About those gas prices...
|The California energy commission has release its report on why gas prices spiked this spring. You can find the full report here.|
Here's the key findings:
• Wholesale prices in California increased rapidly for a 3-week period. Retail prices have remained high for over three months when compared to prices at the same time last year.
• This retail price spike cost California consumers over $1.3 billion more for gasoline and $170 million more for diesel from May 1 through July 31, after making adjustments for the differences in the cost of crude oil and increased sales taxes from the higher crude oil costs.
o Refineries experienced significantly more unplanned outage days in the first six months of 2006 than there were during the first six months of 2005 (175 vs. 58) and the average unplanned outage lasted almost twice as long in the first six months of 2006 compared to the same time in 2005. In turn this contributed to three consecutive weeks of lower-than-normal gasoline production in California appears to have been a factor that contributed to the formation and magnitude of the April/May price spike for gasoline. Gasoline production in California was lower during this period than it had been in the 5 previous years because.
o Because California is becoming more dependent on imports, increased congestion at California marine ports in late April resulted in delays in petroleum product delivery.
o Pipeline exports of gasoline from California to Nevada and Arizona were at their highest level over the 5 previous years, while pipeline imports to western states from Texas were lower than they had been for the 5 previous years.
o Alkylate is a key gasoline blending component for refiners. The transition away from MTBE in many other states increased the demand, and therefore the price, for alkylate. The price increased by about 75 cents per gallon since early April.