“My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril. Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.”
My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril.
Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 2, 2022
Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden’s “dopey and feckless” press secretary, complained that while oil prices have declined some in the past few weeks, “prices at the pump have barely come down.”
Why’s that? Explains Kevin Williamson in NRO: Gas stations don’t sell crude oil — they sell gasoline.
And, contrary to what the Biden brain trust seems to think, wholesale gasoline prices do not move in lockstep with crude oil prices. And retail gasoline prices do not move in lockstep with wholesale gasoline prices. I don’t get the feeling that President Biden is up to the second on RBOB spot prices. (That’s “Reformulated Feedstock for Oxygenate Blending,” the main ingredient in commercial gasoline.) There’s a whole complex market out there, and the guys who have a “slight Indian accent” are minor players in it.
Who Sets the Margins?
Salespeople do not set their own margins. The markets do that for them.
Politicians talk as if — and, in many cases, honestly believe — the way a business works is that a retailer picks some numbers out of the air — 7.5 percent or 10 percent or 22 percent — and simply marks up whatever he pays for his product wholesale by that amount, and that this is how retail prices are set. That is what academic economists call absolute horsepucky.
The urge to blame retailers for the results of inflationary fiscal policies — and destructive energy policies — in Washington is ugly, demagogic, and, given Biden’s creepy history, maybe even a little bit racist. It is also more than a little bit galling to hear people filling up their Escalades bitching about the supposed greed of a guy who traveled 8,000 miles to work 90 hours a week in a thankless, often unpleasant job for which he is likely to earn a hell of a lot less money than a high-school vice principal in a country full of comfortable people where apparently no native has the grit or the energy to operate a Kwik-E-Mart franchise.
Continues Mr. Williamson, coffee at Starbucks is about $64 per gallon, and nobody is “bellyaching about that.”
Transporting Useful Fuel
The U.S. has plenty of oil and gas. What is needed are refineries to change petroleum into useful fuels. Pipelines also are needed. It’s how fuel moves from where the refineries are to where the consumer is.
This can be done in an economically and environmentally responsible way. Getting it done will not be fast or easy, but what needs to be done isn’t exactly mysterious.
The United States has a lot of petroleum.
We also have the world’s best engineers and nuclear scientists, the world’s best environmental scientists, and the world’s best electric-car company. If we can’t make this work, it’s not for lack of resources.
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