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Thursday, September 01, 2005
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

All across North America, parents are eagerly anticipating Tuesday. The day their kids go back to school. No more chants of "are we there yet" or "can we go for ice cream" (the fifth time of the day), just blissful quiet.

But why do kids start school on Tuesday? Well, it's that lovely last holiday for the summer. Labour Day. I never really understood the day. Growing up, my father almost always worked that day. I always worked that day. Ahh the joys of being employed in the service industry. Well, then sales. As such, I guess the importance is lost on me to an extent. Luckily, in the film world, with union requirements for double time and such on holiday shoot days, we don't work them much.

But why such an ado about a government holiday? Well, if history is repeating itself (and today we got a dose of that), each summer long weekend (the other two being Victoria Day or May Two-Four, and Canada Day weekend) the prices of gas has gone up. Usually a good 10 cents per litre.

Well it looks like we're in for another bang this weekend. Just to get ready for it, prices have gone from lows around 96.4 cents to 124.9 cents per litre, in just one day. Yeah, I'm posting this because I got burned with that at 12:30 AM, just fresh from 14 hours of sheer Smallville bliss.

But, to save this being a rant about prices, or a flame war about who pays more for gas as a whole, all the talk I've heard/read/watched today, I'm reminded about a certain letter I recieved in an email quite some time ago. This is the US version of the Canadian chain letter.
THE FOLLOWING WAS SENT BY AN ECONOMIST

WITHIN THE FUEL INDUSTRY.
ANOTHER ECONOMICS PROFESSOR AT CAL REITERATED THE SAME LAST WEEK.
I THINK IT IS WORTH TRYING.

I got this from a reliable source & the web site listed is legit. We heard today from a man who is very savvy about the economy, namely, Clark Howard, and he says that the gas prices are going to start going up again and will be high this summer-$2.00 and up. We need to do whatever we can, and do it NOW!!!! Gasoline Prices: This makes more sense than the don't buy gas on a certain day routine that was going around last year re: Gasoline Prices. Whoever started this has a good point. We need to try an aggressive response. With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take ACTION! The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we don't buy it. But, (as the gas companies know full well, and are counting on), that's not really a practical option since we all have come to rely on our cars. But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if we all act together.

Here's the idea: For the rest of this year, don't purchase gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), namely EXXON and MOBIL. You see, if they are not selling, they should be inclined, (i.e., "forced"),to reduce their prices. And, because of their size, and hence market share, if they reduce their prices the other companies will too. (They would HAVE no choice!). Isn't that a "juicy" prospect? But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of users.

But it's do-able! I am sending this note to 42 people. If each of you send it to at least 10 more ...and those 10 send it to at least 10 more and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth iteration, we will have reached over one million consumers. Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on, or one you compose, to at least 10 more E-mail addresses. PLEASE HOLD OUT UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES AND KEEP THEM DOWN! THIS CAN REALLY WORK! If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!
Please do not try this. It doesn't work and will just irritate people sending this email around.

Now with the stupidity clause in effect, we won't be able to boycott gas stations to reduce fuel prices. First off, prices are, in general, set by OPEC, not by individual stations (surprisingly enough, if you look at the prices, they are fairly similar in scale). Secondly, all those drivers who have credit cards for specific gas chains, paid for by their work, aren't going to pay for their own gas. Ever wonder why prices are lower in the evening? Like the long distance rates? Because gas companies know that business travel has to fill up during the day. Commercial business is their bread and butter. And here's the hint. Professional decision makers aren't going to change their minds because of a chain letter.

The bottom line is that we the little guy probably can't make a difference in that price. What we can do is be smart about things.

1. Don't drive everywhere. Get a bicycle. Ride public transit. Support clean energy initiatives. No, this won't bring gas back to 60 or less cents per litre, but at the end of the day, you'll spend less on transit, creating more savings, and to boot, you can save the environment too (well, a little piece of it).

2. Conserve your in home energy. Turn lights off. Limit shower time. Watch your thermostat. Don't crank your AC. Again, it probably won't affect the per unit rate, but you'll use less fuel, impacting your bottom line less.

3. Get regular oil changes. If you have to use your car regularly, the better kept it is, the less fuel you will burn per kilometer. Hence savings there. And a cleaner exhaust.

I could go on, but I'm assuming you can get the point. We can't get the prices down, no matter how clever the scheme may be. We have to take some responsibility and actually watch our dollars and cents, not bowing to the quick hard and fast ideology that pop culture instills in us this day and age.
neolithic pondered at 00:14
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