Friday, April 18, 2008

The upside of expensive gasoline

For those upset by the current (and increasing) fuel prices, let me point out the upside to rising fuel costs: convenience. Convenience in the form of reduced effort needed to refuel. Previously, when fuel costs were "reasonable," the 5 cent difference between gas stations meant about a 2.5% difference in cost (assuming $2/gallon). Now the 5 cent difference means just a 1.25% difference in cost (assuming $4/gallon, which it will reach very soon, unfortunately). For a $50 fillup, that translates to $1.25 at the 2.5% rate, but only 62.5 cents at the lower rate. As the price rises, the percentage will get lower & lower, and the savings will result in less of a gallon that you'd be able to buy with the savings. And the amount of miles (and time) you spend to get the lower cost fuel won't be worth the hassle anymore.

Thus - convenience, one upside to rising fuel cost.

This brings me to another point, though: the price difference. This reveals, I think, the arbitrariness in fuel pricing. I mean, the price difference - shouldn't that be the same percentage regardless of the base cost? I mean, if station X prices the fuel 5 cents below station Y when the cost at station Y is $2/gallon (so station X is $1.95/gallon), then when station Y is selling at $3/gallon, shouldn't station X be at $2.925/gallon? (Ok, probably $2.929/gallon, since they always add that 9/10 of a cent on there.) Then when Y gets to $4/gallon, shouldn't X be at $3.80/gallon? Thus, the price is arbitrary - station X is setting their price at a certain number of cents less than station Y, not at a certain percentage. The price is rather arbitrary. (Yes, I understand there are some flaws in my reasoning here, but it's not completely ludicrous... it does demonstrate that there is some arbitrariness to the pricing you and I pay for fuel at the pump.)

On a not-quite-related note, I don't think there's any anti-steroid regulation in "professional wrestling" (like the WWE - note: the link is only for info; I don't endorse any of the content at that site). Unfortunately, it also seems like they've lowered their acting skills, too... either that or they've lost all their good choreographers. Yeah, they're big, athletic guys... too bad they've given themselves to (bad) acting instead of some professional sports. (Then again, they'd probably get busted for doping in a regulated, professional sport.)

This brings me to another point: "virtual visitation." You can have a conversation with someone via messenger while simultaneously watching the same show in different places and laugh in unison at the horrible acting of the WWE.

I don't normally watch wrestling... my wife doesn't like it. But I do like American Gladiators...
I can't wait for the next season to start. The old show was better in my opinion, but the new one's still entertaining. Find out for yourself - watch it when it returns.

Ok, back to watching wrestling now...


Christy said...

There's no upside to high gasoline prices, sorry. The one thing that really bothers me about it, though, is that it makes me feel old. You know, the ole, "When I was younger, gas was only .88 a gallon"! That kind of thing. I really do remember it being that cheap when I first started driving. *sigh*

Tony M said...

Well, I'm just trying to think positive.

Tony M said...

Oh, and the gas was probably 0.889 - they always tack on that extra .9 cents. Or maybe you mean it was .879 and you were rounding. I recall once we filled up in Atlanta for $0.679 per gallon! For some reason, gas is always cheaper in Atlanta (probably because it's a central distribution center, I guess: everything is either pumped or shipped by rail there, then distributed by tanker truck to areas like Huntsville, hence the extra cost for fuel here).