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Addressing Gasoline Shortage

Editor, News-Register:

It appears that Republican members of Congress as well as their advocates in the media are, unashamedly, so willing to place the sole blame and responsibility for the current historically high price for gasoline on current President Joe Biden. I would like to respectfully submit a number of pertinent facts that may shed a somewhat different light on the critical subject.

For the record, the price of gasoline recently peaked at $5.02 per gallon nationally, which marked a 40 percent increase from the average cost of $3.40 on December 2021. That is the result in large part of the dramatic decline for oil globally in Spring 2020, as a result of COVID-19, which greatly curtailed motorized transportation as it had never been done previously, and as a result, oil companies greatly slashed production, and the cost of a barrel of oil, for the first time, dipped below $10 per barrel, a historic low. As a result oil companies laid off thousands of workers, and a great many oil wells were shut down, in addition, very few new oil refineries have been built in the U.S. in decades.

Also, since 2019 the U.S. has lost more than 5 percent of its refining capacity, which amounts to more than 1.5 billion fewer barrels being produced daily.

However, when months later Americans were able to return to work and traveling greatly increased, resulting in a dramatic increase in the demand for gasoline, much faster than oil companies were successfully able to address, gasoline availability had become scarce.

This in addition to the appropriate sanctions placed on crude oil from Russia, as a result of their invasion on Ukraine, which ranks second worldwide to Saudi Arabia in crude oil.

President Biden has worked diligently in an attempt to eventually resolve this crisis situation by releasing approximately 1 million barrels per day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, has proposed the suspension of the federal gas tax, has repeatedly requested foreign suppliers increase production, including Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, in spite of their longtime adversarial relationships with the U.S.

As a result, the price of gasoline in the U.S. has recently decreased, with 23 states now reporting an average cost of below $4 for the purchase of a gallon of gas. Hopefully, this encouraging trend will continue, and we will be essentially “back to normal” in that regard in the relatively near future, both nationally as well as worldwide.

Richard Hord

Martins Ferry

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