Although the Federal Trade Commission has been asked to investigate west coast gas refineries, we’re still paying the highest gas prices in the country. Brad Taylor reports from Albany that gasoline in Albany is $3.55 – $3.75 a gallon, just fifty miles away. It’s in the low $2 range in South Carolina. Allegations of market control and manipulation are being turned over to the Federal Trade Commission for a possible federal investigation.
It all started last spring with refinery “maintenance” scheduling and a fire in a refinery in Washington which oil companies predicted would create such a gas shortage that it would “impact” prices this Spring. But gas supply experts contend that those events should not have created a shortage of the magnitude claimed by the oil companies nor the prices they raised them to. Crude oil prices are at $83.00 a barrel, which would pencil out to a price far lower than what we’re paying currently.
Here’s a national map of what’s being paid at the pump. Click here and you can see that the West is being served on a platter to the oil companies netting them $50 million a day in extra profit just from Oregon and Washington alone. It’s a much bigger haul from California, of course. Take note of the northwestern piece of Washington that’s north of Seattle, right up against the Canadian border. Notice its a deep red, meaning motorists are paying the highest gas prices in the country. There are gas refineries right in in the middle of that area.