Gas price discrepancy cause for grumbling


I have a strange pain in my neck and my eyes seem to be burning today. I’m not sure what caused these strange maladies, but I have my suspicions. I was craning my neck a lot last night, and this morning, I got a severe case of sticker shock.

Yesterday, my husband, Greg, surprised me by suggesting we go out for dinner. I asked him if he was already thinking of some place specific, since he’s not usually the type to suggest anything where food is concerned. He’s not a foodie, like me. In fact, his lunch every day typically consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, along with a root beer. So, if he’s suggesting dinner out, I suspect he’s already got a plan.

And he did: He wanted to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings in Grand Island.

I was unimpressed with the choice, since I’m not a huge fan of that restaurant, but hey, I don’t have to cook there, so I went with it.

On the drive up north, I mentioned to Greg that a co-worker had told me gas was quite a bit cheaper in Grand Island. Greg had heard that, too. Looking at the gas gauge, we decided it was worth filling up in Grand Island, since we’d already be there.

I was expecting the usual: a few cents difference per gallon. It’s very uncommon for gas to teter more than 10 cents each way among different places, unless you’re crossing state lines. But cheaper is cheaper.

As we rolled through the interstate junction, Greg noticed that one station was advertising $3.52 a gallon — for unleaded.

What?!

I turned to look out my window quickly, as Greg braked hard and pulled into the station. There were injuries one and two: turning my head in disbelief and the feeling of whiplash from the sudden stopping for a good deal.

Greg filled up the car and we went on our way. The conversation was quickly consumed by our complaints about gas prices, the economy and how much we’re tired of feeling squeezed at the pump.

Let me tell you, it wasn’t pleasant dinner conversation, especially after Greg watched his beloved Yankees lose to the Detroit Tigers. It was mostly mumbling and grumbling.

After leaving the restaurant, Greg and I were more vigilant of the gas stations we were passing, after spending more than an hour hyperanalyzing the problem.

And we continued to get more and more angry: $3.55 at that gas station, $3.52 at another and at the bottom, a price of $3.48 a gallon at Hy-Vee.

And with each price I saw, my neck craned a little more in disbelief. Neck injury three, four and five.

I thought for sure, gas prices had fallen in Hastings and I just missed it. So, this morning, driving to work, I drove an extra block or two to see what the price was.

That’s when my eyes started burning with rage and sticker shock: $3.69.

Twenty-one cents difference?!

Someone needs to explain to me what’s going on. Are Hastings drivers just getting gouged?

I’m willing to forgive a few cents of fluctuation, but gas prices should be similar, especially just a few miles up the road.


Deann Stumpe

In her weekly column that runs Mondays in the Hastings Tribune, Deann Stumpe gabs about relationships, movies and TV, and life with a baby. She is the Tribune’s special sections editor.

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