Gas goes up, gas goes down (albeit a lot more slowly). Lately there have been wild variations, due to nothing in the world market, no environmental issues, no shortages, no wars, no refineries closed ... nothing to account for the rapid increase in prices.
To date, I have attributed rapid spikes like this to speculators - evil a*holes who manipulate the price of oil so they can make a buck - usually without ever actually owning anything to do with oil production.
I saw something over the weekend that gives me pause on that, at least as far as it being the single biggest reason.
In the DFW area, average prices are about 3.68 or 3.69 a gallon. You will find stations here and there that are about 10 cents a gallon cheaper - saw an example this morning where two stations a block away from each other were 11 cents different in price (comparable brands).
However, over the weekend, I saw something that put that to shame. Traveling east of here on a major highway, I saw these averages remain steady for about 50 miles. Then, in the space of a 20 mile stretch between two moderately sized towns, the price dropped 32 cents a gallon.
Same brand of gas. Same location (next to the highway). One station had 3.69. Next station, 20 miles away, 3.37.
This was not a fluke, for all the stations I then passed heading east were in the 3.37 to 3.39 range.
What the F***?
I'm sorry, but this looks like plain and simple profiteering. I apparently crossed some kind of distribution boundary - the guys who have the big city racket figure they can milk a whole lot more out of their captive customer base, I guess.