Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, April 18, 2008

Feeling Gouged at the Gas Pump?

Well, you shouldn't. It's not the fat cats at ExxonMobil, price-fixing collusion among gas station owners, or a Bush conspiracy to help out his Texas oil buddies.

It's simple economics, says a new study on gas prices released by the state Attorney General's office. Crude-oil costs increased by more than 76.5 percent from December 2003 to May 2007. Gasoline providers are simply passing that cost along to us.

If you're looking to blame someone, try the Democratic administration in Olympia. The AG study found that Washington has the highest gas tax in the nation. Efforts to repeal the latest 9.5 cent gas tax hike via I-933 failed as the Democrats engaged in scare tactics using the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle. Now Queen Christine's "solution" is to just tear the Viaduct down without replacement in 2012. But they're still collecting the 9.5 cents for its replacement/repair.

Blame the environmentalist wackos as well. According to the AG study, Washington only has five refineries, and even at full capacity, they do not produce enough gas to meet the state's needs. The state therefore has to import more expensive gas. The last refinery built in the U.S. was back in 1976. It is not likely there will ever be another refinery built in this country. The last one proposed (in Portsmouth, VA) was fought for 9 years by environmental groups and local residents before the company cancelled the project in 1984.

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