Friday, May 04, 2007

Gas Prices Hit High; Attorney General to Investigate

Gas prices reached new high prices in our part of the country. $3.20 a gallon is now "reasonable," and $3.50 is popping up all over the place.

Attorney General Rob McKenna, a nominal Republican in a very blue state, announced that his office will investigate factors that influence gas prices.

He plans to announce his findings in July and the produce a series of forums in the fall.

“Should our research uncover price-fixing or other violations of our state’s consumer protection or antitrust laws, the Attorney General’s Office stands ready to take enforcement action. Consumers can help by alerting our office if they overhear a conversation that suggests rival businesses intend to fix or manipulate prices, or if they spot prices that appear out of the ordinary and can’t be explained by obvious supply and demand factors.”
The study is expected to cost between $100,000 and $150,000.

When asked why he is launching a study, McKenna observed that the last study was in 1991 and that citizens are wondering why prices are high.

The Canticle to AG McKenna:
  1. In 1991 there were nine refineries in Washington State.
  2. Today there are six. The state's population has grown 26%.
  3. Under federal rules, those six must now produce specialized fuels for various cities in the state.
  4. We're not drilling for any more oil. More of it is imported each year.
This is the umpteenth—it must be hundreds, maybe thousands— investigation of price fixing in the oil industry over the past 30 years. Aspiring politicians have been elected on pledges to investigate. Office holders have held on to their offices on similar promises. Has anyone ever actually found anything?

Or is this $150,000 investigation just another 42,000 gallons of taxpayers' gas down the tubes?

No comments: