Tesla Motors recently made news by installing its 500th Supercharger electric-vehicle charging station worldwide, according to Business Finance News. But that’s old news now. Because Tesla, as of late Friday, had upped its total count to 502 stations, according to its Supercharger website.
While not quite as cheap and plentiful as water, gas is sufficiently cheap and plentiful that American industry squanders it on a regular basis.
If, with their own money, Tesla and its customers want to revel in electric cars, that’s wonderful. Nobody should object. But why should taxpayers subsidize their hobby as if some vital public purpose is being served? And why should Consumer Reports prostitute itself in its latest review of the Tesla Model S P85D?
Starting Monday, President Obama is going to greater lengths than any president before him has — at least in terms of air miles — to circumvent the central conundrum that several presidents and countless environmentalists before him have faced: by the time the effects of global warming are obvious to every American, and every global citizen for that matter, it will be too late to act.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. sees a green light at the intersection of low oil prices and record driving.
Even with a surge the past two days, oil prices have been on the downward slide the past 14 months, dropping from about $115 a barrel to around $40. But that hasn’t translated to savings at the pump for all drivers.
In some areas of the United States, gas prices have remained stubbornly flat during the oil plunge, or have inexplicably risen. Fuel Freedom Policy Manager Gal Sitty has put together this informative graph that tracks the price of oil (an amalgam of Brent crude, the international benchmark, and West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. standard) compared with the average price of gasoline in three big states: California, New York and Ohio.
Experts have no shortage of explanations for these anomalies. They usually sound like this: Something-refineries-inaudible. Cue Charlie Brown’s teacher talking wah-wah speak.
It’s true that a unit at the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, one of the largest refineries in the Midwest, is back online after breaking down Aug. 8. Media outlets report that gas prices in the region already have begun falling again, but they’re sure not doing so as quickly as they shot up. And it doesn’t explain that gentle slope of a line for New York above.
In California, where gas prices pushed toward $5 in July after a sudden, insufficiently explained shortage, prices remain high, purportedly owing to the Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance still being below capacity six months after a fire. As Sue Carpenter, automotive writer at the Orange County Register, explains:
Crude oil typically accounts for just 46 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration. Taxes account for 16 percent, 13 percent is marketing and distribution, and 25 percent is refining.
In California, though, crude oil is just 34 percent of the cost of a gallon of gas, and refining is 35 percent, according to the California Energy Commission.
Still, it’s curious that just as California motorists were getting hammered, oil refineries weren’t sharing the pain: Refineries in the state collected $1.61 per gallon in July, the highest since the state began keeping records in 1999.
It’s clear that there isn’t enough refinery capacity in the U.S. (Raise your hand if you’d like one built in your back yard. There are people in Whiting who still remember what happened there 70 years and a day ago.) But even if refinery disruptions are partially to blame, it’s only further evidence that we’re too beholden to a volatile global oil market, and we’re dependent on an aging, infrastructure for refining.
The only way to make the fuel pricing structure sustainably affordable is to introduce fuel choice so gasoline has to compete with cheaper, cleaner alternatives like ethanol and methanol.
Until that happens, wild price swings and supply disruptions will be the norm in America.
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U.S. crude rose 6 percent on Friday, notching its first weekly gain in two months, after a rally in gasoline from refinery outages and concerns about strife in Yemen fed a second frenzied day of short-covering in oil.
Aug. 27, 1859: Edwin Drake strikes oil in Pennsylvania with the first commercial well in the U.S.
Clouds parted on the crude oil markets Thursday, as a nearly universal rally on the global equity markets pushed oil back above $40 per barrel and to its largest single-day gain since 2009.
President Obama’s summer climate change tour will culminate in the Alaskan Arctic next week, putting him in a setting that has experienced the country’s most dramatic climatic changes and one that Obama hopes will help him boost public support.
Our Mission: Fuel Freedom Foundation is working to reduce the cost of driving your existing car or truck by opening the market to cheaper, cleaner, American-made fuel choices at the pump.