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Old 04-23-2007, 08:40 AM  
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Gasoline at $4 Coming to a Pump Near You, Unfazed by Rising Tab

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=afOlUzd30YOo

Pretty alarmist, IMO, but possible.

April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Whether it's $50 to fill up your Prius or $130 for the Ford Expedition, $4-a-gallon gasoline is coming to a pump near you.

Fuel prices are rising at a pace not seen since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita knocked out a third of the U.S. oil refining industry in 2005. Gasoline consumption is climbing twice as fast as last year and will accelerate when summer travel begins late next month.

``What we're surprised by is the increased demand,'' said James Mulva, chief executive officer at ConocoPhillips, whose refineries from California to New Jersey produce 56 million gallons of gas a day, enough to meet 14 percent of the country's needs. ``Even though the price of gasoline is up, the demand is up,'' he said in an April 12 interview in Houston.

Population gains and U.S. economic growth are causing an increase in fuel purchases, according to Orlando, Florida-based AAA, the nation's largest organization for motorists. The U.S. economy will expand at a 2.4 percent annual pace in the second quarter, up from 1.8 percent in the first three months, according to the median estimate of 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Gasoline use is rising almost 5 percent above the five-year average.

Americans are resigned to higher prices, says David Pursell, a principal with Pickering Energy Partners, a consulting firm in Houston.

``Last year, we had pump prices well over $3 for the summer and gasoline demand was up,'' Pursell said in an interview. ``Would $4 gasoline cause demand contraction? I think it will, but I also thought $3 gasoline would.''

Pump Prices

Gasoline inventories, measured by the days of demand they will cover, are at the lowest level in two decades for this time of year because of refinery fires, power failures and maintenance work oil companies failed to complete in 2006. No new U.S. refinery has been built in three decades, increasing the strain on existing plants.

Pump prices in the U.S. may increase to $4 a gallon from a nationwide average of $2.87 today, especially if hurricanes threaten Gulf of Mexico refineries, says Peter Beutel, an analyst at Cameron Hanover Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, who helps industrial consumers manage energy costs.

``Hurricanes are always the huge wild card,'' said Beutel. ``We're all praying for a year like 2006 rather than 2005.''

The June-to-November Atlantic Ocean hurricane season may produce 17 tropical storms, with nine reaching hurricane force and four becoming major hurricanes whose winds exceed 111 miles per hour (179 kilometers per hour), London-based forecasters at Tropical Storm Risk said. Some of the storms will strike the Gulf Coast this year after a benign 2006, AccuWeather.com predicted.

Inflation Risk

Higher pump prices will make winners of refinery owners such as ConocoPhillips, San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc of The Hague. Shares of Valero and Sunoco Inc., whose only business is refining, are rebounding after a decline at the end of last summer.

The increase in fuel costs threatens to quicken inflation and restrain consumer spending in the U.S. An appreciation to $4 a gallon would add more than $10 for a driver who fills the 12- gallon tank of a Toyota Motor Corp. Prius. The owner of an Expedition, a Ford Motor Co. sport-utility vehicle with a 34- gallon capacity, faces an increase of almost $40.

Many Americans have no choice but to drive more, says Christopher Knittel, an economist who studies fuel consumption at the University of California in Davis.

More Commuters

``We live farther from our jobs than we did in the 1970s, and with the rise of dual-income households, we now have two people who drive those distances every day,'' Knittel said.

Consumers also do more driving for things such as taking children to soccer practice, which they are unlikely to quit, he said. The U.S. population has increased 1 percent a year in the past decade to 301 million in 2007, adding to demand for gasoline, economists said.

Rising fuel prices make it less likely that Federal Reserve policy makers, who have cited inflation risks for the past year, will cut interest rates to spur economic growth. Before the hurricane-induced peak in 2005, U.S. gasoline topped out at $1.42 a gallon in March 1981, or $3.21 when adjusted for inflation, according to the Energy Department.

Economies in Europe and Asia are less likely to be hurt by gasoline prices because fuel already is subject to high taxes designed to encourage conservation. A gallon of unleaded costs about 3.25 pounds a gallon ($6.49) in the U.K., and in Japan it's 130.3 yen per liter ($4.16 a gallon).

$4 Barrier

U.S. consumers will get little relief on gasoline prices from Europe this year, unlike 2005, when oil companies shipped more across the Atlantic after the hurricanes. Europe's gasoline inventories in February were 114.2 million barrels, down 11 percent from two years earlier, according to the International Energy Agency in Paris. The drop in Europe was almost twice the 5.7 percent decline in U.S. supplies in that time.

``Just as we used to think $3 a gallon was an impenetrable barrier, now it's $4,'' said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business in College Park and former chief economist for the U.S. International Trade Commission. Gasoline at $3.50 is likely, Morici said, and a conflict with Iran or any event that disrupts crude supplies may push it to $4.

Pump prices rose 33 percent in the past 11 weeks, the fastest rate of gain since a six-week, 34 percent rally to the record $3.069 in September 2005, Energy Department data show.

Bodman's `Worry'

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman in an interview last week said the national average pump price could break the record this summer. While his agency's official forecast is for gasoline to peak next month at about where it is today, hurricanes, refinery closures or crude oil supply cuts may send prices higher, he said.

Higher prices are ``a legitimate worry,'' Bodman said. ``We have trouble spots all over the world'' that could boost crude oil prices. ``We're in a very tight situation.''

Spending on fuel in the U.S. consumes half as much household income as in the early 1980s, which means gasoline would need to reach almost $6 a gallon to have the same effect on the economy as in 1981, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Storage tanks at U.S. refineries, terminals and ports hold enough gasoline to cover almost 22 days of domestic demand, 8.2 percent less than the five-year average and the lowest for this time of year since the 1980s, Energy Department figures show.

Shortages

Valero-owned filling stations in Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, ran dry after a Feb. 16 explosion and fire shut the company's McKee refinery in Sunray, Texas. A day earlier, a blaze at an Exxon Mobil Corp. plant in Nanticoke, Ontario, slashed output, resulting in shortages and higher prices across eastern Canada.

The McKee shutdown strained supplies so much that ConocoPhillips postponed maintenance at its Borger, Texas, refinery north of Amarillo to prevent shortages in the region.

``Refineries are becoming more complex,'' Mulva said in the Houston interview. ``What we're finding is it's more difficult keeping reliability up with more sophisticated pieces of equipment that are highly integrated.''

Tesoro Corp. of San Antonio, the second-largest refiner in the western U.S., said first-quarter refinery use dropped because oil companies delayed until this year maintenance that could have been done in 2006. The portion of U.S. refining capacity that was in operation in the first quarter declined to 87.3 percent from 88.9 percent a year earlier, according to Energy Department data.

`Refineries Blow Up'

``Prices will depend entirely on whether we have a couple of refineries blow up,'' said Philip K. Verleger, an economist who runs a consulting firm in Newport Beach, California. ``It's almost impossible we'll get to $4 a gallon if all the refineries run well this summer. But if something happens and there are problems, then anything's possible.''

The average share gain for Valero, Tesoro and six other oil-refining companies is 26 percent this year, outperforming the 4.1 percent gain for Exxon Mobil and a 4.7 percent increase for the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

The shares will continue to rally, said Paul Carlson, who helps manage $3 billion at HGK Asset Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

``Refiners are doing very well these days,'' said Carlson, whose holdings include ConocoPhillips, the second-biggest U.S. refiner. ``There will be lots of demand for any new refining stocks.''

`Back in Favor'

As recently as August, investors were selling oil refiners on concern an economic slowdown would slash fuel demand in the U.S., the world's largest energy market. During seven weeks last August and September, Valero shares fell 29 percent, wiping out $12 billion in market value.

``Refining is very much back in favor,'' said Douglas Ober, who helps oversee $2.3 billion at Baltimore-based Adams Express Co. ``Even with higher prices, we haven't seen any substantial cutback in demand. They're cranking out as much of this stuff as they can, and we're throwing it in our tanks as fast as we can.''

The margin earned from processing crude oil into fuels rose to $24.68 a barrel on April 11, the highest since right after the hurricanes in September 2005. The margin has since retreated to $22.12 a barrel, still about double the five-year average.

``It'll be a fairly tight gasoline market all through the summer,'' said Robert Hinckley, an analyst at Rochdale Securities in New York.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:36 AM   #796
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:25 AM   #797
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I dont know how much curtailing people have done to actually make much of a difference?

I live in a big city, and i still see the same amount of traffic on the roads as there has always been. Same congestion. Nothing has changed. People will always need to drive obviously. I think people have learned to cut back in other areas of their life to save money.
Considering China's demand is going up at ~5% per year, we would have to match that just to keep things the same.

That's not going to happen, IMO.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:32 AM   #798
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Considering China's demand is going up at ~5% per year, we would have to match that just to keep things the same.
exactly, that is why all this ridiculous biofuel money waste and hybrids, luxury taxes on oil companies, basically everything the government has ever done to combat it are not solutions. china is 12 times as large as the united states and india is many times larger too. we are not going to be dictating demand, they will be.

we can cut back all we want - it will lower the cost to you but its never going to change the scarcity of the resource that is becoming exponentially more scarce because of china and india being developing countries

no solution will exist until personal electric transportation, in my opinion. too bad the government doesnt spend money researching that instead of people-pleasers like beating up oil companies and trying to turn crap into gold, i mean corn into gasoline
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:53 AM   #799
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Oil prices soar after Energy Department reports falling supplies
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080611/oil_prices.html
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:33 PM   #800
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This is what happens when the market does not control the price anymore..
This is the most ignorant thing that I have ever read here at the planet.

Free markets are controled by the LAW of Supply and the LAW of demand.

These are mathematical functional relationships similar to the LAW of gravity.

The only thing that is debatable is whether or not the oil markets are "free" or not. Certainly we are not dealing with a free market in this situation, because if we were, the congress would not be impeding suppliers from gathering supply to meet the demand. Further, on the supply side, we have a well established oil cartel that is seeking to maximize their profits by controling the supply to an optimal point for them irrespective of the demand, the price of which is certainly above what it would be in a free market.

On the demand side of this, is the slope of the demand curve. For this particular commodity, we have extremely inelastic demand curve. In other words, for each percent increase in the price of the commodity, the percent decrease in demand is much less than 1 %. It takes time to change vehicles, organize car pools, decide to walk or ride a bicycle.

The marketplace is doing exactly what it should be doing. It is turning up the heat on the joke ass candidates for President. It is screaming out loudly to them, "What kind of leadership will you show in this area?"

The answer so far is, " I won't drill in Anwar it is as precious as the Grand Canyon and we must save it for our grandchildren"; Or the more draconian and stupid of the two, "We must punish the suppliers for doing their jobs and take their money."

Either way, this is not leadership. Add to that, we have doddering lame Duck POTUS who has obviously quit giving 2 rats asses about doing his job, once again, lack of leadership.

So far McCain is at least for more Nuclear power, which, if we are going to run electric cars and trains, we will need the megawattage to do it. This needs to be done yesterday.

Go on, go head and have the audacity to hope and see what it gets you.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:36 PM   #801
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don't you mean... have the audacity to hope in one hand and crap in the other, see which one fills up first
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:14 PM   #802
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So far McCain is at least for more Nuclear power, which, if we are going to run electric cars and trains, we will need the megawattage to do it. This needs to be done yesterday.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:36 PM   #803
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Are there any studies/labs/experiments on Cold Fusion currently going on?

I'd be curious on any progress that happened.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:46 PM   #804
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Are there any studies/labs/experiments on Cold Fusion currently going on?

I'd be curious on any progress that happened.
Val Kilmer stole this information from Elisabeth Shue. Authorities are still working on the case.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:48 PM   #805
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Are there any studies/labs/experiments on Cold Fusion currently going on?

I'd be curious on any progress that happened.
Face it, we need oil, lots of it. The Chinese get it, the Russians get it, the Saudis get it, WTF can't Dumbocrats get it?

Oil=power, economic independece, the very blessings of liberty.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:21 AM   #806
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$3.95 national retail average, down $0.12 over the last two weeks. Reached a high of $4.11 on July 16.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:48 AM   #807
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$3.95 national retail average, down $0.12 over the last two weeks. Reached a high of $4.11 on July 16.

So ive noticed. What gives?? People are using less and selling off those SUV's?
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:48 AM   #808
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Will it be under $2 by the winter?
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:50 AM   #809
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Will it be under $2 by the winter?
We will never see that again.
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Matt once made a very nice play in Seattle where he spun away from a pass rusher and hit Bowe off his back foot for a first down.

One of the best plays Matt has ever made.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:54 AM   #810
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So ive noticed. What gives?? People are using less and selling off those SUV's?
Big picture is that crude has dropped from highs in the $140s/barrel to $120s now. Demand in the United States is down ~4% That's significant.
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