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The Almighty Buck Transportation United States

Gas Prices Jump; California Hardest Hit 402

New submitter jefery23 writes with this excerpt from an Associated Press article (as carried by the Denver Post): "Californians woke up to a shock Friday as overnight gasoline prices jumped by as much as 20 cents a gallon in some areas, ending a week of soaring costs that saw some stations close and others charge record prices." Friday's jump followed another big one just a day earlier, too. Texas gas prices have gone up, but not quite so dramatically ($3.59 at the station nearest to me); how are they in your neck of the woods? Those Bloom boxes and charging stations can't arrive too soon.
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Gas Prices Jump; California Hardest Hit

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  • 20 cents on $4 is only 5%. Being as California is probably paying a fair bit above $4, that would put the percentage even lower. I'm surprised they would make a big deal out of it if it one just one moment in time. If it was 5% in one day, for several days in a row, that would be more noticeable, but this is barely above the variance you'd likely find between two gas stations.
    • by Local ID10T ( 790134 ) <> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:39AM (#41568337) Homepage

      Wednesday morning, I noticed some gas stations near me (silicon valley, ca) had raised their prices by $0.40 or more since the previous day. By Thursday, all the local gas stations had caught up. That is approximately a 9% jump. If prices went up again yesterday (which I haven't noticed...) then the overall increase this past week is more like 15%.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For crying out loud, this is a typical day-to-day change out here surrounded Chicago. It's been jumping up and down from 10 to 30 cents a day all damn year and rarely stays below $3.99 for long.

  • Supply and Demand (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bit trollent ( 824666 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:24AM (#41568149) Homepage

    An improving economy demands more gasoline.

    Since supplies are already so tight that we are increasingly using extreme sources of oil like very deep sea drilling and oil sands, we should expect to pay more for gasoline.

    I hope you've all been buying fuel efficient cars...

    • by ZosX ( 517789 )

      Don't you mean China's improving economy? We've already lost half our middle class. I don't see the improvement unless you count new walmarts progress.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The largest contributers to the republican party represent "Big Oil" and "Big Coal". Could this be a ploy to weaken the economy and increase the chances of their candidate being elected?

    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      Why should I buy an econobox? I ain't no tree hugger! Go drill everywhere, and things will be fine. This peak oil thing is just a bunch of hippies got their panties in a twist.

      (The first person to answer with "I know you're being sarcastic, but..." is our official lamer of the day.)

    • by poity ( 465672 )

      Well, crude futures dipped the past week due to the economy, so it wouldn't be accurate to conclude that pump price increase is indicative of an "improving economy". Remember there's a lag of a month or so between the two, and if you look at this year's historical data, you'd see that crude was trading at its lowest in June, which translated to July having the lowest pump price this year. Likewise, we saw the trading price increase in August followed by a jump up to $100 in September, which is likely why we

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sumdumass ( 711423 )

      This isn't a supply verses increased demand- supply problem.

      Getting oil into California is not the problem with this jump in price that is largely isolated to California. The problem is that California requires a specific formulation in their gas that is more stringent then the rest of the country and only a few refineries bother producing it. One of the refineries are down for scheduled maintenance and another is hit with unscheduled maintenance creating a unique shortage condition for California.

      In my are

  • We've been closing down refineries for many, many years in the US due to low profit margins. Basically, it's a lot more lucrative to get the crude out of the ground and sell it as a raw product than it is to turn it into something useful. Now we're left with no spare refining capacity and as soon as something happens, the laws of supply and demand send the price skyrocketing. And there's almost always something happening somewhere. That's why even when we have a surplus of crude (and we often do), gas p
    • by mc6809e ( 214243 )

      We've been closing down refineries for many, many years in the US due to low profit margins.


      Much industry in the USA is seen as dirty, dangerous, and bad for the environment.

      Refineries aren't built usually because the people through the democratic process refuse to allow them to be built.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Yeah, the free market sucks. If you want a product, you have to pay enough to have it. Not everything can be shipped off to another country with more reasonable costs.

      Oh, but there is. There are countries, such as Nigeria, with crude basically as good as the US, and we could work with the nigerian government to pay more and make the situation better, but instead we have this US first philosophy, in which we ship expensive canadian oil across the US and risk the US environment for fake crude that costs

  • The prices have been artificially raised, because of the presidential debate. Just like the unemployment rate has fallen or not fallen.

    Now, I can't figure out which candidate thinks he benefits from higher gas prices.

    So maybe just like the unemployment rate has fallen or not fallen, maybe the gas prices haven't jumped . . . or jumped.

    • My kneejerk reaction was to think "Oil companies want an 'R' to win so they make prices high while a 'D' is in office." But then I realized that this was baseless without some facts. What I would like to see is a map of the US showing average gas price by state, overlaid by a map of which states tend to vote R or D, overlaid with refinery locations, overlaid with oil producing states. Then, I would have a lot of data, and still nothing to go on but correlation.

  • Spoiled americans (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:28AM (#41568193)

    It is beyond me how americans can complain about gas prices. In Sweden people pay more than twice as much, and everyone seems to be fine with it. On top of that, americans have even more money to spend than do swedes. So, are americans cheap, or just spoiled?

  • Cry me a river... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kergan ( 780543 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:28AM (#41568197)

    On this side of the pond, we're paying a bit under $8/gallon...

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:34AM (#41568265)

      You're paying for taxes, for your government, you're not paying that much for the gas itself.

      • Europe decided to tax petroleum to fund public transport and their social programs. We saw prices quadruple in 11 years.

        • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:57PM (#41569195)

          high gas prices, but you have a social system that won't let people die on the streets.

          we have low gas prices, but you better hope that you never run into bad luck.

          which is the better system? I think we both know the answer to that.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      Well one reason for the gas taxes here is that we can manipulate them to evade sudden spikes such as this. The market is good at adapting to high prices when they change smooth enough.

    • And on the northern side of the US border it's around $5/US Gallon (3.78541L). So about $5.90/imp gallon (4.54609L). That's in CAD though. So $5.10USD for a US gallon, and ~$6/imp gallon.

      Not quite as bad but like Europe and the UK this isn't something new. Come winter I'm sure we'll see prices spike to $1.50/L. Diesel is a premium over regular gas/petrol (US deals with that as well, but not to the same degree).

      The funny thing is we're an oil producing country. We just don't refine or use any of the oil lo
  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:33AM (#41568247)

    I live in California. We are paying the price for years of anti-business policies and nimbyism. We have no spare refinery capacity, and we have fewer gas stations per-capita than most states, and few new stations are being built.

    I don't expect things to get any better. Pro-business people are leaving the state, shifting us even further to the left, and the car-culture is thriving. My son's elementary school has 800 students, and despite perfect weather almost every day, exactly two (2) of them bike to school: my son and a kindergarten girl from our neighborhood. Every morning we pedal past a long line of moms in idling SUVs waiting to drop of their kid.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Then obviously the could stand to go higher.

      OPEC kept prices artificially low for a long time. They didn't think anyone would pony up $100 a barrel. Now that they realize people will, that's their price point. Energy will never cost as little as it did a decade ago, but more options open up as the prices go higher. Hybrids become viable despite the extra cost for batteries. Automakers innovate for fuel efficiency instead of performance. Electric becomes a possible option.

      If someone came up with a good i

      • What do you mean by artificially low? If OPEC had been charging below cost, they couldn't have kept it up for all these years. I can imagine a cartel keeping prices artificially high, but not artificially low.

        • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
          Well they could have pumped less over the last couple of decades and pushed the price up. There were a couple of times I can recall when speculation pushed the price higher and they got together and agreed to increase output to push it back down to what they thought the most people would be willing to pay. They had a range from about $40 a barrel to about $100 a barrel that they were playing in, and they usually tried to keep it pegged at about $60 a barrel (Going from memory, so I might be a bit off.)

          I t

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @01:00PM (#41569227)

        If someone came up with a good in-road delivery system for electricity for cars, they could probably successfully pitch wiring all our roads for electricity

        There are already good proposals for doing this that do not require wiring the roads. These proposals assume that in the future cars will be capable of driving in "platoons", separated by only a few inches to reduce drag and increase road capacity.

        Option 1: inductive coupling. Cars contain coils in their bumpers that can transmit and receive energy from cars immediately in front or behind them. If you are on a long drive, the computer in your car negotiates with the computer in the other cars and buys power from them. If you are on a short commute, and have spare power, you sell the power to other cars as you drive and make a small profit.

        Option 2: magnetic coupling. This is similar, but the bumpers contain electro-magnets that pull or push leading or trailing cars. So if you are on a long trip, you get on a freeway, join a platoon, automatically negotiate to buy power, and then coast to your destination without consuming any of your own battery power. You could even use your engine to recharge your battery as you siphon power from the rest of the platoon.

        Both of these proposals assume that cars on short trips are more common than cars on long drives. That is mostly true. But on long stretches of highway it is possible that dedicated vehicles with big batteries (or CNG generators on board) will be used to convoy platoons of regular cars.

    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:57AM (#41568547) Homepage Journal

      I live in California. We are paying the price for years of anti-business policies and nimbyism.

      No, you're paying the price for turning the state into one big freeway. Gas in CA is more expensive because it uses a special formula, without which air in the state would be unbreathable.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm a work-from-home computer programmer with two full time jobs doing this.

    Taking the vehicle out of the equation makes the problem less relevant. Sure, the cost of food goes up because the cost of transporting it went up. But seriously: I only drive on friday once a month when I need to resupply a month's worth of beer and food.

    A year ago I was bankrupt and now its looking like I could buy a house next year. Just commit to it and stick with it and these gas prices don't hurt at all.

  • Invent something fast to inv^H^H^Hliberate Iran, Venezuela, or other oil producing country... wont lower the prices but maximize profits.
  • by kervin ( 64171 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:38AM (#41568305) Homepage

    Plugin cars [] are making a lot more sense.

    Lots of critics argue plugins don't make economic sense. But looking at the long game ( next few decades ), getting plugins to the point where economies of scale reduces their price is one of the best solutions to this energy problem.

  • Thank the Fed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wowsers ( 1151731 )
    You can thank the Federal Reserve and President. All that quantitative easing (money printing) is doing wonders to the US Dollar, making your imports more expensive, pushing up your energy imports.
  • Look it up...

  • by paulsnx2 ( 453081 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:49AM (#41568457)

    The price of Gas is not reacting to a Supply vs Demand price rise. 2005 remains the peak of oil consumption in the U.S. []

    On the other hand, we are producing more oil. Why hasn't the price fallen?

    We have embarked on QE3 (after QE2 and QE1). We are printing money and injecting it into the Financial Institutions on Wall Street. Obviously countries who have been producing products for the United States (like oil) for decades and decades know that the value of the dollar is going to slide. Not saying crash necessarily, but there isn't any doubt in the world it is going to slide.

    What do you do if you are such a country? You raise your prices. Because the dollar isn't going to be worth as much going forward.

    This is the stated goal of Paul Krugman. Get Inflation up to 5 percent or 6 percent even. That is going to increase (he claims) employment. But prices lag the actual inflation, and wages lag the actual inflation even more.

    So the result is going to be higher prices and lower real wages, less ability to buy goods (because we increasingly uses foreign components and raw materials even in domestic goods).

    We are proudly following Japan into 20 years of dragging economic activity. And I think that is the up side.

    • Reducing your petrol consumption means that the US will finally start to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions - whether you wanted to or not. Can't argue with global economics.
    • by MagikSlinger ( 259969 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:16PM (#41568711) Homepage Journal

      Wow. You manage to bring in one thing to explain this thing and get it spectacularly wrong. As someone else pointed out, the Columbus Day weekend is the traditional ramp down time for refineries in the U.S. as they rejigger their formulation for fall (You didn't know refineries changed formulas for the season?). Also, several major supply routes got messed up:

      From California gasoline prices soar amid refinery and pipeline shutdowns By The Associated Press []:

      "Among the recent disruptions, an Aug. 6 fire at a Chevron Corp. refinery in Richmond left one of the region's largest refineries producing at a reduced capacity, and a Chevron pipeline that moves crude to northern California also was shut down. There also was a power failure that affected an Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery in Torrance, but the refinery has resumed normal operations."

      As for Krugman and this being all the fault of QEx: there's a reason gas is not part of the core measure of inflation. Last I checked, we aren't in an inflation cycle yet []. Gas is a volatile price (no-pun intended) that jumps way up and down responding to things like, you know, refineries having fires and pipeline shut downs. It's left out of most inflation conversations among economists.

      Anyway, thanks for playing! Here's a home version of the game "The Eeeevil Fed Is Coming For Your Savings!!"

      • by grumling ( 94709 )

        I'd say a 97% debasement of the dollar since 1972 would tend to cut into one's savings, if it were all in cash.

        Now before you start bashing people who save money in cash, remember that for about 150 years or so it was abnormal for people to buy stocks and other "risky" investments. Most people held cash, bonds and CDs. Stock brokers were generally put in the same category as casino operators when it came to investing. It's only been in the last 30-40 years that high risk investing was considered acceptable

    • by grumling ( 94709 )

      This is the stated goal of Paul Krugman. Get Inflation up to 5 percent or 6 percent even. That is going to increase (he claims) employment. But prices lag the actual inflation, and wages lag the actual inflation even more.

      In other words, Paul Krugman says you're making too much money. Since you're so expensive, you're taking jobs away from the poor unemployed souls who desperately want jobs instead of food stamps. And then your employer pumps up your productivity with the latest labor saving machinery (made

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:57PM (#41569199) Journal

      The price of Gas is not reacting to a Supply vs Demand price rise. 2005 remains the peak of oil consumption in the U.S.

      This is a nice thought, but it's the wrong question. The market doesn't consist solely of the US, you need to measure global supply and global demand.

      Global demand has continued to go up.

    • by tukang ( 1209392 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @01:26PM (#41569499)

      The fact that 2005 was the peak of oil consumption in the US is irrelevant. Oil prices are set on the global market so what you need to consider is how much oil is being consumed globally and it has almost consistently been higher every year.

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:54AM (#41568519) Homepage Journal

    What do they have to do with the price of oil? They provide electricity, which currently comes from other fossil fuels (mostly). This is an issue onto itself (assuming you're not just in denial about carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) but the only cost issue here is that coal is too fucking cheap for the amount of damage it causes.

  • Note to self: Nerds evidently have strong opinions about gasoline pricing, but do not display much insight one cannot get from celebrities, in fewer characters, via twitter.
  • I live in San Diego and on Monday,October 1st, the local Chevron was 4.09. When I got home, it was 4.19. When I woke up on Tuesday, it was already 4.29. Yesterday, it was already 4.89. Big Oil is saying that a refinery that is responsible for 8% of production, a power outage and the switch from Summer blend to Winter blend (appearently there is different additives during the year) is causing the spike. People out here believe there is gouging going on while the local independent stations are shutting do
  • The energy market's derivatives market (itself larger than most entire industries) is not only the most profitable, but also produces the most efficient pricing to the demand.

    Wait - it's actually only the most profitable. But don't worry, it's only the market far most essential to all our other economics. Wait - you should worry.

  • It is $4 per gallon. What really irks me is that you can work the math backward and come to the conclusion that a gallon of gasoline costs less than $1.50 to extract, ship, process and distribute. Another $0.50 is tax. So the other $2 - is just pure ass-rape profit.
  • There is no demand increase or shortage of crude oil.

    The tightness in supply of gasoline is due to limited refinery capacity.

    Why is there limited refinery capacity? Because the oil companies have been closing refineries.

    Why are they doing that? So there can artificially limit supply and drive up price. []

    • Why are they doing that [closing refineries that aren't economic to run] ? So there can artificially limit supply and drive up price.

      Congratulations - that's free-market capitalism for you.

      The simple answer is to pile into oil and petrochemical stocks and take your share of the bonanza.

  • US Election BS related?

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.