What To Expect When Oil Industry Execs Run The Countyr

From Holden:

Expect a thorough rogering.

Gas Prices Up Sharply Ahead of Peak Season

Gasoline prices have surged by 36 cents a gallon in the Washington area over the past month, according to the AAA auto club, with the beginning of the peak driving season less than two months away.

The average price in the metropolitan area reached $2.63 a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline yesterday, up a penny from the day before and a nickel more than the national average. The price is up from $2.27 a gallon a month earlier and $2.17 a year ago.

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From Holden:

John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, blamed the increase on higher crude oil prices, shutdowns in U.S. refineries for maintenance deferred since Katrina, and regulations mandating that oil refiners remove an environmentally harmful additive and substitute more expensive ethanol.

But some consumers remain unconvinced. “These are things that don’t explain the hike,” said Dawn Van Dyke, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It’s not enough. It’s too much of a hike.”

The price increases come as major oil companies are reaping record profits. Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing at which senior executives from some of the largest firms were grilled by lawmakers about whether a spate of mergers among major companies had resulted in price gouging.

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“There is generally a small increase in price this time of year as refinery capacity is limited while switching to summer-grade fuels, but the recent increases have been atypical for this changeover,” AAA’s Van Dyke said. “While we recognize current events and we expected summer demand increases to affect the overall price of gasoline, it isn’t as dire as the price jump of the last month would have you believe. Gasoline prices have been trending upward at a steep rate that seems beyond justification.”