By on February 23, 2012

And this is only the start…

Photo courtesy Paul Kedrosky

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172 Comments on “Gas Prices Crest Above $5/Gallon In California...”


  • avatar
    replica

    I’m in the Renton area (barely east of Seattle) and gas is still like $3.70 or so. One would think the liberal virus and gas prices would creep on up the coast faster.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      Didn’t take long for the liberal-bashing to start.

      Let’s not turn this into a “Left vs Right” debate because those never go anywhere.

      We can’t expect cheap gas forever. That’s the main point. As long as we insist on messing with things in the Middle East, the gas prices will rise accordingly.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        I didn’t read that as liberal-bashing, but rather as the expectation that blue states are going to have higher gas taxes, and thus higher gas prices, than red states. (Which is true, by the way.)

      • 0 avatar

        ItdB helpful if this site changed its name from TTAC to TTACIA (in America), cuz we all dont have a clue. Suggest the daily charts of crude oil, gasoline and diesel on the side.

        And NO…drill,drill,drill really aint the answer. Build Keystone pipeline from Canada so we can have access to more sandy, crappy crude??? Costing $BBBs. Saudi can fill as many tankers as you want with low-grade crude tomorrow.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        Unless I totally misunderstood something (which could well be) I was under the impression that the Keystone pipeline was to transfer Canadian oil to a Texas shipping port and then to elsewhere in the world.

        Again, I could be wrong, but I did not think that it was to add anything to the US supply.

      • 0 avatar
        AJ

        Well it is just what the environmental left wants.

        ;)

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      For those wondering to what extent speculation (not the kind Obama, Pelosi or Romney, for that matter, disingenuously speak of) affects oil prices, this is a credible read by Michael Masters, under oath, as testified to before the Senate, and the CFTC:

      File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
      Testimony of Michael W. Masters – Commodities Futures Trading Commission – August 5, … Senate Agriculture Committee, and an in-depth response I submitted, also … means that over 90% of trading in oil futures involves speculators trading

      http://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/hearing080509_masters

      And before the Senate:

      Michael Masters’ Senate Presentation on Commodity Speculators

      http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/_files/052008Masters.pdf

      Again, much of this speculative component of the price of oil, which Masters (he is no light weight; at least read his CV and testimony before you call into question his analysis) estimates to account for as much as $45 or $5o per barrel of oil at anything over $110 USD barrel of oil, results from the money the Federal Reserve (and the Treasury, under both Bush AND Obama – Paulson & Geithner) have essentially given to too-big-to-fail banks and financial institutions to gamble with, since they are….wait for it…too-big-to-fail.

      Who amongst us wouldn’t gamble balls to the wall with a guarantee against any losses?

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I’m glad I opted for a 4 cylinder instead of a V6 and a station wagon instead of a 4wd SUV. Gas at 2.44 a gallon made a larger vehicle a little tempting but it was only a matter of time before the energy policies of today coupled with events all over the world erased that price.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    $3.50 in GA

  • avatar
    Elorac

    It’ll be interesting to see what this does to the used car market. Definitely not going to make selling my thirsty G37 any easier…

    • 0 avatar

      Looks at thristy Wranglers. Your G37 is like a Prius for people.

      • 0 avatar
        ezeolla

        Wranglers may be gas hogs but I don’t think it is hurting their resale value. I recently just got my 2005 appraised (for some reason I though I could get something other than a Wrangler) and it is worth 85% on a trade in of what I paid for it 3 years ago.

        There are some cars that people are willing to pay for no matter what the gas is like. I remember reading in a comment last week that used Excursions fly off the lot even though they make a Wrangler look like anything with ECO at the end of its name.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      I already know what it’s going to do to the used motorcycle market, and it’s not going to be pretty. Guess I won’t be getting another bike this year after all.

  • avatar
    replica

    Time to pick up a used Mustang GT as a second car.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Flirting with $4 in the DC suburbs and it isn’t even March yet.

    Thanks Obama!

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Fact of the day: the President of the United States dictates fuel prices.

      Look, it was stupid when people blamed Bush for $4.50 gas back in mid-2008, and it’s stupid when people blame Obama for your gas price today.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Maybe the Federal Reserve can give untold trillions MORE of nearly zero interest loans (FOMC Fed Funds Rate is 0.25%) to financial institutions with commodity trading desks, with many of these institutions literally having a too-big-to-fail implicit U.S. taxpayer backstop, thus encouraging them to go and bet the farm (that’s not theirs to lose) on oil futures (as well as copper, sugar, wheat and cotton futures), thus driving the price up further than anywhere near where true supply-demand curves would price it.

        Oh wait…The Federal Reserve is doing this, under a variety of schemes, some named ‘Quantitative Easing,’ while others are named ‘Twist,’ each and every month since roughly 2008 (it all started with TARP & TALF).

        But that won’t stop both sides of the aisle of the so-called different political parties and their honest, brilliant leaders from blaming strawmen for the rise in oil prices, even as they both pocket banking/Wall Street money with which to fund their campaigns.

        Yes, there are some legitimate issues, not involving the Federal Reserve printing paper fiat and dealing it out like crack cocaine to friends of its New York City Branch, but they honestly are diminutive on a relative scale in terms of the cause and affect relationship on higher crude oil and gasoline prices.

        Ben Bernanke can tap in as many 0s as he desires in the world of digital fiat credited to fractional reserve cartel banks being given their ‘play money.’ Binary fiat is limitless and cost free to produce.

        Others things in the real world are not so.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        Yes, because during the first jillion-dollar bank bailout the national average price of gas went from $4.18 in June of 2008 all the way up to $1.61 in November when TARP passed.

        Wait a minute…

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Maybe the Federal Reserve can give untold trillions MORE of nearly zero interest loans (FOMC Fed Funds Rate is 0.25%) to financial institutions with commodity trading desks

        Yeh, it’s not like Chinese consumers and business buying 10s of millions of cars, millions of trucks and hundreds of commercial aircraft have anything to do with it.

        Or the fact that Ahmadinejad could start sinking tankers in the Gulf at any moment.

        Nah, it’s all about the fed.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        Have a look at gas prices versus the Dow:
        http://datadepot.msresearch.us/Track.aspx?t=72

        It’s not simple, but gas prices are pretty clearly tied to the economy (because a lowered economy lowers demand). A big part of the reason they are high now is because the economy is up.

        Now please look at that graph again and observe that Obama took office in January of 2009. Look at what happened to the Dow during his term. Still want to complain?

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        When you pick a guy for Secretary of Energy who said gas ought to be $8 a gallon – not said 30 years ago, not said 5 years ago, said the year he was appointed and reiterated it again in a Fox interview in 2011 – a little bit of it’s on you.

        When you say yourself that you support high gas prices as long as they’re “hiked gradually”, a little bit more of it’s on you.

        When you unilaterally block drilling permits in the gulf and take a year and a half and multiple court orders to slowly let production resume, a little bit more of it’s on you.

        When you block the construction of a pipeline that would replace half a million barrels a day from socialist basket case Venezuela with oil from Canada instead, a little bit more of it’s on you.

        This isn’t blaming him because he’s the President. It’s blaming him because this administration’s hostility towards US energy producers is having exactly the effect they want it to.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        imag, the economy isn’t “up,” you bought the main stream media and political propaganda, and refuse to acknowledge the government is literally borrowing money hand over fist and pumping an artificial sugar high and painting the tape. I bet you actually believe that the unemployment rate is what the Bureau of Labor & Statistics claims it is, right? (Hint: The actual unemployment rate using the formula used under Reagan, since changed, is close to 12%, NOT counting part time workers who wish to work full time – tack on another 7% for “underemployment”).

        aristurtle, what happened since then regarding oil/gas prices, which is the time AFTER WHICH the Fed began the ramp up in the monetary base (see charts below)?

        Some charts and links for jmo and aristurtle (don’t let facts get in the way of your misconceptions, fellas):

        Federal Reserve president: We’re responsible for surging commodity prices

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-30/hoenig-blames-fed-for-higher-commodity-prices-urges-monetary-tightening.html

        Commodities surge on US Federal Reserve statement on interest rates
        ET Bureau Jan 30, 2012, 12.37AM IST

        http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-01-30/news/31005527_1_wheat-prices-wheat-futures-commodity-prices

        And another article (Bloomberg has to sue the Fed to get the details of this ‘nice’ program):

        Secret Federal Reserve Loans Of $7.8 Trillion

        http://themoderatevoice.com/130732/secret-federal-reserve-loans-of-7-8-trillion-yield-13-billion-to-banks/

        And some chart porn re the monetary base/money supply:

        http://kitsch-posh.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/m0-081023-graph.jpg

        http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/United-States-Money-Supply.gif

        http://www.lesjones.com/www/images/posts/AMB-3.24_0.jpg

        http://www.yellowcapital.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/US-Money-Supply.jpg

        Of course printing and handing out those trillions didn’t allow much of that money to be invested into commodity futures, right guys?

        And the piece(s) de resistance:

        http://ilene.typepad.com/.a/6a010536583aff970b014e5fa3666a970c-popup

        http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/von%20havenstein/Austrian%20Money%20Supply.jpg

        https://seekingdelta.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/qe2-returns.gif?w=630&h=505

      • 0 avatar
        dejal1

        “Look, it was stupid when people blamed Bush for $4.50 gas back in mid-2008, and it’s stupid when people blame Obama for your gas price today.”

        Thank you for calling Obama stupid!!!!! He’s stupid and you agree. Thank you so much!!!!

        http://www.allamericanblogger.com/15310/flashback-obama-2008-blames-bush-and-cheney-for-high-oil-prices-promises-change/

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “I bet you actually believe that the unemployment rate is what the Bureau of Labor & Statistics claims it is, right?”

        Why wouldn’t I, everyone I know has a job. What metric are you using – what you heard on Fox News?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        No, I don’t watch Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS or CNN. That’s crap for the brain dead, IMO.

        And despite your anecdotal response, here’s a good place to start if you want fact over government and political spin about the true state of the unemployment picture (especially during an election year):

        http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

        That’s a credible economist, using hard numbers, and a far superior method of comparing UE, dishing out some accuracy.

        But even if you don’t want to believe that, look at how the government itself would report the current unemployment rate if this were 1980 (under U6 vs the now used U3 metric).

        See what I’m on about?

        When I have time, I’ll source up the bombshell tell all by a high ranking ex-Federal Reserve economist from its Cleveland Branch, who spills the beans on the massive manipulation taking place with seasonal adjustments and other ‘gaming’ of the numbers.

        You see, jmo, in a fractional reserve paper fiat economy, where money equals debt, confidence, with an emphasis on the ‘con,’ is essential to be maintained for both politicians and those in powerful places like The Federal Reserve (which is neither Federal nor does it have any reserves).

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        They used to blame Bush because he was in cahoots with the oil companies, so who is Obama in cahoots with? This spike, should it continue, may cost him the election, like if the GOP candidate can do something about it!!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        imag, your claim about the economy = the Dow is hogwash.

        Sorry buddy, but that’s just the way it is.

        There’s virtually no correlation between the 30 stocks in the Dow (or even the 500 in the Spooz) and the real, organic economy, at a time when the government has increased the federal debt 70% in 5 years, and is borrowing and spending $1.44 for every dollar of revenue it is receiving.

        On top of that, if the economy in the U.S. is so ‘great,’ why have the number of miles driven by Americans dropped by the biggest % in the last three years since records have been kept (despite that there are now more Americans and cars owned by Americans than ever before)?

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        Deadweight – it sounds like you are arguing that the economy is fundamentally unsound. I would wholly agree with you. The fact that it has been as bad as it has for the last decade with the wartime and stimulus spending that was going on shows how dreadful it is.

        My point was that most fundamental indicators indicate that the economy is improving, and that an improving economy is linked to higher gas prices. While the economy may be bad, it’s not as bad as it was in 2008 by pretty much any metric. There was a hell of a lot of money flowing into the system then too, and it still wasn’t helping.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        but it didn’t stop folks from blaming him.

    • 0 avatar
      powerblue

      Yeah blame it on Obama that is completely logical. Drilling within U.S. borders has grown under the Obama administration and like we all said its affect on the global price of oil is minimal to non-existent. Wake up and face the reality that the president and this country have little if any control over the price of oil. So tired of that false and misinformed rhetoric.

      • 0 avatar
        dswilly

        I’m pretty sure right now we are exporting gasoline. Every year big oil raises the price until the driving public stops driving and then they lower it back down

      • 0 avatar
        dswilly

        I dont blame Obama for gas prices, but I do blame him for crop circles, bad weather and causing white people to say silly shit.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Every year big oil raises the price until the driving public stops driving and then they lower it back down

        That’s how markets work. Would you prefer rationing?

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        powerblue,
        I agree that the President doesn’t control oil prices. But, the President isn’t responsible for the increase in drilling either. Higher oil prices make it profitable to drill in more places in the US. Better technology has made more oil reachable. But the big piece you are missing is that most of the increase in drilling that is going on now has been on PRIVATE land, not gov’t owned land. If that was the case, they would be waiting years to get this approved. If you are tired of the misinformed rhetoric, start with yourself. Obama’s administration has not been friendly in drilling on gov’t owned property or the gulf.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        There should be a new term to use for whenever people blame the POTUS for oil companies.

        May I suggest “It’s the Middle East, Stupid!” as a potential slogan?

        After all, our desire to democratize(sic) the Middle East isn’t helping is it?

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        car_guy2010: While you’re at it, come up with another one for people who believe we deserve high gas prices as a punishment for our non-isolationist ways. (And, presumably, our alliance with Israel; it always comes back to the Jews with you people.)

  • avatar
    redbeard

    I paid $3.46/gal. to fill up yesterday. After checking my logs, I found that I paid the exact same price at the same filling station exactly one year prior (2/22/2011). I don’t know if that means anything profound, but I thought it was a fun coincidence.

  • avatar
    J Sutherland

    I’m curious about the tax portion of the price because up here in Canada a big chunk of the price is directly related to taxes.In fact we have a tax (GST) on top of the various taxes…in essence, a tax on a tax. Despite that, in Alberta we’d work out to less than that Cal price.

    • 0 avatar
      CanuckGreg

      $1.25/ litre here in Ottawa, which works out to $4.73 for a US gallon. Base cost of fuel is about 85 cents, plus 25 cents per litre in excise taxes, plus sales taxes (federal and provincial) of 13% on top of that. So 85 cents for gas, 40 cents for taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      The average was $0.67 per gallon in January. (The national average was $0.488.)

    • 0 avatar
      BunkerMan

      $1.31/litre here in New Brunswick, but our price is regulated and set weekly by the government. It’s been hovering around that mark for a few weeks, though. Of course, it’s been over the magical $4 US/gal for years now, except when prices crashed in 2008/2009.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Here in Nova Scotia, the land of National Democratic Party (NDP) or NSDAP, I forgot which one, I am confused, the gas is $1.36 with diesel a bit higher but not by much. The NSDAP has convinced the sheeple that government controls of prices are great and now everyone is peachy with it. Here the government is very much hands on; they like to control the price of chicken ($9/lb for chicken breast)and the price of milk (7 dollars/gal).

  • avatar
    replica

    I just did a search on the same site, and there are only 3 reported gas stations charging over $5 a gallon. There’s still plenty of sub $4 gas stations, but just barely.

    Sucks to be California, as usual.

    http://www.losangelesgasprices.com/

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      More things to note, a gallon of gas in 1990, adjusted to 2008 inflated prices, is $2.243. So if the national average gas price for 2012 is $3.59, is it really that alarming? Gas has gone up $1.35, adjusted for inflation, in the last 22 years.

      I’m ok with that. I understand my numbers are a bit off, given I only found prices adjusted to 2008 inflation levels, then compared them to 2012. But it’s reasonably close.

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    Nice spin. The least you could do is also show the LOWEST gas price in California to keep it balanced…. Do a search at the same site as your chart http://www.GasBuddy.com and plug in the same cities on your list that are not huge but not tiny – i.e. Hayward, Moreno Valley, King City. You will see that the LOWEST prices are around $4/gallon, nowhere near $5. The average motorist in California is probably not having much trouble finding gas around $4.25 or so (a guess on my part).

    Who writes a headline based on the statistical outliers? I’d venture that in almost every state you can find one or several gas stations that are at least 25% or more above the lowest price in the same state…Try not to follow the lead of the rest of America’s sensationalist news outlets, your site will garner more respect.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      I don’t think it’s entirely dishonest. Just a sign of possible things to come. Oh, and that California sucks.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        Dishonest? No, of course not. Pandering and putting maximum spin on it to garner maximum page views? Yes. Is that the point of a blog that wants to attract eyeballs and ad dollars? I suppose so, it;s working, the comments section on this one is growing at a rapid pace. What’s next, some two-headed baby pictures? If it was in a car seat in a car, it would probably end up on here…

    • 0 avatar

      “Who writes a headline based on the statistical outliers?” “Try not to follow the lead of the rest of America’s sensationalist news outlets, your site will garner more respect.”

      There’s a big difference between saying “Gas prices crest above $5 in California” and saying “GAS PRICES SKY ROCKET ABOVE $5″. Or saying “Tesla has a design problem” versus our coverage of the battery bricking issue.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        I’ll grant you the difference in headline writing styles, but it is still very misleading. Especially without much, if any, explanation. Look, it’s like going to a car dealer and seeing that they added a $10,000 dealer markup to a car and then saying “Car X prices crest over $xxxxx”. It is true in that particular case, sure. Is it reflective of the broader market? Of course not. I’d venture that you could probably find $5 gas in quite a few states if you actually looked. Probably right next to the airport just before the rental car return driveway. Does that mean that much of the population actually patronizes those stations? No.
        Of all of the gas stations that are in Gasbuddy.com in California, how many of those are over $5/gallon? Is it anywhere near a significant percentage? Derek, I don’t have a problem with the basic premise of the reporting that some gas stations in California are now over $5, however it would be a better article if it actually included some research about the average price, how that average has been moving, and why exactly California gasoline is more expensive. Also, why is it that you can find gas stations that are literally within sight of the Martinez refineries sometimes having more expensive gas that a gas station of the same brand in Lake Tahoe, CA? Martinez land is cheaper than Lake Tahoe land and there is virtually no transportation cost. These things would be interesting. A screen grab of a couple of price-gouging gas stations, not so much (although it did suck me in, which I guess is the point)

        • 0 avatar

          The article wasn’t intended to be clickbait or anything of that nature to “suck people in”. I merely saw the graphic and posted it with a photo credit because I found it interesting that prices had finally hit the magical “$5/gallon” mark at certain pumps. No more.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I merely saw the graphic and posted it with a photo credit because I found it interesting that prices had finally hit the magical “$5/gallon” mark at certain pumps.”

        I’m sure that’s true, but you must know that this crowd will turn this stuff into a political slugfest.

        The AAA data makes it clear that $5 is well, well above the state average. And California tends to consistently have some of the highest fuel prices in the US because it has unique formulation rules that ensure that there are very few refiners that can produce gas that can be sold in the state. It would make some sense if the states (and possibly Canada) could agree upon a common standard, so that the market for refined fuel was more open than it is today.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        There’s this one gas station on the the NY side of the Palisades Interstate Parkway that consistently charges $.50-1.00 more than almost any other gas station in the area, probably because of the huge rent they pay to the State. Does it mean anything? No, not at all. But, hey, they are close to $5/gallon, so the sky must really be falling.

        Oh, and about commodities prices. Price hikes are big news. Price drops (which tend to be more gradual) get buried so deep they don’t even make the local obituaries.

        So, yeah, this certainly seems to be at least a *little* sensationalist.

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      My usual place to fill up was sitting at $4.09 yesterday (The Texaco at Torrance and Crenshaw, right down the street from a refinery and usually the cheapest near my work.) I have not seen $5 regular anywhere yet. The highest I recall paying, ever, was about $4.55 in the summer of ’08, in west LA.

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    Living in Fort Collins, Colorado (one of the lower gas price regions), I currently fill up at Shell. Regular is $3.01 as of this morning, was $2.89 a few weeks ago. Nice.

    The best part is each pump at the local Shell stations has a huge sign on it that breaks down where the oil for the gas comes from. Very interesting:

    40%Colorado
    35%Wyoming
    10%Other US
    15%Canada

    That is 100% non-midddle eastern product. And the price is lower that many other regions. I like it! Is it like that at other Shell stations around the country or the surrounding states?

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      Isn’t oil graded as a global commodity? It would be near impossible to actually know where oil came from if that’s the case.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        I have no idea. I would expect that Shell probably knows where its base products come from. Possibly in their refinery for this locale’s product they only use THEIR oil? Plainly advertising what they are one would assume it could be backed up if necessary.
        This would be an interesting research topic for the editors at TTAC. I had no idea that it would be possible (or even realistic) to supply a product based only on US (and some Canadian) production. My market is not huge, but still.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        No, that’s not how it works, WRohrl. The fuel stations are franchises, only loosely related to Shell the oil company. They basically just pay for the privilege of having a sign with a recognizable brand. Each franchise may (or may not) put different additives in their premium blend, but the regular and midgrade are going to be the same from whatever the distributor has.

        For what it’s worth, the Shell stations near me don’t have that sign, so it’s probably from your local franchise owner. I have seen a couple of independent gas stations with gigantic signs saying that they buy all their gas from [some refinery name I don\'t remember] which uses exclusively North American supplied crude oil. The fact that there’s at least one refiner that does that makes it possible for a station owner to have only “American gas”, I suppose, but any crude that refiner doesn’t buy, someone else will, since oil is fungible, so I can’t see it affecting prices much one way or the other.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        aristurtle, do you get ANYTHING right?

        Shell stations DO HAVE TO BUY THEIR GASOLINE from ROYAL DUTCH SHELL REFINERS.

        So do some other name branded stations.

        Only the independents can get refined gasoline and diesel from CROSS HAULERS.

        You really speak a lot about which you clearly know little to nothing about, and if you want me to prove this point, I’ll be happy to.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        Woah hey dude, chill out on the caps lock. I was recalling how during the last big oil spill it was made clear that BP gas stations don’t necessarily have BP gas, and vice versa, and assumed it applied to Shell, too.

        As to your other points, well, you started citing ZeroHedge, so I didn’t bother to respond. In any case, everyone wants their real estate, employment labor, etc. to go back up in price but nobody wants the commodities they consume to go up in price. Having cakes, eating them too, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        I work in the refining business. Stations do not get their gas from a refinery; they get it from a terminal. Shell gas stations have to get their gas from a Shell terminal. There can be many terminals along a pipeline from a refinery. Some are Shell, but the terminals really can be any brand. They all get their gas from the same pipe. It’s at the terminal that adds the additives that make the brand.
        Shell has ONE refinery in California, Martinez, north of SF. Do you really think a Shell gas station in San Diego gets its gas from a refinery 500 miles away, via truck? Nope. They may well get it from a Chevron refinery, add additives and call it Shell.
        And as a side note, I work 10 minutes from LAX and gas at the nearest Shell station was $4.07 as of this morning.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        kentzer, in the case of crude oil unrefined, if a terminal is supplying branded stations, it has a refinery attached.

        This is true the biggest terminal, which is in Cushing, Oklahoma, and its true of Martinez, CA, as well.

        I realize that there are terminals that only accept refined products, in which case the gas/diesel is basically pumped from the tankers into 12k trucks which depart for stations.

        By the way, the refinery that Shell uses at Martinez is 100% owned by Shell (there are other refineries there, such as a massive Tesoro, one, but Shell’s is Shell’s).

        You can’t do crack spread refining of raw crude into gasoline, diesel, heating oil, kerosene, aviation fuel, asphalt and other distillates, without a refinery.

        It’s absolutely true that branded gas (which some branded stations are obligated to buy under their terms of lease) doesn’t become so until the requisite detergent package and other additives, which are proprietary, get added.

        *I don’t know if you edited your comments, but I didn’t see you mention refineries attached to terminals the first go round.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “The best part is each pump at the local Shell stations has a huge sign on it that breaks down where the oil for the gas comes from.”

      Your gas station is buying gas from a refinery, and that refinery will get its oil from many sources. Your gas station probably doesn’t have a clue where the oil came from.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        I get that, thanks. I just find it interesting that they advertise where they say it comes from. The Franchisee is Schrader Oil Co, there are about 12 stations in this town. If they put “Made in the USA” or “Made in North America from North America raw materials” on anything else they sold and it wasn’t true, I’d expect they’d have a problem. Why not with the gas/oil?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “If they put “Made in the USA” or “Made in North America from North America raw materials” on anything else they sold and it wasn’t true, I’d expect they’d have a problem.”

        In the real world, there’s no problem if nobody complains about it.

        And it’s possible that the refiner is making those claims to the retailer. But again, I would doubt that the refiner really knows; they’re buying the stuff wholesale, and oil is a fungible product.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Pch, I am in the industry, and know of what I speak.

        I can guarantee you that Shell gasoline and diesel at the pump comes from a Shell owned and operated refinery.

        In fact, it’s part of the lease agreement Shell has with its franchisees (some Shell stations are franchises, while others are company owned), and furthermore, it’s part of the calculus as to how the franchise and rent payments are made.

        The same is true of at least 4 other branded stations.

        There are SOME branded stations that are free to buy their gasoline from independent sources (known as cross haulers), and independent stations can do so, as well.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Mr. Deadweight,

        Can’t gas companies trade raw oil with other companies before it is refined, thus it could be from anywhere? Or is that not possible? For instance, Shell could buy/trade oil with another oil company that gets its oil from another country.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The crude oil is fungible, in terms of class (WTI, Brent, etc.).

        So yes, it trades in what’s essentially a global pit, but some multinational oil companies like shell also operate their own refineries, where they directly ship oil to, to be refined in accordance with their specifications.

        To be perfectly honest, I can’t answer whether each barrel of oil allotted to a Shell refinery comes directly from a Royal Dutch Shell tapped source, but I do know that at the point leaving the refinery, it’s a Shell branded and formulated product, with proprietary detergents and what not mixed in.

        The big refineries supplying independent franchises (not bound to buy branded gasoline) in the U.S., as best I can last recall, are Valeo, Tesoro and Alon USA (they’re small overall, but a large supplier of 7-11 and other non-branded stations).

        Here’s hard data on refineries:

        http://www.eia.gov/neic/rankings/refineries.htm

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “To be perfectly honest, I can’t answer whether each barrel of oil allotted to a Shell refinery comes directly from a Royal Dutch Shell tapped source”

        I’m pretty sure that a gas station owner who claims with absolute certainty that 40% of the oil used to produce his gas came from Colorado, 35% of it came from Wyoming, 10% came from the rest of the US and 15% came from Canada doesn’t know, either.

      • 0 avatar
        Brad2971

        In the case of the Fort Collins resident filling up @Shell for $3.01/gal, the refinery that supplies those Shell stations is Suncor Energy. That Canadian company’s Commerce City (CO) refinery obtains its oil from local sources, and increasingly from the Bakken Formation in ND.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Brad:

        Suncor to Sell Shell Fuel in Colorado

        “Suncor to Sell Shell Fuel in Colorado
        Announces new branded marketing deal in Centennial State
        CSP Daily News | April 9, 2009

        DENVER — Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. said yesterday that it has signed a branded marketing agreement with Shell Oil Products US. The agreement will allow Suncor and its network of branded marketers to sell Shell-branded fuel in Colorado.”

        http://www.cspnet.com/news/fuels/articles/suncor-sell-shell-fuel-colorado

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      You’d have to be quite gullible to believe that source percentage sign at your local station. The management likely have no clue where the original crude comes from, beyond the name on the side of the truck that delivers it.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        No more gullible than to believe a farmer at the farmer’s market when he tells me that his fruit is organic…

        If this was a one-shop operation such as “Billy-Bob’s Gas ‘N’Sip” or something like that, then sure, I get your point. But a multiple outlets Shell-branded operation? I’ll take it at face value until proved otherwise.

        No matter what, it has made a difference, while the pricing is basically the same as the other outlets in town, I will seek them out. So the ad campaign, even if false, is effective (as it concerns me anyway).

        Take a look at http://www.schraderoil.com – they are even advertising it on their website front and center.

  • avatar
    phargophil

    The sad part is that the last great spike in gas prices seemed to be a harbinger of economic malaise in general. Double-dip recession is not impossible.

    I don’t directly blame the president or Congress for fuel price gyrations, but I do blame them for not trying to rein in the rampant speculation in the commodities exchanges.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    According to AAA, the average price for regular in California is $4.142 per gallon. The national average is $3.612.

    http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/?redirectto=http://fuelgaugereport.opisnet.com/index.asp

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      Confusing, this article, as current as today, AAA posted that $3.61 was the national average.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/with-natural-gas-supplies-still-well-above-average-prices-drop-25-percent/2012/02/23/gIQANP7YVR_story.html

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        As of 2007, there were 8,179 gas stations in California.

        http://www.census.gov/econ/industry/geo/g4471.htm

        If there are four gas stations selling gas above $5 per gallon, then that means that there are 8,175 gas stations that aren’t. For this TTAC headline to have merit, you have to ignore 99.951% of the gas stations.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      You can also get a breakdown by area…
      http://fuelgaugereport.opisnet.com/CAmetro.asp

      I see that the average prices of premium in California are highest in Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, and San Francisco. Its about $4.30 to $4.40 with regular trailing by about $0.20.

      Maybe the $5 gas comes with a “free” car wash?

      In other news: mini-mart sells soda for $1/can but I can buy a 12-pack at the supermarket for $2.50. Prices vary, so if you are concerned about saving money it is wise to shop around and be informed.

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    How many of those stations in Los Angeles are near the rental car returns at LAX?

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      There’s an address for each gas station. Without even looking though? Probably all of them.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      Several of the addresses aren’t particularly close to LAX. One address is near downtown. I would say they are Los Angeles addresses not especially distorted by the prices of gas stations near LAX.

    • 0 avatar
      hwyengr

      One of the stations (the Chevron on Alameda) is across the street from Union Station in downtown LA. I don’t think there’s a lot of rental car business there, but it is the only name brand gas station within a pretty large area. They’re almost always the highest priced station in town.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      I vaguely remember paying $4.17 for 87 octane at a Chevron station near LAX the other day. I say “vaguely” because I was topping off the rental car and I didn’t pay much attention to the price for the reasons you mention; LAX.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Well, now everybody will trade in their F150 for a Volt. Yeah, right.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Obummer!

    If the President can stick his noise in the bedroom, what’s stopping him from getting in my tank?

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    The pundits said gas prices were going to explode this year..I was planning on getting an E39 540i/ 6spd gas guzzler…but $4.03 for regular yesterday makes me want to keep driving my Miata.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      What kind of fuel mileage do you get with your Miata? A good friend of mine had one, and it only did 20 – 25mpg at best for him. I get that same fuel mileage with my 2001 Lesabre (averages about 22mpg for my commute).

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Hmmmm….Maybe I better rethink that Challenger SRT8……..(but I so want a real muscle car before I hit 50).

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      Smiles per gallon, not miles per gallon.

    • 0 avatar
      smokingclutch

      If gas prices matter to you, you can’t afford a new car anyway. There are some times that isn’t true (if you are a traveling salesman, for instance) but if you are seriously looking at dropping $40k on a car, you can afford the gas.

      I enjoy my Challenger R/T, and I get 24 mpg on the highway. I average about 19 mpg overall. Peanuts compared to the purchase price.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Here.

    Fuel prices, gas and diesel, by region and by week, with historical data going back ages.

    (Oh, right. Crappy site upgrade broke the internet: try http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/)

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Just towed the tractor to help some friends clear some land.

    7 mpg, and it cost nearly 100 bucks to fill the Sierra…

    Let’s not even start on the tractor.

  • avatar
    SuperACG

    I lost my job a month ago so I don’t drive as much. Last week I paid $3.91 a gallon, and now it’s $4.17. I won’t need to fill up for another 2 weeks, but I dread what it will cost then.

    I paid $3.61 at the beginning of February…

  • avatar
    Lampredi

    $5 per gallon of gas is still ridiculously cheap, compared to what Europeans have to pay.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      Not really. Europeans pay high taxes on just about everything to pay for their “free” healthcare and other social programs.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Keep buying into the spin.

      You can’t compare the U.S. and Europe in terms of gas/petrol prices because of the vast differences in public transport, % of income spent on oil/gas/heating oil as a % of living costs, and the number of people as a percentage of the population relying on cars and light trucks to get to and from work or to do their jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperACG

      Europeans drive a lot less than North Americans do.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Europeans also get trains and diesel Renault Twingos.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      You’ve got it backwards — it’s European prices that are ridiculous, all thanks to horribly regressive gasoline taxes. And here I thought Europe was supposed to be progressive, enlightened, and forward-thinking…

      • 0 avatar
        Lampredi

        Actually, I’ll have to agree with you on this, darkwing.

        Still, as someone who’s used to $10/gallon these days, I find that someone complaining about a mere $5/gallon for gas is, not to put too fine a point on it, unreasonably whiny. But yes, I know deep down that I’m probably not being fair…

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        It’s kind of like how I chuckle at my Floridian relatives and friends when they complain about the temperature dropping below freezing — yes, it’s funny, but I also recognize that the place is built around a certain set of assumptions, and getting outside of that range can cause real hardship. (Just ask all the farmers.)

        Similarly, postwar Americans have generally decided against the high-tax welfare state, preferring instead to remain individually richer and deal with certain problems ourselves, and American society is built around those tradeoffs. While it’s funny when seen from a very narrow point of view, the hardship is actually quite real.

      • 0 avatar
        SuperACG

        Say I’m the only bee in your bonnet!

  • avatar
    Rob Finfrock

    Prices at my local station actually dropped five cents a gallon over the past week. Now $3.189 in Rio Rancho, NM.

    Keep in mind that prices spiked around this time last year, too, I believe due largely to nervousness over Libya. If memory serves I paid around $3.50 per gallon over a quick late-February road trip to the midwest. The prices then dropped heading into summer.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperACG

      How quickly we forget! Yes, I remember the unease about Libya, as well as the high gas prices. My step-dad was doing some work in Italy at that time, and told us how Libyan refugees were coming to Italy in droves. I guess it’s the unrest in Iran now…

      DRILL BABY DRILL!!
      DRILL BABY DRILL!!

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        DRILL BABY DRILL!!
        DRILL BABY DRILL!!

        Doesn’t that help only if you keep domestically produced oil from hitting the world market? I did not think we had enough oil in our dirt to bring down the world’s gas prices.

      • 0 avatar
        SuperACG

        Yes it does. And that’s exactly what I mean. The world? Dude, China owns everything. It’s best we keep everything here…

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        SuperAGC, I don’t know what will happen ultimately, but there are a lot of rosy assumptions tossed about with respect to China.

        China has a banking crisis rivaling that in the west right now (that’s pretty much agreed upon by even economists who don’t often agree), and they’re sitting on trillions in sovereign bonds from both the EU and the U.S., which may not have been the wisest reallocation of their national savings, if the debasers of fiat currency at the Fed and European Central Bank (that’s somewhat unfair, because the ECB has up until now not been nearly as inclined to print as the Fed has, but all bets are off with Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy on deck).

      • 0 avatar
        SuperACG

        Exactly. And if those Chinese banks, likely the ones holding our debt, go under, who is more screwed?

        If we DRILL BABY DRILL, at least we have more of a commodity to barter with…

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Keep in mind that prices spiked around this time last year, too, I believe due largely to nervousness over Libya”

      Sounds about right. This time it’s nervousness over Iran. News article the other day said that US oil demand is down and exports up. But prices are still rising due to oil speculation driven by international goings-on.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        The act of speculation doesn’t affect gas prices any more than gambling on a game affects its outcome. Futures are just a way to bet on where the price of oil is going.

        Iran’s saber-rattling is affecting the price of oil, but not because of speculation. Don’t forget that the dollar has been weakening a bit, too.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I will disagree with you, Darkwing, on that point, and here’s why:

        Futures contracts of crude are bought on tremendous margin, and the buyers never have to take physical delivery.

        In other words, those who buy calls on oil futures can literally roll the contracts over, perpetually, month after month, keeping the oil from reaching any port.

        In fact, it is well documented that many oil cargo ships are literally parked, for a good chunk of time, off the coast, doing nothing, with a hull full of crude, for precisely this reason.

        I will source and cite the testimony of a very knowledgeable expert who testified under oath before a Senate Select Sub-Committee on oil prices last year, who calculated that as much as $50 per barrel at that time was he ‘cost of this type of futures activity.’

        He wrapped up his testimony by telling the good senators that if those buying oil contracts were forced to take physical delivery within 30 days, oil prices would plunge.

        I agree with him.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        @DeadWeight: That’s not how futures work. If you’re holding a physical delivery contract at expiration, you’re either accepting delivery, or getting liquidated so someone else can.

        If traders are parking tankers off the coast, they’re renting the ships and accepting delivery, which means that the futures contract has expired and futures speculation, therefore, has ended. In that case, they’re speculating with the commodity itself.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        I have to think that if Iran v. Isreal really blows up, it will make last years Libya conflict look like two third grade girls fighting in the school yard………and all bets will be off re: $3, $4, $5, $6 gas.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    $4.20/gal around here. On the other hand, it’s 75 degrees outside.

    California gas prices are always a little higher, but especially so during the winter. Our winter blend is apparently unique, so we’re dependent on in-state refineries. It’s not all bad; San Jose has an inversion layer that captures smog, but the air’s a lot better than when I was little, despite massive growth in the South Bay.

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      >>$4.20/gal around here. On the other hand, it’s 75 degrees outside.<<

      This is what I tell myself when I fill up my tank, and when I fill out my state tax return.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    When gas prices went crazy in the first quarter of 2006 (right after the wonderful 2005 Atlantic Huricane season) I bought a 2004 F150 Heritage (4.6V8) for realtive peanuts. The truck had lost half its value in 2 years. Now it is paid for and I can afford to put gas in it. If gas prices go up and stay up bringing the value of used SUVs, sport coupes, large sedans, and trucks crashing back to earth, I might just have to go buy one. A low monthly payment can buy quite a bit of gasoline in the difference between a used car loan and a new car loan.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      I agree with you on the cost of guzzlers. This could be another great buying opportunity for people who pay attention to economics and world events and have some spare cash or credit plus an extra parking space.

      Maybe it’s also time to buy stock in Toyota (prius) or Hyundai? Are there other car companies that would benefit from a sharp increase in sales of fuel efficient commuter cars?

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Maybe it’s also time to buy stock in Toyota (prius) or Hyundai? Are there other car companies that would benefit from a sharp increase in sales of fuel efficient commuter cars?

        Depends on what the plant capacity is for some of the makers who sell 40mpg wonders.

  • avatar
    replica

    Gas will always be the exact price people are willing to pay.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Hardly. Demand for gasoline is relatively inelastic, because changing jobs or moving house are expensive and time-consuming tasks. You could get people to pay much, much more than they’re paying now.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        @carlisimo
        I agree, but would go further. I would say that gasoline prices in the U.S. are almost totally inelastic in the short term.

        I believe that $7 a gallon would reduce consumption only 15 or 20%, and that it would take at least $15 a gallon to make it fall by half.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Regardless of gas prices, people will still pay it. They simply don’t have a choice.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      And supply is even more inelastic — increasing capacity takes years, sometimes decades, of effort, at great risk and expense.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Americans are willing to pay anything for a gallon of gas.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        No they aren’t.

        At some point, it’s a net-negative return, even for many who have low wage jobs and/or long work commutes, to put a gallon of gasoline in their vehicle, and the statistics proving that Americans have reduced their fuel consumption and miles driven annually by a record amount bear this out.

        Gasoline may be more far more inflexible a purchase than iTrinkets, but it’s not completely inflexible.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I don’t know about ‘willing’ but they are sure to buy the gas whatever it costs if they want to continue to drive. They’ll probably cut back on other things like eating out or buying latte. That was the trend in 2008, anyway.

        Earlier today I spent $120 (cash money) to fill up four 5-gallon gas cans and top off my Tundra (at $4.79 a gallon for Shell Premium. I wasn’t ‘willing’ but I choose to drive.

        We get our gas directly from the El Paso, TX, refineries via pipeline and generally are the first to receive the shock of increased pricing as opposed to stations with large storage tanks.

        Everyday the price gets a few cents higher. It won’t be long now before we hit $5/gal (Premium). At my altitude I have to buy Premium to keep the engines from pinging and knocking.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Not sure if this means so much in cali. Isn’t the weather decent there where people can ride 60-80mpg motorcycles?

    I’d love to ride at 65mpg bike @ $5/gal rather than my 22mpg car @ $3.80/g

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Good thing electricity in my neck of the woods is still $0.08-0.09/KWh for a few more months! $0.04 cents per mile FTW.. (and renewed another 6 months of unlimited public charging for $25, thank Austin Electric!)

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      Mine is about $0.13 or so. Wish electric vehicles were viable for me and under $20k. Then I’d look at one….

      Bikes are ALMOST there, although the only big-names (zero/brammo) with max battery pack are only 62-65 miles (last i checked at highway speeds).

  • avatar
    afflo

    This again?

    Gas shot up in 2005. (Katrina)
    Gas shot up in 2006. (Refinery fires? Oil-pipe gnomes)
    Gas shot up in 2007, and kept right on going until summer of ’08. (Speculation)
    It dropped when the market crashed in ’08, to a low point in 2009.
    It shot up in Spring of ’11, and then eased back down a bit.
    It’s going up again.

    Six and a half years. How many of you jokers have owned the same car for six and a half years? You can complain*. Everyone else, stuff it. You’ve seen how volatile gasoline prices can be. You have whined and cried against fuel taxes that moderate demand and cushion the blow. If you have half a brain, you looked at the price of gas when you bought your current vehicle, and established your current residence/commute, and said, “Can I afford this if gas doubles? If gas triples?” If you didn’t, you did not do your homework. It’s called “personal responsibility.” “Long term planning.” “Being an adult.”

    “Waaaaaah, I can’t afford my V8 Canyonero on my 50 mile round trip commute?” Well, I can’t afford to eat truffles every day and wipe my nose with a fresh $100 every time I sneeze. If I try, my wallet pays the price. We are among the wealthiest nations on earth, and we pay peanuts for gasoline, yet every little fluctuation in the price brings a new wave of bellyaching, with the almost required video on the evening news of a driver telling his “I’m going broke” sob-story standing next to a late-model gas guzzler. Get over it.

    Oh, you need the Expedition to carry your seven kids? Did you consider the costs, and possible future costs, when you had those seven children? No? OK then. Stuff it.

    *Oh, wait a minute. People have known about the volatility in the gasoline market since the 1970s? OK, you, the guy driving the same 1971 Ford Thunderbird, you are the one person who can whine. Everyone else, stuff it.

    Also, gas prices are cresting $4.18 in California. Stop cherry-picking the 10 most expensive stations in the STATE. That’s like saying that “Americans are over 7 feet tall now” because you included only stats for the tallest NBA players.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperACG

      I’d still have my Jetta TDI if not for the diabetic who ran into it while having a seizure…

      I bought my Focus BECAUSE of gas prices. My 4×4 SUV that I only drove on weekends became my daily driver after aforementioned Jetta was totaled. The Jetta was driven 25,000 miles per year. The 4×4 was driven 20,000 miles in a year before I considered replacing the Jetta.

      The Focus doesn’t do as well as the Jetta did, but it was a whole lot cheaper to buy and maintain. Why do I complain? Because there’s only so much hypermiling, tire over-inflating, vehicle lightening, (etc.) I can stand, and the roads here are still falling apart!

      No one saw the economy about to crash, and no one thought the global market would remain stagnant for this long. I would LOVE to take my 4×4 out in the dirt again, but it hasn’t moved FOR A YEAR. The 4×4 sits unregistered, not smogged, and the inactivity has “bricked” the battery. I did my best in planning expenditures, but other stuff happens. I’ll take donations for the 4×4, or filling the Focus to drive to another job interview.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      +1 afflo, and I have five kids. :)

      This is why I maintain that rising gas prices only produce a momentary change in purchasing behavior. Having two trucks be the top-selling vehicles in the US is evidence of this mindset.

      Next thing you know, the oil company executives will have to testify before Congress on why their profits are so high.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      @afflo

      Well said!

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      I will agree but here is my story to bring up a point. Some of us got stuck with a certain vehicle due to circumstances and when we could, we got something better, more fuel efficient.

      A case in point, in 2006 my then 1988 Honda Accord was falling apart due to neglect since I was going through hard times and it was not helped by being rear ended in August of 2005 and lost its muffler a few months later due to it being shoved back, kinking the exhaust pipe (the muffler was mostly disintegrated by that point anyway) and I knocked it loose one morning while running late to my temp job and it fell down, eventually falling off the car from being dragged on the ground for several miles, tires in various states of wear, but the car ran still and through friends bought their 1992 Ford Ranger truck with the 4.0L V6 and 5Spd manual for a price I could afford and $100 a month payments. I figured I’d keep it no more than 3 years out, be in a more financially stable situation and sell it off and get into something smaller and more fuel efficient.

      Well, I DID get perm work but it didn’t pay enough to make that happen so I ended up driving that truck almost 6 years, racking it to almost 237K miles before I was forced to dump it in January as it was dying a slow death. it was leaking oil like to the tune of 2Qts every 2 weeks, the cooling system was leaking, it had a throttle issue whereby I could not rely on the idle air controller valve to work properly, it had a bad wheel bearing, a bad u-joint and needed a new serpentine belt and was in dire need of a fresh battery and that was just for starters as it also appeared to have a very slow leak in the power steering unit too.

      Now, I drive a Mazda Protege5 with just over 111K miles on it. it’s mileage is middling as best right now but it’s better than the truck as I drive mostly rush hour and city traffic driving for now. I’ll see how it does on the highway on a long drive and if it goes over 30mpg, I’ll be happy and it may well do that if I use the cruise especially. No, it’s not the turbo speed version, but the base normally aspirated model with the sport shift auto.

      I’d have personally rather have had a car that got closer to 40mpg highway, 30 city but oh well, as I could not afford new and the Mazda offers a nice driver’s oriented handling/ride and is a fun car to drive so that’s in its favor – and it’s practical too.

      And BTW, gas here at some stations in Seattle are now over $4 a Gallon. The Shell right off I-90 in Seattle is reading $4.09 a Gal as of today.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Money bubble:

    “Gasoline Prices Are Not Rising, the Dollar Is Falling” by Louis Woodhill 2/22/2012

    … 0.0602 ounces of gold per barrel … During the 493 months since January 1, 1971, the price of WTI has averaged Au0.0732/bbl. …

    At Au0.0602/bbl, today’s WTI price is only 82% of its average over the past 41+ years. Assuming that gold prices remained at today’s $1,759.30/oz, WTI prices would have to rise by about 22%, to $128.86/bbl, in order to reach their long-term average in terms of gold. … such an increase would drive up retail gasoline prices by somewhere between $0.65 and $0.75 per gallon.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2012/02/22/gasoline-prices-are-not-rising-the-dollar-is-falling/

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Robert – that is correct.

      If you look at my long post up top, with the links, the Federal Reserve has essentially pumped trillions into the monetary base over the last 3 years, and the U.S. Government Debt (officially) has risen from around 6 trillion USD at the time Obama, as a senator, cast his vote against rasining the debt ceiling in 2006, to just under 16 trillion USD today (think about that – a nearly 10 trillion USD increase in the national debt in 6 years; we’re paying more in interest per year on the national debt now than the entire national debt was under Carter, and that’s with historically low interest rates).

      The economy hasn’t improved. It’s been given a shot of crack cocaine by printing Federal Reserve Toilet Paper, debasing living standards of Americans, causing a rise in prices, via an astronomical and idiotic deficit spending ‘papering over’ of the fundamental problems with the U.S. economy.

      The economy is getting worse. It’s just that people won’t realize it until the U.S. has Spain-Italy levels of unemployment and a similar inability to service its debt obligations (France & the U.K. are right there with us), that most of the sheeple will realize this, despite what the media and government officials have been telling them for years.

      And then it will be too late.

      It is not morning in America. The facts hurt.

  • avatar
    ixim

    Northern NJ prices as of this AM – regular ranging from $3.41/gal to $3.67/gal. Guess who got the most recent delivery? No, we can’t pump our own. Low gas taxes, too. However, we were paying $3.11 a month ago. Gas prices = supply/demand + taxes + speculation + local blend laws + retailers’ competition. Want cheap gas prices? Hope for another recession; the last one had them < $2.00/gal here.

  • avatar
    dmanww

    USD$6.62/Gal in NZ

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Just did the math. Still cheaper to drive my paid for 93 Land Cruiser in its 12 MPG glory than pay a payment and gas for a new econo box.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      That is interesting and I no doubt believe you.

      Out of curiosity though, how much do you drive? And at what point would you break even buying a 20K econobox @ 35 mpg and $5/gallon?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Most places in the Cincinnati area are $3.69/gallon. Filled up the MX5 last evening. Drove it today – came home to the gym with the top down, windows up, screen up, heat on low, fedora securely on head. I enjoyed a wonderful drive.

    Right now, we’re paying $300.00 a month for gasoline. Wifey drives the CR-V which averages 21 mpg, but she only goes less than 10 miles R/T. Me? Ha ha ha! 100 miles R/T! Even though the MX5 and the Impala average over 30 mpg, it still adds up and in effect, is a pay cut.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    $3.57 tonight, here in rural New Hampshire – some stations are at $3.6x now, though. Shikata ga nai.

    Now averaging 25 MPG rather than 18.5, though… a more efficient vehicle at a fair price is always a good bet.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    At a station here in Seattle (Shell) that’s right off of I-90 is at $3.99 a Gal and we have a fairly high gas tax on top of our fuel. Last week, that same gas station was $3.79 a Gallon. That’s how much it’s risen.

    I would not be surprised that some of the stations (namely Texaco and to a lesser extent, Chevron) near downtown are now OVER $4 a gallon. Last Saturday, I paid, $3.56 or so a Gal for 87 octane gas at Costco and put in $42 for a whole 11.99Gals and the Costco I went to is in S. Seattle.

    I will not be surprised if $5 a Gallon (or more) comes common before the year is out, it all depends on how much gas continues to goes up.

  • avatar
    EEGeek

    Amid all the grand hoo-ha on this thread, my quibble is the use of the word “crest”. It implies that prices have reached the top and will begin to recede. We certainly don’t know whether that is true; most predictions are that prices will rise as we near springtime and the traditional driving season. Much depends on what happens with Iran.

    I’ve read Derek’s response, and I guess I can follow that the point of this post is to mark a milestone of sorts. But “crest” is the wrong word to use, IMO.

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    If TTAC wants to do some real investigative journalism, go to http://www.schraderoil.com (my local Shell station franchise holder with 19 outlets) sometime and look at the front page with the big ad that shows the All-North-American oil breakdown. Call them up and ask them about it and have them show you how they would know this for a fact. That is the same graphic that sits on top of every one of their gas pumps. Some on here seem to think it is impossible, some don’t seem so sure. It is certainly an interesting topic, especially since the product is not more expensive that the competition in town.

  • avatar
    msquare

    Speculation is keeping the price of oil artificially high. Even the Saudis admit it. Ahmadinejad gets up on the wrong side of the bed and the market goes nuts. Even though we haven’t imported a drop from Iran in over 30 years. Europe and Asia do rely on Iran, however. Still, supply is pretty solid, even with the occasional blip. Market silliness like this also keeps demand down and supply high. You know what happens next. Most of the time.

    It’s kind of stupid because galloping oil prices leads to galloping inflation, therefore devaluing a lot of the profits. OPEC learned this the hard way in the 1970′s. They spiked oil prices too fast, quadrupling them all at once. The counter-argument then was that $2 a barrel was way too cheap.

    I especially get annoyed at the “no end in sight” headlines. Of course there isn’t, because we don’t know what sort of event or non-event will affect prices next. My guess is that there will be a settling down of some kind and we will likely be paying these same prices in June. It’s a guess, though.

    I get annoyed that our market regulators charged with keeping criminal elements from running the economy into the ground have done absolutely nothing about this or all the illegal activity that caused the banking crisis. That’s non-partisan as well as the Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame. It’s pathetic that a bunch of kids on Wall Street have to call the country’s attention to these things.

    I also get annoyed when people compare the Americas to Europe. I include the entire hemisphere because conditions are similar in a lot of ways. Live in the five boroughs of NYC or any major European city and you probably don’t need your car to get to work. Live anywhere else in North America (including Canada) and you do, and often over longer distances. Australia is similar I’m sure. Notice that none of the three countries tax fuel at the rate European countries do.

    Have a truck for work? You’re screwed even if you have a diesel because the higher cost of the fuel offsets the economy advantage. Can’t sell it because you’d lose even more money.

    Also, despite the staggering problems we face, we are still the greatest economic engine the world has ever known, and our mobility plays a significant role. High oil prices will strangle economic growth worldwide, and the argument has been made that they’ve been doing it over and over again lately.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      You’re speaking of demand destruction, especially in a petro-dollar world, where oil is traded in Federal Reserve Notes in large part due to the military protection we provide OPEC members with (think Iraq invading Kuwait), and I agree.

      Unfortunately, if you’ve studied the Austrian School theories, which have been bolstered by the utter failure of the butchered Keynesian policies unleashed by central banks that are butchering living standards, a compelling case can be made that we’re now in a blow off deleveraging cycle that will take decades to play out, as it was decades in the making, as nominal economic growth since the 1970s was based on a massive (unprecedented) expansion of credit (which is the same thing as debt when fiat is currency and is backed by nothing of inherent value).

      As just one example of how this plays out on a national level: Japan. It’s main stock index, the Nikkei, hit 40,000 in 1989 (at the time everyone thought Japan, Inc. was going to conquer the world; Pebble Beach & Sony Pictures, etc.), and the Nikkei is now 93% lower adjusted for inflation, and the Japanese Government has the 2nd most debt in the world (after the UK), with stagnant or falling living standards for 30 years.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Agree with a lot of your post, but one point – I don`t think the UK has the highest debt in the world. It is increasing but still lower (as % of GDP) than Italy, Greece, Japan etc.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Mike:

        It would surprise a lot of people, so nothing to be “wow, I didn’t know” about (I didn’t realize it till I saw the stats):

        http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ONmVIqSp_e0/TyX9fUj3dyI/AAAAAAAABAQ/1Qd2xI6ua8I/s1600/World+debt+to+GDP.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        And yes, that’s the official debt (so we all know the unofficial but more accurate debt is much higher), and it’s nearly 10x GDP.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        The “offical” debt is the Governmental debt. On which measure the UK is middling.
        I see most of the huge debt calculation is due to financial which I assume is the ownership/ potential liabilities the Government took on when they acquired stock in some major banks like HSBC and Lloyds TSB. The UK is more dependent upon financial services than any other country since London is the largest financial center.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        It doesn’t matter. That ‘financial’ debt component ends up as taxpayer debt when the Bank of England gives good taxpayer money to British (and Irish) banks for their toxic waste assets.

        It’s the same thing our Federal Reserve is doing. TARP & TALF were both programs that did exactly that.

  • avatar
    obbop

    More money spent upon fuel for most folks does mean less discretionary money thus fewer bucks spent elsewhere perhaps leading to fewer likely low-paid service workers thus more lower socio-economic class commoner vermin around town.

    Yet the yearly flood of legal and illegal immigrants, school graduates both 12th grade, various college types/levels/etc.

    Military “dischargees.”

    Fewer jobs, more job seekers.

    Will the misery continue until society unravels?

    BAH!!!!!!!!!

    Perhaps my obtaining and keeping a vehicle I can live in was a sound path to follow.

    The end is near?

  • avatar
    Dawnrazor

    Serious question: has anyone actually crunched any numbers to determine whether or not it makes financial sense to buy an “inefficient” car during these periods of high prices? Do the dealer discounts on things like Dodge “SRT-8″ vehicles override the extra money one would spend fueling them (for example over a 3-4 year period)? Will the inevitable dealer markup on highly efficient vehicles render their fuel cost savings null and void over a similar period?

    I’d imagine that there wouldn’t be much of an effect at the high-end of the market, but for mainstream vehicles (particularly those which have both efficient and “performance” powertrain options) there could be some deals. I do recall people paying upwards of $10,000 for used-up Geo Metros and the like during the last major spike a few years back, so it made me wonder.

    Oh, BTW I just filled up last night in Okla. City and paid $3.37/gal for etoh-free 87 octane.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    I was in San Francisco earlier this week and had a rental car as I needed to get out of the city.

    Filled it up for around $4.30 per gallon with 87 octane in SOMA near the rental car agency. Down in Paso Robles, $4.05 per gallon.

    Don’t know why LA fuel prices are so much more expensive than in the Bay Area.

  • avatar
    foojoo

    Gas is $3.65/gallon here in SE Pennsylvania. The rising gas prices have caused me to start adopting some hypermiling practices and I have been pleased with the results. Just last fill up I got 32 MPG in 100% city driving in a car that has an EPA city MPG of 25. I want to see if I can make it to 35 MPG.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    lately, the valero station in my san diego neighborhood – usually one of the cheaper resources around here – has been raising prices twice-a-day!

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    postscript: national public radio broadcast yesterday stated that a couple of stations in the orlando florida area are currently selling gas for more than six dollars/gallon.

  • avatar
    alimonster

    £1.33 a litre in sunny Glasgow today. Litre. Pounds. Ugh. It’s sad to be a Yurpean who uses a car for work. My sympathies are, frankly, limited.


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