A busy day and evening meetings meant getting home late yesterday. As I pulled out of the church parking lot anxious to finally get home a startling discovery caught my attention, causing me to divert from intended destination. My discovery.... a gas station marquis that displayed a 36 cent rise in gasoline from that morning. My stop... an adjacent gas station who had yet to change their price.
Watching the ever changing prices at our local service stations has quickly become a new national pastime. My daily commute now includes monitoring the several convenience store signs indicating what the going rate is for fuel. As I have watched the pricing trends I have discovered that one gas station in my route is the initiator of the price increases, maintaining their price increase if the other stations follow, retreating if the competition does not join them at the higher price. Last night, this lead station attempted a 36 cent price increase. I was releaved this morning to discover that none of the other stations had followed, causing the rogue gas station to return to the going rate.
While not discounting the myriad of factors that impact the price you and I pay at the pump, watching the pricing patterns in my community has led me to the conclusion that opportunism and greed play a huge role in the meteoric rise of fuel. We've come a long way from those "Andy Griffith" days, when Goober would wash your windshield and offer to check your oil while filling your tank. The service station has been replaced by the convenience store, the friendly gas station attendant has become a computerized gas pump and store clerk behind bullet-proof glass. The price on the pump no longer reflects a fair price for a product, it instead is an attempt to extract the most money possible out of your wallet or bank account.
Which brings me to the heart of the matter. I am convinced that yesterday's attempt by this convenience store owner to raise his gasoline price by 36 cents is a pointed illustration of a character collapse in current culture. Concern for our fellow man (or driver, as the case may be) somehow has been lost in the relentless pursuit of higher profits. All too often the question of what is right is avoided, and replaced by what is tolerable. The answer for the oil crisis in America will not be found in hybrids, biofuels, or drilling in the wilderness of the Alaskan wildlife refuge. Be assured that I am fine with all of those options.... I simply state that a return to the Biblical principle that "honest scales are the Lord's delight" and "be kind and compassionate toward one another" is a critical factor.
Greater character will have greater impact than greater crude oil. Just a thought :)