Tuesday, August 08, 2006

gas up

For those who have not seen it, this is the Department of Energy's official breakdown of what you are paying for at the gas pump. This is not Pennsylvania specific, and it is from last month, but its a good starting point to understanding gas prices. How does the price of oil in $/barrel as we see in the news (will today be an all-time record?) relate to the price of gas? A barrel is 42 gallons and a barrel of oil makes around 20 gallons of gas when refined. So, back of the envelope, a dollar per barrel change in the price of oil ought to add say 3-5 cents per gallon at the pump. It's not that simple of course, but roughly. You can track the current price of oil here. It seems like ancient history right now, but compared to the $3+ per gallon now, the last time US retail gasoline averaged under $1 a gallon: the week of March 22, 1999 which is not that long ago. It came close again, hitting $1.04/gallon in December of 2001. In Pittsburgh, you may be able to located where the cheaper gas is being sold at Pittsburghgasprices.com.


Blogger EdHeath said...

What's the slope of demand? It almost seems like it is positive, like it tracks along the supply curve. Raise the price of gas and we go on more vacations, or at least stock up for a dubious future.
We need more people carpooling. Even if the drivers were not compensated by the other riders, the drivers might benefit from the reduced demand for gas. Truly the first time an economic problem was helped by (wait for it) free riders.
(Well, I'm tired, best pun I could come up with)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 9:01:00 AM  
Blogger fester said...

Back in the day --- I remember walking up hill to school both ways, and being able to make it to the beach for three dollars and a crowbar to get my friends' knuckles off of the door frame --- those were the good old days :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 9:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised distribution and marketing is so low. I guess those costs are relatively fixed compared to the cost of crude oil, so back when gas was $1.50 a gallon that figure was up around 15%.

More importantly, looks like as part of DOE's effort to operate more like a private company, they hired the "silly chart" staff from USA Today!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

"I'm surprised distribution and marketing is so low."

the ultimate economy of scale.. Big big ships, big trucks, big new stations with 10 self-serve pumps and one minimum wage clerk inside...

...did I mention, the ships bringing most of this stuff here are are really big.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Vanna said...

To get PA-specific, we have the highest gas taqx in the state, at over 31 cents/gallon. And we also have a ginormous funding shortfall for bridge maintenance and repairs (and I'm not referring to bells and whistles, I am talking critical safety needs)-- over $1 billion. And we have ginormous amounts of road infrastructure that is in massive disrepair, which causes lots o' troubles for our cars, trucks, etc. thus adding not only to our upkeep costs for the roads themselves, but for the upkeep costs of our cars, and decreasing our fuel efficiency.

Enter the Mon-Fayette Expressway, aka Pennsylvania's Big Pig. $3.5 billion to go and counting. So let's say PA does opt to raise the gas tax, which seems inevitable albeit political suicide, covering the bridge and road costs we have WITHOUT factoring in the Mon-Fayette... takes us to a gas tax that is probably close to 50 cents or more per gallon, according to Grata in the P-G of 8/5/06.

All this is leading up to, we gotta stop the Mon-Fayette.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

reminds one that Ross Perot advocated an additional gas tax of 50 cents per gallon. but I think that was to pay off the deficit.

just something to be aware of.. the latest thing I am hearing about how the Mon Fayette could be funded is to try and get money from Homeland Security sources.. the idea is to sell the roadway as a primary eastward means to evacuate people from the city.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Vanna said...

Please tell me that you are joking. Although with this project, I will accept any possible scenario since they are clearly hell-bent on it.

I am profoundly disturbed by the willingness of elected officials in the Mon-Valley to amass the billions required for something so clearly without merit-- imagine if a fraction of that effort and $ went into solving our real transportation problems.

Saturday, August 12, 2006 9:01:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

not a joke.

Monday, August 14, 2006 8:11:00 AM  

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