Why Are Gasoline Prices Staying High?
The old adage about gasoline prices, “up like a rocket, down like a feather,” has never been so true. The price of crude oil in recent days has been down near $80 a barrel, translating to about $1.92 a gallon. But the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline, according to AAA, is stuck at $3.63 a gallon, what it was a month ago.
Economists are cheering the drop in the price of oil, but it won’t do much to help consumers unless the price of fuel comes down as well.
Attached is the AAA national price chart for Wednesday. Note that the gap between the price of oil and the price of gasoline is about $1.80–around twice the recent usual, and the gap has been growing since the beginning of July. Because stations these days turn over their inventory fast, unlike in the old days of mom-and-pop stations, there’s no visible excuse for the retail prices.
I’m often on the side of gasoline retailers when it comes to pricing, because they get squeezed by refiners and price-setting by their suppliers. But wholesale gasoline prices are also dropping sharply, so it looks like the branded retail chains are reaping a bonanza even as drivers suffer as much as ever from a trashed economy.
2/18/2015Blog PostToday’s explosion at the Torrance refinery couldn’t come at a better time—for refiners interested in driving up... More >
1/9/2015News ReleaseSanta Monica, CA -- Following a Nebraska court’s ruling that the Keystone XL pipeline can be built, the nonprofit Consumer... More >
2/6/2015News ReleaseConsumer Watchdog Urges CA Attorney General and Regulators to Investigate Tesoro’s Martinez Refinery Shutdown to Rule Out Gasoline Price ManipulationSanta Monica, CA—Consumer Watchdog today sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Robert Weisenmiller... More >
2/18/2015News ReleaseTwo Refineries Down, Gas Prices Up: Consumer Watchdog Calls For On-Site Inspections To Investigate Price ManipulationSanta Monica, CA—Responding to a shutdown of two refineries that produce 16 percent of the state’s gasoline, Consumer... More >
2/23/2015News ReleaseALERT: California Gas Prices Up More Than 50 Cents Since Tesoro Martinez Refinery Shutdown, Consumer Watchdog Calls For Legislative Hearings into Price ManipulationSanta Monica, CA – Consumer Watchdog said today that the retail price per gallon of gas in California has soared 53 cents... More >