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Gas Prices Jump; California Hardest Hit

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the swedes-and-brits-will-cry-us-a-river dept.

The Almighty Buck 402

New submitter jefery23 writes with this excerpt from an Associated Press article (as carried by the Denver Post): "Californians woke up to a shock Friday as overnight gasoline prices jumped by as much as 20 cents a gallon in some areas, ending a week of soaring costs that saw some stations close and others charge record prices." Friday's jump followed another big one just a day earlier, too. Texas gas prices have gone up, but not quite so dramatically ($3.59 at the station nearest to me); how are they in your neck of the woods? Those Bloom boxes and charging stations can't arrive too soon.

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Yeah but... (1, Flamebait)

dtmancom (925636) | about 2 years ago | (#41568139)

Yeah but, according to the Labor Department gas prices had already dropped in California, so be happy.

Re:Yeah but... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568521)

can't believe you pay what, $3.60 per gallon. jesus we had such prices 20 years ago. Calculating from litres to gallons,and from USD to EUR, they charge $8.64 a gallon here, in germany. everyone excluding me stop complaining;)

Re:Yeah but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568781)

Other countries tend to have higher gas prices than the USA because of taxes levied to support various social programs. Our high prices go to fill corporate coffers.

Re:Yeah but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568865)

We hear that all the time, about how high European prices are.

However, across the pond, people there live far closer together, and have a lot more options than a car. You have trains, trams, streetcars, buses, teleport pads out of Larry Niven books, and roads that are in good repair. In Europe, people can live in a city core and not get a 9mm round to the cranium because some 15 year old is needing to take a video of gunning down a tourist for their "blood in" ritual.

In the US, to live within walking distance of a job, you have to be pretty rich. Bicycling distance is different, but if you don't get run over (hit and runs are extremely common, and the local PD doesn't bother with the case unless someone has something obvious like video of it), you are an easy moving target for gangbangers. As soon as you park and lock your bike up, there is a good chance that it either will be completely missing or not all there (wheels, forks, seats, etc.) Buses? It can take 3-4 hours to get just a few miles due to bad routes, and usually homeless people tend to set up their bedrooms, bathrooms, and soliciting centers in them. Of course, people can mention motorcycles, and they are fast, thrifty on gas, and don't take up much space. However, every rider I know has some sort of permanent injury they got from riding, usually courtesy of a car desiring the space the motorcycle was currently taking up.

So, for most Americans who can't afford to live in the high zoot residential townhomes, a car is a necessity. Yes, it sucks, but that is how life is. You won't find any help from the government anytime soon thanks to all the dollars being poured in to prop up political candidates with the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" meme which is turning the country into some Ayn Randish circle of Hell [1].

[1]: It cracks me up when people call themselves Christian, and then talk about Ayn Rand's philosophy. They are mutually exclusive, and anyone who doesn't see this either hasn't read the Bible or Atlas Shrugged, or is just plain ignorant.

Charging Stations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568141)

$4.19 is Western Washington. You are complaining about $4+ gas but think it is ok to spend $40,000+ on an e-car and use a charging station..... Where will the charging station get its power from? Coal, natural gas.... try to think it through.

Re:Charging Stations? (2)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#41568191)

Economy of scale.

It's probably seen as more efficient to have a single large power generator burn the fuel and turn it into electricity that gets converted to mechanical energy; then hundreds of thousands of smaller less efficient generators burn it and turn it into mechanical energy.

Re:Charging Stations? (2)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41568353)

That's not really it. It depends on where your generating capacity is coming from. If it's coming from coal plants, you shouldn't buy an electric car—gas is cleaner. If it's coming from wind, you should definitely buy an electric car if it makes economic sense to you personally. The Chevy Volt is a nice compromise if you have a sub-30-mile commute. It would be nice if generation source information were readily available, but of course nobody has any incentive to publish it—electric car manufacturers want you to buy the car, and power companies want you to buy the power. I suppose oil companies would want you to not buy the electric car, but their incentive exists regardless of what the local generating capacity comes from. Government could do it, but they're busy being drowned in a bathtub at the moment.

The NY Times did a pretty good map of the carbon impact of electrical generation sources [nytimes.com] back in April, but I don't think they're maintaining it.

Re:Charging Stations? (1)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41568409)

(It looks like the NY Times' data source was the Union of Concerned Scientists; unfortunately, their map is also static.)

Re:Charging Stations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568897)

Search the web for Dept of Energy EIA, they have monthly reports that break down electricity production by fuel type.

Re:Charging Stations? (5, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | about 2 years ago | (#41568909)

That's not really it. It depends on where your generating capacity is coming from. If it's coming from coal plants, you shouldn't buy an electric car—gas is cleaner. If it's coming from wind, you should definitely buy an electric car if it makes economic sense to you personally.

Actually, You're missing the entire point of an electric car. People think you should get one because of environmental concerns. The reasons to get one are entirely economic, and the tipping point is almost here (if not already). Electric cars use far cheaper electricity for their operation. the EPA has an MPGe rating that gives a pretty good comparison of the *cost* of fuel. This means that for the cost of the electricity on average, you could use gas and get that same mileage for you money. There is a reason that Electric cars are rated in the high double digits or low triple digits. I own a Miev, and the cost of my daily commute is so low I haven't noticed the difference on my monthly utility bill. I drive about 30 miles a day 5 Days a week. The vehicle cost me $490 / month for 72 months. The cost of Electricity I have estimated to be about $23-$26 / month. Now comes the good part: Cost of electricity is really very stable, and does not increase very fast. That means that in 5 years when gas is $6 / gallon, and you are spending $250+ / month on gas, I will still be spending $25. Also, Gasoline engines are complex and easily damaged through mishandling and improper maintenance. A gas engine really only has a life expectancy of about 5,000 to 10,000 hours (200 to 400 k miles). Electric motors with MTBF of 50,000+ hours are not uncommon. That means that the motor in your electric car is likely to out-live you. The Motor controllers (if properly designed) have only one part with a low MTBF, and if properly designed, this $10 part should be swappable on the controller. My Miev has coolant, but it doesn't run hot, so there is little likelihood of normal operating resulting in damage to the cooling system. Regenerative braking significantly reduces the wear load on the brakes making them last for 3x or 4x longer. In all, my only real expense in the first 5 years will be tires... I expect that reduction in maintenance costs alone will save a further $40 / month. Now lets add it all up and figure out the ROI. First, We will use three use cases: the first 200,000 miles, 400,000 and 1,000,000. For 200,000 miles, the gas car uses 8,000 gallons of gas at an average of $5 per gallon (remember this has to include reasonable price increases over the next 14 years). That comes to $40,000 for gas. The cost of the vehicle is about $20,000. The cost of maintenance is about $5,500. (oil changes brakes and tires. Total cost is $65,500 for 14 years and the car is basically on its last legs. Many parts on the verge of failure, unreliable. Now take the electric: Base cost $35,000. Cost of fuel is $4,000 ($25 per month for 168 months). Maintenance costs $1,750. Total cost is $40,750, and the car is mostly in running order with one caveat: It needs a new battery. Todays cost: $10,000 (eight years from now this cost is expected to be half what it is today. Total cost for 14 years: $50,750. The electric has a clear advantage.

Now for the 400k miles scenario:

for the second 200,000 miles, the gas vehicle costs an additional $56,000 in gas (gas went up to $7 average for the period, an increase of 28% over 14 years (2% inflation). Costs of maintenance have soared as all the moving parts have worn out and needed to be replaced. $7,300. Total cost for the second 14 years: $64,300. The electric costs have gone up also. Electricity now costs $35 / month (2% across 14 years), so the cost comes to $5,900. Cost of maintenance includes another battery replacement for an additional $10,000 plus the regular $1,800. Lets add in an additional $4000 X-factor just to cover incidentals, like maybe we fried a motor controller, or some other unexpected weakness in this particular cars design. Total: $21,700.

So after 30 years, with the electric, you still have a car with a useful remaining lifespan measured in decades, and you have spent a total of $72,450. The gas vehicle OTOH has cost you $129,800. So after 30 years, my electric will have saved me around $50,000. That includes the cost (at today's prices) of two complete batteries, which will more than likely not cost nearly as much as I have quoted in 10 years. That is also using a very low estimate for increases in gasoline cost, and nominal increases in electricity cost. Realistic estimates would widen the gap dramatically. Also, at the end of that 30 years, my electric still has real value, you can throw the gas car away. It was only a $20k car originally anyway, and would probably have been thrown out much sooner because it was so horribly unreliable.

As you can see the 1,000,000 mile use case is no longer apples to apples. My Miev will still be on the road at that point (barring accident), and your Civic wont be, not by a decade or more. This is one of the main reasons I am considering getting an S in spite of the high sticker price. Its a car I can really enjoy for the rest of my life. In fact, it could conceivably outlive my children.

Electric cars are cheaper already today. The Miev would be worth buying at twice the price. People just haven't thought through the real cost, and are just working on sticker shock. Its the same reason we can't keep ourselves out of financial trouble. as a society, Americans never take the long view.

-=Geoskd

Re:Charging Stations? (2)

Nullsmack (189619) | about 2 years ago | (#41568295)

Yeah because everyone knows you can't use solar and wind to charge your car. I mean, this guy does it: http://www.rowetel.com/blog/?p=78 but that's a stupid idea up there with the solar (charged) flashlight! All that crap about hydroelectric dams, tidal power, geothermal and other green energy is just made up by liberals.. those things don't exist either and never will.

As we all know, if it involves change, or it's harder than flipping a switch then it's just plain not worth doing. That's the exact attitude that put a man on the moon, for sure!

Problem solved, now we can all go back to watching TV and doing nothing.

Re:Charging Stations? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41568643)

All that crap about hydroelectric dams, tidal power, geothermal and other green energy is just made up by liberals.. those things don't exist either and never will.

I'd love (love) to see your charge your electric car from solar where I live. You might be able to make it down the street a few weeks a year. Snow, clouds, rain, and the simple fact that there is only ~8 hours of sunlight during the winter means it is almost impossible to use that here. Wind is never reliable, almost anywhere, even at the best of times. Hydroelectric? There is some, but that takes a massive amount of land, and is rather dangerous, if the dam breaks (in one instance killing 100,000+ people, but that is nearly worst case). Also, expensive. Tidal? The nearest ocean is ~1,000 miles away, good luck with that. Geothermal? Yeah, can't do that either. So unless you expect to pipe the power thousands of miles (expensive, wasteful, and difficult to maintain), none of that is going to work for me, or large sections of the world's population.

Nuclear? Works fantastic! Probably powering this computer as I speak. Other than that, it's pretty much all fossil fuels and a little bit of hydro (which is pretty limited in it's expansion options).

Re:Charging Stations? (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 2 years ago | (#41568787)

There is this neat electric grid thing we have where you can get power produced elsewhere delivered to you.

Also, the Banqiao dam wasn't only for electric generation, it was also for flood control (which it obviously failed catastrophically at during a bad typhoon). It probably would have existed, and subsequently still failed, even if it hadn't been used for hydroelectric. It's also hard to determine exactly which deaths would and would not have been caused by the typhoon if the dam hadn't been built.

Re:Charging Stations? (2)

isopropanol (1936936) | about 2 years ago | (#41568335)

$5.22 equivalent ($1.389/L) on Vancouver Island, and here it would get it's power from Hydroelectric, possibly a small amount from wind and industrial CHP.

Re:Charging Stations? (5, Informative)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 2 years ago | (#41568517)

Washington State Electrical Power (2011) [wa.gov] (PDF)

73% Hydroelectric
14% Coal
8% Natural Gas
3% Nuclear
1.12% Wind
0.49% Biomass
0.37% Waste
0.08% Petroleum
0.05% Landfill gasses
0.02% Geothermal
0.03% Other

When you have to lie to make a point, you should realize that your point is not worth making.
=Smidge=

That isn't very much, really (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#41568147)

20 cents on $4 is only 5%. Being as California is probably paying a fair bit above $4, that would put the percentage even lower. I'm surprised they would make a big deal out of it if it one just one moment in time. If it was 5% in one day, for several days in a row, that would be more noticeable, but this is barely above the variance you'd likely find between two gas stations.

Re:That isn't very much, really (4, Informative)

Local ID10T (790134) | about 2 years ago | (#41568337)

Wednesday morning, I noticed some gas stations near me (silicon valley, ca) had raised their prices by $0.40 or more since the previous day. By Thursday, all the local gas stations had caught up. That is approximately a 9% jump. If prices went up again yesterday (which I haven't noticed...) then the overall increase this past week is more like 15%.

Re:That isn't very much, really (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568651)

For crying out loud, this is a typical day-to-day change out here surrounded Chicago. It's been jumping up and down from 10 to 30 cents a day all damn year and rarely stays below $3.99 for long.

Re:That isn't very much, really (1)

bmimatt (1021295) | about 2 years ago | (#41568671)

It was more than 5%, more like 10% in San Diego.  I saw highest octane gas at 5.09 yesterday.

Supply and Demand (3, Insightful)

bit trollent (824666) | about 2 years ago | (#41568149)

An improving economy demands more gasoline.

Since supplies are already so tight that we are increasingly using extreme sources of oil like very deep sea drilling and oil sands, we should expect to pay more for gasoline.

I hope you've all been buying fuel efficient cars...

Re:Supply and Demand (1)

ZosX (517789) | about 2 years ago | (#41568173)

Don't you mean China's improving economy? We've already lost half our middle class. I don't see the improvement unless you count new walmarts progress.

Re:Supply and Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568283)

Don't you mean China's improving economy? We've already lost half our middle class. I don't see the improvement unless you count new walmarts progress.

I blame the Underpants Elves. They finally figured out the '???".

Re:Supply and Demand (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568237)

Gasoline prices jumped by 12 cents per litre in British Columbia Canada on Thursday

Re:Supply and Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568367)

Supplies of refined product are tight. Not petroleum. That is because no new refineries are being built in the US. This has nothing to do with economic activity.

Re:Supply and Demand (2)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 2 years ago | (#41568607)

No new refineries in the US, and yet refinery capacity is nearly at an all-time high [eia.gov] .

It's about quality, not quantity. There are no new refineries being built because we've been improving the existing ones so much. We have the capacity to refine more fuels now than at any point in the past 30 years.

Try again, Mr. Coward.
=Smidge=

Who controls the oil? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568379)

The largest contributers to the republican party represent "Big Oil" and "Big Coal". Could this be a ploy to weaken the economy and increase the chances of their candidate being elected?

Re:Supply and Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568445)

The situation in California is not just due to the economy. California is switching to their winter blend, and the Exxon refinery and Phillips refinery are having (unrelated) problems. So the supply side is getting squeezed badly.

Re:Supply and Demand (1)

maxdread (1769548) | about 2 years ago | (#41568775)

Would be rather nice if California could at least import their gas from out of state, yay for special regulations.

BTW we aren't switching to the winter blend yet, we can't switch off the special summer blend until the end of October.

Re:Supply and Demand (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41568467)

Why should I buy an econobox? I ain't no tree hugger! Go drill everywhere, and things will be fine. This peak oil thing is just a bunch of hippies got their panties in a twist.

(The first person to answer with "I know you're being sarcastic, but..." is our official lamer of the day.)

Re:Supply and Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568475)

I got my car as a hand-me-down from my parents. It has mediocre fuel efficiency, but I figure it's cheaper to keep driving it than to risk it by buying a more fuel-efficient car, plus making a car itself isn't zero-footprint on the environment. I mean, it has over 150k miles in it and some minor body damage, so you can't really sell it for much, but it works quite nicely. Would you do anything differently in my place?

Re:Supply and Demand (1)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#41568813)

Well, crude futures dipped the past week due to the economy, so it wouldn't be accurate to conclude that pump price increase is indicative of an "improving economy". Remember there's a lag of a month or so between the two, and if you look at this year's historical data, you'd see that crude was trading at its lowest in June, which translated to July having the lowest pump price this year. Likewise, we saw the trading price increase in August followed by a jump up to $100 in September, which is likely why we're seeing the pump price go up this month.

6-month charts here
http://gasbuddy.com/gb_retail_price_chart.aspx [gasbuddy.com]
http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/future/crude%20oil%20-%20electronic [marketwatch.com]

Re:Supply and Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568867)

An improving economy demands more gasoline.

Since supplies are already so tight that

Supplies are not tight. Look at the price of oil and the price of gas. Compare the price of gas today and the price of gas back in 2008. Compare the price of oil today and the price of oil back in 2008.

While there is collusion in the oil industry, the collusion in the gas industry is even worse.

Shrinking economy and inflation (1, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#41568913)

This is not exactly supply and demand issue, this is a shrinking economy and inflation issue. The shrinking economy causes people to use less gasoline and inflation causes nominal prices to rise (while real prices are actually falling due to the deflation, so if you measure oil in gold, then you'll see that the prices are falling, not rising).

As the productivity in USA and Europe shrinks, more of the product is distributed to the productive nations, which are able to buy more of that product, but this causes supply irregularities in the countries with less supply.

The situation is similar to what happens in the meat market due to inflation and other factors (like drought). As the supply of feed is reduced due to higher input costs because of inflation and as less supply is produced due to other factors like drought, the farmers start getting rid of their animals, they slaughter more and the prices can fall temporarily. However once that glut of meat is consumed, the overall supply of the animals is reduced and the prices for meat products will jump up.

I believe you are observing the same phenomena right now with oil prices and it's due to higher nominal cost of oil drilling and refining due to inflation as well as lower purchasing power by the population due to the inflation and due to the shrinking economy.

As a side note, the funny jobs numbers that came out (unemployment down to 7.8%) are indeed quite educating to the political situation in USA. 10,000 jobs were added in government and 16,000 jobs were lost in manufacturing sector in September (22,000 manufacturing jobs lost in August). However a 'household survey' shows that 873,000 jobs were created in September [marketwatch.com] , this is the highest number of jobs added in one months since 1983. 66% of these jobs are part time, so the U6 number is unchanged (just under 15%) in September (number of underemployed people as well of those who are unemployed). Don't forget that every revision that comes out the next month revises the job growth numbers down and elections are in November. Don't forget that Obama's white house pressured the military (and other) contractors not to send out pink slips to their employees, who will be fired in 2 months and who must be notified 60 days prior, the white house promised all those contractors to take care of the penalties that they will incur due to this malpractice, this is clearly a violation and manipulation aimed at winning the elections, which is likely highly illegal.

  A week ago GDP numbers came out, not that anybody should actually take those numbers at face value, they are absolutely misreported, but even as they are, they were revised down for the second quarter from 1.7 to 1.3%, and this is after using a completely fake deflator of 1.6%. How is it possible that the economy that is "growing" (officially) by 1.6% is adding all these jobs to take the unemployment down to 7.8%? The truth of course is that the economy is shrinking and if the real inflation number is used, then it becomes immediately obvious. Even if the inflation number is only 3%, then the economy is shrinking, because the pre-deflator GDP is 2.9%. The inflation is a few times bigger than that though, so adding jobs in a shrinking economy sound very fishy.

---

Think about this: the official deflator for the GDP is 1.6% [bls.gov] . Here is a chart of CPI [global-rates.com] . That's the reported number. The revised GDP is 1.3% [bea.gov] Which is down from 1.7% earlier, before the revision. The U6 unemployment number is 15%. [portalseven.com] Americans are using less gasoline today than they were 6 years ago, 4 years ago, 2 years ago and 1 year ago [businessinsider.com] .

Yet the prices for gasoline are jumping up by almost 10%, is this consistent with a growing economy and is it consistent with supply / demand curve?

No, what this is consistent with is inflation. The prices for gasoline are going down in gold but they are going up in dollars. The dollars are created out of thin air by the Federal reserve and the other central banks create their respective currencies, and that's why the prices for all commodities and products and energy and food around around the world are going up in nominal terms, yet they are falling in real money, which is consistent with the global economic contraction.

This is a deflation in real terms and it's inflation in nominal terms and this nominal inflation is created by the central banks and it is hurting the people, and it hurts the poor who are living paycheck to paycheck more than it hurts the rich, who are able to hedge themselves into various assets and out of the way of inflation.

Obama will fix it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568151)

Just be patient and don't vote for Mitt the Shit!

why california? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568153)

What's special about CA that made them have a higher increase than the rest of us?

Re:why california? (4, Informative)

JazzHarper (745403) | about 2 years ago | (#41568391)

What's special about CA that made them have a higher increase than the rest of us?

California has different gasoline formulation standards than the rest of the country, so gasoline cannot be brought in from other states. At this time of year, they are switching from the state-mandated "summer formulation" to "winter formulation", so inventories are low. Then, there was a refinery fire in August, which shut down some of the state's gasoline production. Combine those factors and you have all the necessary conditions for shortages.

Re:why california? (3, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41568435)

A local refinery lost power and shut down for a while.

It's our own fault. (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 2 years ago | (#41568163)

We've been closing down refineries for many, many years in the US due to low profit margins. Basically, it's a lot more lucrative to get the crude out of the ground and sell it as a raw product than it is to turn it into something useful. Now we're left with no spare refining capacity and as soon as something happens, the laws of supply and demand send the price skyrocketing. And there's almost always something happening somewhere. That's why even when we have a surplus of crude (and we often do), gas prices don't really reflect it. And why opening the SPR would do very little to bring down gasoline prices unless there was a true break in the crude supply chain, not just refinery problems.

Re:It's our own fault. (1)

mc6809e (214243) | about 2 years ago | (#41568249)

We've been closing down refineries for many, many years in the US due to low profit margins.

Hardly.

Much industry in the USA is seen as dirty, dangerous, and bad for the environment.

Refineries aren't built usually because the people through the democratic process refuse to allow them to be built.

Re:It's our own fault. (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41568513)

Yeah, the free market sucks. If you want a product, you have to pay enough to have it. Not everything can be shipped off to another country with more reasonable costs.

Oh, but there is. There are countries, such as Nigeria, with crude basically as good as the US, and we could work with the nigerian government to pay more and make the situation better, but instead we have this US first philosophy, in which we ship expensive canadian oil across the US and risk the US environment for fake crude that costs more.

Or perhaps we can outsource more refining, and hold strategic reserves of refined product that can be used in cases where US refiners are unable to do the job they are paid to do, or simply are not able to utilize efficiencies that allowed other industries to run at prices consumers are willing to pay.

one one hand the oil industry wants us to believe it is all roses and they would never gouge us on prices and we just have to pay what they want, OTOH, when we talk alternatives to petroleum they bring out the big guns and makes sure it does not happen. Like the lie that most alternative energy companies have failed, or at least they have failed at a high rate than emerging companies.

Re:It's our own fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568871)

Bullocks. The USA is importing crude oil like mad, because refined gasoline is our biggest export. Refineries are insanely profitable. Compare the cost of crude now to what it was 5 and 10 years ago. US oil production has also gone up like mad the past five years.

Rigged, because of the presidential debate (1, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#41568183)

The prices have been artificially raised, because of the presidential debate. Just like the unemployment rate has fallen or not fallen.

Now, I can't figure out which candidate thinks he benefits from higher gas prices.

So maybe just like the unemployment rate has fallen or not fallen, maybe the gas prices haven't jumped . . . or jumped.

Re:Rigged, because of the presidential debate (1)

hedgemage (934558) | about 2 years ago | (#41568277)

My kneejerk reaction was to think "Oil companies want an 'R' to win so they make prices high while a 'D' is in office." But then I realized that this was baseless without some facts. What I would like to see is a map of the US showing average gas price by state, overlaid by a map of which states tend to vote R or D, overlaid with refinery locations, overlaid with oil producing states. Then, I would have a lot of data, and still nothing to go on but correlation.

sigh

Re:Rigged, because of the presidential debate (1)

krammit (540755) | about 2 years ago | (#41568359)

I seem to remember a comment from the debate where Obama mentioned he wanted to end oil company subsidies. I'd be very interested in seeing that map now that you mention it...

Re:Rigged, because of the presidential debate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568341)

The republican candidate benefits from high gas prices. Don't you know that the GOP has been blaming Obama for gas prices?

See, what they should do is just sell gas/oil on the international market and let the price fall or rise to its fair market value!

Spoiled americans (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568193)

It is beyond me how americans can complain about gas prices. In Sweden people pay more than twice as much, and everyone seems to be fine with it. On top of that, americans have even more money to spend than do swedes. So, are americans cheap, or just spoiled?

Re:Spoiled americans (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41568491)

It's because it's all relative. We don't see $4 a gallon, we see that it's double than we had a few years ago and we have to modify our budgets accordingly. The price of gas in Sweden doesn't change that.

Re:Spoiled americans (1, Informative)

mc6809e (214243) | about 2 years ago | (#41568539)

It is beyond me how americans can complain about gas prices. In Sweden people pay more than twice as much, and everyone seems to be fine with it. On top of that, americans have even more money to spend than do swedes. So, are americans cheap, or just spoiled?

Neither. We're just a terribly spread-out and need lots of fuel.

My Czech friend's parents marveled constantly while here about how distant everything was from everything else. "You need to drive just to get a loaf of bread?" Yep.

I don't think Europeans understand just how large the USA relative to Europe and how less populated it is (perhaps a result of seeing Mercator projection maps that exaggerate Europe's size).

Consider this: the distance from San Diego, California, USA to Bangor, Maine, USA is greater than the distance from Stockholm, Sweden to Delhi, India.

Re:Spoiled americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568731)

You drive from San Diego to Bangor to get a loaf of bread? Why not just walk to the local corner store?

Seriously, if you live in a city, you don't need a car. Unless you *think* you need a car.

~ 38 years old and never owned a car. (Or bicycle.)

Re:Spoiled americans (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568855)

Google maps would seem to disagree with you

Cry me a river... (5, Interesting)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#41568197)

On this side of the pond, we're paying a bit under $8/gallon...

Re:Cry me a river... (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#41568265)

You're paying for taxes, for your government, you're not paying that much for the gas itself.

Re:Cry me a river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568403)

Then again, you aren't paying for all of the gas; there's subsidies "for innovation" or somesuch malarky.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568741)

Yep. His $8 gas comes with a free coupon for cities designed so you don't have to drive that much, and healthcare that actually works.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568869)

Meanwhile of course American gas is heavily subsidized by the us government to stay "cheap" while millions of Americans go without health care. The difference is that Americans think cheap gasoline is a fundamental right while everyone sees thinks like basic health care as slightly more important.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#41568355)

Well one reason for the gas taxes here is that we can manipulate them to evade sudden spikes such as this. The market is good at adapting to high prices when they change smooth enough.

Re:Cry me a river... (0)

afgam28 (48611) | about 2 years ago | (#41568399)

You can't really compare gas prices around the world like that. In the United States, high gas prices are a much bigger problem due to car dependence and suburban sprawl.

Chicken and egg (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#41568655)

And that urban sprawl was only possible because of the low petrol prices. Now the realisation that the whole model was unsupportable is slowly beginning to be revealed.

Learn to take the bus.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Bill314159 (1320637) | about 2 years ago | (#41568421)

In the UK midlands diesel is approaching £1.50 per litre. I reckon that is getting on for $9 per US gallon, as dollars-per-pound goes up. 1.5 * 1.6 * .454 * 8 == 8.7713

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41568527)

Yes, and why? Why do you allow yourselves to be ripped off so easily? Don't want the inconvenience of calling a general strike, or some other form of resistance? Why do people let the their governments/corporations sodomize them like this? You have the power to set the price. You ought to try using it someday.

Re:Cry me a river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568669)

You have the power to set the price.

That's a very funny joke.

Re:Cry me a river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568729)

You also have more efficient mass transit and less distance to cover...

No shit Texas prices didn't go up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568199)

Maybe if California didn't demand a specially blended gasoline mixture that the majority of the country didn't use they wouldn't have to deal with a shortage. This is a regional shortage for specially blended gasoline, so gas prices in Texas wouldn't go up.

Why is this on Slashdot again?

my local gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568221)

My local Gas station just dropped it's price to 3.59 earlier this week.

san diego at arco on clmt mesa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568241)

4.59 a gallon for 87 unleaded

California is paying the price (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41568247)

I live in California. We are paying the price for years of anti-business policies and nimbyism. We have no spare refinery capacity, and we have fewer gas stations per-capita than most states, and few new stations are being built.

I don't expect things to get any better. Pro-business people are leaving the state, shifting us even further to the left, and the car-culture is thriving. My son's elementary school has 800 students, and despite perfect weather almost every day, exactly two (2) of them bike to school: my son and a kindergarten girl from our neighborhood. Every morning we pedal past a long line of moms in idling SUVs waiting to drop of their kid.

Re:California is paying the price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568343)

i think they drive their kids to school. to keep them away from predators etc.
im not sure, i dont have kids although i did grow up and here i didnt get raped----. but some kids did

Re:California is paying the price (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#41568395)

Then obviously the could stand to go higher.

OPEC kept prices artificially low for a long time. They didn't think anyone would pony up $100 a barrel. Now that they realize people will, that's their price point. Energy will never cost as little as it did a decade ago, but more options open up as the prices go higher. Hybrids become viable despite the extra cost for batteries. Automakers innovate for fuel efficiency instead of performance. Electric becomes a possible option.

If someone came up with a good in-road delivery system for electricity for cars, they could probably successfully pitch wiring all our roads for electricity and building a bunch of nuclear reactors around the country. When you're paying a significant chunk of your monthly salary to gasoline, that would sound pretty appealing. If it doesn't sound pretty appealing now, it might when gas hits 8 or 9 dollars a gallon.

Re:California is paying the price (1)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about 2 years ago | (#41568659)

What do you mean by artificially low? If OPEC had been charging below cost, they couldn't have kept it up for all these years. I can imagine a cartel keeping prices artificially high, but not artificially low.

Re:California is paying the price (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#41568739)

Well they could have pumped less over the last couple of decades and pushed the price up. There were a couple of times I can recall when speculation pushed the price higher and they got together and agreed to increase output to push it back down to what they thought the most people would be willing to pay. They had a range from about $40 a barrel to about $100 a barrel that they were playing in, and they usually tried to keep it pegged at about $60 a barrel (Going from memory, so I might be a bit off.)

I think the thing they were most afraid of was that the price would spike and everyone would either stop using gasoline or immediately develop an alternative fuel source. They're a bit bolder these days. I think the downward range is largely out of their control now, though they could certainly slow down production and push the prices even higher if they were so inclined.

Re:California is paying the price (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568537)

My son's elementary school has 800 students, and despite perfect weather almost every day, exactly two (2) of them bike to school: my son and a kindergarten girl from our neighborhood.

What happened to buses?

Re:California is paying the price (5, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41568547)

I live in California. We are paying the price for years of anti-business policies and nimbyism.

No, you're paying the price for turning the state into one big freeway. Gas in CA is more expensive because it uses a special formula, without which air in the state would be unbreathable.

Stop whining about your subsidised fuel prices (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568271)

Where I am it's Euro 1.73 per liter, so that's about Euro 6.55 per gallon, which is about $8.55

Re:Stop whining about your subsidised fuel prices (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 2 years ago | (#41568471)

i feel ya bro

I work from home ....so I don't care (as much) (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568287)

I'm a work-from-home computer programmer with two full time jobs doing this.

Taking the vehicle out of the equation makes the problem less relevant. Sure, the cost of food goes up because the cost of transporting it went up. But seriously: I only drive on friday once a month when I need to resupply a month's worth of beer and food.

A year ago I was bankrupt and now its looking like I could buy a house next year. Just commit to it and stick with it and these gas prices don't hurt at all.

Re:I work from home ....so I don't care (as much) (1)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about 2 years ago | (#41568597)

It's a bit hard to be a work-from-home machinist.

Hurry up (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#41568303)

Invent something fast to inv^H^H^Hliberate Iran, Venezuela, or other oil producing country... wont lower the prices but maximize profits.

all of a sudden... (2)

kervin (64171) | about 2 years ago | (#41568305)

Plugin cars [plugincars.com] are making a lot more sense.

Lots of critics argue plugins don't make economic sense. But looking at the long game ( next few decades ), getting plugins to the point where economies of scale reduces their price is one of the best solutions to this energy problem.

Re:all of a sudden... (1)

marcroelofs (797176) | about 2 years ago | (#41568439)

You mean plugin cars don't use energy?

Thank the Fed (2, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 2 years ago | (#41568317)

You can thank the Federal Reserve and President. All that quantitative easing (money printing) is doing wonders to the US Dollar, making your imports more expensive, pushing up your energy imports.

Re:Thank the Fed (4, Informative)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about 2 years ago | (#41568767)

The US dollar is actually a little higher from this time last year.http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/index/dxy

Crack spread (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41568373)

Look it up...

Funny Americans (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568405)

3.59 a Gallon? I WISH I could pay that price. In Canada we're paying 6.00

Apperently... (1)

Chompjil (2746865) | about 2 years ago | (#41568411)

Here, its already over 5$

Re:Apperently... (1)

Chompjil (2746865) | about 2 years ago | (#41568463)

And by here I mean LA

Gasoline is an Imported Commodity (2, Insightful)

paulsnx2 (453081) | about 2 years ago | (#41568457)

The price of Gas is not reacting to a Supply vs Demand price rise. 2005 remains the peak of oil consumption in the U.S.

http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTUPUS2&f=M [eia.gov]

On the other hand, we are producing more oil. Why hasn't the price fallen?

We have embarked on QE3 (after QE2 and QE1). We are printing money and injecting it into the Financial Institutions on Wall Street. Obviously countries who have been producing products for the United States (like oil) for decades and decades know that the value of the dollar is going to slide. Not saying crash necessarily, but there isn't any doubt in the world it is going to slide.

What do you do if you are such a country? You raise your prices. Because the dollar isn't going to be worth as much going forward.

This is the stated goal of Paul Krugman. Get Inflation up to 5 percent or 6 percent even. That is going to increase (he claims) employment. But prices lag the actual inflation, and wages lag the actual inflation even more.

So the result is going to be higher prices and lower real wages, less ability to buy goods (because we increasingly uses foreign components and raw materials even in domestic goods).

We are proudly following Japan into 20 years of dragging economic activity. And I think that is the up side.

But on the bright side (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#41568687)

Reducing your petrol consumption means that the US will finally start to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions - whether you wanted to or not. Can't argue with global economics.

Re:Gasoline is an Imported Commodity (5, Informative)

MagikSlinger (259969) | about 2 years ago | (#41568711)

Wow. You manage to bring in one thing to explain this thing and get it spectacularly wrong. As someone else pointed out, the Columbus Day weekend is the traditional ramp down time for refineries in the U.S. as they rejigger their formulation for fall (You didn't know refineries changed formulas for the season?). Also, several major supply routes got messed up:

From California gasoline prices soar amid refinery and pipeline shutdowns By The Associated Press [denverpost.com] :

"Among the recent disruptions, an Aug. 6 fire at a Chevron Corp. refinery in Richmond left one of the region's largest refineries producing at a reduced capacity, and a Chevron pipeline that moves crude to northern California also was shut down. There also was a power failure that affected an Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery in Torrance, but the refinery has resumed normal operations."

As for Krugman and this being all the fault of QEx: there's a reason gas is not part of the core measure of inflation. Last I checked, we aren't in an inflation cycle yet [calculatedriskblog.com] . Gas is a volatile price (no-pun intended) that jumps way up and down responding to things like, you know, refineries having fires and pipeline shut downs. It's left out of most inflation conversations among economists.

Anyway, thanks for playing! Here's a home version of the game "The Eeeevil Fed Is Coming For Your Savings!!"

Re:Gasoline is an Imported Commodity (1)

grumling (94709) | about 2 years ago | (#41568881)

This is the stated goal of Paul Krugman. Get Inflation up to 5 percent or 6 percent even. That is going to increase (he claims) employment. But prices lag the actual inflation, and wages lag the actual inflation even more.

In other words, Paul Krugman says you're making too much money. Since you're so expensive, you're taking jobs away from the poor unemployed souls who desperately want jobs instead of food stamps. And then your employer pumps up your productivity with the latest labor saving machinery (made by the lowest earners in the world), making matters even worse.

Now, your boss will eventually either get your productivity up so high that it will increase his earnings or he'll let you go. You probably won't get a chance to take a pay cut, unless you work for a small company that never heard of John Maynard Keynes.

Keynes' General Theory states "Whilst workers will usually resist a reduction of money-wages, it is not their practice to withdraw their labor whenever there is a rise in the price of wage-goods." In other words, you won't take a pay cut when times get bad, but you won't blame your boss when you can't afford food anymore. So, the wizards in Washington will just take care of that for you by debasing the currency to the point that your labor cost is more in line with the third world.

Just remember that when you hear politicians and economists talk about the eroding middle class.

gas-prices-jump-california-hardest-hit-NOT TRUE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568505)

It has already hit hardest to European countries, especially Northern territories. For example in Finland and Sweden gas price is humongous 9 -10 $ /gallon ( = 1.7 - 1.8 euros /l ).

Gas price (1)

Psicopatico (1005433) | about 2 years ago | (#41568511)

This summer topped at 2.00€/lt (over 10$ per US gallon at today's change) for unleaded petrol here. Over 45% of the price is taxes.

Just saying...

Bloom Boxes? (2)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41568519)

What do they have to do with the price of oil? They provide electricity, which currently comes from other fossil fuels (mostly). This is an issue onto itself (assuming you're not just in denial about carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) but the only cost issue here is that coal is too fucking cheap for the amount of damage it causes.

You lucky bastards (1)

mikewilsonuk (1676196) | about 2 years ago | (#41568533)

Here in the UK, petrol (gasoline) is the equivalent of about $8.30 a gallon. We buy in litres these days and I only realised we are paying > six quid a UK gallon when I did the conversion to post here.

Re:You lucky bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568763)

Then stop voting for people supporting that.

N2S: Don't go to Slashdot for Gasoline Advice (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 years ago | (#41568587)

Note to self: Nerds evidently have strong opinions about gasoline pricing, but do not display much insight one cannot get from celebrities, in fewer characters, via twitter.

Its a nightmare (2)

Volntyr (1620539) | about 2 years ago | (#41568593)

I live in San Diego and on Monday,October 1st, the local Chevron was 4.09. When I got home, it was 4.19. When I woke up on Tuesday, it was already 4.29. Yesterday, it was already 4.89. Big Oil is saying that a refinery that is responsible for 8% of production, a power outage and the switch from Summer blend to Winter blend (appearently there is different additives during the year) is causing the spike. People out here believe there is gouging going on while the local independent stations are shutting down as they can not afford to buy the gas. That in turn means you can only buy from Big Oil.

Free Market Speculation (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#41568663)

The energy market's derivatives market (itself larger than most entire industries) is not only the most profitable, but also produces the most efficient pricing to the demand.

Wait - it's actually only the most profitable. But don't worry, it's only the market far most essential to all our other economics. Wait - you should worry.

(plus one Infor8ative) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568773)

Here in RI (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 2 years ago | (#41568797)

It is $4 per gallon. What really irks me is that you can work the math backward and come to the conclusion that a gallon of gasoline costs less than $1.50 to extract, ship, process and distribute. Another $0.50 is tax. So the other $2 - is just pure ass-rape profit.

Thank the EPA and environmentalists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568833)

The more expensive you make it to run refineries, the fewer you have, and then when there's a mishap at one, you're screwed.

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