In the almost six years of the Obama Administration, a new phrase has entered the American lexicon: “The new normal.” According to the president of the American Automobile Association (AAA), the new normal in regards to gasoline prices is this – the days of cheap gasoline are over – and there’s nothing that can be done about it, as reported by the Fox affiliate WDAF-TV of Kansas City, Missouri on Sept. 17, 2013.
AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet stated via a release:
Paying less than $3 per gallon for gasoline may be automotive history for most Americans.
The reality is that expensive gas is here to stay, which is tough on millions of people who need a car to live their lives.
Not quite done acting as the purveyor of bad news, he added:
While a few lucky drivers may occasionally pay less than $3.00 per gallon, the national average is likely to remain more costly into the future.
With the obvious rise in the cost of simply commuting to and from work, the average American will also get socked in the wallet or pocketbook over an increased cost harvesting, processing, and bringing to market all foodstuffs as well as all manufactured goods ranging from refrigerators to automobiles to bath towels.
It also goes without saying that the cost of heating oil and electricity for air conditioning will skyrocket both for home and business owners, with the businesses passing the increased cost on to the consumer.
A rather sizable chunk of the price per gallon will come from federal tax as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s rather lengthy litany of regulations and restrictions on the energy industry.
With unlikelihood that Barack Obama would permanently end Washington’s gas taxes and other federally mandated restraints, he could, with the stroke of an Oval Office pen, declare a tax holiday and a temporary hold on environmental protection laws until the American economy is firing again on all eight cylinders.
Another bureaucracy that few have ever heard of, the US Energy Information Administration, cites the federal tax at 18.4¢ on a single gallon of gasoline.
The United Press International on Jan. 30, 2013 quoted the Director of the American Petroleum Institute, Bob Greco, as stating the EPA‘s upcoming smog controls will result in gas prices rising an additional 25¢ more expensive per gallon.
More Blends than a Liquor Store…
As ordered by the federal government, there is an ever-growing number of “boutique” fuels, commonly known as “blends.” There’s an east coast-blend, a west coast-blend, a summer-blend, a winter-blend, an Arizona-blend, a Gulf Coast-blend, and a splash-blend. And that’s just scratching the surface.
The UPI also reported that EPA regulations require 18 different blends of gasoline in different states, depending on the season and on air quality in the different states:
This keeps the price of gasoline high because excess supply of gasoline in one state cannot be shipped to another.
An example would be that a cheaper-priced Gulf Coast winter-blend would be illegal to sell in New York or Los Angeles during the summer.
The Government Accounting Office actually puts the number of specialized “blends” at a dizzying 45:
There were 12 distinct gasoline blends in use in the United States during the summer of 2004: 11 special gasoline blends and the conventional gasoline used everywhere a special blend is not used. When different grades of gasoline, special blends used in winter, and other factors are considered, the number of gasoline blends rises to at least 45.
The National Association for Convenience and Fuel Retaining writes that the cost difference between the higher polluting winter-blend and the cleaner burning summer-blend as high as 15 cents per gallon.
Increasing federal regulations have closed two major refineries in the Northeast, resulting in the east coast-blend costing as high as 40¢ more per gallon than the blend sold in the Rockies and Mid-West states, as reported by CNBC.