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AS I WRITE THIS, the average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. is $5.02/gallon. Ours here in California is $6.44/gal., by far highest in the nation, though note we have (hem hem) Phase 3 California Reformulated Gasoline, what our California Air Resources Board calls “the cleanest in the world” in terms of reduced emissions of ozone-producing as well as other toxic pollutants.
We Californians have long paid more for a cleaner relationship in our love of the automobile, so I’ll not dwell on this difference. Let’s concentrate on the U.S. national average.
I’ve written about this before here at SimanaitisSays. And today I repeat three truisms: Gasoline prices still follow straightforward economic behavior of supply and demand. We, even those of us in California, still have the cheapest gasoline of anywhere in the world I’d want to live. And rationality still generally obtains in our country’s importation of crude oil.
These, I note, are occurring amidst the world’s increased striving for environmental sustainability, its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and even Russia’s imperial madness in Ukraine.
B.S. Conspiracies. Wackos see Biden and his Socialists forcing folks out of gas-guzzling pickups into EVs. Others say the oil industry is regularly forcing crude oil into our water supply. Still others find something or other to rant about.
However, few look at the data. By the way, my sources here are AAA for national information, GlobalPetrolPrices.com for gasoline prices around the world, the U.S. Energy Administration for data on sourcing crude, and cnbc.com for details of how global oil flows have changed.
There are tidbits aplenty from these sources for Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow.
Where Do We Get Petroleum? The latest annual data suggest that not a great deal has changed over the years.
As cited in The American Oil & Gas Reporter, “The United States has been a net exporter of petroleum products in each year since 2011…. Canada was both the largest source of U.S. crude oil imports and the largest destination for U.S. exports.”
What’s more, this cordial relationship continues. In 2021, we got 51 percent of our gross imports from Canada. OPEC countries contribute 11 percent. Those in the Persian Gulf contribute 8 percent, about the same as Russia’s 2021 share.
Data from as recently as March 2022 show a similar picture: Canada (55 percent), Mexico (10 percent), Russia (down to 7 percent), Saudi Arabia (up from 5 percent in 2021 to 6 percent in the latest data), and Columbia (3 percent, up from 2 percent).
Tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll see that the U.S. continues to maintain a whole bunch of eggs in its crude-oil basket, Russia finds a way to peddle its sanctioned oil, and I assert we’re still the best place in the world to fill up. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022
Is there a source for info relating gas prices (and price changes) to incomes of the people using it? That’s the real pain point right now: prices seem to have gone up far more and far faster than the incomes of many of the people driving those gas hogs, so other parts of family budgets have to take the hit in order to keep driving. If you have to drive for work, you have to find a way to tough it out, or in rare cases might have the opportunity to (re)start using transit. If you’re driving for other reasons, choices can be made.
And whether or not the Politician(s) In Charge have done anything to cause the price changes or can do anything to affect them, they must accept the responsibility for what happens on their watch. That’s often career-limiting (jimmy Carter, for instance). Think of the Captain going down with the ship.
Gas prices in 2008 spiked above $5.65 (in today’s dollars) but the yearly average around $4.50, compared to todays $5 average. (eia.gov) What hurts so much today is that there’s little chance of prices dropping soon, combined with some auto companies eliminating fuel efficient cars due to lack of demand.
Part of the reason fuel costs are high on the West coast is that much of the oil (refined in CA and WA) is imported. 5% of the oil refined in WA was from Russia, which is now “imported” from AK. CA still imports more than half its oil from overseas, with the remaining coming from CA and AK. While the US is a net exporter of oil, the Cascade mountains makes a pipeline difficult and rail deliveries are expensive and somewhat dangerous.
Ironically, in Eugene OR, there seems to be a renewal of wasting fuel, especially in diesel PUs. I’ve even seen some return to “rolling coal” in their PUs. I wonder if those are the guys complaining about fuel prices the loudest.
Gasoline is over $8 / gallon now in Vienna. Fortunately, I drive VERY little for work.