Q: Don’t be fooled by rhetoric around the war in Ukraine causing high gas prices. Gas we buy today is from oil sold to brokers months ago. This is blatant gouging by oil companies and distributors.
Steve Brock, San Jose
A: Proposed new legislation would require oil refiners to disclose each month what price they pay for crude oil and what their profit margins are. There are many reasons why Californians pay the highest gas prices in the nation. Russia’s invasion is the biggest reason for the recent jump in prices. Other factors are also in play.
California’s requirement for smog-reducing special blend fuels has created an energy island. That’s because only California refiners make fuels that can be used in California.
And California refineries are producing at almost full capacity now, yet gas usage is up as the economy rebounds, and fewer people take mass transit. More drivers drive at excessive speeds since COVID, which uses more gas and contributes to lowering the supply.
Q: I’m appalled by the suffering in Ukraine and, of course, we’re not paying anything near the true cost of burning oil, so I feel like a jerk asking, but why does it feel like the corner gas station raised its price overnight?
Did every station pay more to refill their underground tanks the day after the Ukraine invasion, or are they just price gouging? Did the refineries buy more expensive oil that same day?
Steve Williams, Venice
A: Oil companies get spooked about an uncertain future, like the Russian invasion. This can produce sudden and extreme increases in gas prices.
Q: Gas prices drop and sales of oversized trucks skyrocket. Gas prices rise and drivers blame the world for their fuel costs, rather than looking at their choices about what to drive. People buy what they want and not what they need. How many times does a suburbanite driver need a one ton four-wheel-drive pickup?
I’m on my third hybrid since 2001. About a month from now, I’ll have to buy gas at the new high prices. Then again, 4-6 weeks after that.
I am really happy I drive an EV and not an SUV.
Greg Throne, Pleasant Hill
A: SUV mileage is better than it was a few decades ago, but you’re right, it is much lower than for a hybrid or electric vehicle.
Q: Regarding the gas price uproar, there was a day sometime in 1974 when I asked a work colleague, “Did you notice that gas just went from 40 cents to 60 cents?”
Maybe you remember that, too.
A: Yes. My used Plymouth got a whopping 18 mpg, which seemed good at the time.
Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at [email protected]
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