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Who Controls the price we pay for gas at the pump?

Updated on November 1, 2012

The price of gas today is fluctuating almost on a daily basis and when incidents happen around the world and here at home the price seems to rise almost instantly. The question to be answered, if possible, is who controls the price we pay for gas at the pump. The fluctuation in prices can almost be predicted from day to day on a regular basis. Certain days of the week the price is lower in most cases than on other days. This may not be the case in every location but it does occur.

One of the questions to be answered whether it is by any of the oil companies or the government is who controls the price we pay. Some may say that gas stations get deliveries on a daily basis and this may be the cause for price changes that occur so often. Logically the number gas stations across the United States in particular are at least in the thousands and it would be a difficult if not improbable for all of these stations to get daily deliveries. Logistically managing the quantity of deliveries this would involve is incomprehensible and with the price of gas as it is today the need for daily deliveries is questionable at best.

I am not underestimating the need for individuals to keep gas in their tanks to get to work or to do the normal errands that must be accomplished to keep a house running with the necessities. Individuals are hurting today more than ever and the price of fuel at the pump is causing individuals and businesses to cut back where they can. This is a fact and as such creates questions about comments about daily deliveries of fuel to replace the quantity of fuel being purchased on a daily basis.

Competition has an impact in the price at the pump and there seems to be different prices from the same brand when going from one part of town to another. This in itself raises a question on why there is a disparity between the advertised prices in the same geographical area. Another question which must be raised is the involvement of government in terms of taxes included in the price of gas. Granted this tax is targeted for our road and highway system but whether the income targeted actual gets allocated to the necessary repairs for our national highway system. I do believe some of these funds make it to some of the projects but our national highway system is in desperate need of funds especially for our aging bridge system for which some are in desperate of replacement or repair.

This article is not meant to place blame on any entity involved in the process of getting fuel to places where it can be purchased. Government has some responsibility in terms of making sure that in times of incidents such as the recent hurricane in the Northeast that prices are not raised higher than necessary as a result of these types of occurrences. One example involved the price of gas increasing over 45 cents from morning to evening in just one day. This type of price change raises questions by individuals and businesses. It is reasonable to assume that deliveries of fuel did not take place within this time frame or would have that drastic a change from one delivery to another.

The fluctuation in fuel prices has been going on for a long time and there has not been any viable explanation for these changes. What responsibilities the government has in these instances is clearly unknown given the responsibilities of government identified in the Constitution. Answering the question of who controls the price of fuel at the pump may not ever be appropriately answered but it is an answer the public has a right to know. Oil companies are constantly being singled out concerning the price of fuel whether it is appropriate or not is the question. The process of refining crude oil and getting the supply to local fueling stations is well defined. Granted there are costs involved in the entire process and I understand these companies need to make a profit to stay in business. Many times where the oil company profits get allocated is never really discussed but it is appropriate to identify the costs of building refineries which we need and starting a new drilling site.

Politicians must be fair which for many in the private sector believe this is something that is lacking in the political arena. Government is always ready to level blame without an investigation where it is necessary to protect the public interest where when such authority lies within the government structure as defined in the Constitution. The public needs honest answers whether we as individuals will ever receive these answers is yet to be determined.


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    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 5 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by and providing your input. I understand the points you have made.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Interesting hub Dennis. Sometimes oddities cause spikes, as you well know. The gas shortage in the NY Metro area after the hurricane was partially caused by navigational obstructions in NY Harbor, which have been removed. Also, I don't doubt that the is collusion among gas stations in some areas. I used to live on the North Fork of Long Island - from Orient to Riverhead, a distance of some 30 miles, the prices would change with all the gas stations daily in lock step.