacks on me, so I only took in a couple of gallons to last until I can get some cash. The very next day, I came back to the same station with more cash, only to find the price is now at $4.01. In better times, it took a while for gas to go up by a dime; now it occurs faster than the blink of an eye. Did the station suddenly realize that it was underpriced, or did it take advantage of what everyone else is doing and acted accordingly, or did the wholesale price of oil really jump that quickly? Given how small of a profit margin gas sales has always been, and how uniform the gas prices are at all of the known "cheap" stations in town, I don't think price gouging is the cause...at least not by the individual gas stations.

Frankly, I am now very concerned about the big-picture impact caused by fuel prices. I didn't feel the urgency as much before. I try to cut back on driving, but there's nothing I can do about the rising grocery prices. I've definitely curtailed the fun kind of shopping.

How do you feel about what's going on in this scary world of ours, and how do you cope?

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