Gas-Price Hell. What's the Damage?

A friend of ours owns two late-model Hondas, a Civic and a last-generation CRV. Yesterday, he spent nearly $80 to fill their tanks with liquid platnum at something like $3.50 a gallon. At the self-service pump, he met a woman with tears in her eyes. Her Ford Expedition had just sucked down most of her Labor Day Weekend barbecue budget, roughly $120 in $4.00 premium. Instead of smoked salmon and chardonnay, she opined, it would be something closer to PBR and Costco dogs. Our sympathy ran out at "Expedition." (Premium? That's like spiking a baloney sandwich with Beluga caviar), considering we've already got a fresh six of PBR on ice, a package of Costco dogs and Toyota MR2 with a full tank. But we're not exactly the mainstream. One reader in Atlanta (thanks, Ron) wrote in that gas had shot to $4.25 per gallon for high-test, but that one station, he said, was asking $6.00, possibly due to panic. What's going on out there, people? Any stories of craziness? Is the Northeast getting slammed by the supply problem alone, or are some stations — whose margins have already been squeezed by their suppliers, to be fair — taking advantage of the panic? Send in your stories to tips@jalopnik.com. [Update: A reader from Atlanta notes the infamous $6/gallon gas was likely an attempt by one station to quell a run on gas, which had been fed by local media editorializing the likelihood of a gas shortage. Thanks, Peter.]

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