Sunday night it rained. I mean it poured. I mean it drenched. I mean it roared. At 0230 hours EDT. With a hailstorm of hail.
One of the things that's funny about this is that we got a new roof last summer. And the remarkable thing about the architectural shingles and the new layer put beneath them is how quiet the roof is. Can't hear the rain, except when you're near a window -- or sleeping next to a wall which is being pounded.
Half an hour later and all is quiet, though the distant lightning continued on for a while. And the peepers are back out again. Must be spring. (grin)
We knew the storms were coming. Back on Friday the first front was going through in the afternoon and on my drive home I saw something I hadn't seen before. Twice. Coming north out of Kalamazoo on US-131, I saw a swirl of leaves come across the highway. This far from any trees. And then the Blazer got hit with a hard gust of wind and rocked violently from side-to-side at 70 mph. Huh. Then on the M-6 freeway heading west about 30 minutes later, I saw a flurry of leaves rushing over to the roadway and I anticipated the hard gust. The Blazer and the SUV passing me on my left both moved to the left a few inches. Very odd.
"Aye, A Storm Be Comin'. T'won't Be Pretty.
A year ago I noted that "they" were predicting that gas would soar above $4/gallon by Memorial Day 2010. And I was annoyed by the wag who suggested that gas would be $5/gallon for the 4th of July -- saying crap like that aloud is (a) tantamount to giving license to the bastards to do it and (b) really is only about the ego wanting to be the first one to say/predict a record new high U.S. price per gallon. Alas, at least for the greedy, graspy oil companies, BP had its little accident in the Gulf of Mexico and between a sudden reduction in industry and a terrible PR problem, the big hikes didn't happen.
Which given the fragile and slow recovery, was quite a blessing.
Sunday gas prices leaped by 30 cents a gallon. For over a month, gas has been ping-ponging on either side of about $3.50/gallon for regular. Now everyone is jumped up to $3.89.9/gal or more. Not only are "they" talking about over $4/gallon for the summer, you can tell that "they" can taste it. I bought some gas at the Shell in Wayland on Monday afternoon -- regular was $3.89.9 and mid-grade was $3.99.9/gal. But premium was $4.11.9/gal -- a 12¢ differential instead of their usual 10¢/gal. Yeah, we'll be celebrating Easter with four buck gas.
And Memorial Day? Ouch. All because the oil speculators are having their fun over Libya and Japan, etc. The only fly in the ointment I can see is that I also heard a report that gas consumption was down something like 10% in March -- and that was before the latest price jump. So there is a chance that $4.50/gal gas won't be sustainable for long.
As For Me
The only good thing about high gas prices over the summer is that I only teach one 7½ session during the summer, and only drive in four days a week, not five. The last time gas surged above $4/gal, just before Memorial Day 2008, I adopted a rule of driving 65mph on the freeways, instead of 70mph, to eke out a better fuel mileage. And I noticed a lot of people doing the same.
Actually in 2008 I noticed the truckers slowing down first, and I've been noticing that trend the last few weeks this year, too.
You know, if higher gas prices actually did something for the future, it wouldn't be so bad. But Q2/Q3 2011 are going to see the oil company revenues actually outpace the bastard big bankers. Yeah, I'm really so-oooo happy about making oil companies richer.