NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 25, 2007

The federal agency that tracks gasoline prices took issue yesterday with a private survey that concluded Americans are paying more per gallon than at any time in history when inflation is factored in, says the Journal News.


  • The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular stands at $3.22.
  • The agency pegs the inflation-adjusted record high at $3.29, set in March 1981, when Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War pushed the average price to $1.42 in real dollars during those early days of Ronald Reagan's presidency.

Whether a record or not, the prices are high, says the Journal News.  Experts point to outages at refineries, as a main reason for the recent price spike.  Refineries have cut back on production due to maintenance and unexpected interruptions.

Consumers and Congress have also contributed to the high prices, says H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis:

  • Consumers shy away from buying cars that get good gas mileage; more than 60 vehicles on the market get more than 30 miles a gallon and 40 get more than 40 miles a gallon, yet none of them are top sellers.
  • Congress, in the name of environmentalism, requires 19 different blends of gasoline, many of them mandated in select geographic areas and by the season of the year, and has also restricted drilling in new offshore areas
  • There hasn't been a refinery built in the United States in more than 20 years; a number of refineries because they did not produce fat profit margins and layers of environmental regulations made them less profitable.

Source: Allan Drury, "Not so fast on gas price record, agency says," Journal News, May 24, 2007.


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