Frustration grows as gas prices rise again

Frustration grows as gas prices rise again

Robert Barron’s column

Gas prices are high in the Valley, the highest ever seen, I’ve heard, and predictions are that they will go even higher in the coming weeks.

It’s now at $1.46.9 per litre and, if the speculation is correct, that could go up to $1.60 or even higher by the long May 24th weekend as the summer driving season begins.

It’s frustrating for everyone as rising gas prices cut even deeper into our pocketbooks and takes our already limited disposable incomes away from more important expenses; like our families and homes.

There was a time earlier in my career as a reporter when I would get quite indignant with the fuel industry and government for taking advantage of consumers and hitting us with extra costs for a commodity few of us can do without due to our dependency on our vehicles.

I would demand answers as to why gas prices were, once again, going through the roof and industry analysts would rant on, to the point of my eyes glossing over, about a host of any issues that contribute to the gas hike.

The reasons would range from key refineries that supply the fuel were shut down for upgrades or repairs due to storm damage cutting into supply, increasing demand at different times of the year and political instability in the oil-producing Middle East.

That last one has always particularly infuriated me as, most times, the political instability is the Middle East was just speculation and actual cuts into supply rarely occurred.

That’s happening now after Donald Trump decided to defy the world and dump the nuclear agreement with Iran, the world’s fifth largest oil producer.

The industry and the analysts are already speculating that will lead to higher gas prices, which, as past experience dictates, will inevitably begin a domino effect that will actually lead to the prices rising, even though nothing yet has happened to the Iranian fuel supply to justify it.

Unlike governments that raise taxes and have to take the heat from constituents for their actions, there is never any one organization or individual to point your finger at and take your frustrations out on when it comes to rising gas prices, and that’s irritating for reporters like me; and the public at large.

But, as we eat our way through a non-renewable resource and with the growing realization of the dangers of global warming, the car industry is finally developing battery-powered, electric and hybrid vehicles that will, hopefully, wean us off our dependence on gas over the next few decades.

These types of vehicles are making headway into the marketplace as they become cheaper, more dependable and are increasingly able to keep up with the demands on them as well as gas-powered ones.

It’s just a matter of the infrastructure for having such vehicles on the road be put in place.

In my dreams, I envision cars that will be environmentally friendly and cost very little to run (I also dream of flying cars) and the demise of the oil industry that has taken advantage of our oil addiction for decades.

But I know that we will likely be as gouged in the end by the producers of electricity and batteries as we are by the oil producers.

Maybe I’ll just get a horse.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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