Tuesday, July 25, 2006

West Texas Gas Prices and the November Election

While national gas prices hit a record, the cost of a gallon of gas in West Texas is 30 cents below our local high. Just last night I paid $2.80 a gallon while the U.S. average is over $3.00 for regular unleaded.

While driving a radio report said gas varied from a high of almost $3.30 in San Diego to a low of $2.78 in Charleston, South Carolina. Recently I pondered if the big oils would do anything to reduce consumer frustration with high gas prices given the upcoming election.

Would they sacrifice a bit of quarterly profit to keep in office a party that is uniquely oil friendly? If so they would cut their margins for gas in July, August, and September. That quarterly profit report would be released in October, just before the 2006 elections.

Would they postpone record earnings for a quarter, enabling big oil supporters to show market forces are working? This of course would be prefaced by “due to declining demand and increased supply” XXX oil company’s 3rd quarter profits declined from the record 2nd quarter (which happened to be the 4th quarter in a row setting a new record).

As I listened to the radio report of the variation in gas prices, a new question entered my mind. Would they increase gas prices in Democratic areas of the country and keep them down in predominantly Republican? West Texas and South Carolina qualify as pretty “red” places. San Diego is in predominantly blue California. Of course, looking at only three locations cannot confirm this possibility.

How do your local gas prices compare to your community’s historical high? Are you in a red or blue area? Feel free to weigh in with your report.

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