Yesterday, a remarkable thing — I put $20 worth of gas in my Jeep and, lo-and-behold, the price was still the same as last week, $4.45 a gallon for regular.
This is the first time in a long time the pump price has stayed steady, although still at a crazed high.
And despite oil-price dumping last week, prices at the pump remain the same and are not expected to move downward anytime soon.
This morning from liveoilprices: In London, Brent crude oil futures for June 2011 delivery was trading at $114.27 a barrel, 07.45 GMT this morning on the ICE Futures Exchange, after closing off Thursday’s session at $113.16.
WTI, however, is still down: US Light crude oil futures for June 2011 delivery was trading at $99.44 a barrel, 07.30 GMT this morning in electronic trading on the NYMEX.
The pump is at the end of the vicious chain of bullshit.
In fact, prices actually increased:
Gasoline pump prices increased on Wednesday by almost a penny to $3.962 per gallon.
It’s the first rise in six days.
A gallon of regular is 19.2 cents more expensive than a month ago and $1.061 higher than the same time last year.
Analysts still expect gas prices to drop 30 or 40 cents a gallon by the end of the month.
Wednesday’s pullback in futures contracts appeared to support that forecast.
Another major problem washes away that optimism — the massive flooding of the Mississippi River swells into Louisiana and the numerous refineries located there, which up-chucks memories of the devastation done to those apparently fragile operations by bad weather.
“When we’ve had flood waters in this part of Louisiana before, it has closed up to 12 refineries,” said Peter Beutel, analyst with energy risk management firm Cameron Hanover, referring to the impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“The fear here is that we could see refineries close again.”
The riverside refineries in Louisiana include ExxonMobil’s facility in Baton Rouge, the second-largest U.S. refinery with a daily capacity of 504,500 barrels.
The fourth-largest U.S. refinery, owned by Marathon Oil Corp., is located on the Mississippi River in Garyville and produces 436,000 barrels a day.
ConocoPhillips has a refinery next to the river in Belle Chasse, immediately downstream of New Orleans, with a daily production of 247,000 barrels.
And that’s a lot of gas.
And what does those high prices actually mean?
Trying living in the 1970s when disco was king: In 1979, gas sold for roughly 90 cents a gallon, a little more than $2.60 in today’s dollars and much less than the $4.14 high seen in 2008. But short supplies meant, in many states, that you could gas up only on designated days of the week. Lines were huge, stretching far down the streets of service stations. Sales of lockable gas caps soared as a preventative to roving thugs who would brazenly siphon out your hard-fought fuel while you slept.
Gonna be worse nowadays.
Because weather has become a major influence, and it’s not going to be pretty.
Climate change is a big, big deal changer.
From climate activist Bill McKibben in the LA Times this week on the Mississippi flooding:
There are no grounds for optimism in this fight against the weather.
So far we’ve only increased the temperature of the planet about a degree, and that’s been enough to set the Arctic to melting, turn the ocean 30% more acidic and make the atmosphere about 4% wetter, loading the dice for floods.
Climatologists predict that unless we kick oil, gas and coal habits very, very fast, the increase in temperature will be 4 or 5 degrees before the century is out.
If one degree does the damage we’re seeing at the moment, we’d be fools to find out what 4 degrees will look like.
There’s no one we can shoot to make global warming disappear.
But we could, if we wanted, devote the scale of resources we’ve spent in the last decade invading Iraq and Afghanistan to the task of retooling our energy infrastructure.
That’s the kind of commitment it would take, an effort we usually seem to muster only in the face of military threat.
But the danger that comes from climate change is every bit as real, and in the long run far greater, than anything Al Qaeda could throw at us.
We’re really fighting for our civilization, as people in the lower Mississippi will spend the next few weeks finding out.
No so cute, huh?
And, you know, there’s two menings to the word, flatulence: 1. The presence of excessive gas in the digestive tract. 2. Self-importance; pomposity.
In that context on the #2 definition, a bunch of big oil bigwigs were before the US Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, and instead of trying to get a handle on the gas-price crap, there was a shitload of chest beating by the high-flying, rich CEOs.
Before the Senate is a proposal to scale back, over a decade, $21 billion in tax breaks to the five major oil companies, a measure that could be voted on as early as next week.
Them execs don’t give a shit: Chevron Chief Executive John Watson told senators, “Don’t punish our industry for doing its job well.”
These prices will mean we gotta turn and face the strange:
Expensive oil means processed fryer oil — also known as yellow grease — becomes an attractive source for biofuels, livestock feed and more.
In 2000, yellow grease traded for less than eight cents a pound.
Now, it goes for 18 cents a pound when sold to recyclers, according to Reuters.
After it has been processed further, the grease goes for upwards of 42 cents a pound.
And people are going prospecting for the stuff, breaking into restaurants and selling the grease on the black grease market.
And I hate the word, fart, don’t you?