The Gold Standard

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It might be kind of ironic that I’m choosing a Tesoro station as a “gold” standard. After all doesn’t Oro mean Gold in Spanish?

But I digress. I filled up with gas once five years ago as a Freshman in college at this little station that (once) could. When I got back from Oregon in 2006 I saw the station close up shop that fall. Rather than taking down the sign, they left the existing prices up.

At the time the prices seemed quite unearthly. Over $3.00 a gallon for gasoline? C’mon! Even by 2006 standard that was unbelievable as we watched unleaded return close to $2.40 per gallon.

I thought it was pretty funny to see prices so outrageously high stuck in time. But the sign started to laugh at me the next summer as prices picked back up. By August of 2007 I was paying about $3.30 a gallon. I began to wonder how often non-locals would peel into the station with excitement, only to discover the station’s pumps didn’t work.

It got ridiculous this past summer. I got up about three times a week to drive to an internship in Salt Lake City. As I’d sit waiting for the light, I’d look longingly at the low prices. I started the season pumping gas at $3.75 and ended it paying about $4.17.

Ask me then and I’d say, “Yes! Give me three dollars forever! I’d live with that.”

Oh how a couple of months can change things. I sneered at a Chevron the other day because they wanted $1.60.

Amazing what a little out-of-business gas station’s marquee can do to help me keep a long-term perspective on spazzed-out gas prices.

Next time: The real cause of inflated ($4) gas prices.