For over a week, gas prices teased us by staying between $3.91.9/gal and $3.99.9/gal for regular gas in West Michigan. Speculation was rampant as to whether all grades would be above $4/gallon for Memorial Day or if it could possibly hold off until the Fourth of July. Dream on. The moment someone in February mentioned $4/gallon gasoline it was inevitable for the Memorial Day weekend. After all, tourism and travel are central both to the Michigan economy and a reason why people live here and put up with both the shitty economy and winter weather. Gas prices broke through the $2 and $3 barriers in each of the past Mays of '04 and '06 respectively, so why should May 2008 be any different? Why wouldn't the evil oil companies continue their joyless plot to wreak havoc on Michigan's economy? (sour grin)
Friday, just before the Memorial Day weekend, would of course be the jump day. And why go for a modest increase? After all, the local companies have been trying to keep the prices down, but now they have to pay for that largesse -- so prices went from $3.99.9 to $4.19.9/gal for regular throughout West Michigan. At around 3:15pm, the Shell station in Kalamazoo I drive past hadn't yet jumped, so I got twelve gallons, but every station north of there was at the higher price. We reluctantly welcome our new Four Dollar Plus Overlord Masters.
Experimental Results Tainted
My great experiment in driving at 65mph instead of 70mph on the freeways is continuing, but I haven't bothered running the numbers yet. On Wednesday I stopped at the Mobil station at M-45 and US-31 on my way to Staples in Holland MI. I am getting fed up with that gas station, which keeps on having serious glitches at the pumps. On this occasion, the shut-off valve failed to work, so gasoline came pouring out of the filler pipe, and the heavy wind blew it down across the body and towards where the driver's door stood open. I smelled gas fumes for days.
So not only was the tank overfilled, messing with the fuel used on both the previous tank's calculation and the next tank's calculation, plus fuel spilled on the pavement which wasn't doing anyone a damned bit of good, but the next tank's calculations will also be off. The current tank I'm working on will include the holiday weekend, whose driving is very different than the usual every-two-days of my commuting.
The Evil Oil Companies, of course, were completely at a loss to see why anyone would put a correlation between insanely high record multi-billion dollar profits per quarter with record high gasoline prices, instead blaming $4/gallon gas on their inability to damage the environment in ANWAR. Clearly the suits did a fine job of convincing both the House and Senate oversight committees and I've bought their story hook, link and sinker.
Recalculating the commuting spreadsheet and seeing exactly where it no longer makes economic sense for my own insanity of driving to Kalamazoo every day for a part-time job.