[Reader Submitted] We all know the amount of havoc wreaked by Hurricane Irene this past weekend. Some of us are still reeling and/or recovering in its aftermath. What may be a surprise is the effects the storm caused before it even hit our area. Driving home from Brooklyn to Lakewood very late Thursday evening after a beautiful but exhausting chasuna, I checked my car’s gas gauge to make sure I had enough gas to make it home. My wife had cautioned me to fill up before we left for the chasuna, but I calculated that I would have enough to make it home and be able to fill-up in the morning. After all, gas prices had been on a steady decline over the past few weeks, so why worry?
What I didn’t know as I passed the gas station around 1:30 AM, is that Hurricane Irene was about to hit the gas pumps even before it hit land. One of the local gas stations was still open and advertised gas at $3.25/gallon, the lowest it had been in months. However, officials had encouraged people to fill-up their gas tanks before the storm hit, as no one knew where the storm would leave the local driving conditions, etc. So a mere seven hours later, after davening/chavrusa on the way to work, the same gas station had a price increase of .12/gallon!
While it is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to raise prices (clandestinely) on staple items such as water, candles, flashlights and generators, to me, this brazen affront to the public seemed a bit too much.
Waiting on line for gas that day, I ended up behind a retired Floridian (as evident from his license plate). I exclaimed to him that he must be used to long lines in preparation for a storm, and then I asked him if the price of gas always went up before an oncoming hurricane.
His reply, “Of course! Every time without fail!”
If anyone wondered who suffered financial losses from Hurricane Irene, it certainly wasn’t the gas companies.
PS Three days after the hurricane, gas prices are up another .06/gallon.