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I really hate the gas price game I play | News, Sports, Jobs

Our family is a group of gamers.

From the youngest to the oldest, we all love games.

Whenever we all get together, there’s always gaming involved, whether it’s super competitive card games of euchre or team-ups playing Code Names. Mix in a bit of Catan, Farkle or Monopoly and, well, you get the picture.

However, there is one game that I play more than anything, and quite frankly, I’m tired of it. The game is a gasoline version of “The Price is Right.” And, like the odds of winning in the televised version of that game, my chances of picking the station with the lowest gas prices on any given day are, well, slim.

I can (and have many times) waste a lot of time and energy driving across the kingdom, chasing the ever elusive lowest price for a gallon of gas. And for what? A few cents cheaper on a gallon of gas!

I used to think I was smart enough, but come on Bill, who in their right mind thinks it’s smart to drive all over town to pay a cheaper penny for a gallon of gas?

But that is not all. If the price of gas today doesn’t seem like a good deal, then I play the equivalent of Russian roulette with the seasons. Do I bet the price will drop in a day or two, or do I buy it now and set the price because I’m afraid it will only go up?

Situations like that drive me crazy.

Sometimes I worry that this gas pricing I have is almost bizarre. Who else is looking for discounts on gas cards, incentives at grocery stores or membership benefits at gas companies in the name of saving?

I’ve even been known to spend extra money on drinks amounting to several dollars just to get an extra dime off the pump.

And just when I start to question my mental health regarding the gas price game, a situation arises like this week, where I go from one end of town where I now live to the other between 8 and 9 in the morning. there was a 59 cent difference in gas prices from the lowest to the highest station that I observed.

Do you think I made a change and bought gas in the low season?

You can bet I did.

Today, if I need to fill up, the first thing I’m going to do is check the GasBuddy app on my phone. There, under “find gas prices,” I’ll search the community to determine what gas prices are like. The app is usually pretty accurate, so I don’t waste my time.

It’s not foolproof, though, and more than once I’ve chased prices across town because the app failed me on its accuracy that day.

Overall though, I’m a fan of the GasBuddy. So I was interested to see what your analysts were forecasting for gas prices in 2023. While positive overall (a 50 cents a gallon drop in the national price for the year), this forecast, more than ever, contains a lot of precautions.

For example, Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy, warns that if the war in Ukraine takes a wrong turn or China loosens its COVID-19 controls and people suddenly start traveling there again, prices could suddenly skyrocket. Other factors that are always at play are weather and refinery regulations.

As it stands today, however, De Haan said the annual national average price of gasoline in 2023 is forecast to fall nearly 50 cents a gallon from that in 2022, to $3.49. Before you get too excited, though, he also predicts that gas prices will rise steadily starting at the end of winter and continue to rise throughout the spring and summer.

In other words, who really knows?

I guess I’ll just keep playing the gas price game. However, instead of playing “Right Price”, the current situation seems more like “Let’s make a deal”.

Bill Speer recently retired as editor and publisher of The News. He can be reached at bspeer@thealpenanews.com.

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