Thursday, September 22, 2005

Days I wish I understood GIS better 

While in Portsmouth (my parents, who I visited for Mom's birthday last weekend, live nearby in southern Maine) we stopped at a grocery store. The folks like bananas in their morning cereal, so we went to buy some at a Super WalMart. They were 64 cents a pound. "Oh!" Mom said. "We're not going to pay that!" After prices had stayed steady through summer, banana prices appear to have gone up a good bit, because it turns out many of our bananas come through Gulfport, MS, which is still more than a week away from reopening after Katrina.

So that got me thinking about shipping and I found an article from the University of Delaware, complete with a pretty cool map showing shipping lanes. It is interesting that they say "the bright red line to the Port of Houston represents primarily oil imports to the region." And more will go there diverted from the damaged ports. So if Rita is indeed heading towards Houston, it may have a fairly big impact on gas prices. Up more than $.14 at one time today, they closed up 7.7 cents to $2.13 (they were around $1.89 late last week.)

Look at it this way: There are four refineries still down from Katrina; there are 21 in the path of Rita. (Source.) If it's that big a hit and the storm is moving towards Houston, why have gas prices not moved more?? Maybe I need to look at these maps more.