Would they have been able to continue operating the refinery? Would it not have made more sense to trade with the refiners? Their leader Humongos was certainly not unintelligent.

  • What did the barbarians have to trade?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 0:02
  • @Valorum: Presumably they had food; they could even offer protection. Being mobile they could offer goods which in fact they could have traded the gasoline of the refinery for. Maybe not that dramatic of the film where everyone gets along, of course.
    – releseabe
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 0:13
  • The goal of the refinery-men was to load up and leave. I suppose the barbarians could have offered them slavery
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 0:14
  • @Valorum: Yes, the refiners probably did not enjoy living where they were. If the barbarians would have let them take the gasoline tanker, it could have been win-win.
    – releseabe
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 0:18
  • No. If they'd let the refiners take the tanker (in return for some of the gas), then the barbarians would have a little gas that'll only last them a few weeks (and a refinery they can't use) and the refiners won't have enough gas to get them to their destination. Lose lose.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


Humungus recognises that the people in the refinery are trying to take what little fuel oil they've been able to turn into gasoline and leave with it and b) that his own people have little or no capacity to run a refinery, even one that's apparently in operation.

“I am greatly disappointed,” the mighty Humungus begins, slowly, deliberately, so that the meaning of his words is not lost on the people who are listening to him in the compound. “I am told you wish to take your gasolene out of the wasteland.”

Mad Max 2 - Official Novelisation

Trading isn't really an option for either side. If Humungus lets the refiners leave he'll have nothing but a worthless asset. If he tries to stop them, it's possible he'll end up with their tanker as well as a slave workforce to run the refinery on ongoing basis and to serve as sexual slaves for his men. Trading isn't an option for the refiners because staying as his slave workforce (even bottled up inside their compound) isn't their goal.

  • well, i would have traded some portion of the gasoline unless there was some time constraint on staying in the compound. i think there is a way to negotiate with even very dangerous people if you can make it the best option for them. but perhaps Humungus is also concerned that he won't be able to control his people in such a civilized but slow arrangement -- he wants all the fuel now otherwise perhaps a battle would occur that would destroy that fuel which of course is the doomsday option the refiners always have.
    – releseabe
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 13:37
  • @releseabe - All you're doing is appeasing someone who wants to kill you. If you give them some gasoline, then they have more gasoline to use to power their vehicles and bring supplies to help murder you
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 13:42
  • No: Being somewhat rational, and having this very unusual source of gasoline, I think an agreement could be come to. If you assert that they, despite the seeming rationality of Humungus, really only want to kill people, want so more than gas and even if H is rational, his people are not, fine: there can be no agreement. But giving half a tanker if they go away, with the threat being that if they continue to attack they blow up the tanker and kill perhaps everyone, seems like a deal that anyone would make.
    – releseabe
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 14:31
  • @releseabe - If they give them half the tanker today, they'll want another half tomorrow. Now you're holed up, working for them and unable to leave. There's a word for that.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 14:32
  • @releseabe - Plus he and his people really seem to like killing and abusing people. He won't just want fuel tomorrow, he'll want some women for his men.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 14:34

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