JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Union University associate economics professor Kenny Holt, director of Union University’s Center for Business and Economic Development, said people can expect oil prices to rise as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
“If the U.S. follows through with its pledge to hunt down those responsible, there will be ramifications in the Middle East,” said Holt, who is based in Jackson, Tenn. “Oil production and shipment will be negatively impacted, which will result in an increase in the price of a barrel of oil and will eventually make its way to the gas pumps and to utility companies.” Holt did stress, though, that this would be a long-term result, which would not be evident right away.
Immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon Sept. 11, however, reports surfaced throughout the country of people lined up at gas stations, alarmed about a possible rise in price and low supplies and rumors of independent gas stations that had raised the price of gas drastically, ranging from $2 to $4 a gallon. Major companies such as Exxon-Mobile were quick to announce they would not raise prices.
“The panic is unwarranted,” Holt said of the rush on gas stations. “There is only going to be a lack of fuel if people significantly alter their buying patterns and individual stations run out of gas. That will be a temporary impact only. Stores will have more gas as soon as the next delivery comes.”
As far as the price gouging was concerned, Holt said the practice is absolutely wrong.
“Profiting on the misfortune of others is unethical and has no place in business,” he said. “Gas stations, hotels, convenience stores, grocery stores, etc. that have raised their prices in response to the tragedy are acting on a motive of pure unbridled greed and a lack of concern for our fellow man.”
Holt said most businesses throughout the nation are responding to the tragedy appropriately, with many businesses in New York City going out of their way to aid those who were affected.
He also gave a suggestion on how to handle businesses taking advantage of the crisis situation: “As consumers we have a very powerful weapon at our disposal — our pocketbooks. We need to pay attention and reward those businesses who have shown compassion and concern for community during this time. We also need to take our business away from those businesses who are engaging in price gouging.”