What goes up comes down — eventually

If the price of oil shoots up, so does the price of gasoline in Amarillo.

Oil spiked upward the other day by about 4 percent, to something more than $70 a barrel. Look for the price of gas to shoot up any day now at the pump.

But it begs the question: Why does the price go up so quickly, only to creep its way down ever so slowly, even while the price of oil collapses? It happened during the spring after the price of oil fell from $145 a barrel to around $50. Remember when the oil prices were blasting their way through the roof? You couldn’t keep up with the price spikes at the pump, as gas zoomed from a dollar-and-something per gallon to nearly four bucks.

Gasoline dealers blame their suppliers, who they say control the retail price of gas. The dealers have to turn a profit, they say, so they base their pump price on what they pay their wholesalers.

I’m not smart enough to understand the intricacies of all this. Moreover, the mail that comes across my desk during these up-and-down gasoline pricing cycles suggest a lack of understanding among most folks about this stuff. The market moves quickly in one direction, but creeps along like molasses the other way.

I don’t get it.