Gasoline Wars

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by Jeff Harding The Daily Capitalist

Previously by Jeff Harding: I Dare Paul Krugman To Debate AustrianTheory


This chart on gasoline prices reminded me of when I and a bunch of other scruffy kids piled into a beat-up car and headed from San Diego to Flagstaff to go skiing–the only place with decent snow. This was in 1962 – I was a high school senior. We had removed the back seat and the firewall to the trunk and lined the floor with six-packs of beer, covered with our sleeping bags, and took off. As I recall we didn’t have a rule that the driver couldn’t drink. Yikes!

Well, we had an eventful trip, skiing, drinking, sleeping on motel floors with people we just met or maybe didn’t meet, all trying to hook up with the few really hot girls. It’s funny, I don’t remember anything about eating. But, when the weekend was over, we headed back down the hill to San Diego, via Yuma, late at night. I recall that we couldn’t stay awake driving back and several of us drivers, me included, nearly ran us into ditches as we dozed and woke up to someone screaming. Needless to say, we stopped frequently.

By the time we got to Yuma we needed gas. We were pretty broke and most of us just had small change left in our jeans. To our good fortune, Yuma was a gas station Valhalla; stations lined the street and every corner of the highway that went through the town. And there was a gas war. For those of you who can’t imagine what that is, back then there was very stiff competition between the too numerous stations and at times, to get customer share, they would competitively cut prices to or even below cost. So we gave our business to the cheapest one. Gasoline normally sold for about 25–30 cents or so at that time. They were selling gasoline for 12 cents per gallon!

We made it home OK. And, no, I probably didn’t learn any valuable lessons, and continued my vile ways. But I’m here today.

So, here is the question: can anyone beat that price? Or is that just a relic from a distant century (like me)?

Reprinted from The Daily Capitalist.

Jeff Harding [send him mail] is a real estate investor and former lawyer in Santa Barbara, California. He is a principal of Montecito Realty Investors, LLC. He has many years of experience in business cycles related to real estate investments and finance. He is self-taught in economics and takes an Austrian School view on economic theory. He had the pleasure of meeting Ludwig von Mises and his wife shortly before Mises died.

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