Gas prices on the rise…again
Argus News Editor
I had to swallow hard Monday morning, as I was making my daily commute from Amish Country to Caledonia. Gas prices in Mabel, Spring Grove and Caledonia were all edging ever so close to the $3.50/gal. mark.
It had just been a month ago when I filled up the tank with gas priced at $3.02/gal. Sure, I was filling up at Country Express in Burr Oak, Iowa, where gas prices used to be lower.
Up until Feb. 1, gas prices on the Iowa side of the state line were usually 12 to 15 cents less per gallon than in Minnesota. But Iowa increased their gas tax, effective Feb. 1 and there really isn’t any difference between the two states anymore. Now I’ll have to figure out another reason for getting excited about crossing the state line.
The experts have been warning us of the impending gas increase for more than a month.
According to the Feb. 13 report by MinnesotaGasPrices.com. average retail gasoline prices in Minnesota fell 0.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.41/gal. Monday. This compares with the national average that had increased 3.3 cents/gal. in the last week to $3.47/gal.
Including the change in gas prices in Minnesota during the past week, prices Monday were 23.7 cents/gal. higher than the same day one year ago and are 12.2 cents/gal. higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 12.3 cents/gal. during the last month and stands 34.8 cents/gal. higher than this day one year ago.
“Retail gasoline prices have continued to slowly rise across a majority of the United States,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “With the exception of one state- Wyoming- all states are seeing their gasoline prices averaging over $3/gallon again, with some of the largest cities- New York City and Los Angeles closing in on $4/gallon,” DeHaan said.
According to a news report I watched Sunday night, some experts are warning that gas prices will hit an all-time high this year, topping out around $5/gal. throughout much of the country.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to average about $100 per barrel in 2012, almost $6 per barrel higher than the average price last year.
The experts point to the unrest in Syria and Iran’s promise to close down the Strait of Hormuz, which is one of the major shipping channels for Middle East crude, as reasons for the increase in gas prices.
Higher gas prices affect everyone, regardless if you drive 10 miles a day or 100 miles a day. Our entire economy is affected. Just when our economy is beginning to show signs of a rebound, the hike in gas prices will have a drastic detrimental effect.
So how are the big oil companies doing during this upswing in prices? According to the latest figures I could find, Chevron generated $5.1 billion in profits during the last three months of 2011. Shell earned $6.5 billion during the fourth quarter of 2011. ExxonMobil, the leading U.S. oil company, earned a whopping $9.4 billion, just in October, November and December!
I wonder if the big oil companies decided to not take the entire pie and left a few crumbs for us little guys, we could keep the price of gas around $3/gal. and everyone could be happy?
Why aren’t the four fellows vying for the Republican nomination discussing the price of oil or the exorbitant profits the major oil companies are reaping?
Now that would be an interesting topic for their next debate!