Gas price puzzler

THE drop in crude oil prices continues, with the cost to refiners down by more than $2 a barrel since last July. But motorists this summer are paying as much a 10 cents more a gallon for gasoline than they were just four months ago. What's going on here?

Oil marketing experts, both inside and outside the industry, point to several factors: An oversupply of gasoline last winter depressed prices abnormally; the cost of phasing out use of lead to obtain high octane ratings in ``regular'' gasoline is being passed along to consumers; demand for gasoline is stronger now than for most other petroleum, giving refiners and dealers a chance to recoup some of the profit margin sacrificed in the past year or so.

US Energy Secretary John Herrington said last week that his department is ``looking at [the situation] pretty carefully.'' Such examination seems warranted in order to see that consumers are getting a fair deal.

Mr. Herrington says he expects a ``price break'' after the vacation season. That seems a reasonable expectation if crude oil prices continue to decline or even stabilize at current levels.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...