Whipsawed between emergency and opportunity

I posted an item this morning on Facebook that said the following: Gasoline selling for $1.59/gallon; diesel for $2.17/gallon in Princeton, Texas. Good — no, great! — for consumers.

Where do I began to analyze the irony of that so-called benefit? I’ll give it a try.

The sharp decline in fuel prices seemingly would be a net benefit for a nation reeling under the weight of tragic circumstances brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. I am not going to make a single bit of light over the sadness and heartache associated with the illness and the consequences it has brought.

The falling fuel prices are the result of plummeting demand. Texas has issued a shelter in place restriction, as have many other states. We don’t dare go anywhere. Nothing is open. Plus, we don’t want to put ourselves in jeopardy or possibly others as well. We aren’t burning automobile fuel.

My wife and I drive a big Dodge diesel-powered pickup; it’s our sole motor vehicle. The price of fuel is dropping, although not nearly as rapidly as gasoline prices have declined.

We are unwilling and mostly unable to take advantage of the return of relatively cheap motor fuel.

What will happen when the threat dissipates? Or when governors, mayors and county officials tell us it’s safe enough for us to start resuming our daily lives?

The demand for motor vehicle fuel will return. It will put some additional strain on the supply of the fuel that at this moment is sitting there … in tremendous abundance.

My point is that while the drop in fuel prices looks at first blush like a positive development, it isn’t really … given that the overwhelming worldwide circumstances of the moment are preventing us from taking full advantage of what has occurred.

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