An open letter to Govenor Vilsack
When I was getting ready to wrap my garbage in the front page of a local free paper, my eyes lit on an article, "Vilsack 'troubled' by gasoline price spike".
You are entirely right to be skeptical. You need to have Attorney General Tom Miller collect facts from the general public, then have them checked out for veracity.
One place to start is the tiny town where I teach. The population is declining drastically, but hovers around 800-900. Gradually, the four gas stations it boasted at one point have dwindled to one, the local Casey's store, which in a GOOD week, MIGHT run through a load of gas.
But the week school started, if "refining problems" were behind the gas price spike leading up to the Labor Day high, residents are being asked to believe that they were emptying a tanker load in less than one day.
August 20, when I drove my diesel powered vehicle past the Casey's price signs, gas was $1.38, (up from a mid-summer low in the high teens) and I was beginning to regret my decision to switch to diesel, as I had to go many miles out of town to get somewhere that even CARRIED diesel.
I don't regret that decision any more! By Wednesday, when the children had to report, gas had jumped 10¢. Thursday, it went up another dime, and Friday saw it hit $1.70. One day, it jumped 10¢ between 7:30 and 4:30 alone! Monday, it was ten cents higher, then leaped up 16 cents over the next few days... prices dropped back to $1.84, the norm in the area, and stablized there through the holiday. But by Wednesday morning, gas was down 13 cents, dropping another 8¢ by Friday to $1.62, where it remains.
(I am still on the same tank of diesel I bought for $1.60 the Saturday before Labor Day, at a station in a bigger, but also dying, town. The stuff stinks, is messy to fill; the engine has to warm up even in the extremes of summer, but for "cheap", you expect a bit of discomfort.)
You are not a fool. When I heard that you "suspect price gouging", I want to stand up and shout "Right on, GV (Govenor Vilsack)! These are the times that try people's souls. Whenever the rights of Americans have been threatened, it is courageous politicians like you who have stepped up to the plate and swung their more powerful bat.
"Hit that ball clear out of the park and give 'em a good RUN for our money!"
Last updated 9/10/01 in response to an invite to submit revisions for consideration.