Run a quick search on Google, and you’re likely to discover what many other consumers are finding about industrial salt: the prices of rock salt have been increasing over the last few years.
While these price hikes may not worry most home rock salt or industrial salt consumers, they indicate a trend. The causes of this trend are not clear, but the goal for consumers of industrial salt remains the same: to keep prices fair and low.
Still, some consumers are happy to deal with some changes, while leery of others. Home consumers of rock salt (whether shipped as industrial salt, or purchased over the counter as rock salt) are less likely to protest changes in price, while city officials are more likely to investigate, and perhaps protest price changes in the marketplace. The main concern is that changes in industrial salt prices are the product of price gouges and not the invisible hand of the market.
Price gouging is considered the unfair pricing of a good, usually to take advantage of a global or national situation which creates an emergency. In the case of industrial salt, price gouging occurs when inclement weather affects a specific consumer. While many producers of industrial salt may see these emergencies as the natural product of seasonal changes in the market, civic leaders continue to demand industrial salt at “reasonable” prices which are not raised due to the emergencies created by inclement weather.
Industrial salt usually costs between $50.00 and $60.00 per ton (US), compared to the $15.00 per ton for sand, which is commonly mixed with industrial salt in order to create a road safety formula. While these prices are not dramatically higher than recent years, a sense of global responsibility is encouraged by local and national governments for both producers and distributors of industrial salt.
Concerns that prices are hiked in cases of emergency may not be relevant for businesses where these price changes are expected, and some government officials may wish to take their cues from contingency plans offered by private businesses using industrial salt.
In general, industrial salt prices have only risen marginally, when compared to the dramatic changes in fuels and energy sources over the past two decades. It could be argued that industrial salt price changes only reflect the natural changes in the global economy, reacting to the decrease in value of the US dollar, and inflation or deflation accordingly.