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Fuelling the stress

ROb opinion 2000-1333

It makes sense — if you don't think about it.

The new-ish pickup truck parked in front of any suburban house, rural acreage or industrial job site could probably be sold right now for a price that might even be more than it was originally purchased.

Crazy. But it’s happening to people we know.

Huge upward jumps in the prices of essential foods, utilities and medicines are also being seen across our communities and around the world. Stats Can just released information that shows the average grocery cost in a Canadian household has increased 10 per cent over a one-year period.  To some, that may not seem like a lot at first, but consider that is an average of 'all' groceries. Some item's like pasta, have seen increases of almost 25 per cent in the same year. Start doing the math — per week, per month, per year — now factor in that in the same time period the statistics show that Canadians paid by the hour saw an average pay increase of less than four percent ... if they were fortunate enough to get one at all.

Crazy. But it's happening to people we know.

Many simply accept the ‘blink-and-you-missed-it’ price hikes at the gasoline pumps. If you can believe your three-year old F-250 is worth more now than it was in 2019, and a watermelon is now $14, it stands to reason that the gasoline sloshing in an underground tank below the pumps at the neighbourhood gas station — the same fuel that was delivered to the station just two days ago — is now worth 10 cents a litre more.

Crazy. But it's happening right in front of us, to people we know.

And we accept it.

We're paying more for fuel (and therefore more for watermelons, electricity and baby formula) because of the war in Ukraine, because of OPEC issues, the natural resources stock market crash two years ago, COVID ... it seems to be a Perfect Storm more violent than the one that sent the Andrea Gail and her crew to the bottom of the Atlantic near Grand Banks. But looking a little closer, there are some questions about this most recent perfect storm — for one - the massive rebound of the oil and gas markets ... at least the stock markets. Large industrial businesses like Canadian Natural have seen stock prices soar, almost tripling in value over the last 18 months. Raw commodity fuel stocks have mushroomed from being virtually worthless in 2019 to setting all-time highs in recent weeks. And yet the price of fuel to consumers continues to go up like there's a shortage or supply issue. Someone's making money on it — just not most of the people who rely on it to live and work.

Farmers, trucking companies, airlines, taxi cab drivers ... volunteer medical ride-share not-for-profits, the moms and dads trying to get their kids to the next basketball tournament, soccer match or baseball game, someone who just wants a healthy fruit snack for their kids ... they are all affected by these crazy price hikes. Kids go hungry, seniors ration medicines, parents struggle, patients die.

And society watches it happen, baffled by what they are seeing happen to people they know ... until it happens to them.

Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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