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Bay Area gas prices skyrocket in past month

Original post made on Mar 14, 2012

Average gas prices in the Bay Area have skyrocketed in the past month, jumping by 51 cents to $4.41 on average per gallon, according to a report released this week by AAA.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 1:55 PM

Comments (20)

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Posted by Time-To-Clean-House-In-DC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Thanks to the EPA, a number of gasoline refineries have been closed--
Web Link

Pennsylvania sees bigger toll from refinery closings –USW:
Web Link

And don’t forget, thanks to a dominantly Democratic Congress, no refineries have been built in the past 30 years.

USEIA/Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update:
Web Link

Getting rid of the likes of Anna Eshoo, and Barak Obama, is necessary to restoring some semblance of sanity to the management of energy availability in our country.

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Posted by one percent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm

There is plenty of gas in the Bay Area. Oil companies are artificially manipulating the supply to boost prices, including exporting large amounts of oil from California to foreign countries. News report: Web Link

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm

@ "one percent:"

That is utter nonsense. There are many reasons that the price of gasoline has gone up and your conspiracy theory about oil companies "artificially" doing this is ridiculous.

Yes, California oil companies export oil. So what? They make money doing that because it is an INDUSTRY (and not a charity). We also export computers, cars, clothing, books, furniture, and even bubble gum.

As a publicly traded company, those oil companies are in the business to make money and not cater to the whiny whims of a handful of wish-they-had-what-rich-people-have protesters.

Those companies have ALWAYS exported gasoline and oil. However, the reasons that gas prices are rising is much more complex.

In 2008, a few pundits and politicians pointed the finger solely at President Bush and what they called "Big Oil." I wonder if those same pundits and politicians are willing to point the finger at President Obama and "Big Government?"

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Posted by one percent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm

The reasons that oil companies export oil are not "complex". The reasons are very simple: higher prices increase profits. They could lower their prices and profits if they wanted to, but they do not want to. This is a conspiracy. There are too few oil companies to have true competition, so a small number of companies manipulating the supply have a dramatic affect on the prices consumers pay.

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Posted by one percent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm

P.S. My point is [those] [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] who want more domestic drilling and refineries are completely wrong. Increasing the domestic supply of oil has zero effect on gas prices if the oil companies are just going to ship it overseas.

Obama has been right about this all along. We can't drill our way out of this problem. We need new technologies and better use of old technologies to reduce our demand for oil. If you use less gasoline through more efficient vehicles or more public transit or fewer single-occupancy driving trips, then I guarantee you will pay less total dollars for you gasoline.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Gee, why do you suppose some bright money guy doesn't build a big, modern refinery and undercut all the other guys? Seems like a real winner.

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Tax petroleum product exports until it's no longer profitable. Gas prices will drop

Tax finished product imports until it's no longer profitable to outsource jobs and manufacture overseas. Employment will increase, and consumer product quality will improve.

In the short term, the increased taxes could be applied to reduce the deficit.

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:09 am

@ Outside:

Why is it that some people think that TAXATION is always a solution to a problem that doesn't even exist? The companies exist to make money. Why penalize them for doing so?

@ "one percent:"

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff because it responded to a deleted earlier comment.]

Besides, your assertions and conspiracy theories about the oil industry are just that -- your own personal theories. There are MANY reasons that have caused the cost of gasoline to rise. There are several things that can be done to curb it from rising any further. The only blame that I can attribute to Obama is that he hasn't taken much public initiative on this issue even though he made it a big part of his campaign rhetoric in 2008.

Eventually, new technologies will replace old petroleum-based technologies. However, this isn't that day. Rome wasn't built in a day...and we didn't go from horse and buggy to electric vehicles overnight.

The technology is there, but it needs to be COST EFFECTIVE in order for it to be desirable for consumers.

And, of course, it shouldn't be artificially "cost effective" because those who are loudly "green" in terms of energy policy think that higher gas prices will decrease the disparity and increase demand in terms of alternative forms of energy.

Sadly, there are some members of Congress who have indicated an almost gleeful response to rising oil prices. They think that rising oil prices will make overpriced, emerging green alternatives more enticing. While this is true to an extent, it is a "false positive" because it doesn't make the current selection of "green technologies" any more productive or efficient.

It is the proverbial tearing down of one in order to place it on parity with another.

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:43 am

@ Nayeli:

No one has a right to be a parasite on society. Not the bums on University Ave. and not the oil companies.

Long before there was income tax, the Federal Government funded itself on import tariffs. A fair tax model that not only funded the government, but encouraged domestic production. We would be far better off if we returned to that model.

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:16 am

@ Outside:

So, you are surmising that oil companies are now a "parasite on society?" What about telephone companies? What about cable/satellite providers? What about hospital workers? What about farms?

All of these provide GOODS and SERVICES to society. However, they are NOT charities. They are in it for the money.

There just isn't anything wrong with that. After all, you probably work too at least partially for the money.

I suspect that many of those individuals who so desperately hate "big" oil would prefer a much "bigger" government to take control of oil (and many other industries) in this nation.

Perhaps we are to blame for our need for oil. Perhaps we are the real "parasites." After all, if we didn't drive cars, buy computers, use nylon, watch television, use other electronic devices, use other products that use oil-base for part of their construction or manufacture, etc... -- maybe we wouldn't so need to "feed" off of oil.

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Posted by David Pepperdine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm

But it sure feels like we have a lot less price competition after the industry consolidated, and companies like Texaco, Mobil, Pennzoil aul Marathon Petroleum went away. And Big Oil's profits seem to suggest that they have a lot of price control. We've broken up oil monopolies (like Standard Oil) before...

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Posted by Foot Power Rules!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I walk and bike for all trips under three miles and sometimes for trips longer than that. Guess what. I'm saving a lot of money, keeping my weight down, reducing the time I used to waste at the gym, and having fun. It's surprising how easy it is once you start. Palo Alto is flat. We have great sidewalks and bike lanes and our weather is fabulous. A couple of good-size bike bags on a solid rack allow me to grocery shop for my family of four by bike. Awesome!

Try it. It beats driving a car...and it's usually faster for short around-town trips (if you count the time you have to spend looking for parking spots for your car).

$4.41 is still WAY cheaper than European gas prices have been for decades.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Before anyone runs off to invest in oil companies, note their net profit margin (after taxes, etc) is around 10 percent of revenues, or less than 50 cents per gallon. State and Federal taxes here are 67 cents per gallon. The government makes more money at the pump than the oil company does. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just trying to put large numbers into perspective. I see the same thing looking at my own paycheck. After I pay for necessities like housing, food, transportation, etc, I have less money left over than the government collected out of it.

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Posted by John Galt
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I hear the political faithful parroting their political masters, loud and clear. The Inconvenient Truth (gotta love da Gore man) is that the Obama Administration has gleefully taken the bit in their teeth and printed trillions of dollars! Our trading partners rightfully see this as weakening of the Dollar and are selling them to avoid exchange rate losses. With trillions of new US dollars floating around and sales of US dollars, the value drops. A reduced exhange value results in sellers requiring more US dollars to pay for purchases. This increases the dollar cost of all imports, including oil, of course.
Incidentally, Socialist countries, such as England, plunk a $5-$6 a gallon tax on fuel to support all their giveaways. Resulting in $10 a gallon gasoline and higher cost of EVERYTHING.
The Brave New World is in the wings!

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Posted by Galtless
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

yo Galt

What do you think of the libertarian giveaway of billions of tax dollars to oil companies that declared $130 Billion in profits last quarter?

Is that a libertarian principle or just socialism?

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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 18, 2012 at 6:59 am

Dear Musical: You give me hope. Hollywood makes a much higher profit on their investments than does oil, and govt makes a lot more money off oil than off Hollywood..yet you never hear the left hollerin' to "stop the subsidies" to Hollywood, or tax "them" more. The profit margin for oil is one of the lowest in all industries.

The outrage is selective and ignorant ( not meant as an insult, but is based on a lack of knowledge and understanding).

BTW, doesn't anyone realize we have 200 years of oil on our OWN lands here in the USA? We could be completely oil indep and have nothing to do with being dependent on other countries who are willing to drill, if only we would start drilling. I have heard for 40 years how "we can't drill, that won't solve anything" but if we drilled more every time we said that, and if we built nuclear facilities every time we said "we can't", we would be completely energy independent right now.

Drill, drill,drill....nuclear power build, build, build.

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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 18, 2012 at 7:00 am

Forgot link to above post.
Web Link
200 years of oil in our own land. Combine this with building nuclear, and we are set with lots of time to develop other methods.

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Posted by YIMBY
a resident of University South
on Mar 19, 2012 at 9:50 am

YIMBY is a registered user.

@ Time-To-Clean-House-In-DC:
"Thanks to the EPA, a number of gasoline refineries have been closed--"

Please read your own links and don't jump to conclusions for which there is no factual basis..
It is not the EPA that is responsible for the soon-to-shutter three PA refineries.
From YOUR link:
'All three of the East Coast refineries run costly light, sweet crude imported from overseas, and have struggled to compete with more efficient overseas plants or U.S. Midwest refiners who are soaking up discount landlocked crude."
Web Link

In addition, you claim "And don’t forget, thanks to a dominantly Democratic Congress, no refineries have been built in the past 30 years".
Well, of course no refineries have been built - there is TOO MUCH capacity - there is so much capacity that refineries have had to resort to exporting their products.
Web Link

In fact, after planes, I believe they are the largest valued exports from U.S.

Interestingly, it turns out that a major export from the Bay Area, along with hi-tech products, are products from the East Bay refineries.
Web Link

The energy industry - studying supply and demand, is truly fascinating. Quite often lay people - which I include myself in, are quick to jump to conclusions - it doesn't help when there is media like Fox News - the highest watched news channel, that often presents half-truths in their reporting.

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Posted by k
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Apr 23, 2012 at 10:23 am

Oil tanker returns to Valdez with oil. Refinery storage tanks too full to take more oil.

Nation awash in crude and gasoline.

Refineries not anywhere near capacity.

Gas demand plummets since Bush recession starts in 2007.

Drill, baby, drill is disproved in the real world. More drilling just means more exports, prices stay high for American drivers and taxpayers despite billions in subsidies to most profitable companies in the history of civilization.

Oil company profits of $130 billion, yet billions of American tax dollars are still shoveled into their wheelbarrows.

Yet, sheeple still defend oil.

Yes, 'Time-To-Clean', Sharon, Perspective, Galt, we have 200 years of oil. Drill more and it will just be exported and prices will remain high.

Big Oil has broken the law of supply and DEMAND.

Big Oil has bought and paid for over half of congress.

Think about it as you squeeze the pump handle and watch numbers spin by so fast you can't read them.

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Posted by k
a resident of Greater Miranda
on May 25, 2012 at 10:09 am

Check out the moronic statements above and in other gas price threads, in hindsight.

Predictions of doom and gloom. Lies about supply being too small, not enough refineries, Walter in another thread claiming we import refined gas (CNNMoney - The United States is awash in gasoline. So much so, in fact, that the country is exporting a record amount of it), etc...

Today: national gas prices are below last year's price, below the peak Bush prices in 2008.

The nation is awash in oil, America is now a net exporter of oil products.

Drilling is up, supply is up. Drill baby drill has happened under Obama. Yet have prices come down to the $2 price that a Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich talked about? No. The cartel rules. They say our gas prices are a result of "international demand" during the world's greatest recession in decades.

Time to turn off the corporate welfare to the oil companies. Billions in subsidies to an industry that is making record profits. Exxon doesn't even pay taxes half the time.

End the corporate welfare for oil.

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