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Entries in Gasoline (34)

Wednesday
Sep122012

Northeast Lukoil Franchisees Publicize $9 Gas in Protest

LAURA BOUSHNAK/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Drivers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania may be in for a shock if they pull into a Lukoil gas station.

About 57 franchise owners are protesting on Wednesday against the price of gas charged by Lukoil North America, a subsidiary of the Russian corporation, OAO Lukoil. The owners have posted gas prices over $8 at their stations to draw attention to what they claim are the high prices charged to them that they must pass on to consumers.

"We are doing this because we are dying," said Khaled Kezbari, owner of three Lukoil gas stations in New Jersey. "Lukoil is charging us costs higher than the retail market. How can you compete? You cannot compete in the market like that."

Outside Kezbari's gas station in Mount Laurel, N.J., the price of gas is posted as $9.99 a gallon.

However, Kezbari, 46, said the gas station owners are not charging customers those high costs. They are only posting the prices for 24 hours in protest of the franchisee's high costs.

"It would be ridiculous if they charged that amount. We are trying to send a message to Lukoil so they know what our feelings are," he said.

Kezbari said he is charging consumers $3.79 a gallon for regular gas. He said franchisees have no choice but to pass on its higher costs to consumers. That has led to lower sales.

He said his station previously used to pump 6,000 gallons a day on average but now pumps 3,000 gallons a day.

State average gas prices in New Jersey are $3.79, according to Gasbuddy.com. But many dealers charge 10 to 20 cents a gallon less for regular, depending on where they get their gas. There are also discounts for those who pay cash.

The taxes, fees, rent and labor costs in New Jersey, which ban gas stations from allowing customers to operate the pumps, have also affected his bottom line.

"If I am paying 3 cents on the dollar for credit card fees, how can I survive?" he said.

Kezbari said Lukoil has slowly passed on additional costs to franchisees, including real estate taxes and building up-keep costs, so the company can make additional profit.

A spokesman for Lukoil North America provided a statement to ABC News, saying the company values "our network of independent dealers."

"We deeply regret that the NJGCA, a trade lobbyist, has apparently encouraged public mistatements and ill-conceived actions which harm consumers, rather than engage in constructive dialogue. The NJGCA's efforts appear aimed at zone pricing, a commercially reasonable practice used by gasoline marketers for many years, which is fully compliant with New Jersey statutes governing the sale of motor fuel," the statement continued.

Zone pricing is the practice of gasoline suppliers charging more or less to stations based on their zip codes or other market factors.

Sal Risalvato, executive director of New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, Automotive Association (NJGCA), the trade group organizing the protest, said the owners agreed to post a high price of their choice on their signs.

"Everybody said we're going to charge something that would be offensive and send a message to Lukoil," Risalvato said.

He said this is the first time the trade group has protested in this manner, though they have been in discussions with Lukoil for the past few years.

Risalvato, who owned a gasoline service station for 23 years in New Jersey, said he is also trying to reach Lukoil dealers in New York and Connecticut.

Kezbari said his customers have so far shown their support of the franchisees. He and some of the other owners are providing a phone number to customers to the Lukoil main office.

"Regular customers say they understand and, 'We're going to call that number,'" he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun222012

Crude Oil Prices Keep Dropping and Gas Prices Along with Them

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gasoline prices are dropping like a stone because of a glut of oil supplies that pushed the price of crude to under $80 a barrel Thursday -- the lowest it's been in eight months.

Currently, the average cost of a gallon of unleaded regular is $3.47 across the country and if Americans are driving less, they can expect to see prices at the pump come crashing down further as the summer wears on.

Some very optimistic analysts have speculated that gas prices might not only fall under $3 a gallon nationally, but could go as low as $2.50 in some areas of the U.S.

This is a far cry from early April when prices were hovering around the $4 a gallon mark, with fears growing that $5 a gallon were possible by this time of the year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May152012

37-Cent Gasoline? It Almost Happened in Wisconsin

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PLOVER, Wis.) -- With gas prices across most of the country hovering near $4 a gallon for regular unleaded, drivers in Plover, Wis., were thrilled when they saw a local BP station advertising gas at 37-cents a gallon.

But when hundreds of cars lined up, the gas station realized its mistake and shut down the pumps.

“I was very disappointed,” Plover resident Adam Clussman, one of the many who was hoping for a cheap fill up, said. “I was really hoping that we could get in and get a couple of gas cans and fill them up, get some cheap gas.”

Disappointed, too, was local Patricia Peckham.

“I was excited,” she said, recalling her reaction to what she thought was 37-cent per gallon gasoline. “I have a big Durango, so I had to fill up pretty good…so I'm still stuck at a quarter tank right now.”

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Wisconsin sits at $3.74, according to GasBuddy.com

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar152012

Obama Blasts GOP Candidates' Stances On Green Energy

AUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(LARGO, Md.) -- President Obama launched a fiery attack on his Republican rivals for the presidency Thursday, accusing them of pursing energy policies that are so “stuck in the past” they amount to a “bad rerun” and comparing their beliefs to those of the “flat earth society.”

In a campaign-style speech, the president blasted the GOP candidates for resisting alternative energy sources. “They dismiss wind power. They dismiss solar power. They make jokes about biofuels… We're trying to move towards the future.  They want to be stuck in the past,” Obama said at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md.

“We've heard this kind of thinking before.  Let me tell you something:  If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society,” Obama said to cheers from the crowd. “They they would not have believed that the world was round.”

“They probably would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who said television won't last -- just a flash in the pan.  One of Henry Ford's advisers was quoted as saying the horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a fad,” Obama said chuckling. “There have always been folks like that. There have always been folks who are the naysayers and don't believe in the future and don't believe in trying to do things differently.”

The president’s remarks at the “official” event seemed to overshadow the vice president’s “campaign” speech Thursday, which he delivered in Ohio at the same time. The most notable difference was that Biden called out his GOP opponents by name, while Obama simply referred to them as “folks who are, you know, running for a certain office who shall go unnamed.”

With gas prices spiking, the president called for increased investments in alternative energy sources and argued decreasing the nation’s dependence on oil will ease the pain at the pump. The president drew stark contrasts between his “all-of-the-above” approach to energy production and the GOP candidates’ election-year strategies.

“Every time prices start to go up, especially in an election year, politicians dust off their three-point plans for $2 gas,” Obama said. “They head down to the gas station, they make sure a few cameras are following them and then they start acting like, we've got a magic wand, and we will give you cheap gas forever if you just elect us, every time.  Been the same script for 30 years. It's like a bad rerun.”

The president reiterated his call for Congress to end $4 billion in oil and gas subsidies, saying “it’s inexcusable” and “time for this oil industry giveaway to end.”

“Some of the same folks who are complaining about biofuels getting subsidies, or wind or solar energy getting subsidies, or electric cars and advanced batteries getting subsidies to help get them off the ground, these same folks -- when you say, why are we still giving subsidies to oil industry?  Well, no, we need those,” the president said.

“I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies.  And when they do, they'll put every single member of Congress on record,” he added.

In campaign cadence, that president urged the audience to get involved and tell lawmakers “where you stand.”

“Tell them:  Yes, we can,” he said, reviving his 2008 campaign slogan to cheers from the crowd. “Tell them we are going to build an economy that lasts. Tell them we're going to make this the American century, just like the last century.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb272012

Gas Prices Rise to Average $3.72

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The latest gasoline price survey, released Monday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, finds that the average paid by U.S. drivers for a gallon of regular nationwide is $3.72.

Just over the past week, prices rose 13 cents, and the average price per gallon is 19 cents more than it was two weeks ago, according to the Department of Energy. This is the highest price recorded in February, though gas prices were about this high in April last year. The DOE publishes average gasoline statistics dating back to 1990.

The reasons for the recent increases, says Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, include, first, the price of crude, which is rising due to worsening tensions with Iran. Iran also has reduced crude sales to Europe. There also have been supply disruptions in Nigeria and the Sudan. And refining capacity in both Europe and the U.S. has been reduced by the closures of refineries.

Exceptionally high gas prices in San Diego, for example, have been the result of refinery outages on the West Coast, Lipow said, including one caused by a fire at BP's Cherry Point facility in the Pacific Northwest.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb232012

Florida Police on Alert for Gas Thefts

Hillsborough County Sheriff”s Office(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Florida police are on high alert after they intervened this week to disrupt an attempted theft of gasoline at a Tampa, Fla., BP station, evidence of soaring prices and the safety risks thieves are willing to endure for a fast buck, authorities say.

A deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office first spotted the alleged thieves in action Tuesday at the station. A minivan was parked over the in-ground fuel tanks and, police later discovered, was siphoning gas into the make-shift storage vehicle, WFTS ABC Action News in Tampa reported.

The suspects escaped in a second getaway car as the deputy drove closer to the gas station, leaving several hundred gallons of gas still inside the van with 25 gallons spilled in the parking lot.

The national average for regular gas is $3.59 a gallon, up 40 cents from a year ago and 7 cents from last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday. The average is higher for the lower Atlantic region, at $3.63, which is why police say there is a growing profit margin in the black market for gas.

Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s senior petroleum analyst, said at least one gas station near the Orlando airport was charging $5.79 a gallon.

Larry McKinnon, spokesman for the sheriff’s office at Hillsborough County who has worked with Florida law enforcement for 35 years, said he has seen about a dozen gas thefts a year, concentrated when gas prices increase.

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“It kind of ebbs and flows,” he said. “It will taper off for a while, and, you can bet your dollar, as the prices go up, we’ve told our patrol deputies to be on alert.”

Thieves rig their vehicles to make a fast escape. In the minivan that was left behind this week, there was a hole drilled in the bottom of the vehicle so a hose could pump gas from the station. The suspects appeared to have stuffed large tanks into a car. In other cases, McKinnon said, thieves have towed a tank behind a car, similar to a pest control vehicle.

“Of course, we know none of them were designed to carry fuel and they’re a deadly hazard. Fortunately, we haven’t had a crash yet,” he said. “But it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb232012

Obama Defends Energy Policy Against Attacks on Gas Prices

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- President Obama on Thursday defended his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy amid surging gas prices and criticism he turned down development of the Keystone oil pipeline by blaming his Republican rivals for trying to score political points by talking about the pain at the pump.

“It’s the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices. What’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem that may not be solved in one year or one term or even one decade,” the president told students at the University of Miami.

Admitting that rising gas prices are hurting Americans’ wallets, the president argued that his administration is not to blame for the high cost of oil.

“In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50% for the first time in thirty years.  In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last sixteen years.  Because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled -- and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it,” he said.

While Republican lawmakers and the GOP presidential candidates have blasted Obama’s energy policy in recent days, the president said they are trying to exploit the spike in gas prices for political purposes.  

“Only in politics do people greet bad news so enthusiastically.  You pay more, and they’re licking their chops?  And you can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas,” Obama said.  

In 2008, it should be noted, then-candidate Obama railed against the specter of $3 a gallon gas under President Bush, citing examples from people who reportedly had to quit their jobs because they couldn't afford to fill their tanks.

The president on Thursday urged the nation not to be fooled by the Republican call for increased drilling, saying it’s simply “a bumper sticker.”  

“It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. It’s a strategy to get politicians through an election,” he said.

Instead, the president touted his wide-ranging strategy, which includes oil, gas, wind, solar and nuclear power, as the “only real solution” to solve the nation’s energy challenges.

While the president called for an end to oil and gas subsidies and vowed not to walk away from the promise of clean energy, he did not unveil any new initiatives Thursday.

In the short-term, Obama argued there are “no quick fixes” to bring down the price of gas. “There is no silver bullet.  There never has been.  But while we don’t have a silver bullet, what we do have in this country are limitless sources of energy, and a boundless supply of ingenuity and imagination that we can put to work developing that energy.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb212012

Gas Prices Rise Again: Average Price Now $3.59

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Gas prices continued an upward climb, settling at an average price of $3.59 a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In some places, consumers are already seeing gas prices over $4. The weekly gas price average, released Tuesday, was up 40 cents from a year ago, and up by 7 cents from last week.

"I'm expecting the national average to float dangerously close to $4 a gallon," Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com's senior petroleum analyst, told ABC News. DeHaan said that following last week's average price per gallon of $3.53, gas prices are very close to "that psychological $4 mark."

"We are on course to break through $4 nationally," he said. "Some of these major metro areas could hit $4.50 or even higher. This year we may have a run for the money in knocking down the record from 2008."

The peak national average retail price of regular grade gasoline hit $4.114 per gallon on July 7, 2008, according to the EIA.

In 2011, the real annual average for a gallon of regular gas reached $3.56, which was up more than a $1.00 from the 2010 average of $2.90, according to the EIA. The EIA, which has compiled data since 1919, has the previous record high as $3.45 for 1981.

"We may set a new record," said DeHaan. "I'm still expecting 2012 to be the highest yearly average we have ever paid."

One of the reasons for the climb is Iran.

"Iran continues to make threats, and we continue to hear rhetoric about how they will cut off shipments to the U.S. or cut off access through the Strait of Hormuz," DeHaan said.

On Monday, Iran's oil ministry announced it had halted crude shipments to British and French companies.

"They're using oil as a weapon," DeHaan said. "The situation is tied to Iran's nuclear ambitions and the United States and European Union seem hell bent on making sure they drop their nuclear ambitions -- placing them on a collision course with who will act first."

Iran holds the world's fourth-largest proven oil reserves and the world's second-largest natural gas reserves, according to the EIA.

"The price that affects the price you pay at the pump has gone up just as much and that's why you're starting to see retail prices rise," said Ben Brockwell of Oil Price Information Service.

Brockwell said the situation in Iran and the EU may be one reason that the futures market is higher, but said he does not believe the reasoning is completely "justifiable."

"There's more to this than Iran and Europe," he said. "It's something else that is piling on.

"I think demand in oil consumption is growing at a rapid pace in developing countries like China and India," Brockwell said. "There's also sense that the U.S. economy is improving, and with that oil demand will be improving."

Regardless of whether the U.S. economy is improving, analysts don't expect gas prices to come down any time soon.

"This is somewhat a big game of chess and U.S. motorists are held victim," DeHaan said. "In fact, motorists all over the world are held victim."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb062012

Gas Up Four Cents to National Average of $3.48 per Gallon

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The average price of a gallon of gasoline rose four cents in the past week to a national average price of $3.48, the U.S. Department of Energy said Monday.

The price of a gallon of gas is up 35 cents from a year ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct042011

Gasoline Prices Keep Going Down; National Average Now $3.43

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- During the spring, prices at the pump had reached $4 a gallon but things have gone steadily downhill since then even if the drop hasn't been as sharp as motorists would like.

Americans have actually seen a steeper than usual decline over the past two weeks with gas prices down as much as 18 cents a gallon during that time span.

On average, the cost is now $3.43 a gallon for unleaded regular, with folks on the Gulf Coast enjoying the biggest breaks and people in California paying the most at $3.84 a gallon.

The three factors driving down gasoline prices are slow economic growth, the end of the peak summer driving season and a more stabilized situation in Libya.

Industry analysts believe prices could keep falling a while longer but they still won't get near the $2.73 a gallon Americans were paying one year ago this month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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