Editorial

The president does not decide price at the pump

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editoridal by the editor.

Wayland appears to be an island of stagnation in a sea of dropping gasoline prices.

Local prices at the pump have remained at $3.39.9 a gallon for about a month now, while around a lot of West Michigan is a very noticeable decrease. The cost in Martin Wednesday night was $3.11.9, in Dorr it was $3.17.9. In my travels last weekend, I saw $3.06.9 in Big Rapids, $3.07.9 in Gaylord and $2.93 in Baraga and Lake City.

Even worse, Wayland High School track and cross-country coach Ray Antel showed a photo of gas being sold in Plainwell for $2.97.

It’s almost as though gasoline companies don’t like Wayland and are picking on it.

Gas prices, ever since the infamous Arab Oil Boycott of 1973, have been watched more closely in the years since, simply because we learned back then just how much paying at the pump affects everything else we buy. And there have been times we have endured gasoline scarcity.

But through the years, we collectively have come to believe in myths and we’ve assigned blame where it doesn’t belong. The most classic example is the customer who rails against the poor gas station clerk who has nothing to do with deciding how much gas will cost per gallon.

Another bad example is to believe and suggest that the president of the United States is to blame, making him the scapegoat who somehow is deliberately rigging the system against us poor unwashed common folks.

If you think Joe Biden is causing gas prices to go up, you have a very naïve and simplistic understanding.

I acknowledge that I don’t really have a good handle on what causes prices to rise and fall at the pump. But I do remember President George W. Bush, a true friend of the fossil fuel industry, was at the helm in the summer of 2008, when I paid as much as $4.59 a gallon.

By simply paying attention and remembering incidents, I have noticed one trend that still leaves me baffled.

I swear it’s a true story several years ago when I failed to buy gas at a station just across the street from my employment as a MEAP test grader on 28th Street. That afternoon, after I got off of work, I noticed the price had jumped to $2.55 from that morning’s read of $2.29. So I carefully scoured stations along 28th Street, all of which also showed $2.55.

I turned onto the U.S.-131 expressway and headed south and noticed along the way that all stations were reporting $2.55. I had to cover a meeting later that evening in the Kalamazoo area, and again was saddled by the persistent report of $2.55 everywhere I went.

I got a phone call from my old fishing buddy that night, who told me he drove from Muskegon to Grand Rapids to take on a painting job, and noticed that every gas emporium was selling the stuff for $2.55.

So, gas prices were uniformly $2.55 from Muskegon across I-96 and all the way down 131 to Kalamazoo.

This led me to propose an amateur theory, based only on observation, that gas prices go down slowly at many different stations, but they go up very suddenly and uniformly by contrast.

 I have seen nothing since that has disproven this theory.

All I know for sure is that Joe Biden, Barack Obama and George W. Bush had nothing to with it.

We need to look seriously at supply and demand, at weather conditions and at incidents such as explosions or spills.

2 Comments

  • Gas at Cd’s in Hopkins is 2.99 per gallon. Pretty consistently 20 cents a gallon less than Wayland. Now 40 cents less. Good pizza at CDs and Russo’s has half price pizza every Monday for takeout.
    Worth the drive on Monday. or any other day.

  • I heard that they have good pizza , and a 40 cent savings per gallon can be worth the drive for a fill up and pizza, so why the hell is wayland gas stations always sticking it to people?

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