Category Archives: gas prices

The Next Explanation for Why Gas Prices Have Gone Up

Why not?  The word is out that gas prices have already gone up and will go up further — without the usual reasons — except that they just do.  Wait — is Spring Break next week?  No, that can’t be it.  It must be because there is conflict in Nigeria.  Or a gas tanker truck wrecking in Houston.  That sounds about as plausable as any other reason.  However, the oil industry is quite honest on the local news — consumption is down — so the capitalists in them says, “raise the price!”  That’s fine by me.  If they push the price of fuel too high, people will buy more fuel efficient cars, take public transportation and buy less gas.  They can keep raising prices thinking that the public will just take it, but after 2008, I don’t think their plan will work much anymore.  It will affect the borderline poor the most, the people who need to drive a lot for work, but don’t make much.  It won’t affect Michael Berry or the other people who raked in the dough during the Republican primary.  (Do republican donors know — especially the small dollar ones, and even the TEA Party people — realize that they just made Michael Berry very wealthy these past few months?)

My solution to the higher gas prices is to drive less and chain errands.  (Except for yesterday — I had an excuse.)  When the METRO train has a stop a few yards from my house — which the latest media push has not stopped — despite Michael Berry’s best efforts —  I will take the train.  It will be like I’m back in Riga.


Friday Free Blogging

I have several things to write about, but none enough for its own post.

First, a prediction.  I heard David Brooks on All Things Considered on the way home.  He ridiculed Obama’s proposal of a second stimulus, stating that, “the first one was mostly used for online porn subscriptions.”  I wonder if that will come up on The News Hour this evening.  Or will it be his support of John McCain’s “League of Democracies?”  We’ll see here shortly.  He didn’t do either although he did try to equate Obama’s campaign to McCain’s taking the nasty low road this past couple of weeks.

Second, the Democrats successfully kept the Republicans from ramming offshore drilling down everyone’s collect throat.  Personally, if any of the people who think that offshore drilling is safe and will have no effect on their coastline would just come take a look at the upper Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts, they would understand.  It’s always been embarrassing, ugly and not at all healthy.  That’s just one reason.  The other is that, of course, drilling does not mean “pay less now.”  Gas prices are already going down:

The average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gas in Texas is $3.79 a gallon, down about 13 cents in one week and 20 cents in two weeks.

On the national level, prices fell 13 cents a gallon from just below $4.03 last week to $3.90 a gallon today.

This is from AAA.  I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusion:

“The drop in gasoline prices may be reflecting the more than $20-a-barrel drop in crude oil prices since the first week of July, when they hit a record of $147 a barrel,” said AAA Texas spokesman Dan Ronan. “It often takes a few weeks for retail prices to catch up to what’s happening in the markets, but that seems to be the case now.”

As I noted in an earlier post, the better explanation is that demand is down — people are driving less, maintaining their cars better, and buying more efficient vehicles (like me — my Yaris has been getting a little over 30 mpg).  Driving around today (more on that in a sec), I saw prices from a low of 3.65 to a high of 3.99 along the Southwest Freeway.

Dora’s Anxiety Wrapcame in the mail yesterday.  It’s made in the U.S.A. and comes with complete instructions.  After reading said instructions, I put it on her.  She was ok with the procedure, and as soon as I had it in place, she lay down on the floor and stayed very quiet for the twenty minute stint.  It was like turning a lizard on it back and rubbing its tummy.  She slept soundly last night, never moving from the corner of the bed she had staked out for herself.  It’s a promising development, but I won’t ever let her be around Tammy again.

And to poor Tammy.  She’s had a rough week.  While her appetite has been ok, she hasn’t been too enthusiastic about going outside a second time in the evenings.  The side effects of the chemo showed up more this past week than they had in the first, i.e. excessive panting, drinking lots of water and peeing a lot.  On top of that, there was a problem with the catheter yesterday, so they stopped her chemo treatment and rescheduled her for today.  Well today, her temperature was too high and the vet didn’t want to risk it.  I’m set to watch her even more closely this week and have decided to feed her separately from Murphy.  BTW, Murphy has been great with Tammy.  He gently tries to get her to play, but if she’s not into it, he runs off and plays by himself.  And when he’s tuckered out, he snuggles up near or next to her.

Lastly, Washington Week is as useless as usual, but I’ve gotten to the point that I just treat it like background noise, like radio.  I pay enough attention to laugh at the stupidity, or think of rebuttals, but I don’t expect to hear anything new or insightful anymore.  Mostly I just listen for the jabs.

I hope to get some pics this weekend of all the pups and who knows, maybe some of the kittens!

Smart Car Sighting

This evening at Spec’s, I saw a Smart car for the first time.  It is TINY.  I’m glad that I opted for the Yaris.  The Smart car is not as wide as the Yaris and the back hatch is not there.

It is a really cute car, but I have to haul around stuff every once in a while, so the Yaris works better for me.  Oh, and it was half the price.  Also, the first tank got 29 mpg and the second got 31, so I’m happy.

Meanwhile Chevy (a part of GM) is talking up its electric carwhich was already on the road a number of years ago — we could have avoided much of the pain at the pump had GM decided that the country and the planet were more important than profits.

I remember in my youth, when Carter was president, he advocated the very things that now, all this time later, are imperative.  McCain thinks Obama is the next Carter.  Once again, I think the McCain camp is screwing up.  For most my age or younger, Carter represents a plan for alternative energy that was ignored, an obligation for service, and a pledge for democracy across the planet.  McCain seems to underestimate the number of people who are still in that frame of mind and those who only know Carter for his post-presidency.  You know, that building houses and bridges and peace person.

A Few Things

Our summer term starts tomorrow.  We’ve got a lot to offer — new mini-desktops in the Sanako lab and some new texts — same teachers though.  I shouldn’t get into that.  I’ve got two intermediate grammar classes and the research paper class.  I haven’t taught the latter in a while, so it should be interesting.

The situation in Somalia and Burma are troubling for different reasons.  Somalia is still to this day struggling with the Ethiopian occupation, and on top of that, people can’t afford to buy food.  Add to all that the Bush administration bombing civilians and it is a place that I would wish on no one (down in the comments, the blogger takes solace in the flypaper argument. 

Laura Bush came out today to speak about Burma.  When asked why she has taken such an interest, she gave a standard answer, but I’m sorry, I think she was sent out for other reasons — or she asked to be to.  My doubt about her is based on her so-called initiative about gangs that has gone nowhere since she announced it.  Burma has had a repressive regime for a very long time.  I couldn’t get what she was saying about it having been one of the richest countries in the region.  That must have happened before I was born.

About taxes and energy — Republicans are trying to lay blame at the Congressional Dems and ethanol.  It’s not that, or rather that’s a small part.  It’s that speculators, OPEC and instability have pushed oil to record prices.  that makes it more expensive to produce basic foodstuffs, and countries have stopped exporting.  A tax holiday for the summer on gas is a cynical ploy.  It’s even worse than the rebate being sent out — worse than the one the Bush administration sent out no so long after gaining office. 

I am weary of the tax whiners.  They are the same ones who lived high on the hog in early 2000’s.  Now that things are tight for everyone, they want to get more of theirs back and screw everyone else.  Too bad.


The headline of the Chron article is:  ‘Nothing’ prods oil to record $78 a barrel 

Not hurricanes

Not Nigeria, China, India, Iraq or any other country

Not refineries off-line

“Nothing,” is what one economist said.

Speculators, says the resporter.

 “Same-old same-old,” stated one analyst.

High demand, a construction worker kidnapped in Nigeria, and an inventory report due are all tossed out.

Oh, and this:

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, drew a connection Tuesday between rising oil prices and the energy priorities of the House Democrats, who are putting the final touches on an energy bill:

“It’s ironic that the price of oil would hit a new high in the very same week Democrats intend to make far less of it available for production in America,” Boehner said.

I guess people who work in the industry are influence telepathically by what the Democrats are doing and what the Republicans, specifically Boehner, are thinking.  Otherwise, how does one explain that the industry that almost always has an excuse didn’t point to that?

When was the last time . . .

you saw a commercial about premium gasoline blends from any gas company?  In thinking about all the varying explanations we hear about the price of gasoline, I couldn’t recall the last time I saw a commercial about anything other than gas companies *greening*.  A related thought — a week or so ago, one of the explanations I heard was that despite record high gas prices, the volume of gas Americans were buying had increased.  I wonder if that increase was actually in all blends or just in regular unleaded.  Now the price has come down a bit here in Houston and the explanation was that things had settled down in Nigeria and that refining plants had come back online.

I wish my computer could talk to me and tell me why it is unhappy.  I have been struggling with this little machine since last Friday.  Neither of us is happy at this point, but at least I have been able to get online this evening.  Hopefully I’ll be able to solve its problems tomorrow at work.  Then I will be able to get back to regularly posting.  We’ll see.

Gas Prices

It hasn’t been quite long enough for me to forget the rationals given for the high price of gasoline last summer, much less in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, nor the run-up to Rita.  I remember before Katrina.  Gas prices had gone up.  We were told that it was due to the “summer driving season.”  Also, there are different blends of gas — leaving us to deduce that summer blends are more expensive than winter blends.  Then I remember being told that gas prices in part rely upon the futures market.  (Ninnies I will address later.)  The oil that the gas we used last summer had been bought earlier at a higher price.

I also remember that during Katrina, places like Atlanta had gas prices in the $4 to $5 dollar range.  We were told that it was because the Gulf oil rigs were being threatened or damaged.  But wait — the oil that the gas at the pump had come from had been bought before Katrina was in the Gulf, before any rig had been threatened.  And at least outside of the Gulf Coast (see Atlanta), no interior cities were in danger of not being able to get delivery to their service stations.

Oh yes, there were other factors.  Iraq was one (remember, last summer Iran wasn’t into nukes, but North Korea had been for a while, but NK doesn’t have oil.)

Before Rita hit, gas stations closed.  Put plastic bags on the pump handles.  It was the Thursday before the mass exodus.  It was before the city of Houston became a virtual ghost town.    People were willing to pay anything to get gas.

I’ve got to go check on some other things, but I promise to pull all of these threads together.