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Fluctuating gas prices puzzling

Though the price of gasoline in most areas has come down some from the over $2 per gallon it was in some areas this summer, there are still some discrepancies in the industry.

Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Though the price of gasoline in most areas has come down some from the over $2 per gallon it was in some areas this summer, there are still some discrepancies in the industry.

A weekend price check had consumers in Ironton and the vicinity paying as much as $1.55 per gallon while as close as Gallipolis the price stood at $1.31 per gallon.

What’s the problem? For months, lawmakers and the petroleum industry have offered explanations. Lawmakers have accused producers of price gouging. The industry places the blame on taxes imposed by the lawmakers.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been accused of contributing to the inflated gas prices by cutting crude production. In fact, OPEC recently announced it will cut crude production by 1.5 million barrels per day beginning Feb. 1.

OPEC has gone on record saying that although there is a link between the amount of crude oil produced and the high petroleum prices, the main reason consumers are having to pay more for gasoline is taxes.

The puzzling thing, though, is the difference in prices throughout the United States – and even locally. According to Gaspricewatch.com, gasoline prices in the U.S. range from a high of $2.37 per gallon in Redwood City, Calif. (as of Jan. 18) and a low of $1.09 per gallon in Wadsworth Ill. (as of Jan. 15).

Can the transportation cost of fuel create this big of a price difference in different regions of the nation? Why does a decrease in production cost consumers in some areas more than in others? The consumers are entitled to know.