Crude oil is up $1 today on speculation about Iran and the West coming to blows. Gasoline also continues upward, to $2.60 nationally and $3.20 in California, according to the AAA fuel gauge. Yet even at $64 a barrel, crude oil is a far cry from last year’s record high of $78 a barrel, notes the AP. That’s a difference of 35 cents a gallon for the oil alone, before costs and an ever-rising refinery profit margin. And somehow California is only pennies from last year’s pump price record of $3.38.
The oil companies’ excuses include Iran, Iraq, planned and unplanned refinery outages and a suicidal raccoon that caused a short in power lines to a big refinery. None of them will hold water when Big Oil’s profit reports come out in four weeks.
It’s no leap to think about $4.00 gasoline and even less of a stretch to predict another round of record oil company profits. Politicians in Washington and statehouses should be acting now to investigate price-gouging, profiteering and deliberate suppression of supply instead of waiting to hear voters’ screams of outrage over the way they’ve been pickpocketed again.