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The crack is out of whack

Unusually for a spring season, gasoline prices have been steadily climbing in the US since the beginning of 2011, and have surpassed $4/gallon in many US states, largely due to political instability in many oil-producing African and Middle-Eastern nations. "Not so fast," says the Department of Energy. Although the price of crude oil has climbed steadily throughout the year, the price of gasoline has climbed much faster -- a disparity known as the crack spread, which has remained at its highest level in 32 months, even in light of a sharp decline in the price of crude oil at the beginning of the month. The DoE speculates that although crude oil is cheap and plentiful enough, the 2011 Misssissippi River Floods are currently more to blame for $4 gas than the uprisings in the Middle East.
posted by schmod on May 19, 2011 - 125 comments

The Economist: The World in 2009

In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.

The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 27, 2008 - 31 comments

Conservation doesn't include Air Force One

Petroleum Industry Christmas Wishlist Conservative pundits are quick to point out that no "new refineries have been built since 1976", and even quicker to blame "environmentalists". But the facts just don't support that. Refiners have chosen the environment that they do business in, and in some cases have willingly contributed to it. (Plenty of data here.) Here's why:

As one would expect, Bush's solutions nicely match up with the wishlists of OPEC and US refiners, who in the past few decades have largely undone the breakup of Standard Oil (via) via mergers and joint ventures. Representative Joe Barton, (R-TX), Chairperson of the Energy and Commerce Committee, incidentally up for reelection and well funded, by "the industry" through various Political Action Committees, has released a draft of the predictably named (to be found here when released) Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005 (committee discusion and webcast are scheduled for 9/28 at 8 am.) Given that new refineries are years away, there is still no solution for current prices or the (90%?) increase in prices since January of 2001.
posted by rzklkng on Sep 27, 2005 - 22 comments

Got Gas?

Oil companies, not environmentalists behind refinery shortages. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today exposed internal oil company memos that show how the industry intentionally reduced domestic refining capacity to drive up profits. Internal memos from Mobil, Chevron, and Texaco show different ways the oil giants closed down refining capacity and drove independent refiners out of business. In related news, petroleum industry analyst Tim Hamilton showed that from January 17th to April 18th 2005 gasoline prices jumped 65 cents per gallon and refiner profits rose [pdf] by 61 cents per gallon.
posted by dejah420 on Sep 7, 2005 - 80 comments

bp's environmental makeover

Beyond petroleum? British Petroleum’s recent $200-million makeover into sunny-logoed bp seems to respond to mounting concerns over pollution, global warming, and wars for oil. By advocating alternatives to the very product that has made it the world’s seventh-largest company, it also seems like economic suicide. In accordance with their environmental goals, they've helped release bald eagles in Manhattan and bring solar power to rural Tibet, but many remain unconvinced. Each bp ad ended with the same tagline: “It’s a start.” Is it?
posted by gottabefunky on Dec 19, 2002 - 31 comments

Do internal memos reveal oil refineries engaged in price-fixing?

Do internal memos reveal oil refineries engaged in price-fixing? From Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points memo; links to a Paul Krugman NYT op-ed, but far more intriguingly to Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) webpage, where on June 14th he released his report on alleged price fixing by varied oil refineries based on internal memos and documents of these companies. These types of allegations have been made before, but there is some rather damning language from those internal memos...
posted by hincandenza on Jun 28, 2001 - 4 comments

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