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What's Up With Those Gas Prices?

Here's the drama around why they seem so unpredictable.

An analyst that has kept tabs on the oil industry for 30 years says the turmoil in the oil-producing countries is to blame for the fluctuation in prices we're seeing at the gas pump here.

And things are getting pretty dicey.

Between Sudan, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq -- James Williams, owner of Arkansas-based WTRG Economics, told the Journal Sentinel things are a mess.

"I would say in terms of overall geopolitical risk of a major supply interruption with limited spare capacity to handle it, this is the worst of times. This is the most extreme," Williams said.

Click here to read more on JSOnline.com.

Daniel S. February 28, 2012 at 03:11 AM
You are correct Mr. Roberts, you mentioned the Volt and I shared the cost in my post. It's actually over $30,000 but I rounded it down. By the way, sticker price is around $41,000. In contrast: my first brand new home (a duplex) cost me $101,000 in 1988. Before the housing readjustment kicked in, it was close to $215,000 for that place; today it's back down to $144,000 and dropping. Here's hoping the auto industry prices crash next.
mau February 28, 2012 at 03:32 AM
You're not going to get any version of the Volt for under $30K even with the rebate. It will be a cold day in hell, the day I spend that much money for a vehicle. I can buy a lot of gas for that price. My son's old scrappy Mitsubishi that was given to them, gets 35-40 mpg. The 2012 model also benefits from a $1,005 price drop, with some lower-cost option packages available. The biggest change is that the standard GPS navigation system is replaced by GM’s OnStar turn-by-turn feature. The base price for the 2012 model will be $39,995, including shipping. After the $7,500 federal tax rebate, that brings the net price to $32,495. The top price with options such as leather seats and a map-based navigation system, but no dealer markups, will be $46,265, or $38,865 after the tax credit.
Rees Roberts February 28, 2012 at 04:10 AM
mau Currently you are correct. However, I see many more electric car options going forward. Competition always seems to do wonders bringing down the price of products. Innovation and smart consumers will certainly do their part too. I too would not purchase a car with a purchase price like that even with a $7500 tax break. As more people see the benefits from electric powered vehicles supply will improve along with a better price tag.
Daniel S. February 28, 2012 at 04:41 AM
If competition brings prices down, why are cars so expensive in general; there are plenty of vehicle brands and models? There are plenty of coffee shops, why is coffee so expensive? Competition doesn't seem to be working so well.
Rees Roberts February 28, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Daniel S. Like most things you can buy good, better and best. Your comments would be just as valid 30 years ago as it is now. People complained back then too. For our economic system to work you must always have continued growth in cost. If you are interested in how energy, the economy and the environment work together take a look at Chris Martinson's crash course. It has great information and would help answer your questions. Site: http://www.chrismartenson.com/page/crash-course-one-year-anniversary
Daniel S. February 28, 2012 at 06:09 AM
This guys a genius (Chris M.); "let me tell you why the next 20 years will be much different than the last 20" if he only knew it would be awesome. Of course, who expected the past 20 to bring what it brought? Technology advanced incredibly, yet we still have the 100 year old drug war and the oil crises has been growing since 1973. As for our economic system to work; it hasn't been working for quite some time now. There will be changes in the next 20 years, probably big changes in the next 10 or less. Without watching the Crash course, I doubt it's the same course I'm seeing. But the word Crash is in mine too. It's been a slice Mr. Roberts, have a wonderful evening.
Rees Roberts February 28, 2012 at 07:12 AM
Daniel S. Your response was so clear. Thank you for allowing me to suggest something and responding in such a kind way.
Rees Roberts February 28, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Did anyone else see this CNN opinion? Yikes, take a look at what the people in the UK are paying for gasoline. They call it petrol there. http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/28/opinion/opinion-european-gas-prices/index.html?eref=rss_us
Steve February 28, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Yippie big socialist government
Rees Roberts February 28, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Steve: So you are saying every country in Europe is socialist? These gasoline prices are the same all over Europe.... not just in the UK.
Rees Roberts February 28, 2012 at 05:33 PM
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Check this out: http://static6.businessinsider.com/image/4ec2cf96eab8ea5e62000013/chart-gas-prices-in-europe-and-the-us-nov-15-2011.jpg
Steve February 28, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Thank you for proving my point
Steve February 28, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Pretty much yes. They are taxed to hell over there. Every herd of VAT? All of those services including national healthcare are not free. "The difference between countries comes down to taxes and subsidies," said Tom Kloza, the chief oil analyst for Oil Price Information Service. "Prices are incredibly high in Europe because of the stiff taxes that EU countries put on fuel. The same holds true for many other countries."
Daniel S. February 28, 2012 at 05:43 PM
It's always been way more costly for fuel in other parts of the world. What isn't mentioned are the cars that get better mileage (or do they?). Ford Fiesta ST over 50 mpg, Mercedes A Class up to 52 mpg. Is the mileage really that high, or is this a conversion difference between US and the Metric /Imperial Gallon system? I do know they offer a lot more small fun cars, that are not available in the USA due to Federal overRegulation.
Steve February 28, 2012 at 05:51 PM
They also have smaller roads and need smaller cars to manure effectively. We have more space and can actually spread our legs out and haul drywall from the hardware store.
David Tatarowicz February 28, 2012 at 06:03 PM
@Daniel When I was in Europe I discovered that almost all their cars run on diesel fuel, and almost all of them have standard shift --- even the larger more luxurious cars. Diesel engines get about 30% better mileage than gasoline engines do. Here in the states people tended not to like diesel as much primarily because of the sulfer smell, but now that refiners are doing a better job, and with the new exhaust standards,that is no longer a problem. A big difference though is that here in the US we tax diesel much higher than they do in Europe. In Europe the governments want better mileage and they encourage it by having a lower road tax on diesel fuel. In this country we should have a two tier road use tax on diesel, a lower one for cars and a higher one for commercial trucks over 26,000 gvw --- that would really help to get folks to switch and dramatically cut their fuel costs, regardless of the size vehicle. As far as room inside the cars, I am somewhat of an expert at that, as I am 6'5". Here in the states, the automakers do not make cars driver friendly for different size drivers. I have a Dodge Magnum which has incredible leg room. Speaking to a foreign car mechanic, he also likes that car, because he is short and the car accomodates his needs as well. He explained to me that the Magnum was designed by Mercedes when they owned Chrysler, and built in the European style, with much more travel for the drivers seat, but fore and back.
Daniel S. February 28, 2012 at 06:31 PM
When all is said and done, the powers above us, (corporate & government) do not want us to have cheap fuel, cars that are too efficient, too fun or practical. If they did, we'd have all those things. Yes I know there is more involved, but in simple terms; that's it in a nutshell.
Alfie February 28, 2012 at 06:49 PM
You do realize that all of the difference in petro prices is taxes, right?
Tim Scott February 28, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Britian has run out of money - and the North Sea oil fields are depleting fast. Britian is now importing oil - which it can't do for long. Soon there will be shortages. "In a stark warning ahead of next month’s Budget, the Chancellor said there was little the Coalition could do to stimulate the economy. Mr Osborne made it clear that due to the parlous state of the public finances the best hope for economic growth was to encourage businesses to flourish and hire more workers. “The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years,” the Chancellor said. “The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9107485/George-Osborne-UK-has-run-out-of-money.html
Tim Scott February 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Will the end of oil be a gradual descent, or more like a "shark fin"? Many are expecting a "Seneca Cliff" moment - “I would like to argue that whereas the method used to model Peak Oil using a Gaussian is reasonable when looking at individual oil fields, provinces and countries, it is not reasonable when looking at entire planets, because, unlike oil-producing provinces and countries in decline, planets can't import oil, while oil shocks cause industrial economies to collapse rather than decline gradually along some geologically constrained curve. In [my] article ["Peak Oil is History"] I have a long list of effects such as EROEI decline, export land effect, etc., to make the case for a stepwise decline rather than a gradual one." http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2012/02/pile-of-straw-at-bottom-of-cliff.html "Don't you stumble, sometimes, into something that seems to make a lot of sense but you can't say exactly why? For a long time, I had in mind the idea that when things start going bad, they tend to go bad fast. We might call this tendency the "Seneca effect" or the "Seneca cliff," from Lucius Anneaus Seneca who wrote that "increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid." http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2011/08/seneca-effect-origins-of-collapse.html
Craig Manske February 28, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Danial S. You don't live the dream, you pursue it. The dream is one's ability to pursue happiness, not happiness itself. My Gulag reference was a metaphor representing a person's inability to pursue happiness. i.e. You can't pursue your dreams while you're in jail. The only people living the nightmare, as you call it, are those who refuse to work hard at the pursuit. They take no risks in life and thus gain nothing. "Nothing ventured nothing gained", as they say. But, for some reason they feel they're entitled to a house, family, decent job and retirement at 65. Maybe that's how they were raised, I don't know, but no one is entitled to anything but their own ability to pursue the dream. If they're successful, good for them, if not, well that doesn't give them the right to point fingers and demand it anyway.
Steve February 28, 2012 at 10:38 PM
The pipeline was approved all down the bureaucratic line. Contractors had purchased equipment, it was a go. Then it came to Obama and it doesn't fit his mold of energy, and now it sits dead. I'm sure the contractors that invested millions won't forget very soon who did this.
Steve February 28, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Glad you admit one of the ways Obama was elected.
James R Hoffa February 28, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Brand new installment of Hoffa's Retro Cinema Club up today - be sure to check it out! http://mountpleasant.patch.com/blog_posts/hoffas-retro-cinema-club-dreamchild-1985#video-9206916
Tim Scott February 28, 2012 at 11:54 PM
"Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe"($8+/gal) - Steven Chu, Obama's Energy Secretary http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/73138.html HMMM... It is Obama's fault after all.
Daniel S. February 29, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Craig M. said: "You can't pursue your dreams while you're in jail. " Actually you can, as all pursuits begin with thinking; if you can think, you can pursue your dream. Even the best laid plans go awry however and many dreams turn into nightmares.
mau March 03, 2012 at 01:30 AM
National News tonight GM is halting production of the Volt and laying off, I think they said, 1300 workers. Seems the Volt is too expensive.
Rees Roberts March 03, 2012 at 01:55 AM
It is just a temporary suspension of production: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/business/gm-suspends-production-of-chevrolet-volt.html
mau March 04, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Yes, didn't get back to correct my statement. I had heard it on the national news but read a more detailed story after posting. This is not the first time they have suspended production for supply to catch up to demand. But I still think they are much too expensive for the average middle to low class consumer.
Rees Roberts March 04, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I completely agree with you Mau. My thinking is as more competition occurs the price will come down which will benefit everyone.

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