No fuel panic

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Even though the brunt of Hurricane Katrina was hundreds of miles from Southeast Missouri, the destrutive storm has left its mark on us, too.

We couldn't help but be awed and horrified by the reports and images we heard and saw as the scope of Katrina's damage and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans unfolded.

One major impact on this area and around the nation has been the price of gasoline. Major refineries along the Gulf Coast and pipelines that move fuel across the country were severely disrupted as a result of the storm. In the face of decreased supplies of gas, distributors and retailers began to raise prices.

Fortunately, no one in our area had to pay the $5 a gallon -- or more -- some stations in the South were charging. But for the first time, we saw prices go to and above $3 a gallon.

What we did not see was any rush to push the price higher. Prices at most stations in the Cape Girardeau area peaked at $2.99 a gallon and held there until they edged down again at midweek.

What we did not see was long lines or hoarding of gasoline by motorists, as too often happens in times of calamity.

For now, the price of gasoline is stretching some wallets a bit. But we have fuel. It's comparably priced with fuel being sold elsewhere. And there appears to be no overt price-gouging.

Thanks to responsible behavior on the part of gasoline retailers (supply) and customers at the pumps (demand), we have been spared the long lines and empty tanks.

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