Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Politics & Gas Prices?

Yesterday I noted the BP Alaskan oil field shutdown and the dire predictions on gasoline prices as this source represented 8% of America’s domestic oil supply. I rushed out to fill up our cars expecting the price to rise by the hour as it seemed to post Hurricane Katrina. Regular unleaded gasoline was $2.79 a gallon.

As my wife and I ran errands last night, we noted the price had not changed. Thinking this to be odd, I checked the news this morning and found the oil market had stabilized after an initial bump. The story did have information that renewed my question about gas price variation around the country. Are oil companies pricing gas differently in Republican vs. Democratic parts of the U.S.?

The average U.S. retail price of a gallon of unleaded, regular gasoline was $3.036 on Monday -- near its all-time high of $3.057, reached Sept. 5 after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

Why is our gasoline nowhere near its all time high while America’s average sits pennies away? In solidly Republican West Texas gas prices are some 25 cents below our high. Of course an average is just that, some prices are above and some below.

I am curious how prices break out between red and blue areas of the country? Are all the red areas as far away from their record prices like West Texas? Or are their blue areas sitting pretty relative to high historical gas prices?

I don’t plan on doing a study, but it would be interesting if someone did. I would suggest the Bush administration but their track record on performing competent investigations is rather poor.

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