Gas prices up due to limited refining capacity
In case you haven’t noticed it at the pump, gas prices have been back on the rise. In the last seven weeks, the national average for a gallon of gas has jump from $3.42 to $3.78. With that in mind, the issue is beginning to surface again national politics.
This is certainly a sore spot with many Americans, especially with the still struggling economy. There will no doubt be calls for increased production inside the United States, an idea that an overwhelming number of Americans can get behind. According to a new survey from Harris Interactive conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, 71% of registered voters support increased access to domestic sources of oil:
American voters get the importance of energy – and getting more of it here at home. A new Harris Interactive survey of 1,016 registered voters shows that more than 70 percent support increased access to domestic oil and natural gas resources. More than 9 in 10 of those surveyed said producing more energy at home and energy security are important issues as they look to the November elections.
Harris found 47 percent of those asked said they strongly support increased access to oil and gas resources at home. Another 24 percent said they somewhat support more access. Just 9 percent strongly oppose that as a goal. Eighty-five percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Independents and 60 percent of Democrats support increased access to domestic resources.
While supply worries drove up gas prices earlier this year, there is currently another factor in play. BusinessWeek notes that the problem isn’t a lack of crude, rather there isn’t enough refining capacity in the United States to keep up with increased domestic production — policies that were put in place under then-President George W. Bush.
A separate BusinessWeek report from February explains that refiners closed plants due to lower demand for oil, which can be blamed on the economy, rather than take a loss by keeping them open.
While you’re not going to get an argument from me that we need to do more to make ourselves energy independent, the current price spike doesn’t have much to do with the lack of available oil.