Although oil markets are bankrupting producers and draining government coffers from Moscow to Riyadh, plummeting costs are filling the pockets of ordinary consumers this year, right?
Um, wrong, at least in California, where state government helps the refining industry keep gasoline prices aloft for months at a time.
On Monday, at $2.55 a gallon, the average cost of gasoline was 11 cents higher than it was a year ago in the Golden State, the federal Energy Information Administration reports.
So why does gas cost so much more in California? I’ve been covering energy markets for 16 years, and this is easily the top question I get from readers. No. 2 is, who’s to blame?
Here’s the short answer to both questions, from industry analyst David Hackett of Stillwater Associates: “Arguably, the government is keeping consumers from buying cheap gas.”
I know what you’re thinking: It’s an election year, and here we have just another business guy blaming government for industry predation of consumers.
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