As New Orleans joins with the neighboring bodies of water, in an unimaginable amount of damage so close to home, gas prices have soared. Local prices on Route 22, through the section that is part of my regular commute, jumped an average of $0.25 between my drive this morning and my return home this evening.
According to the latest statistics, the Gulf area refineries now offline account for 1.8 million barrels of gasonline per day. Given the tight refining capacity, a loss of that magnitude for an extended period of time will have a significant impact to the country. This remains true regardless of the situation in crude oil, which is important to remember with all the talk of oil prices.
This has brought out the speculators in a large way, while “experts” are brought out to tell us how gas prices will continue to go up up up! CNN brings out their own with predicitions of $4.00 per gallon prices not far off.
One item that has escaped the attention of nearly all the media is the waiving of Clean Air Act standards for sulfur and volatile compounds nationwide, in order to ease the refining constraints and ensure that gas continues to be available. At the same time, rules governing mandatory rest periods for truckers have been waived as well, again in an attempt to ensure adequate gas supplies.