By James Clapham

After finishing my day, I bumped into one of my lovely work colleagues who also happened to be filling up at the local petrol station. After she pointed out that I looked angry at something, I had to assure her that it was just my normal resting face, AKA ‘The Clapham Frown’. My oldest two have both picked up on this as well, especially my two-year-old daughter, who with a creased forehead can look especially cute.

Anyway, said work colleague had her truck, so I challenged her to a race, even though she had started filling up way before me. By the time I had finished and paid, she still had another quarter of a tank to go. I smiled and waved as I went past, happy in my victory where it’s probably the only time that a small car can beat a truck, other than in value for money, reliability, fuel economy and parking in tight spaces. My receipt that sat in the passenger chair reminded me that fuel and all the economies that are related to it cannot, however, be taken for granted.

I remember the time when unleaded petrol got to the £1 per litre mark and the national furore that followed it. It wasn’t much later on until lorry drivers came out in force and blocked portions of the motorway in protest, with unions threatening that it would bring the UK ‘to its knees’ with strikes across the country and blockades of oil facilities. This took years to get to that point. This was also back when oil prices had risen from US$10 to $30 a barrel, and that was a mere 15 years ago.

Mrs. C was a bit shocked after coming back to Canada that ‘gas’ was being sold at under a dollar. She didn’t expect fuel to get that low again within her lifetime, but here we are. Everyone is taking a hit because of it, even down to the guys that clean our streets for us. It was great when prices were low, and then it wasn’t so great when companies started losing workers like a bad case of leprosy. What gets me is that oil prices per barrel aren’t being reflected in our local petrol stations. It’s not like the price of crude is going back to its historic price and apparently there are plenty of companies that are using oil tankers offshore to store oil while it is cheap.

So, what gives, I wonder?