Refineries, not Arabs hijacked gas prices

October 11, 2012

Something’s missing in this year’s presidential campaign. Candidates Obama and Romney talk about all sorts of issues- granted not in great detail, but at least they talk about them. Just look at how much play the coverage of Big Bird, and Romney’s debate statement that he would cut public television received. Ditto the unemployment crisis.

What no one seems to talk about is gasoline prices. If there is one issue that directly affects our wallets, it is the price we pay at the pump. I do a lot of driving- upwards to 700-800 miles a week which is probably more than most of us, but we all have to pay for gas, and in my opinion, there is no reason it has to be near $4 a gallon.

We were told 6 weeks ago, that we could expect a significant decrease in gasoline. The summer driving season was coming to end, and the summer gasoline mix, which is more expensive to make, was coming to an end. Curiously, prices never came down, like most experts predicted.

In fact in California last week there was a bit of a crisis. Gasoline prices shot up to nearly $6 a gallon. People were getting very concerned. Did we here from either presidential candidate about this crisis- a crisis that directly affected everyone? Not a peep. We heard a lot of talk about issues that have no bearing on the common citizen. But when it comes to our wallet, neither candidate had anything to say.

Come to find out, the crisis was created by a refinery or two in California, that were shutdown. Why? Here we go, can you believe it? For maintenance!!!

Refineries in this country have taken over gasoline pricing. We used to blame the dreaded Arabs, and their OPEC organization. But they give us all the oil we need nowadays. Actually the per barrel price is hovering around $80, far lower than it’s been in a long time.

Refineries have figured out if they slow down production or actually quit it for a week or two for maintenance, the price of gas will remain high, and therefore so will their profit margin. It happened in Illinois earlier this year, now in California.

Gas should really be in the $3.30 to $3.50 range right now. It’s pure greed on the part of U.S. refineries that has kept it artificially high.

Against all my principles, I propose that we start regulating U.S. refineries more. It’s a shame, that they can mess with gas prices. And it’s a shame that the federal and state governments’ allow the refineries to get away with it.

Maybe there are better solutions. But how would we know? Presidential and congressional candidates refuse to address the issue. I find that inexcusable. The one issue that affects us all, is not even being talked about. What the heck?

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