Jamie Court’s idea for oil refiners to keep a reserve of gasoline on hand is probably a good idea, but it’s a stopgap. What we really need is ample energy availability that isn’t subject to gaming by suppliers and speculators and that can’t be exported to the highest bidder.
That’s why wind and solar are so vital — not only because the energy stays local but also because the utility companies are more directly accountable to the consumer.
The party-that-shall-not-be-named derides global warming, yells “Drill baby drill!” and votes against ending oil subsidies, while oil companies manipulate refinery output for obscene profits. Meanwhile, some major wind and solar projects are on hold because investors are waiting to see who wins the election.
October brought record-high gasoline prices due to such factors as a refinery disruption, power outages and pipeline
issues. Historically, when disruptions occur in the supply of any product, prices spike. However, more government regulation won’t reverse these staggeringly high fuel costs because California already has the most restrictive fuel regulations in the country.
In fact, only a limited number of refineries uniquely configured to produce a gasoline blend specific to California can manufacture fuel for the state. Meanwhile, four of California’s refineries closed during the last 20 years, in part due to high costs associated with upgrading facilities and meeting unique fuel regulations.
Sadly, California consumers will feel more pain when new cap-and-trade and low-carbon fuel standards come out. Sacramento deserves the criticism, not the oil industry.
Charles T. Drevna
The writer is president of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.