Thursday, March 23, 2006

How Much for Gas? or The Summer Blend Mystery

Back in the end of February I was paying $1.99 a gallon for gas and yesterday the price was $2.45. And of course, the price hike arrives as the "Spring Break" season begins, and this morning I see a report from AAA talking about the oil company's mandated changeover to "summer blend" gas.

Yes, the headlines and AAA say it - Summer Blend drives Price Hike.

What the heck is a summer blend and a winter blend?

Being an internet fiend, I Google the phrase. And the "summer blend" was mandated by the EPA back in 2001 by the President's Energy Policy, even found this nifty press release from the EPA which says this new "boutique" of clean fuel programs will "benefit consumers." Then head of the agency, Christie Whitman said:

"
I am concerned that when supplies fall short, due to increased demand or pipeline disruptions, the gasoline prices increase dramatically, as we saw this past summer. EPA requires the use of summer blend fuels to minimize air pollution during the hot summer months. While many factors contributed to the gasoline price spikes this year, we want to ensure that using summer blend fuel is not a contributor to price hikes.

Hmmm. Turns out each state has their own laws and requirements about what fuel should be used in different times of the year - the aforementioned "boutique" - means about 100 different types of summer blends are made. And much of the info is several years old, back when a barrel of crude was less than $30.

So the more I find out, the more confused the information becomes. It all seems to contradict, which also seems to be a trend regarding information and bureaucracy. Gas station owners hate the price hike they say, drivers hate it more, and as Yoda might say "Helpless we all are."

Last week while driving, I decided to tune in to the mindless ravings of Rush Limbaugh. It's good to know what the crazies are thinking. And he's complaining about people who complain about the record multi-billion dollar profits that all the oil companies have been reporting. The fat idiot says if people really want to find something to complain about, it's the rise of property taxes over the last 10 or 15 years, and that if the "average American" understood how that problem has grown then they would take to the streets in masses.

What?

Then I recall how R.L. is a master of the ol' bait-and-switch. Never answer the issue at hand, bring up another one and claim the Evil is there.

The bottom line is oil companies always have an excuse - seasonal changes, clean air laws, Venezuela, Iraq, OPEC, hurricanes, China, natural gas, state gas taxes, yadda yadda yadda. You darned Americans just want everything - adequate supplies, reinvestment of profits, efficient combustion, war, peace, cable TV and better grades fer the kids in school. The reply to your endless need is: Someone has to pay for it. And for the attorneys.

1 comment:

Tennessee Jed said...

The thing about fuel and its producers that really makes my mind spin is the fact when they want to build new refinery facilities the government (we the people) give them land tax free and help finance at low to no interest. Then we are told it is much cheaper here than anywhere else. If you added it up you would find it cost much more than the pump price. Rush is a junkie no need to consider his ideas on taxation. Take away his massive income and he is just another freak on the corner preaching doom for spare change.