January 1, 2011
Gasoline in Kamloops was selling for 114.4 a litre when I last looked. That’s ridiculously high. As one wag put it, he almost drove into a power pole when he saw the signs.
When prices get jacked up like this, the media often do a story explaining how the gas stations can get away with it. And it always comes down to one thing: because they can. In this case, I’d say they saw the opportunity to make a few extra bucks off holiday travellers, so there is some hope that prices will settle down next week.
It’s been proposed in the past that consumers react by picking one company and boycotting it, thus ensuring that at least someone is punished. These boycotts are unfortunately hard to organize, so I have another idea: hold off buying gas for as long as you can. Run on fumes if you have to. When you finally do buy gas again, buy as little as possible.
My idea is that this will seriously hurt the bottom line of gas stations for at least a few days, maybe even a week. It might be enough to show them that big price increases are counterproductive, and that they lose money in the long run. It’s simple supply and demand. If demand dries up, the gas stations will be forced to drop prices to lure us back in.