Panic, greed driving gas price increase

One would have to be a committed pedestrian to have not noticed the considerable increase in the price of gasoline since Hurricane Harvey smashed into the Texas coast. To be sure, the killer storm wrought tremendous damage to the coast, including to the refineries/energy infrastructure along the Gulf Coast. Many Minot residents have admirably already launched into relief efforts as, fortunately, is our way.

And obviously, the damage to Gulf refineries is the specific cause of the serious gasoline price increase, including in Minot, where our prices tend to be higher than elsewhere in the state in general.

Wrong. Gasoline prices have increased because of “panic,” according to some in the news, but because of greed according to many others – including some industry insiders who have spoken to Minot Daily News. Why are purveyors raising their prices? Because they can.

Realistically, it is difficult – or impossible – to explain why gasoline prices in Ward County have risen as a result of Harvey. Fluctuations like this in a commodities are often more influenced by perception than reality and uncertainty is probably the harshest perception.

However, the influence of greed cannot be ignored. It is a factor as you filled your gasoline tank this weekend.

This kind of profiteering is unsavory but not uncommon. It should be noted that while many anti-capitalist activists cite energy producers as the source of manipulative profiteering, they are not the source of the sudden increase. Profiteering in this case is a result of other entities in the supply line, including local retailers.

While many are complaining about the gasoline price increase, and have every right to, it is still a reminder of how commodity pricing works. We have both benefited from it in our part of the country, and been burned by it. This just happens to be an example of the dynamic costing the average resident money.

Hopefully, as flood waters recede on the Gulf Coast, gasoline prices will elsewhere. That’s just one tiny reason among many huge reasons we should collectively pray for and support recovery in Texas.