Katrina is expected to send gas prices spiraling again. Not Salman’s chick but the swirling hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico that is emptying out New Orleans right now. You can submit your name to the hurricane names database and several years later, your namesake can come hurtling down the coast, wrecking thousands of lives. I have never understood why you would want to name a natural weather calamity after your name. In India, it is exactly the opposite; I remember a certain Tsunami Menon down south who is going to wonder what exactly her parents were high on. But naming hurricanes can be useful too. As Bill Maher remarks, name the next one Ludachris and see the Carolinas empty out in a second. Evacuations have been a pain as always and I fail to understand why people wait until the last minute to leave town and instead sit in their cars stuck in heavy traffic. Katrina is expected to make a direct impact on the town that is already below sea-level and a slow-moving level 5 hurricane that Katrina is, can wreck untold damage.
Anyway, I digressed majorly when I talked about the hurricane instead of the effect it will have on the gas prices. The hurricane is expected to shut down oil drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, thus cutting down supply. The prices in a small Texan town that I am in right now hover around $2.45-50 (I have even filled gas at 97 cents; damn, I sound like my dad). I wonder if I should fill up before prices rise again or wait it out. But if you also have been cribbing about gas prices lately, you should consider yourselves lucky as compared to European countries or even Japan. The comparison rates are provided in this CNN article that pegs gas prices elsewhere at almost three times the cost available here. The reason cited is that gas is taxed heavily, “with taxes making up as much as 75 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline”. Now that is just enough to make me stop cribbing but then also, most of those countries aren’t fighting a war for oil in Iraq. I wish I could afford a hybrid car; firstly to put my mind at ease regarding polluting the environment and secondly to avoid the frequent gas price spikes.
So people, if you are planning to travel next week, it isn’t too late to fill up and save at least a few bucks. You can send me some later.