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Gasoline Price Rises To Highest Amount Since Oct. 15

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Inland Empire rose 1.5 cents Tuesday to $3.775, its highest amount since Oct. 15, one day after a 13-day streak of increases ended with a decrease of three-tenths of a cent.

The average price is 8.3 cents more than one week ago and 14.2 cents higher than one month ago, but 46.8 cents less than one year ago, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The rising prices are the result of the annual refinery maintenance season when supplies of winter blend gasoline drop as refineries start production of the more expensive summer blend, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.


—City News Service.

ATC February 18, 2014 at 11:55 PM
Electric cars are nothing more than a novelty. The manufacture and disposal of the huge batteries are only part of the problem, albeit a big part. The biggest issue is the fact that the US is not capable of producing enough electricity to charge them if they became common and widespread. Where do people think electricity comes from? Solar, wind, and hydro can produce only a small fraction of this nations' electricity; most comes from burning coal, followed by natural gas, neither of which is "good" for the environment. And we would have to at least double our generation and transmission of electricity to accommodate widespread use of electric cars. That means doubling the amount of coal and natural gas burned, along with doubling the resultant emissions. No, the research should be towards hydrogen fuel cell technology. That is the only energy source that can wean us from fossil fuels.
ChrisG February 19, 2014 at 12:34 AM
@jeremiah, interesting comment. I've seen stats that the oil company profits are measured in cents per gallon. Our country is blessed with tons of coal, oil and natural gas. I think our focus should be on developing efficiencies in these technologies since we have those ready resources. I think that is where we can appreciate the most high paying jobs.
Allen G February 19, 2014 at 03:45 AM
Who wants to bet when a barrel of oil costs $150.00?
Jeremiah February 19, 2014 at 07:54 AM
Chris G. - Those stats on profit are spun to make the public believe. Remember that "profit" is after all costs, salaries, exploration, etc.. There is a thing called "planned exploration" which allows money to be set aside as a cost - that is just one way they pad the books. **** Remember also that the $100 a barrel that they claim as the cost for a barrel is not what it costs them to pump it out of the ground - it is what it sells for once it is above ground. **** Worse yet are the taxes - $0.52 State (CA) and $0.18 (Fed) for a tax of $0.70 on a commodity that supposedly belongs to the citizens of the US. That's you and I. **** You are first robbed of your own commodity by petroleum companies who are granted "rights" by your government - then this is sold back to you for profit - then you are taxed on your own commodity by the same government that gave it away. **** Worse than that, your oil is sold to other countries where the price is higher, and then oil is purchased at market price and imported to fill our demand - and the supply is manipulated to keep the retail price high. **** Use the logic - not reports that vary depending on what the author is trying to prove. Most of all, remember that commodities are a large part of the worth of America, which backs our dollar. Every barrel pumped out of the ground and sold out of the country is traded for $100 of the worth of America. Who gets that money? Not you or I. **** Jeremiah
ChrisG February 19, 2014 at 09:03 AM
@jeremiah, what do you propose? The oil companies pay royalties to the land owner or to state and federal government on the sale of oil or gas pumped out of the ground. These are world wide companies. They pay taxes and royalties to the respective sovereign countries. I'm in agreement with you in that exporting our oil only to import foreign oil makes little sense. I'm also in agreement that the tax at the pump is outrageous. What is your solution to lowering the price at the pump? The last I checked America enjoys very low fuel costs compared to most other industrialized countries.
Jeremiah February 19, 2014 at 10:02 AM
There is no solution. The petroleum companies and financial interests are so ingrained into the economy that there is no turning back. The royalties you speak of do not take into account the reduction in the worth of America, and are not commensurate with the value of the product. In addition it is not the companies profiting from this oil who pay those royalties - it is the consumer of the end product, as the royalty cost is passed through to the customer. I have been involved in this industry most of my life and my son is an engineer involved with refinery and pipeline design. **** Here is one for you which shows the behind the scenes manipulation. The oil pumped offshore in CA is not rfined into CA gasoline in CA. It is sent (for a fee) through various Kinder-Morgan pipelines to Texas and refined into CA grade fuel, then piped back (for another fee). Texas or foreign oil is refined in our SoCal refineries and piped or shipped to other states who don't need the CA blend. **** Believe me, the petroleum industry greed and manipulation is only exceeded by the Health Insurance industry. What is left out is that the price for which oil is sold has no concrete relationship with the cost of production - and it is curious to note that the places in our country with the greatest population (like California) also have the highest taxes. I will try to post later after work a chart showing the cost of gasoline in various countries around the world - you will be mightily surprised. **** Jeremiah
Dex February 19, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Wow....thanks for the insight Jeremiah. I had no idea. I mean, I knew that the oil companies spin/market/play everything to their profit advantage, but when you continue to hear additional stories of just how calculated and devious these tactics are, it makes my blood boil that our government (the people WE PAY to represent us) allows this crap to continue.
Jeremiah February 19, 2014 at 12:45 PM
Dex - it is pretty scary, and the worst thing is the game has already been played out to the point there is no pulling back without damaging the economy so badly that it will crash irrevocably. **** Jeremiah
Jeff Kleiner February 19, 2014 at 01:03 PM
Jeremiah, GREAT POST. One of the best I have ever read on the Patch. Why can't the large papers do an in-depth study to show the Supply Chain aspects you talk of and find solutions. My career has been in Supply Chain and I could save millions just by reading your basic post on what happens. Please say more.
Jeremiah February 19, 2014 at 02:18 PM
Thanks, Jeff. Maybe you could post some ideas how to fix it? I'm good at looking under the hood and identifying problems, but I don't know if this one is fixable. What hasn't been said yet is how thoroughly hedge funds and investors and financial interests are invested in Petroleum companies. They basically own America, and they will not let anything be changed that will lessen their "take" or restrict their cash cow in any way. You see bill after bill introduced over frivolous things, but I have yet to see a bill introduced which will benefit the average citizen over the petroleum companies. Any changes made would crash the market, and our society along with it. **** Jeremiah
trueconservative February 19, 2014 at 02:32 PM
We can blame this on our State Legislatures who continue to raise the gas taxes and our Federal Legislatures who expound that they are looking into the gas gouging in California but do nothing. Was it Boxer, Feinstein or Polosi who was looking into this last year. Did we ever get an answer on that?? Nooooo! What a surprise.
Jeremiah February 19, 2014 at 03:41 PM
Doesn't matter who it is, but you are right. Both parties are in this equally, as is the president. Any of them could raise an outcry or instigate some action for the benefit of the consumer, but in all these depressed years not one thing has been done to rein in what is probably the single highest cost for strapped consumers. And then you have people like one of the commenters above saying we should raise the gas taxes!! Nothing like being completely out of touch with reality! :-) **** Jeremiah
Jeremiah February 19, 2014 at 04:05 PM
Jeff, if you want to dig a little deeper, look at the relationship between the petroleum producers and the refiners. If you remember, oil companies used to pump oil and send it to their refineries to be processed and then sold to the consumer. It used to be a single entity with a single profit. Now producers and refiners are two different parts of the industry, with producers pumping it from the ground and selling it to the refiners (profit number 1) and then the refiners process it and sell it to the consumer (profit number 2). This way the producers can demand market price for the oil based on foreign imports rather than price it according to actual price of production. Then refiners can keep the price of gasoline artificially high by idling or under-utilizing refineries or shutting them down for "maintenance". **** What people don't know is those refineries are built with duplicate processing units in order that production can be shifted from one unit to another for maintenance without the refinery having to shut down. I used to do "turn-around" maintenance employed by a company called Western Industrial Maintenance and we did this scheduled maintenance for Standard Oil (Chevron), Texaco, Arco (Richfield), Mobile, Union 76, and Shell so I know this as fact. If the oil companies and refiners were to operate at full capacity we would run out of storage space for the finished product and the price would drop accordingly. **** Jeremiah
Jeremiah February 19, 2014 at 04:19 PM
Here is another piece of information consumers are unaware of for the most part. The Strategic Oil Reserve. **** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Petroleum_Reserve_(United_States) **** Careful reading of this article will show that the US government pays an average of $28.42 a barrel for this oil while the market price is over $100 per barrel. This represents the actual price to pump it out of the ground plus a reasonable profit for the producers. **** I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions from that. **** Jeremiah
ChrisG February 19, 2014 at 04:22 PM
@jeremiah, that is interesting. When I look to compare at pump prices to compare against most other countries the cost of gas in the USA is among the cheapest. I guess my question is, how cheap do you think a gallon of gas should be? A larger problem in my mind is that oil is beginning to be traded worldwide in currencies other than the US Dollar. I fear as the US Dollar becomes less used around the world hyper-inflation will set in as the Fed has been printing greenbacks around the clock for the last several years.
Jeremiah February 19, 2014 at 05:06 PM
Chris G - you are so right! The fallout from that is the elephant in the room, and there is stuff going on with the Iraqi dinar that has the possibility of precipitating that. **** Your observation about foreign country prices vs our own is correct as well. The reason producers and refiners sell our oil out of the country - an already exorbitant profit (remember the $28.42 the producers sell it to the government for?) is to make even greater profits. You will notice though, that the other oil producing countries sell gas to their citizens at far less than what we are charged. **** http://chartsbin.com/view/1115 **** The citizens in those countries reap the benefits of the sale of their commodities - we do not. You'll notice that most major oil producing countries sell gas to their citizens at about half what we are charged. We are now the number two oil producer, so why do you think our prices to our citizens are higher? **** Jeremiah
ChrisG February 19, 2014 at 05:33 PM
@jeremiah, I do not have an answer to that question but I did notice that a gallon of gas in Venezuela costs $0.06! Mexico is slightly less than here. Most big oil producers listed were between $1 and $2. We're just trying to squirrel away as much money as we can. We live pretty lean so I am hoping we can weather the approaching storm.
Jeremiah February 19, 2014 at 05:47 PM
Chris G - yes, I do as well. It isn't just us here in America that are being charged more than we should be. These companies are multi-national companies and profit is their only consideration. A thing that gets lost is that the lower priced countries have mostly nationalized the oil companies who work within their borders. Venezuela for example, allows outside companies to operate only under the agreement that oil will be sold at cost to the government who sells it to the citizens without profit. Those people riot in the streets if someone tries to make a profit selling their own commodities back to them! The USA could do the same - remember the $28.42 per barrel that the government pays for oil purchased for the Strategic Reserve? I can see no reason the government couldn't sell that oil to the citizens and replace it at that cost - immediately cutting the price to a little over 1/4 what we pay now. Well, I can see a reason - profit and greed. Remember the $0.70 taxes? they would lose that. The oil companies would lose the markup from $28.42 to $100 a barrel. All while we get press releases telling how they make pennies on the gallon and saying how "well, the price of gasoline is less than other countries, consider yourself lucky". Have a good day, Chris - it has been nice talking to you! **** Jeremiah
Dr. John February 20, 2014 at 08:36 PM
Jeremiah, When you say people will riot if someone tries to sell their own commodities back to them for a profit. Why don't the people who will riot in the streets just get the oil themselves?
Jeremiah February 21, 2014 at 01:01 AM
I think you missed the point, Dr. John. This was reporting an actual occurrence in Venezuela - not talk or speculation. **** Jeremiah
Dr. John February 21, 2014 at 06:55 AM
I didn't miss the point, as real as it was or wasn't. The point is, the "people in the streets" have no way to get crude oil out of the ground, to refineries and transported to them. It would be a lot of work and risk for them to do it. The people who have the knowledge, ability and industry to provide these goods and services are demonized for shifting the cost of risk and investment to the cost of their product. That is why the people will not get the oil themselves.
Jeremiah February 21, 2014 at 08:31 AM
Okay, Dr. John, lets grant you the point that We cannot get the oil out of the ground and to the pump ourselves. Now maybe you would be good enough with all your vast knowledge of the business to tell us how much we should have to pay for this service? I outlined earlier what the federal government (supposedly us) pays for oil from oil producers - $28.42 per barrel delivered to storage. That includes a profit for the oil company. So how do you justify those same companies charging the public sector (the refineries) a price of $102.49 (today's price) for that same oil? The "people in the street" in Venezuela protest being overcharged for their oil and they as a result pay $0.06 per gallon (today's price). Are you really saying we should just lay down and roll over and say "yes, master" to the petroleum companies and the government which grants them the "right" to get rich by selling you your own product at an exorbitant price so the government can tax you at $0.70 per gallon on your own commodities? **** Jeremiah
southernbelle February 21, 2014 at 12:35 PM
Just watched something about this recently, and my daddy worked for Aramco, and 2 other oil Companies. Retired Engineer. He recently told me to start saving extra cash for future gas. We'll be seeing prices in 2015 like we've never imagined. A few yrs before our gas hit over $4.50 he told me to get prepared, I thought he lost his mind. He was right. Jeremiah, thanks for taking the time to educate and give your views. The only thing I do know is even though our country is run with Capitalist economy, I still hold hope that the people have a little say so. Unfortunately--and especially in Cali and other areas where commuting is a way of life--there is little we actually can do about it because if we don't buy, we don't work. That seems the only way a change can be made--so…no change. it's golden handcuffs. Anyway--I appreciate the effort you're putting into your posts--the education and info is beneficial.
Jeremiah February 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Southernbelle - the horrifying thing is that there is no solution. Hedge funds, financial institutions, and investors are so invested in petroleum companies as the basis of their portfolios that any controls placed on the petroleum companies would crash the economy as those lost value. So the government won't intervene to benefit us as citizens, and they are actively supporting the rip-off. You'll notice that neither party, nor either House, nor the President, has made any suggestion of reigning in these entities. **** Jeremiah
southernbelle February 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM
*hanging head in defeat with the rest of the 99%*
Jeremiah February 21, 2014 at 02:01 PM
Not me - I speak up every time I have a chance! People have been led to believe as someone stated earlier "Petroleum companies only make pennies on the gallon" and the real prices and cost has been spun and concealed. Over years people have been trained to overlook the fact that any oil pumped from federal lands is theirs - it belongs to the citizens of the US. People do not think deeply enough to realize that every barrel of oil sold out of the country depletes our national worth by that amount, and lines the pockets of the petroleum magnates. **** Jeremiah
southernbelle February 22, 2014 at 02:19 AM
although it would be nice to think we live in a democracy--the truth is we kinda really sort a don't. We're little people with no power unless we all came together. Which won't happen. I say golden handcuffs, because really-- we have no choice but to "bend over" and pay because we can't not buy it. We need to get to work and in Cali--cars are our main transport. Also why hardly anyone ever participates in the boycott/protests. just can't. Btw, the oil companies aren't the only ones doing this exact thing--(the3 major bottled water companies are doing the same with water on American land--different subject but just recognized the method when you mentioned it)
Jeremiah February 22, 2014 at 07:10 AM
You are exactly right. And then there are the Health Insurers - whom you now HAVE to pay or be penalized and pay anyway. Does anyone else find it wrong that the government can make a law forcing you to buy from "for profit" corporations? This is democracy? NOT! **** Jeremiah
southernbelle February 23, 2014 at 11:19 PM
Have you ever done any research on our government and our American sugar industry? It's such a racket! Costing us 200-300 million dollars!!!! Meanwhile, they treat their workers not much differently than slave labor! Boated in foreigners to do cheap labor and ripped them off paying only $2 an hour--sometimes only $12 a day for horrendous labor!! There is so much corruption in our government it makes me ill. anyway--
Jeremiah February 24, 2014 at 01:30 AM
Our government is completely controlled by the corporations and financial interests. Anyone who thinks differently has their head in the sand or is blind. **** Jeremiah

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