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We agree, what Akin said was dumb. Now, what did you pay for gas today?

You may pay more than ever for a late-summer drive.

U.S. drivers paid an average of $3.72 per gallon on Monday. That’s the highest price ever on this date, according to auto club AAA, a shade above the $3.717 average on Aug. 20, 2008. A year ago, the average was $3.578.

More daily records are likely over the next few weeks. The national average could increase to $3.75 per gallon by Labor Day, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service. By comparison, gas prices stayed below $3.70 in late August and early September in both 2008 and 2011.

Retail gasoline prices have gone up about 39 cents per gallon, or 12 percent, since hitting a low of $3.326 on July 2, according to AAA, OPIS and Wright Express. Kloza estimates that U.S. drivers are paying $149 million more each day for gas than in early July. That isn’t what the sluggish economy needs, since any extra money that goes to fill gas tanks doesn’t get spent at movie theaters or restaurants.

The price at the pump in the U.S. fell more than 60 cents per gallon during the spring when oil fell as the global economy slowed and turmoil in the Middle East seemed to subside.

But oil has risen to $96 per barrel from $78 in late June. Investors have been worried about disruption to oil supplies in the Middle East and North Sea. In the U.S., there were problems with refineries and pipelines in the West Coast and Midwest, including a fire in California. Seasonal factors are also at play: Summer blends of gas cost more and demand goes up as families go on vacation.

Analysts expect prices to drop after Labor Day, so at least drivers shouldn’t have to worry about a return to the April high of $3.94 per gallon, barring a hurricane or other unforeseen event.

Still, commuters and vacationers are frustrated, said Michael Green, spokesman for AAA. It’s tougher to budget a summer trip and discouraging to see a larger chunk of one’s pay check going toward gas costs. As for a post-Labor Day drop, he said in an emailed statement that, “It would take a significant decline in the price of gasoline for most Americans to feel comfortable with what they pay at the pump.”

Still, that frustration shouldn’t stop people from hitting the road said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor. He said a majority of travelers recently surveyed by the travel advice site indicated they’ll stick to fall travel plans even if they pay more for gas.

Whether pump prices impact the presidential election remains to be seen. But the Obama administration appears to be concerned. A senior administration official told The Associated Press Friday that the U.S. is considering a release of oil from the country’s strategic reserves. It will monitor gas prices to see whether they fall before making a decision.

Across the U.S., prices range from a low of $3.43 per gallon in South Carolina to $4.32 in Hawaii. Arizona, Mississippi and New Mexico also have average prices below $3.50 per gallon, while California and Illinois are up above the $4 mark.

A few drivers are catching a break. Kloza said gas prices are lower than this date in 2011 in four states — Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. And drivers who recently purchased a new car can stretch a gallon a bit further. The average fuel economy of new light vehicles in the U.S. in July was 23.6 mpg, up from 20.5 mpg at the end of 2008.

Gas hit an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon in July 2008. But a plunge in oil prices knocked it down to $3.69 by the end of August. Though the national average jumped back to $3.85 in mid-September when Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast, it plummeted to $1.62 per gallon by year-end as the global recession took hold.

On Monday, oil fell slightly in New York trading after four days of gains on more concerns about Europe’s economy. European leaders are beginning a series of discussions that could determine Greece’s future and the stability of the 17 countries that use the euro.

Benchmark oil dropped 4 cents to $95.97 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, slipped a penny to $113.70 per barrel in London.

Other futures prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Heating oil was flat at $3.09 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline rose less than a penny to $3.03 per gallon.

— Natural gas rose 5.7 cents to $2.776 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Business Writers Tom Krisher and Scott Mayerowitz contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

by on Aug. 21, 2012 at 2:10 PM
Replies (41-41):
by on Aug. 23, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Quoting Friday:

Quoting ExecutiveChick:

There are many, MANY factors that impact the price of oil and many of them are associated with Presidential Politics as well as supply and demand, EPA regulations/uncertainty, cost of permits, Mid East Unrest, Taxes, Supply Chain (XL Pipeline), Diplomatic Relations with Oil producing countries, etc...

I will elaborate a little since so many here don't understand this business sector. 

first and foremost, Oil prices and Gas prices are associated but once the oil is allocated (purchased) there is the entire process of delivery and making gas from it.

Political policies that effect Oil prices

1. Drill permitting - The Government (Presidential cabinet members) control the permitting and cost for drilling on government controlled property like the Gulf of Mexico. Under Obama, more permits have been granted to Mexico and Brazil than to US Oil Companies. This is why drilling on private land has become more common under the Obama Admin.

2. Middle East Policies - US Presidential Foreign policy directly effects what happens in this region. We pulled completely out of Iraq and now it is unstable. Our Gov supported the Arab Spring, Syria, Egypt, Libya (just to name a few) are now completely unstable. All Oil producing countries, Iran failed policies and the current embargo.

3. Taxes on Oil production companies, Cost of doing business in the US (highest business taxes in the industrialized world, Obama care)

4. EPA regulations and uncertainty - Carbon credits, Cap N Trade

Then there is Oil delivery and Processing (Gas Prices)

1. Shipping/ delivery of Oil to refineries (XL Pipeline, Mid East uncertainty and Iran threatening the Straight of Hormuz)

2. Mandate that Ethanol be added so the cost of corn and it's processing.

3. AGAIN EPA regulations and uncertainty - The ever changing Summer/Winter blend requirements for refining. The ever changing regulations on processing facilities, Carbon credits, Cap N Trade, Permitting for new refineries.

4. AGAIN, Taxes.

Under Obama we have had a couple refineries close due to the cost of doing business and the heavy burden of regulations. The fewer refineries we have, the less fuel we produce and the more expensive it becomes.

This is just scratching the surface. I can go on and on as my family and DH's family have been in the energy industry for 3 generations. 

And, as I have said before... The Government makes more money per gallon of gas than the Oil companies while doing NONE of the work and assuming NONE of the risk.

Quoting rccmom:

I would love to get your views on what policies are driving up the gas prices. If you have stated already, I'm sorry, I haven't had time to read much. I will come back to this later when I am more rational. Right now I am way too irritated at something to think, or write well. I'll look back at this thread hopefully when I get home from karate. A good work-out should help clear my mind.  (-: 

Quoting ExecutiveChick:

Well, not to be snarky but it was not me. I have seen little evidence of Obama and/or his policies doing anything to reduce the price of oil. I have seen much evidence of Obama and/or his policies increasing oil prices. So it is not as simplistic as "If he is responsible for high gas prices, he must be responsible for low gas prices"

There are many, MANY factors that impact the price of oil and many of them are associated with Presidential Politics as well as supply and demand, EPA regulations/uncertainty, cost of permits, Mid East Unrest, Taxes, Supply Chain (XL Pipeline), Diplomatic Relations with Oil producing countries, etc...

How much oil do we get from the ME? I've read we get more(most?) from Canada and Mexico.

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