COLUMN: Lower gas prices a sound of silence

NANAIMO: It’s quite amazing how the uproar over the cost of a litre of gasoline has diminished as the price drops.

It’s quite amazing how the uproar over the cost of a litre of gasoline has diminished as the price drops.

Some letter writers gave a cost-by-cost description of gas stations around Nanaimo and the central Island – informing our readers where the cheapest fuel could be found.

Others cried collusion on the part of Nanaimo station owners and called for boycotts of not only fuel, but the other goods sold on site.

The oil companies took a big share of the flak as customers bemoaned the fact gasoline costs in Nanaimo are constantly higher than in Ladysmith and Duncan. And don’t even get them started on how cheap it is in Victoria.

But at the time of writing this column, gasoline is $1.19 a litre, 10 cents cheaper than when prices jumped overnight from $1.29 to $1.39 prior to the Thanksgiving long weekend.

I haven’t seen any letters of thanks to the oil companies or station owners for seeing the light and lowering the prices.

And I wonder if the sale of chocolate bars, chips, pop, windshield washer fluid and other items of convenience have skyrocketed as those customers who were boycotting stations returned?

There haven’t been any letters of thanks or increased sales because it was business as usual for the station owners and oil companies.

They put up with the flak because they know the storm of criticism will blow over.

There was no boycott of gasoline or chocolate bars because even if the cost per litre hadn’t dropped, people need fuel – they can’t get by without it.

Sure, it’s great that the price has dropped to an almost acceptable number, but don’t for a second think it’s because of some letters to the editor or cries of collusion.

I guarantee the price of gas will go up again. And if history is any measuring stick, it will be in one large increase, not pennies at a time.

And we will curse the big oil companies, we will threaten to boycott the stations, and we will write letters of outrage to the editor.  But we will pay the price because we are too dependent on the automobile and that automobile requires fuel.

I don’t know why the cost of gas is cheaper in Victoria, Duncan and Ladysmith than in Nanaimo, and I don’t know why there isn’t any price competition between the oil companies to attract customers.

But until there are some drastic lifestyle changes in the way we commute, they don’t care that we don’t know or that we are upset.

Because they know that even at $2, $3 or $4 a litre, we will line up for what they’re selling.


Tomorrow (Nov. 11) is the 94th year of  acknowledging the end of the war to end all wars.

And we all know that the horrors of the First World War were not enough to convince mankind that there has to be a better way to settle our differences.

Peace has been a fragile commodity – whether it’s the Second World War, the Korean and Vietnam wars, Serbia, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq or Afghanistan – it seems the world is always dealing with conflict.

And during those conflicts, it’s our armed forces that put themselves in harm’s way, fighting and sacrificing their lives so the rest of us can remain free.

Remembrance Day is the opportunity to show our thanks to those who have fought, and continue to fight for those who suffer the oppression of others. It’s a chance to honour those who have died for us.

While it is a statutory holiday, it’s more than just another day off from work or school.

Take in the 11 a.m. ceremonies at the downtown Nanaimo or Lantzville cenotaphs and show our veterans the respect they deserve.