Gas Price Temperature Map
April 20, 2006 7:31 AM   Subscribe

The Gas Price Temperature Map is a neat little Javascript feature that tells you how screwed you are next time you fill up at the pump in the lower 48.
posted by Saucy Intruder (54 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
This also seems to illustrate the supply and demand principal quite well. The highly populace urban areas are bright red, and Montana is a nice even green.
posted by splatta at 7:38 AM on April 20, 2006


I think taxes would be a larger influence on price than supply and demand. If Canada were on this map, everything would be red.
posted by sleslie at 7:44 AM on April 20, 2006


Take this idea, add airfare costs and you have the website I have been dreaming of for five years.
posted by clango at 7:54 AM on April 20, 2006


Why is gasoline so cheap in Idaho?
posted by zabuni at 7:54 AM on April 20, 2006


This will drive people to find cheaper gas longer away.
posted by stbalbach at 8:02 AM on April 20, 2006


Here is a chart of state-by-state gas taxes. Note that it's not strictly an issue of the state "gas tax," but also whether (as in California), the state adds a sales tax, or whether there are other (county) taxes.

Idaho technically has a .25/gal gas tax, which looks to be about middle-of-the-read, but there are apparently no other taxes.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:03 AM on April 20, 2006




Why is gas cheaper in Denver than in the whole state of Texas? Wouldn't gas be cheaper near refineries vs driving a truck full of gas up the side of a mountain range?
posted by Gamblor at 8:29 AM on April 20, 2006


clango: "Take this idea, add airfare costs and you have the website I have been dreaming of for five years."

I don't think flying somewhere just to buy a tank of gas would ever be worthwhile.
posted by Plutor at 8:29 AM on April 20, 2006


Nope, still not enough to get me to go and live in Wyoming.

But I did get my motorcycle running again yesterday. Now I just need to teach my dog to sit on the back with me and we'll be set.

Gamblor, man, you really don't understand gas economics, huh? They can charge anyone any price for it, its called whimsy pricing, I think.
posted by fenriq at 8:32 AM on April 20, 2006


a link to GasBuddy.com would be nice too. It's a great site for finding cheap gas.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:33 AM on April 20, 2006


stbalbach: I've read that the ethanol trend is basically an agricultural lobby, since more energy goes into its manufacture than you get out.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:33 AM on April 20, 2006


The EROEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested) for ethanol has been variously estimated as 0.17 (1/6) and 1.35 by different studies.

Not very good when you compare it to the EROEI for oil at roughly 20 today. Oil had an EROEI of 50 when extraction first picked up in the early/mid 20th century.

So depending on whose numbers you trust, ethanol is a poor or useless investment today.
posted by anthill at 8:41 AM on April 20, 2006


Ethanol has always been a farm subsidy, it was never about the environment and the money wasted on it could have and should be put to a much better use.
posted by 517 at 8:50 AM on April 20, 2006


Why is gas cheaper in Denver than in the whole state of Texas? Wouldn't gas be cheaper near refineries vs driving a truck full of gas up the side of a mountain range?

Denver is not in the mountains. Its Western edge (Golden) is nestled against the foothills to the mountains on one side. Everything East of the Front Range is flat (but high) desert.

I grew up there. Trust me on this one.
posted by beth at 9:01 AM on April 20, 2006


Montana is a nice even green

Montana is also rich in refineries. According to this site, it is the 10th largest producing state of petroleum (68,000 barrels a day of crude) while being the ranked 42nd in terms of gas consumption (1.4 million gallons per day). Not sure how much that influences that actual price though.
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:05 AM on April 20, 2006


They need to add a place to punch in your current region and average gas mileage to see how much per gallon the cost would be if you drove to get the cheaper gas.
posted by davejay at 9:10 AM on April 20, 2006


Blue beetle, if you right click on the map, there is a link to gas prices in that zip code. If you click on it, it takes you to gasbuddy.com.
posted by QIbHom at 9:21 AM on April 20, 2006


Gamblor: Actually, there are a number of refineries in Denver, as well as in Cheyenne. So, the supply really is closer there. Pipelines run into the region from multiple directions. As for other price influences, I cannot say.
posted by zeypher at 9:57 AM on April 20, 2006


Ok...how come nobody has commented on the fact that the chart doesn't really get RED until you hit over $3 per gallon! Seem odd? Remember when we got angry at $1 per gallon, then $2 per gallon...now we aren't supposed to get really mad until it hits $3! and at $2.68 we're still in the happy green zone...

Bullshit! I feel screwed at anything over about 99 cents a gallon, and that is still too high!

/remembers when you could go into a gas station and say to the guy that actually pumped the gas for ya "give me a buck's worth" and it would run the car for a week!

/will go die of old age now!
posted by HuronBob at 10:06 AM on April 20, 2006


I apologize for the threadjack, but can someone point me in the direction or recommend how to create a map such as this? If at all possible, I'd like to create a map like this using zip codes rather than counties.

I appreciate any help. Again, sorry for the threadjack.
posted by underdog at 10:19 AM on April 20, 2006


underdog, you son of a bitch. Here we were having this great conversation about how much fun high gas prices are, and you go turn the thread into a giant how-to!

*pours rest of 40 on ground*

I'll miss you, thread about high gas prices. I'll miss you.
posted by graventy at 10:27 AM on April 20, 2006


Uh...if I knew how, I'd let you know.
posted by graventy at 10:28 AM on April 20, 2006


Somebody's drivin' to Delaware this weekend!
posted by Pollomacho at 10:32 AM on April 20, 2006


AFAICT it already is in ZIP code form, if you zoom in a bit tighter. At least, is is in my lovely dark-green zip code.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:38 AM on April 20, 2006


Europeans can only laugh about this futile attempt to point out that gas prices are high.
posted by kika at 11:24 AM on April 20, 2006


I don't think refinery proximity has to do with anything. I live right next door to a Chevron Refinery and I still pay ~$2.95 for a gallon of regular not 30 yards from the damn thing.
posted by quite unimportant at 11:36 AM on April 20, 2006


HuronBob, just because you got a buck's worth of gas for a buck doesn't mean you weren't paying more for it elsewhere.

We get gas cheap. We still get gas cheap. Americans are used to cheap gas and so people drive ridiculous piles of inefficient shit that gets 11 miles to the gallon to take the one lady to the store and back in her rolling warehouse. Three bucks a gallon is still cheap. It sucks but its still cheap.

You want to get a week's worth of travel off a buck? Buy a motor scooter and revel in the past. I ride a motorcycle because its alot more fun and it also gets 45 miles a gallon while still smoking any fool in his four wheel cage.

For what its worth, I pumped gas for a while when it was cheap. In the winter. In northern New England. It sucked. The gas was cheap but it was still just as mind numbingly cold when you spilled it on your hand.
posted by fenriq at 11:40 AM on April 20, 2006


Kind of amazing that Washington County, Maine (I used to live there) has prices as high or higher than Los Angeles and New York City.

I'd chalk it up to it being out in the middle of nowhere with a very low population (maybe 20,000 at the most), but there's an Irving Petroleum refinery not too far away in Atlantic Canada, and Irving has many stations in WaCo. You'd think that prices would look more like Montana's.

They must be making quite a profit compared to stations who have to truck fuel all the way from New Jersey.

Weird stuff.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2006


I'm 26, so I've been driving 10 years now. When I was 16, I think gas was in the $1.40 range. I've seen it get as low as $0.99. The weird thing is, with gas at least 2x what it was 10 years ago and 3x the all-time low that I've seen, gas lines are longer than ever.

That says gas is cheap. You'll know when gas is getting expensive because Americans will suddenly start changing their driving/gas consumption habits.

It's kind of funny/sad to see people upset with Bush over gas prices. He doesn't control supply/demand. Does anyone here think there's something he could or should be doing about this?
posted by b_thinky at 12:00 PM on April 20, 2006


I have no sympathy; I have to buy my Citgo gas smuggled in from Washington State, because it isn't available in Oregon. Imagine what that does to the price, buying it in cans from a guy in an alley.

(I'm kidding. I'd consider it if I could, though. The less of my energy dollar that goes to Chexxacobil the happier I am.)

b_thinky, did anyone in this thread mention Bush, or are you referring to something else?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:08 PM on April 20, 2006


Nobody on the thread mentioned Bush, but it seems to be a political issue and I don't understand why. Here's an article from the other day: Democrats blast Bush for runaway gasoline prices. It's kind of an example of what I'm talking about.
posted by b_thinky at 12:25 PM on April 20, 2006


Are you serious, b_thinky?
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:29 PM on April 20, 2006


Well, arguably an energy policy that included developing alternatives and encouraging efficiency and conservation would reduce prices by reducing demand, and these are the things that his policies and practices steadfastly refuse to do.

I won't bring up the effect of the war because it's hugely debatable, but I don't readily see how armed conflict, insurrection and lawlessness in the key producing region is going to actually lower prices any.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:31 PM on April 20, 2006


..now we aren't supposed to get really mad until it hits $3!

We're supposed to be mad at $3? I must've missed a memo. I paid $3.50/gallon earlier today, for 93.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:45 PM on April 20, 2006


You'll know when gas is getting expensive because Americans will suddenly start changing their driving/gas consumption habits

Okay.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:52 PM on April 20, 2006


I changed my consumption habits a long time ago, I've been mostly on the motorcycle for 10 years now. I'm not the only one. Also, most of my family and many of my friends are making changes from car pooling to buying hybrid Honda cars.

My monthly gasoline bill for my commute is just now starting to go over $30. I also put about 1 tank a month in my collector muscle car, about $50 there.

I can live with $80 a month. :)

Gas price at Chevron across the street from my office: $3.15/3.35/3.45

The thing that really scares me is that diesel is $3.59!
posted by zoogleplex at 1:03 PM on April 20, 2006


What's that sound?

Oh, it's the railroad industry laughing at us from its rusty grave! Thanks Ronny! Thanks Jimmy Hoffa!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:15 PM on April 20, 2006


Nobody on the thread mentioned Bush, but it seems to be a political issue and I don't understand why

Not enough jawboning. George W. Bush, January 26, 2000:
What I think the president ought to do is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots. One reason why the price is so high is because the price of crude oil has been driven up. OPEC has gotten its supply act together, and it's driving the price, like it did in the past. And the president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price.
In February 2000, gas was $1.35 a gallon and higher.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:19 PM on April 20, 2006


Of course, now he only has the jawbone of an ass, so ...
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:28 PM on April 20, 2006


Yeah, I expect they'll wave the "9-11 changed everything" free pass at that if anyone in the press brings it up.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:28 PM on April 20, 2006


When I drove out to Chicago in '99, I saw $0.699 at a station off the Indiana Toll Road. Good times, man.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:33 PM on April 20, 2006


We were told before we invaded Iraq that regime change would lower gas prices.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:34 PM on April 20, 2006


It's kind of funny/sad to see people upset with Bush over gas prices. He doesn't control supply/demand. Does anyone here think there's something he could or should be doing about this?

Well if he can quit the stupid saber-rattling with Iran, I think that would certainly help things not get too much worse too fast. Threatening war with a major oil-producing country that can, if we become hostile, easily plink away at tankers in the Gulf is not a bright idea if you give a shit about gas prices.
posted by beth at 1:53 PM on April 20, 2006


Not enough jawboning. George W. Bush, January 26, 2000:
"What I think the president ought to do is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots. One reason why the price is so high is because the price of crude oil has been driven up. OPEC has gotten its supply act together, and it's driving the price, like it did in the past. And the president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price."


Wow, that's an interesting quote. Last year we did get OPEC to raise their production levels, but, simply put, they're unable to produce at a pace that meets global demand. I'm no oilman, but they are producing a hell of a lot more than they were in 2000 but it's being purchased at an equal if not faster rate. I don't think there are any more spigots to be opened.

I just don't think this is a political isssue at all. It's just a matter of basic economics: supply and demand.
posted by b_thinky at 2:12 PM on April 20, 2006


Ah, b_thinky. You're sounding like a Peak Oiler now!
posted by zoogleplex at 5:12 PM on April 20, 2006


And WTF is up with Milwaukee? How is it that gas here is more expensive than Chicago? Or [blinks] Los Angeles?!

My wife and i both drive fuel efficient cars, (35-40 MPG) but this is still killing us. I'd say motorcycles/ scooters would be an option, but then, i've lived through more than one Wisconsin winter and that just wouldn't be a good idea.

/hates
posted by quin at 5:55 PM on April 20, 2006


b_thinky writes "I just don't think this is a political isssue at all. It's just a matter of basic economics: supply and demand."

No, it's just good ol' opportunism:

Oil's staying power is surprising many experts, including Michael Williams, chief economist in the Alaska Department of Revenue and a researcher on Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer-winning oil history, "The Prize."

The high prices don't mean the world is running out of oil, Williams said.

"No, not a chance," he said. Rather, it's the perception in the market that oil supplies are tight and that geopolitics might disrupt shipments that continues to elevate oil prices.


The costs for production are not higher, and there isn't a shortage. It's all "perception," which is rather easy to manipulate, particularly in a climate of perpetual fear punctuated by small crises or changes in the color of the terrorist threat level alert meter. I'm sure that Bush's history and connections with oil producers are just coincidental.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:30 PM on April 20, 2006


Any other oldtimers on here? In 1952 I was paying 15.9
cents a gal. for an off brand. For a '37 ford.
posted by notreally at 7:04 PM on April 20, 2006


And yes. I'm definitely baffled by these computer things and internets.
posted by notreally at 7:06 PM on April 20, 2006



The costs for production are not higher, and there isn't a shortage. It's all "perception," which is rather easy to manipulate,


Yergin himself and just about everyone I'm aware of agrees that the current high prices are the result of demand out pacing supply in the short run, as well as some (mostly rational) increased uncertainty. I'm not sure how one would go about manipulating perception in one of the largest, most liquid and most closely watched markets in the world.
posted by thrako at 7:17 PM on April 20, 2006


krinklyfig: the folks at this website have been publishing and intensively analyzing the numbers published by all the major oil industry information clearing houses. From what they're finding and graphing, b_thinky's point about how everyone is producing as much oil as they possibly can, yet demand is outstripping the fastest production growth of which the industry is possible, is right on the money.

Also, gas prices are not only predicated on oil prices. Part of the increase is because we're currently still short a few refineries due to Gulf hurricane damage; still more of it is caused by the normal spring refinery maintenance and refitting breaks that are taken at about this time every year. They switch over to more gasoline production in anticipation of the summer season, after spending the winter doing more heating oil and other distillates.

There's a graph on that site showing that we are drawing down gasoline stocks - the stored reserve "buffer" of gas that usually runs about 30 days worth - at a very high rate.

Until the refineries restart with gasoline production, and until all the hurricane-damaged ones are back up, these issues will cause continuing problems.

In addition, there are some problems switching over from MTBE blends to ethanol blends, some technical, and some just in transport, since ethanol can't be added to the fuel before it's sent via pipeline. It needs to be added at the distribution terminal, which means sending it by truck or train to its final destination.

And finally, even once everything gets to running as best it can, oil prices will take their effect, since the refiners still need to buy crude on the NYMEX market or other similar exchanges. Current spot price there is around $73.00/barrel, with futures prices even higher.

Don't trust everything Yergin and his cronies say, they're not the only voices on this.
posted by zoogleplex at 7:29 PM on April 20, 2006


For what it's worth, I agree with b_thinky that oil prices shouldn't be political... But this is the real world. It's a world where the GOP has politicized gas prices in a big way.

The idea that they can be depoliticized when it goes wrong for them is absurd.

It's even more absurd, when you realize that the GOP has caused a significant supply disruption.

So fuck those guys. You get what you give.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:46 PM on April 20, 2006


zoogleplex: "The thing that really scares me is that diesel is $3.59!"

... and diesel prices, as almost no one remembers (but everyone should), are directly correlated to food / building material / everything else prices, at least here in mainland America where trucks are the only major form of transport of consumer goods. When gas prices rise, food prices rise, along with prices for everything else.

There's a simple solution for this. Tax regular gasoline another 0.25 a gallon and/or give commercial drivers a tax credit. Maybe this is already done, but it seems worthwhile to pursue more.
posted by koeselitz at 12:28 PM on April 21, 2006


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