Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Plainfield gas prices race sky high

Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Monday and the gas panic hit home today. Between yesterday (Tues. Aug 30) and this afternoon prices jumped approximately 50-cents across all grades of fuel.

On a tour of Plainfield between 3p.m. and 6p.m., three stations on West Front Street had nearly "competitive" prices with signs showed the increase with regular unleaded gas from $2.89 to $2.99 a gallon.

On Park Avenue in South Plainfield, three additional stations seemed to take a more independent approach to what they were charging gas guzzlers and gas misers alike.

Regular was within a 10-cent per gallon range, but Plus was selling between $2.99 and $3.19, and Super ranged from $3.09 to $3.31.

The situation at Clinton and West Seventh Street seemed more like the Twilight Zone. The Raceway sign lured the Plaintaker into the station. The decade old sedan has one weakness, to run well it prefers Plus.

Under the circumstances the posted price looked tolerable. But when the SUV ahead pulled away, the station attendant began pointing to the little price window on the pump.

In the instant the nozzle had been replaced in it's holder, the gas pump responded to a computer in the office by resetting the price. The cost per gallon lept to $3.31.

The clock was ticking, the price so volitile that the cost could zoom up at any moment.

Let's hope these rapid run ups are not signs of the times.