Pain at the pump, again

100_0632The price of gas in Oregon has soared in recent weeks. And as always, the reason is hard to see, let alone understand.

For one thing, oil production in the United States has been going up. A few years ago, some conservatives urged more drilling as a way to tame the price of oil, while others pointed out that the price was the result of worldwide market forces and could not be affected by American production alone. Still, it was nice to read about a new report by the International Energy Agency that U.S. production is growing so fast, mostly in North Dakota and Texas, that the country is on course to become the world's biggest oil producer by 2017.

But meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that on the West Coast, a gallon of regular averaged $3.94 on May 13, up 13 cents from the week before. On the West Coast outside of California, the average was $3.76, the government said. But around here in Oregon, the price was more like California's.

The usual factors seem to be at play: Rising demand as the economy and the weather improve, shutdowns at refineries, and turmoil -- always turmoil -- in major producing regions from Venezuela and Nigeria to the Middle East. About the best we can do is to drive as little as possible until once again the price comes down. (hh)

Ryan Murphy responded on May 15, via Facebook: I know they report it, but I really question how we will become the biggest producer by 2017 when we are not producing near what we did in the 70's. While it has been coming up some lately we are still more that a million barrels less. Right now we are at the production level of 1953.

Steven Zielke responded via Facebook: Or, do what you do, Hasso.  Ride a bike!

Hazel Siebrecht responded on May 18: Remember when Peter DeFazio was investigating this?  How long ago was that? Did he ever learn anything?  He is always investigating possible price fixing but we never hear of any results.

Congressman Peter DeFazio, D-4th District, asked an executive department working group and Attorney General Holder to look into high gas prices in 2012. His website mentions this but is silent on the result, if any.

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