There are plenty of reasons for the high prices, and lots of reasons to expect a big price surge in the spring, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Oil Price Information Service.
“Early February crude oil prices are higher than they’ve ever been on similar calendar dates through the years, and the price of crude sets the standard for gasoline prices,” Kloza said.
In addition, several refineries have been mothballed in recent months, he said, and some of those refineries “represented the key to a smooth spring transition from winter-to-spring gasoline.” The annual change in gasoline formulas is mandated by pollution-fighting regulations.
However, one overlooked fact regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline is that its rejection by President Obama has directly affected rise of gas prices in recent weeks. Although the pipeline (and ANWR, and other major oil projects) have multi-year lead times, the very fact of a project of this magnitude moving ahead has an immediate effect on the markets by changing the traders’ expectations of future supply. Having more oil available in the marketplace contributes to lower prices for consumers. So when the project was tabled, the markets reacted accordingly.
This administration has once again shown to its hostility toward domestic oil while pandering to the environmentalist electorate. The rejection of such an important project — with the capacity to offer significant work for Americans — only hurts our economy further.
Update x2: (Feb 29th) Bill Clinton says to “embrace” the Keystone Pipeline