I was struck by the gas price this morning as I stood at the pump filling my car.
Thankfully, I drive a Matrix (look at me, all snobby!) on a relatively limited basis, so visits at the pump are infrequent. What caught my attention was the fact that the price of gas does not appear to have changed in more than a month. My recollection of the behaviour of gas prices is of a tendency to wildly fluctuate, bucking up and down so furiously that the Calgary Stampede would be glad to have them for Bronc Riding. Instead, they have flatlined at $138,4/Litre for what is an eternity for the world of consumer petroleum.
This got me wondering, when exactly was the last time the price changed? I remember it being tied to a shocking jump in price. 10 cents in a single day. I assumed the world must be ending at the time. I ran for the hills, got my umbrella ’cause the sky was falling, burrowed into my fallout bunker. When the next morning rolled around, the world was still turning. There was no blanket of nuclear fallout causing pet goldfish everywhere to turn into voracious maneaters. But the price remained immutably fixed, no less resistant to change than the Sword in the Stone.
How could this be?
After a little sleuthing, I was able to find some evidence that this was not some distorted perception. Indeed, the CBC reported the jump in the Montreal region at the same time, and for the same price I recall happening in my rural areal of Quebec.
One would have to assume that for prices to remain so stable for what amounts to an eternity in the apparently competitive world of gas pricing, the world must be pretty stable. Indeed, we have become so interconnected that we have a tendency to jump like a herd of startled gazelles at the merest hint of trouble, real or imagined, in any part of the world. And yet, since early February, we have seen all manner of news whose flavour would have previously been used as an excuse to bump gas prices up. Anyone who has been watching the situation in Syria and Egypt would know that there is ample cause for concern due to mounting instability. North Korea is talking about pre-emptive nuclear strikes. Heck, we’ve even gotten Biblical: Egypt undergoing a locust plague.
Yet, not the slightest waver in gas prices. Not in my part of the country, anyway.
Digging a little further, I found another interesting tidbit: Competition Bureau: price fixing
Price fixing? Noooooooo…Really?