This pretty much sums up my financial state of affairs after filling up my SUV's gas tank this morning:
And I can't even get rid of my SUV yet either, so I'm stuck.
I really would like a better explanation from some gas retailers about their prices. For instance, how is it that the Hess station in my town is selling regular for $2.89 a gallon and then the Citgo station less than a quarter mile up the road is $3.19 for the same thing? Is the Citgo gas mixed with liquid gold? Will their gas get my car better mileage?
It's pretty hard to fathom. And then left and right I'm being asked to give donations to various organizations for hurricane victim relief efforts. I feel awful because I honestly can't afford to, so I get especially angry when I pass gas stations with astronomical prices posted.
While it's getting bad up here, it's really out of control in places like Georgia, where they were directly affected by the hurricane:
Reports of exorbitant price increases led Gov. Sonny Perdue to invoke Georgia's price-gouging statute Wednesday evening, giving the state the power to prosecute retailers who drastically increase their prices above the average charged by most others. It was already illegal to advertise one price on signs at stations and charge a higher price at the pump.
"We will not tolerate the exploitation of Georgia consumers as we recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina," Perdue said. "Violators of this price-gouging statute will be punished to the fullest extent possible."
"Punished?" How about this: Any retailers that are caught price gouging in any state will be required to give that day's profits (or a pre-determined amount) to hurricane relief organizations. That way the money goes where it's truly needed and the gasoline outlets learn a lesson.
It'll be interesting (to say the least) to see how how this "crisis" will be dealt with.