• 13 hours U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 15 hours Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 17 hours Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 18 hours EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 20 hours Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 21 hours Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 3 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 4 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 4 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 4 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 4 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 4 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 4 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 5 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 5 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 5 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 5 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 5 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 5 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 5 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 5 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 5 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
  • 6 days Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets
  • 6 days France’s Biggest Listed Bank To Stop Funding Shale, Oil Sands Projects
  • 6 days Syria’s Kurds Aim To Control Oil-Rich Areas
  • 6 days Chinese Teapots Create $5B JV To Compete With State Firms
  • 6 days Oil M&A Deals Set To Rise
  • 6 days South Sudan Tightens Oil Industry Security
  • 6 days Over 1 Million Bpd Remain Offline In Gulf Of Mexico
  • 7 days Turkmenistan To Spend $93-Billion On Oil And Gas Sector
  • 7 days Indian Hydrocarbon Projects Get $300 Billion Boost Over 10 Years
  • 7 days Record U.S. Crude Exports Squeeze North Sea Oil
  • 7 days Iraq Aims To Reopen Kirkuk-Turkey Oil Pipeline Bypassing Kurdistan
  • 7 days Supply Crunch To Lead To Oil Price Spike By 2020s, Expert Says
  • 7 days Saudi Arabia Ups November Oil Exports To 7-Million Bpd
  • 7 days Niger Delta State Looks To Break Free From Oil
  • 7 days Brazilian Conglomerate To Expand Into Renewables
  • 8 days Kurdish Independence Could Spark Civil War
  • 8 days Chevron, Total Waiting In The Wings As Shell Mulls Majnoon Exit
  • 8 days The Capital Of Coal Is Looking For Other Options
Alt Text

Miami Is Running Out Of Gasoline

Hurricane Irma is nearing Florida…

Alt Text

Will Low Oil Prices End Saudi Arabia’s Gas Subsidies?

Feeling the fiscal pressure from…

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer and political analyst based in Michigan. His work on matters related to the geopolitical aspects of the global energy sector,…

More Info

Gasoline is Expensive - Deal with it

The White House announced it was getting into the commodities game in an effort to protect consumers from some of the geopolitical factors spilling over into the retail gasoline market. OPEC and the IEA both said in their monthly reports that market perceptions were behind higher energy prices, not physical shortages. With most U.S. consumers still economically gun shy, gasoline consumption is down amid high retail prices. But on the business side, protection against potential oil shocks in the long-term could help push a reinvigorated U.S. economy over the recessionary hump. Apart from the murky waters of economic nuance, however, President Obama said that, no matter what, American commuters need gasoline. Speculation aside, maybe that's the problem.

High gasoline prices make for angry constituents. That means politicians, especially politicians fighting to keep their paychecks, start pointing their legislative guns at Wall Street almost as soon as the gavel strikes. Market indices don't particularly care one way or the other if consumers and lawmakers are frustrated, but they are concerned nonetheless. U.S. lawmakers in March complained to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that nobody was watching energy markets closely because perceptions are trumping real-world scenarios. Demand is down and supplies are up, which typically means prices drop. But not so fast, the critics say. Someone must be cheating.

Energy wonks note, correctly, that hedging your energy bets is a good way to protect against future shocks. Imagine how much plane tickets would cost if the airline industry practiced a just-in-time policy for its fuel needs. The same would likely hold for refineries and oil producers. But that doesn't mean much for the average consumer when gasoline prices can increase as much as 10 percent overnight because Iran's Press TV ran a false report about a Saudi pipeline explosion, or U.S. refineries closed for maintenance or the weather suddenly turned colder or any of the other reasons cited for volatility in consumer gasoline prices.

It's getting close to the so-called driving season in the United States when Americans take to the road for their summer vacations. But gasoline demand is down more than 3 percent compared with the same period last year. That may be because of improved fuel economy, a lack of general consumer spending or because of sluggish employment numbers means nobody has a job or vacation to drive to anyhow. Yet, the government said gasoline prices are starting to come down. But no matter. U.S. lawmakers, including the president, made a big show of their rhetoric on gasoline, jobs, energy security, American families and the like.

"Obviously rising gas prices means a rough ride for a lot of families," said Obama. "Whether you’re trying to get to school, trying to get to work, do some grocery shopping, you have to be able to fill up that gas tank."

And therein lies the problem. Most commuters go to school, get to work and run errands using a vehicle that runs on gasoline. Gasoline is a necessity and that's in part why the debate ensues. Without massive subsidies, gasoline is going to get more expensive no matter what the politicians say. And until commuters move beyond the carbon mindset, that ride to work will continue to be a rough one.

By. Daniel J. Graeber of OilPrice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Hans on April 19 2012 said:
    Excellent article, Mr Graeber!

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News