There probably is some truth in published reports saying the massive power failures of Aug. 14 caused refinery outages, which in turn were a factor in the spike in gasoline prices.
Gas has been selling for an average of $1.66 a gallon nationwide, just 6 cents short of the all-time record. It's going for about $2.10 in Phoenix and San Diego, and there are reports of some stations charging $4 a gallon.
If the power failure were the only problem, more plentiful supplies and lower prices should be on the horizon. However, part of the problem is dwindling supplies of crude oil.
Venezuela is having trouble getting back to full production after its crippling strike.
Nicaragua's oil wells are threatened by domestic turmoil. In Iraq, there has been sabotage.
Meanwhile, China's industrial production is increasing at a rate of 16 percent a year and it is using more oil to keep that upturn going. Less supply and more demand equals higher prices.
Saudi Arabia has promised to sell as much oil as necessary to keep crude oil prices no higher than $28 a barrel, the high end of what OPEC says it finds acceptable, but prices are at $30 or above. A Hudson Institute researcher says the Saudis are ignoring their promise for a variety of reasons,
mostly because higher prices support lavish lifestyles for the royalty and provide the wherewithal to fund terrorism.
The American people can do some things about oil prices: Distinguish between overseas friends and adversaries. Buy a hybrid car. Insist that the government open up more areas to oil exploration and repeal tax disincentives to drilling.
Lastly, check the voting records of your representative in Congress.
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville
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