Saint John — Some residents of New Brunswick are starting to distrust the so-called “Gas Guru” and his eerie ability to tell the future. For the past several years, each week CBC reporter Robert Jones has accurately predicted the price of gasoline, diesel and home heating oil in New Brunswick. While Jones has always maintained that he uses a complicated formula of market indicators to accurately predict the price of petroleum products, he is now being accused of using unnatural powers to divine whether costs will go up or down.
Born in Woodstock and raised in Saint John, Jones has been an investigative reporter and producer with CBC Television in New Brunswick since 1990. His reports on politics, business and the justice system have won more than a dozen regional, national and international journalism awards. His 1996 documentary A Matter of Pennies, a look at how oil companies failed to pass a New Brunswick gasoline tax cut onto consumers, was named Canada’s Investigative Story of the Year by the Canadian Association of Journalists.
However, it is Jones’ uncanny ability to accurately predict the price trends of gasoline that has won him the most acclaim from New Brunswickers. “Bob predicted gas was going down 4 cents last week,” gushed Miramichi resident Majorie George. “I waited to fill up, and it did go down 4 cents! I saved like … $2.40 on my fill-up! That’s an extra-large coffee at Tim Hortons. Boo ya!”
In fact, Jones has been so flawless in his predictions that some suspect that his talent for accurately predicting market fluctuations has supernatural origins. A group of suspicious New Brunswickers now believe that Jones’ track record is not due to his well-honed investigative journalism skills, but rather some type of dark sorcery that has granted him prophetic abilities. The source of his paranormal powers is believed to be some sort of pact with the devil, or perhaps a bewitched Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
“It’s just plain unnatural,” said Martin Baines of Petitcodiac. “Bob Jones has got to be some kind of warlock or gypsy. No one can predict the future like that. If he’s so damn smart, why doesn’t he just predict the lottery numbers or the winner of the harness races and retire to some lush golf course in Westfield?”
“He’s definitely up to something,” maintains Sherry Bennett of Norton. “He’s sucking everyone in by saving them literally dozens of dollars per year, and when the moment is right he’ll reveal his true purpose. He’ll do to us what he did to GeoSweep. Poor, sweet GeoSweep … what did it ever do to him anyway?”
“I just don’t trust the guy,” concluded Bennett. “I’m not saying we should have and inquisition or burn him at the stake — this isn’t the 1600s after all. But, we should at least toss a pail of water on the guy and see if he melts or something. Just to be safe.”