On Tuesday gas prices went up 6.5 cents, followed by another smaller increase the next day. I sat in line for almost an hour at 10 p.m. at night on Monday night in order to try to beat the increase. Had I tried at 6 p.m. it would have been longer. Now, just one day later, the prices have dropped 6.5 cents.
You can’t tell me that any meaningful fluctuations in the market or the price of oil can be responsible for this. It is possible that it was forced back down by supply and demand. I’m sure that gas stations were almost empty on Tuesday and Wednesday. Between the fact that almost everyone must have filled up on Monday, and the fact that people are less likely to top up when anticipating a possible future drop in prices, not many drivers will have chosen to visit a gas station on Tuesday or Wednesday. That might have nudged the gas companies to revise the price, but oil price fluctuations are a straw dog.
So, this week, the price went up 8 cents and down 6 cents. I personally think that this has been done by the gas companies as a form of psychological warfare. Even though the price of gas has actually gone up 2 cents, we all are supposed to feel relieved and grateful. We are being promised a continuation of this roller coaster pricing, and that may do a lot to sufficiently confuse drivers from taking any real action.
The Harper Conservatives are promising to “look into it”. Well, excuse me if I don’t hold my breath. Actually, this will be an interesting test of Conservative sincerity. Their track record says that they will shy away from any regulation or criticism of big business. Are they really capable of looking after the interests of average Canadians? The most likely outcome is that they will go through the motions of investigation and eventually say that there’s nothing that can be done. They’ll point to the market value of oil and say that these kinds of fluctuations are beyond government control, which will be a false statement on several levels. I hope they surprise me, but I won’t be making any bets on it.
The question is, with what kind of authority might the NDP look into it. This is the first litmus paper test of the new government landscape.