Exploring gas price mysteries (5×8 – 5/25/11)

Do gas prices go down as fast as they go up, whites as victims of racism, get to know a Minneapolis neighborhood, the need to see what a tornado looks like, and why letters matter in New Ulm


Gas prices are dropping in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. The retreat from $4 gasoline began has dropped the price of gas to below $3.80 and in many cases, below $3.70. We’ve all heard the allegation that gas dealers drop the price a lot slower than they raise it. Is it true? Caution: Complete lack of statistical science ahead.

Gas stations set the cost at the pump based on the cost of replacing it from the wholesaler. Over the winter, it seemed as though a big jump in the wholesale price hit the pump by the next day. So this month, I’ve kept track of the wholesale price of gasoline in the commodity markets and compared it to the average price in the Twin Cities the next day.

The result? Prices didn’t go up any faster than they went down. And, for the most part, they tracked the wholesale price appropriately, timing-wise. And while the wholesale price has dropped about 11 cents a gallon, the retail price has dropped around 16 cents.

Wholesale price
Retail price next day

The drop in prices recently may come too late for a lot of people. Forty percent of those taking an online survey at the Fargo Forum say they’ve canceled summer plans because of the cost of fuel.


Whites think they’re the new victims of racism, a new poll shows. Live Science reports the study suggests whites see racial equality as a “zero sum” game in which one group can’t prosper unless another group suffers.

The biggest difference, however, was that whites believe that anti-white bias has increased as anti-black bias has decreased. On average, the researchers found, whites rated anti-white racism as more prevalent in the 2000s than anti-black bias by more than a full point on a 10-point scale. Eleven percent of whites said whites are currently “very much” targets of discrimination, compared with 2 percent of blacks who said blacks are “very much” discrimination targets.

“These data are the first to demonstrate that not only do whites think more progress has been made toward equality than do blacks, but whites also now believe that this progress is linked to a new inequality — at their expense,” the researcher says.


How much do you think you know about the neighborhoods of Minneapolis? The new blog, Minneapolis 81, is providing tours of the city’s neighborhoods, and it’s worth keeping an eye on. Up this week is the St. Anthony East tour.

(h/t: Julia Schrenkler)


It’s only a matter of time before we see a TV storm chaser killed live. This was the coverage on KFOR in Oklahoma City yesterday afternoon. The only thing missing is the flying cow.

When the sirens go off — if they go off — is it a warning to seek shelter, or a warning to go get the camera and head outside?

The heartbreaking stories from Joplin are mounting. Two, in particular, have gotten national attention because of Facebook. Skyular Logsdon, a 16 month old, was ripped from his parents and hasn’t been found.

Skyular’s parents, Cord Logsdon, 21, and C.J. Tate, 18, are still in the hospital. So are his grandparents. When the storm struck, other relatives living nearby and in Oklahoma, like Skyular’s great-aunt Ronda Cheek, 45, and great-uncle Frank Reynolds, 47, and the boy’s great-grandmother, Sue Slaughter, 67, had no clue what had become of the family.

Frantic with worry, they called police and hospitals. Finally, they came up, and over two days of searching they tracked family members to hospitals in Joplin and in Parsons, Kan., and Pittsburg, Kan.

Cheek says she can still hear the knee-weakening first words of Skyular’s grandmother, Robin Logsdon, 47, when they entered her hospital room.

“Skyular’s gone!”

Here’s the Facebook page the family is running.

Will Norton is also still missing. He was riding in a car with his father when the tornado struck. The tornado ripped his seat belts off and sucked him through the sunroof of the car.

The Facebook page the family set up is allowing people to share the anguish

Good morning everyone. We’re getting the day started. As always, thank you so much for your prayers. Maybe today is the day. I’ll keep all of you updated as I get news. Keith is our cousin who helped getting the press coverage for Will, Mark, Sara and Trish. Please keep posting. It really lifts us up knowing so many care. God bless you all today. Aunt Tracey


A siding crew showed up at 210 South Franklin St. in New Ulm last week to rip off the siding and install the new exterior. They were supposed to be at 210 North Franklin St.


Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis has announced that it will stop charging for admission to its shows. Potential patrons had identified ticket prices as a barrier. Today’s Question: How big a role do ticket prices play in your choice of entertainment options?


I’m out “in the field” for much of the day today and posting will be light. I’ll try to put up a lengthy post on what I’m doing this evening, which means there probably won’t be a 5×8 tomorrow morning.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Recovering from natural disasters.

Second hour: Charles Fishman, journalist and author of “The Big Thirst.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: A preview of the commemoration of Humbert Humphrey’s 100th birthday.

Second hour: An American Abroad documentary on women in Afghanistan.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Ken Rudin, NPR’s political editor.

Second hour: The auto industry bailout.

  • V

    Oooh, I completely understand that New Ulm screwup. When I lived in Omaha on 51st Street, a crew dumped a load of lumber right in our driveway, scaring the bejesus out of us. It turned out it was intended for the garage project one block to the west on 51st Avenue, same address.

    That said, in the initial tornado coverage, some of the south Minneapolis people I follow on Twitter were confused because the TV weather folks were throwing out 42nd and Lyndale without ever saying the words Avenue, North or north Minneapolis.

  • Erica

    I sure wish someone would come and rip the siding off of my house accidently so that we could get free new siding!