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The Madera Tribune

No surprise about gasoline prices

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webmaster | 03/30/12

One of the sure things about the price of gasoline is that it will continue to go up. It will, at least, until the summer driving season is over and people stop buying it in long-trip quantities. That is the way it always has been.

But some changes are in the wind. The price of gasoline may have to come down sooner than usual. That’s because overall, the demand for gasoline has been easing. The public has been buying more efficient cars, which in turn has meant that on any given day, consumers are likely to use less gasoline than they did a year earlier.

Also, refineries are in a bit of trouble. Because the domestic demand is going down, they find that in some cases they can sell on the foreign market at a greater profit than they can if they sell it in the United States. That’s because, even though we in the U.S. believe gasoline prices to be historically high, they are low compared to those in most other countries.

Only in countries where the price of gasoline is kept at artificially low levels because of government policies are prices well below what we pay here. An example is in Venezuela, where a gallon of gasoline sells for 12 cents. In other oil-rich countries the story is the same, according to CNNMoney. In Nigeria, 38 cents; in Egypt, 65 cents; in Kuwait, 78 cents; in Saudi Arabia, 91 cents.

Those prices don’t cover the cost of the oil or the refining.

The Dutch pay approximately $8 a gallon, with the Norwegians the Italians and the Danes not far behind that. In those countries and others in Europe, gasoline carries a higher tax burden than it does here.

Gasoline prices will ease a bit before long, but don’t expect them to drop to levels of a few years ago.


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