Respectful Insolence

Gasoline sticker shock in Chicago

I’m back from the ASCO Meeting in Chicago. As promised, I’ll try to post some photos tomorrow to give you a sense of just how monumentally huge this meeting is. I probably won’t have time to blog about the clinical science presented until Friday or next week, but we’ll see. In the meantime, let me share with you the serious gasoline sticker shock I suffered coming from the East Coast to the Midwest. Below is a “discount” gas station at W. North Avenue and N. Ashland:

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Remember, this is a discount gas station, much like….much like Citgo:

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This is nearly a dollar more expensive than in my neck of the woods.

I looked around for a gas station charging over $4 a gallon for regular, but, fortunately, I couldn’t find one.

Yet.

I did see one charging $3.99 a gallon for regular, though.

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Saelim
    June 6, 2007

    I think it went over $4 here (Chicago) two or three summers ago. Growing up in Chicago, I didn’t know that certain gas stations were “discount” – they all charge high all the time.

    They didn’t start charging this much until a couple years ago, though.

  2. #2 DCP
    June 6, 2007

    I wish had to pay a mere $4 a gallon! I live in Europe and I have calculated that I spend about $7 a gallon.

  3. #3 usagi
    June 6, 2007

    Is that all? $4.09 in San Francisco (granted, that’s premium at one of the pricier locations, but it still is over $4.00 per gallon). Oh, and there’s apparently a hurricane hitting the Persian Gulf. I remember when my tank couldn’t hold $35.00 worth of gas…

    (Course, I also remember when the gas station down the hill from where I grew up had to adjust their very old pumps to charge by the half-gallon when gas broke a dollar.)

  4. #4 Orac
    June 6, 2007

    Remember, these are the bargain gas stations. Lots of places had premium at well over $4.00 a gallon.

  5. #5 Greying Euro Guy
    June 6, 2007

    Like DCP says, these prices all sound kind of derisory to us Euro-dwellers… Over here in the UK, BARGAIN gas would be US $ 7.00 a gallon, and the prices run up to 8.00 at really gouging rural gas stations. To fill up the tank of my creaking 10 yr old Euro compact (47 litres) currently costs the equivalent of US $ 90.00.

    Of course, we mostly grumblingly accept that these kinds of prices are needed to pay for all our European socialized welfare benefits, inc. the European publically-funded medical systems. And also that high gas prices are needed to try to get people out of their cars.. Or to get them to drive more fuel-economical ones. I never would have predicted, 20 yrs back, that in 2007 so many people would be driving around in huge 4WD road-tanks with pitiful gas mileage, esp. given the spectre of man-made global warming.

  6. #6 Coin
    June 6, 2007

    What the heck? And here I was just assuming the gas out here in California was the most expensive in the nation :O

  7. #7 DuWayne
    June 6, 2007

    Coin -

    The prices shown in these pictures, are right in line with the gas prices in Oregon too. I’m not sure what the prices are in Michigan, right now, but when I moved out here, I was shocked to discover that the prices were slightly lower than those in MI. I recall after visiting my brother’s old place in San Diego, that the prices there were the same, if not a little lower, than the prices in MI. In Washington, they run even higher than they do here. I found one gas station between here and my brother’s new place, east of Seattle, that has the same prices, or just a little higher, than OR. Prices in Vancouver, just over the Columbia river from Portland, run an average of fifteen cents higher.

    I havdn’t had to buy gas in over four months, thanks to Portland’s steller public trans system. A week ago, I almost had a heartattack when I borrowed a friends car to drive out into the gorge to go hiking. I always fill it up when I do so, last time it cost little more than $24 to fill it up, this time it was over $40.

  8. #8 Rebecca
    June 6, 2007

    Hmm, and I thought here in Ithaca, NY the gas prices were high! Regular here runs from about 3.09 to 3.24.

  9. #9 Narc
    June 7, 2007

    I think part of the reason gas is so expensive here in Illinois is due to high gas taxes.

  10. #10 Alan Kellogg
    June 7, 2007

    Out here gas is around $3.50 a gallon. How dare you steal our thunder?!

  11. #11 M
    June 7, 2007

    Agreeing with the other Europeans – round here 97p a litre is relatively cheap (ruralish Scotland)

    So – 3.7854118 l to the gallon, that makes £3.67 a gallon, so $7.30 a gallon. When I go out of town to proper rural places it trips over £1 a litre (and it has gone that high here when the oil price has been high). I’ve once paid the equivalent of over $100 to fill the tank of my wee Punto :)

  12. #12 Flex
    June 7, 2007

    I can’t speak to Illinois, but the prices are at the same level in Michigan and it’s not because of the gas taxes. Federal gas taxes are fixed at (IIRC) $0.18 and Michigan State gas taxes are fixed at $0.185 (I may be off by a penny or two without looking it up).

    But they are FLAT taxes, not related to the price of gasolene. Of course, there is a Sales Tax added onto the prices, and that is related to the price of the gas, but sales taxes are not gas taxes.

    Every year this issue comes up, and my understanding is that the gasolene companies claim that the summer formulations required by anti-pollution laws in midwestern states mean that summer gas prices are always going to be higher than winter prices.

    I’ve also heard that since the midwestern are further from the refineries than other states that the midwestern prices are higher. I’m not certain that I believe that, although when the pipeline from Chicago broke down in Jackson a few years ago (which carries about 1/3 of the gas needed for the Detroit metro ares), prices rapidly went above $4/gal.

  13. #13 DuWayne
    June 7, 2007

    What you all need to do to drive down the price of gas (admittedly, just a little) is to get your states to adopt a law similar to Oregon’s. The reason that the there is a fairly sizable difference in price between OR and WA, is that in OR, only professionals are allowed to pump gas. It was actually passed more with the intention of providing jobs, but the side effect has been to drive insurance rates down enough that even having to pay attendants to pump gas, it still means notably cheaper gas – and your hands don’t get stinky. Although it also means that if you live near a state border and buy gas in another state, you may occasionally find yourself sitting in the car for a good long while, wondering when the hell someone is going to come pump your gas. . .

  14. #14 Jim
    June 7, 2007

    $2.88/gal. Columbia, MO

  15. #15 Ktesibios
    June 7, 2007

    Here in the San Fernando Valley, pump prices are running around $3.39 or so for regular. I, too, thought that California gas prices were among the highest in the land, partly due to our pollution regulations.

    When you filter out all the bouncing around that retail prices do, the overall trend is still steadily upwards- no surprise considering that demand keeps increasing while production doesn’t keep pace.

    We can get used to higher energy prices now, or take an even greater shock later.

    As for me, I only drive 3500-4000 miles per year in a pretty fuel-efficient car; prices arent yet high enough to douse my schadenfreude at watching the pained looks on the faces of the yupsters feeding their Bloatmobiles on my once-every-two-weeks trip to the gas station.

  16. #16 AnnR
    June 7, 2007

    Slightly less in the Mid-Atlantic region, but not by much.

  17. #17 Kearby
    June 8, 2007

    I live in Longview, WA (off I-5 about a third of the way from Portland to Seattle), and the cheap stuff just dipped below $3 for the first time in recent memory. Hope it sticks around for a while.

  18. #18 Tom T.
    June 9, 2007

    Some news articles have cited refinery capacity as the culprit for local or regional gas price spikes.

    Still, if you look at the state-by-state levels of gas taxes and compare that to the state-by-state gas prices, the correlation looks pretty apparent (with a few anomalies here and there).

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