Rising Oil Prices

    by: Kevin Ransom | AOL Autos

    Gasoline. Sweet, glorious, beautiful gasoline. Liquid gold. The magic elixir. The source of life.

    It might sound foolish, but is there any other precious commodity whose prices so drastically impact our daily lives?

    It was the dizzying spike in fuel costs in the summer of 2008 -- when gas prices took a rocket ride to more than $4 per gallon -- that caused a profound shift in car buyers’ preferences and choices. That prompted consumers to stampede away from popular, gas-chugging SUVs in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient models.

    That, in turn, lit a fire under the carmakers to improve the fuel economy of their existing models as fast as they could and to push new, even more efficient models through the product pipeline as expeditiously as possible.

    But given the volatility of oil prices (the cost of gas plummeted at the end of ’08, then gradually crept back up to the $3-per-gallon range by this past April) are we to believe prices will stay low or spike this year? Might an unforeseen global development – like political / military turmoil in an oil-producing nation, or the Gulf Coast being hit by a couple of severe hurricanes -- cause prices to spike again?

    Or, will prices go up again when the economy recovers -- a prediction that economists have been making for months?

    Most Vunerable States

    StatePercent of Income (Dollar Amount)
    Mississippi 6.22% ($1880.95)
    Montana 5.88% ($2017.96)
    Louisiana 5.26% ($1908.72)
    Oklahoma 5.12% ($1830.77)
    South Carolina 5.06% ($1638.98)
    Kentucky 5.02% ($1583.50)
    Texas 4.87% ($1818.89)
    Maine 4.65% ($1700.66)
    Georgia 4.64% ($1595.08)
    Idaho 4.54% ($1467.33)


    The answer: nobody knows for sure. That kind of volatility and unpredictability is what is so maddening.

    A recent study describes, in detailed fashion, the direct economic impact that gas prices have on everyday Americans. It reveals how big the gulf is between the most vulnerable and least vulnerable states, in terms of what percentage of a car owner’s total income goes toward buying gas. If another gas price hike were to occur, it would only exacerbate that chasm.

    According to the study, prepared by the consulting firm of David Gardiner & Associates on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the 10 most vulnerable states (ranked from most to least vulnerable), are: Mississippi, Montana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Kentucky, Texas, Maine, Georgia and Idaho.

    Meanwhile, the 10 least vulnerable states (from most to least) are: Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Colorado, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. (See the full report with a complete ranking of the states -- and the data for each state.)

    According to the study, car owners in Mississippi spent more than 6 percent of their income on gasoline in ‘09, while citizens in Connecticut and New York spent only about 2.5 percent of their income on fuel. But if prices spiked again, Connecticut and New York drivers’ spending on gasoline would go up moderately, to around 4.3 percent; Mississippi drivers, on the other hand, could see their spending on gasoline skyrocket to more than 11 percent.

    As one might expect, the NRDC is pushing hard for the federal government to enact new, bolder energy policies, and re-prioritize transportation spending, in order to combat the economic hardship caused by any potential price spikes, either in the short or long term. Specifically, in order to cut America’s dependence on oil and help reduce the risk of oil and gas price spikes, the report recommended that Congress:

    1 - “Pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation that limits carbon dioxide emissions, helps us break our oil addiction, and helps create millions of clean energy jobs here in the United States; and

    2 - “Fundamentally reform federal transportation policy to support smart, transit-oriented development; assist states and regions in saving oil; and provide ample funding for energy-efficient transportation alternatives including rail and bus lines, bike paths, sidewalks, and other alternatives to driving.”

    “Our addiction to oil is harming us economically, both as a nation and as individuals, and any increase in gas prices would add to that burden,” said Deron Lovaas, NRDC’s transportation expert. “That’s why we feel strongly that Congress needs to put even more emphasis on clean energy and climate solutions, which would not only be better for the environment, but would also help the economy.

    “We’re interested in ways to decrease the demand for oil, not increase the supply.”

    Elizabeth Hogan, an analyst at David Gardiner & Associates and the co-author of the report, echoes those sentiments.

    “It’s important that the federal government pushes for more efficient vehicles and alternative fuels that are cleaner, and that it focuses on better public transportation and smart growth,” said Hogan. “That would really help putting an end to this unhealthy addiction we have to oil. And this report will hopefully get the attention of Congressmen in the most vulnerable states, and let them know just how severely gas prices impact the people they represent.”

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    1 - 20 of 110 Comments
    tacowater9 Jun 16, 2010 7:25 PM
    Where is my post?
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    tacowater9 Jun 16, 2010 7:18 PM
    It's $3.269 here in Homboldt County CA, supposedly because we're remote geographically, which means everything else costs more due to shipping....food, clothing, hardware. Pile that on top of High unemployment hand in hand with the lowest wages in the State, we passed 10 % a long time ago. Thank You Nancy Pelosi
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    lafm2005 Jun 16, 2010 2:11 PM
    Gasoline prices are actually low. If you adjusted 1950 gas prices to todays dollar, gas would be ~ $3.75 per gallon.
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    pat10s Jun 11, 2010 12:07 PM
    After reading this, and also spending some time on the road in the states noted here, I have came up two reasons of my own why gas is so high. First is that there is less gas storage depots in a lot of these states to provide the fuel needed there. The other is that oil companies want to make large profits nomatter what they have to do to do it. So these are the two major problems we have here and Washington needs to do something about it.
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    fordawm Jun 10, 2010 10:44 PM
    Americans should boycott all car travel this 4th of July holliday. Stick it to BP and all oil companies.
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    rlee136367 Jun 10, 2010 6:28 AM
    What I really struggle with is the daily, sometimes more often, price fluctuations. Within a 12-hour period at one of local "chain" stations, gas was $2.439 at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. At 4 p.m. it was $2.599 and at 9 p.m. it was $2.699. By Wednesday morning (9 a.m.) it was down to $2.639. I understand stations price their gasoline on the anticipated cost of what it will cost them to refill their tanks, not on what they paid for what you are buying, but this type of fluctuation in one day? Come one. Someone's playing with the computers!
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    arvig Jun 10, 2010 6:06 AM
    Okay, truly last post. LOL at the language filter on my last post. I hope it still make sense, but I don't even know how or why it picked to edit that post. I hope my last post makes some sense after that filter.
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    arvig Jun 10, 2010 6:05 AM
    Last post. Msmailbox, I looked up ********* Wikipedia, and saw this paragraph in the article: "Sunoco is perhaps best known to consumers for its "custom blending" pumps, an innovation that, beginning **************** customers of Sunoco service stations to choose from several octane grades through a single pump. Sunoco stations offered as many as eight grades of "Custom Blended" gasolines from its "Dial A Grade" pumps ranging from subregular Sunoco 190 to Sunoco 260, the latter a super-premium grade of 102 octane that was advertised as the "highest octane pump gas" and very popular with the 400 horsepower V8(299 kW) muscle cars of the 1960s." Assuming I'm correct on my "how they get 89 octaine gas" comment, I bet they did just this with this system too. They had a 102 octane tank, and a lower octane tank, something lower then 87 if it was "subregular". One just dialed in whatever rating one wanted, and it mixed the 102 with the other tank to get the octane. (Or pumped it out pure subregular if ********** 190, or pure 102 if ********** 260).
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    arvig Jun 10, 2010 5:59 AM
    Cnakao534 posted this "tidbit": "HUSSEIN OBAMA IS A FAKE, WHY IS HE STILL LETTING CAR MANUFACTURING MAKE THIS BIG TRUCKS AND SAY WE NEED TO SAVE FUEL . THERE IS MORE TRUCKS ON THE ROAD WITH JUST ONE PERSON IN IT. TIME TO KICK HIM OUT." My reply: Uh-huh. Hussein Obama? Yes, his middle name is Hussein. I'm sure you're one of those "people" who thinks he's a Muslim and/or wasn't born in the USA. Sorry, but he was born in the USA, all the birther claims HAVE been debunked. Only brainwashed idiots who want to believe something DESPITE the truth think otherwise. Same with him being Muslim, he isn't. (And no, I'm not an Obama supporter. Nor am I a "liberal" or for that matter "conservative". I'm something most political bashers can't even comprehend. A moderate who isn't a zealot toward either of the "big 2" political parties in the USA). As for letting car manufacturers make big trucks, could it be that some people actually use a pickup for...GASP hauling things? Yes, some people buy a pickup just for the "image" that a pickup has, but some people really do use them let's say to haul their tools to a construction site. Now do we need more economical cars? Sure. But forcing car manufacturers to not be able to build all sorts of vehicles would only just bankrupt them (and gee, we already had that happen to a few of those recently, or do you remember that...). So please, before you go into an angry rant (which typing in all caps DOES imply...it doesn't make your post easier to read or more valid, it just makes you sound like you're throwing a fit) maybe consider the truth? Then again you're implying that you think Obama is a Muslim by calling him "Hussein Obama" too, so considering the truth is probably difficult for you.
    Report This
    arvig Jun 10, 2010 5:50 AM
    msmailbox posted this in part: "We used to be able to get 6 (or more) grades of gas, at Sunoco. My favorite was the Sunoco 260, however, I have burned Sunoco 240, as well. Talk about choice, Sunoco gave us the most options of any station, in town. I still wonder how they did it!!" My reply: Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but how a station that has 3 choices (87, 89 and 91 octane for instance) makes 89 octane is simply by having the pump pull have of the gas from the 87 octane tank, half from the 91. Mind you, it's been ages since I've seen a Sunoco so I have no idea what their six grades were, but if it was different octane ratings that's all they were doing. If they had one above 91 or 92 octane, then they were just mixing it with a lower octane gas to get to 91 or 92. Anyway, that's how someone explained it to me, although I don't know how accurate their description was either.
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    cmcclarty Jun 10, 2010 5:24 AM
    You dont want BP to go under then you and I are stuck with the cleaning bill!
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    msmailbox Jun 10, 2010 5:02 AM
    We used to be able to get 6 (or more) grades of gas, at Sunoco. My favorite was the Sunoco 260, however, I have burned Sunoco 240, as well. Talk about choice, Sunoco gave us the most options of any station, in town. I still wonder how they did it! Did they have over half a dozen tanks, underground? It seems a bit much, to me. Kinda like buying NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, acetaminophen...)... There are only 5 or 6 actual "active" OTC pain releivers, but they are marketed in over 100 different ways, making for an entire aisle, at Walgreens! Choice is good, but enough is enough. Consolodate!
    Report This
    msmailbox Jun 10, 2010 4:51 AM
    OK, I'm back... I drove to Shell (same brand as in the picture) and regular was $2.569 per gallon. That's only 67 cents difference, so I assume that the picture IS recent, but from another state. Prices on ethyl, were not posted! MS Saint Louis, Missouri
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    klausvombauer Jun 10, 2010 4:48 AM
    Well, I can understand that you upset about theses prices. But prices in Central Europe are of a different "quality": Same price for Regulat and Plus converted to Gallon and Dollar: 6.70, Diesel: 5.80 For us your prices were a gift!!!
    Report This
    lilypadlover4 Jun 10, 2010 4:45 AM
    Wake up Americans We need something done now, not 10 years from now. People that lost there jobs and homes and are homeless, because of this Obama lies and could care less about the american people. All those politicians are worried about is, lining there pockets, and pretending to be helping the american people, some joke, there laughing behind close doors. The people need to get all of them out of the Whitehouse, and get people in there that are going to help, the american people. I agree 100% with john4kk Everyone else should too
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    msmailbox Jun 10, 2010 4:30 AM
    I wonder when this picture was taken? $3.24 to $3.48 a gallon? I last filled up for around $2.50 per gallon. I don't drive that much, anymore, so maybe it has spiked since my last visit. I don't know. I'll have to get in my car and drive down to the station and take a look.
    Report This
    msmailbox Jun 10, 2010 4:17 AM
    "Gas Could Spike To 10% Of Income In Some Areas" ********** I think that this will become a big problem... If there weren't 12 other things, competing for 10% of our income, it would be OK. I guess that the old saying is true, "You can have anything you want, just not everything you want." Of course, this assumes that we can make decisions for ourselves. I'm not sure that we can.
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    cnakao534 Jun 10, 2010 3:47 AM
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    ofalaska Jun 10, 2010 3:09 AM
    Hello? I live in Alaska where we have the highest prices in the nation and it's not even on the list. We're a STATE, not a foreign country. Oh, by the way, ANWR has 15-50 BILLION BARRELS
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    ronald1216 Jun 10, 2010 3:01 AM
    hawaii is the highest gas in the world 5$ a gallon on lanai maui expencive 2 thats why i went electric and they tamper with the gas pump and make it really tight so if you stop it on a dollar it will jump several cents more then what you want it
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