Pandodyssey™ Panda Blog

This is a blog devoted to Giant Panda enthusiasts, environmental wanna-bes and peace loving funimals, world-wide.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

these paws were made for walking

Newsy Numbers
Friday, April 28, 2006; Page C12

$8.4 Billion

That's how much ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, earned in the first three months of 2006.

$3 a Gallon

That's what many people are paying for gas. Some people are asking if oil companies are boosting their profits by charging more than necessary. Oil companies say that gas prices are high in part because they have to pay more for oil and because refineries have been closed for repairs.

And earlier this week ...

Hoping for a Price Break, Bush Eases Gas Rules

President Bush temporarily suspends environmental rules on gasoline that have been blamed for a recent spike in gas prices. The change may make it easier for refiners to meet demand as the nation makes its holiday travel plans.

Analysts say that Tuesday's change may bring lower prices by removing a requirement that refiners mix gasoline with ethanol and other additives in order to meet clean-air standards. The process, which refineries usually institute at the start of each summer, has been blamed for tightening the supply of gas, helping prices rise.

The president also halted the purchase of crude oil for the government's emergency reserve until after the summer. That change is unlikely to have an impact on gas prices, which experts expect to stay high through the summer.

"environmental rules on gasoline that have been blamed for a recent spike in gas prices"? Really?

This Week in Petroleum said in its April 19th release that, while the transition from MTBE reformulated gasoline to ethanol gasoline may cause some supply problems in certain areas: namely parts of Texas and the East Coast, namely Tidewater and Richmond, Virginia, and "unless problems related to this transition become more widespread, it may not have much impact on average monthly retail gasoline prices for the country as a whole." (emphasis added by ME)

TWIP is issued weekly by the Department of Energy. As of April 19, DOE didn't seem to think that the transition to ethanol had very much influence at all on rising gas prices, and even if it did, DOE limited its effects to isolated regions of the country.

TWIP cited the two other factors in high oil prices as being:

(1) "a larger-than-normal amount of refinery capacity is currently offline, reducing the production of gasoline"; and
(2) "other factors influencing gasoline prices exhibit more uncertainty over the near-term future".

Note: I realize that the link to TWIP now reflects the current issue of TWIP, released on April 26. Thus my source, at present, is gone but I'll make every attempt to locate the original.

More research on this is warranted but this topic is making me ranty and I usually reserve that for wednesday afternoons.


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