Should we really be complaining about gas prices?

People talk about the cost of fuel almost as much as they discuss the weather. And there’s just as little we can do about gas prices as rain or snow. Ottawa prices have spiked by 25% in the past few days but they’re still not that much higher, when you adjust for inflation, than they were a decade ago. And they’re a lot lower than in many other countries.

For a long time we were fixated on the idea that there was collusion just because competitor prices were so similar, even though that was the case for milk, water and dozens of other consumer products. The main reason we talk so much about gas prices is they’re so visible. Even when we’re not filling up, we see the price posted on every corner.

For some people of very limited means, the rising price is a direct hit. But for most of us, it’s a few extra dollars a week. Unless you have a big storage tank in your trunk and you can stock up, there’s not much you can do about gas prices except complain. Or be thankful the price isn’t even higher.

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