Friday, March 12, 2010

Gas Prices

When gas prices spiked a few years ago I read lots of whining about the “environmental whackos”. The complaint was that no new refineries had been built in years and couldn’t be built because of excessive environmental regulations.

Imagine my surprise when today’s Tribune reported that refiners are shutting down refineries at a brisk clip here in the United States and places with lax environmental regulations. Environmental whackos? Of course not. The refiners are trying to maintain their profits. This isn’t my guess – the article quotes them. They are shutting down refineries, firing workers, all to keep the supply down and the prices up. Logical free market capitalism – and of course, completely legal. But, let’s not hear any more stories that  overzealous people in pursuit of clean air and water are the reason gas prices are high. While I acknowledge environmental regulations have an influence, let’s not overlook corporate profits and CEO bonuses.

Which do you think has the greater influence?

4 comments:

Perplexio said...

Glad you posted this Kevin! I quite enjoy this piece!

It's funny on one of the other blogs I read (normally a music blog) an entry about driving from Madison, WI to Joliet, IL and mentioned the Janesville/Madison stretch. His take on the cities along the Madison to Joliet route he took is pretty interesting and you might be able to work some of his descriptions and observations into your book somehow.

Perplexio said...

D'Oh sorry, I commented under the wrong post!

Perplexio said...

PS: On the subject of gas prices, I once read that we get about 60% of our oil from Canada. So I find gas prices rising because of OPEC lowering supply to be a big disingenous. I realize that the oil we get from Canada has to be cleaned up because they get it from the sand flats up in Alberta and thus the cost of processing that oil is greater than that of the cost of the oil we get from the Middle East... but I think the higher cost of transport off-sets that difference considerably.

Perplexio said...

bit not big... trying to do too many things at once again!