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Every Time I Go to the Pump, It’s Like the Sale of the Century

Posted by on November 13, 2008

[This post was originally written for my employer’s blog, Show-Me Daily.]

The title of this post comes from something I overheard another QT customer commenting to the person next to them at the pump.

I realize I’ve blogged about this recently, but I feel sure that it is an economic issue that hits close to home for virtually every person who reads this blog. Gas prices just keep falling. On Tuesday, USA Today reported that our fair state has the lowest average prices in the country, at $1.93 per gallon. And another article today points out that prices are expected to continue to fall.

Remember the bad news of a few months ago? Remember oil executives getting dragged in front of Congress? I was very happy when someone pointed me to this piece at the time. It served to remind me that not all people see high prices, even of so-called essential commodities, as evidence of corporate abuse. But now the storm is over. Global decline in demand worked through the market to signal the “all clear” to American gas consumers (at least for the time being). Competition keeps oil companies from maintaining $4 a gallon when the price per barrel drops 40 percent. Profits that truly rise above a market level aren’t sustainable in the long term without government-granted monopoly privileges.

I’d love to see a headline just once in the mainstream press to the effect of: “Gas Prices Reasonable Again: Thanks, Laissez-Faire.” Not likely, but the market certainly did more to lower gas prices than any gas-tax holiday. Unless we’re talking about a permanent gas-tax vacation.

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