Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gas prices

Driving home yesterday evening I received a pleasant surprise.  In the last several days the gas station that I usually frequent had let its gas price rise by 6 cents a gallon in the last few days.  For several weeks the price had stayed the same—an indication that I hoped meant gas prices had stabilized. 
After all, a Reuters story on Sunday said that gas price increases had slowed dramatically nationwide and were in fact dropping in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and markets in the West and Midwest.  Because some refineries have closed, the remaining are under less pressure to raise prices to make margins because they are producing more. 
Demand at home are not driving prices up because U.S. consumers are using 4% less from a year ago.  And the reality is that our nation is awash with oil with Saudi Arabia having increased shipments to the U.S. by 25% in the first quarter of this year and just contracted with an oil tanker company to keep that supply level coming.  Even the Saudi Oil Minister has said that recent oil prices are unjustified.
But in spite of all these good signs there was that slight increase in gas at my station over the last few days. 
So just as I was ready to turn my wrath on the petroleum industry and Wall Street traders for unjustified gas price hikes, the price dropped a few pennies and let the air out of my anger.  But if prices don’t keep coming down as they should, I’ll be back on the attack.

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