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Gas Price Watch: FAQs
Posted by Randy | April 20, 2011

National Average: $3.837
Week Ago Average: $3.808
Year Ago Average: $2.859

In December, the former president of Shell Oil predicted that Americans could be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline by 2012 as global demand for oil increased. Today, with the continued unrest in the Middle East pushing prices perilously close to $4 per gallon, this prediction seems all the more probable. According to analysts, as long as the situation in the Middle East remains unresolved and demand for oil increases, prices will continue to rise. Global demand is up to 87 million barrels per day and is expected to pass 88 million per day by the end of the year.

It’s time for America to get into the driver’s seat when it comes to gas prices. We must end our costly overreliance on foreign oil by increasing our domestic fuel production, improving the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, intensifying our renewable energy development, and cutting our energy usage. I have been fighting for these goals by supporting legislation that aims to increase our nation’s energy independence and gets gas prices under control.

For the next few weeks, I will be updating my blog with weekly posts on issues related to the rising gas prices. I welcome you to join this discussion and share your thoughts, concerns and ideas. To help facilitate our discussion of gas prices, I have put together the following Frequently Asked Questions and answers with resources from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA):

What factors affect the price of gasoline?
The four main components of the retail price of a gallon of gasoline, and their share of the total price in February are:

  • Crude Oil: 65%. The cost of crude oil as a share of the retail price varies over time and among regions of the country. Refiners paid an average of about $87.63 per barrel of crude oil, or about $2.09 per gallon, in February 2011.
  • Refining Costs and Profits: 14%.
  • Distribution, Marketing, and Retail Costs and Profits: 8%.
  • Taxes: 13%. Federal excise taxes were 18.4 cents per gallon and State excise taxes averaged 22.44 cents per gallon.

Why have gas prices fluctuated so much in recent years?
EIA analysis of the petroleum market points to the price of crude oil as the main contributor to the general increase in retail gasoline prices since the start of 2009. Gasoline production and inventory levels relative to demand also influenced prices. The gradual improvement in the world and U.S economies during the winter, as well as increases in gasoline refiners margins have been pushing up gasoline prices over the last several months.  Recent political events in the Middle East and North Africa, the source of about one third of world oil production, has led to an acceleration of crude oil and gasoline price increases.

Where does gasoline come from?
Gasoline is made from crude oil. Refineries take crude oil and break down its hydrocarbons into different products, called “refined products,” including gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gases, and residual fuel oil. The characteristics of the gasoline depend on the type of crude oil that is used and the setup of the refinery at which it is produced. Gasoline characteristics are also impacted by other ingredients that may be blended into it, such as ethanol. The performance of the gasoline must meet industry standards and environmental regulations that may depend on location.

In 2007, U.S. refineries produced over 90% of the gasoline used in the United States. Less than 40% of the crude oil used by U.S. refineries was produced in the United States. About 45% of gasoline produced in the United States comes from refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast (including Texas and Louisiana).

How much tax do we pay on a gallon of gasoline?
The Federal gasoline tax is 18.4 cents per gallon and the average State tax is 22.01 cents per gallon, as of January 1, 2010. In Virginia, the gasoline tax is 17.5 cents per gallon, with an additional 2% sales tax in areas where mass transit systems exist.

How many gallons of gasoline does one barrel of oil make?
U.S. refineries produce between 19 and 21 gallons of motor gasoline from one barrel (42 gallons) of crude oil. The remainder of the barrel yields distillate and residual fuel oils, jet fuel, and many other products. Refinery yields of individual products vary from month to month as refiners focus operations to meet demand for different products and maximize profits.

What is the outlook for energy prices?
EIA expects regular-grade gasoline retail prices, which averaged $2.76 per gallon last summer, will average $3.86 per gallon during the current driving season. The projected monthly average regular retail gasoline price peaks this year at $3.91 per gallon in early summer.

Find the answers to many more questions here.

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  • Patricia Dussia commented on 4/20/2011
    I am fortunate enough to work only 2 miles from home and am contemplating walking to work in order to save even a little bit. I purchase $5.00 of gas at a time and, of course, with the price ever-increasing, $5.00 doesn't take me very far. Another "fortunate" situation is that my husband was laid-off six years ago from a job that required him to travel approximately 150 miles each day to reach. He has not been able to find work since, but I guess you could say that, since he doesn't have the commute, even this cloud has a silver lining. Do you know anyone who needs a good project manager?
  • Renee Jackson commented on 4/20/2011
    Because I have a 30 mile commute to work and using public transportation or carpooling is not an option in our rural area I have no choice but suffer the consequence of higher prices. When the price of gas rises so does the cost of groceries which is a necessity. With these rises there has been no hike in my pay to bridge the gap rising prices cause. We actually have cut back on groceries! I buy milk once per pay period, if we run out before then so be it. Snacks are not an option nor are fresh fruits and veggies. When gas was 89 cents a gallon I didn't seem to have a care in the world, but after rising over 2 dollars, I adjusted. Today I get nervous to go out of the house to see how much our local gas station has increased the price since I went to sleep last night. Here we go again!
  • Julia Nemecek commented on 4/20/2011
    Off Shore Drilling should be done and done now. There is no way we continue on the way it is going. Gas Prices go up, food goes up and everything else that you have to have goes up. It needs to stop and if not then I guess we will have to get everyone out of Office and start with people that have to suffer because the Senators, Congresmen and the President do not seem to be doing without!!!!
  • unsheepled Michael commented on 4/20/2011
    We have high gas prices because gas companies , banksters, and big corporations own and run our government.. fascism is the nifty label for it Really simple folks. If you think there will be change next year...hahaha keep smoking your mainstream media drivel and disinfo, NOTHING EVER changes to the detriment of BIG MONEY
  • Stephanie Ferguson commented on 4/20/2011
    Gas prices are ruining our country and our people by leaving everyone penniless. The gas companies are criminal for charging us what they do. BP reports $5.6 billion in profit the first quarter and are saying they expect to see and increase in their profit next quarter due to the projected increase in the price of oil. That goes for all of the oil companies. BP just seems to brag about their earnings more. The price of gas has limited my ability to promote tourism in the good old USA!! It reduses what I spend at the grocery stores and at malls. It is inhibiting me from putting money into savings accounts for MY CHILDREN'S COLLEGE!! Doesn't Washington want the next generation to go to college. Wouldn't that be most benificial to our country? Furthermore, it is depleting my children's inheritance and my retirement! VERY FRUSTRATED!
  • Pamela Crandol commented on 4/20/2011
    I am retired so the high gas prices impact me since I'm on a fixed income with no COLA increases for the past two years. Everything else is going up but my retirement and Social Security. I try to help the people that can no longer drive by driving for an organization called the Shepard Center in Chesterfield County and for a lady in my church. It is becoming more of a burden for me and I may not be able to do it anymore if gas continues to increase in price.
  • Kirk Fraser commented on 4/20/2011
    How do I keep weekly updates but unsubscribe to Insta-Poll?
  • Kirk Fraser commented on 4/20/2011
    The only solution is to get everyone independently producing enough widgets so everyone gets rich enough to equalize all the playing fields. Then everyone can afford other people's games as well as afford to opt-out.
  • Tom Sadler commented on 4/20/2011
    I think we'll see the price of oil come down when Congress supports the dollar with sound fiscal policy. price of oil spiked in 2008 when the dollar plunged in value. If congress does its usual incompetent job safeguarding the dollar then the endgame is very ugly. Stocks and commodities are up as it takes more dollars to buy a gallon of gas,a bushel of corn, an ounce of gold. Wall Street is loving this Main St is getting hurt badly. This is the stuff of civil disobedience then riots as people cant feed their families. 42 million on food stamps another 15 million eligible. wages not keeping up with inflation. CONGRESS IS PLAYING A VERY DANGEROUS GAME.
  • Paulette McWaters commented on 4/20/2011
    We have reduced any trips to the store, including grocery story, mall, or bookstore, so we are spending less to keep on budget. The government generally does not appear to be taking an interest in this issue, but then I have not felt connected to the current administration since they took office. I am not sure they care or want to hear the concerns of the American people. On another note, America needs to focus on our citizens with jobs programs. This would help unemployment and help to get out of welfare. If we can require work for those receiving support from the government until they can find other jobs (suggestions might include work in food kitchens, janitorial services, trash collection on roadways, offering support and companionship to help recognized volunteer organizations, helping clean the streets, landscaping in public areas, and other public service tasks, even elder and childcare…). Obviously, people would be screened but they are already in the system and this would allow them to pursue other talents. On that same note since we are helping other countries; however, as we provide outreach to other countries, we need to work with the governments of these countries to provide jobs that will help those counties with public services.
  • Philippina Wijtmans commented on 4/20/2011
    I'm really hoping that this will help roll back pollution and will make people be more careful with wasting polluting energy sources. Compared to Europe, gas prices here are still very low and energy is used careless. Higher taxes on gas, so oil will be used wiser and less, would be a great first step. If you do not want to cut back on polluting because it is inconvenient, or because you don't care about the rest of the world, maybe if you feel it in your pocketbook you will. There are many alternatives, like better insulation so heating costs are lower, using public transportation, bikes, walking for small trips, combining several trips into one etc. I just wished the high prices would go to better our infrastructure and non polluting energy sources in stead of to countries that are using the profits to buy weapons.
  • Jim Maskell commented on 4/20/2011
    You can blame all of the above for high gas prices, but they are all wrong. Demand is down. Surplus oil is up. Oil companies pay speculators to artificially inflate prices of oil. It all comes down to good old American greed. Watch and see what these bloodsuckers get for bonuses this year.
  • Cecilia Dean commented on 4/20/2011
    I am having to change the menus in my home for cheaper meals in order to make sure I have enough money for gas between my two paychecks per month. We don't go out to eat; we don't go to the movies. The price of gas has greatly affected my budget. When this was happening during President Bush's final term, it was all his fault according to public opinion. I'm not hearing ANYTHING about this in the media as far as the responsibility the administration may or may not have. Obviously if gas prices continue to rise, so will goods and services that I use in addition to driving my car. It costs a lot for trucks to haul our freight!
  • Nellie McConnell commented on 4/20/2011
    With Seniors not recieing a cost of living, our government bringing in more Refugees, allowing illegals to stay here and recieve grants, Welfare, healthcare and ?? this has put everyone in a bind. With the gas going up, that means that food and everything that has to be moved will go up in price. It will never go down! never has in the past. We are talking about one item, that has gone up in price of 5.00 dollars. That was honey! At Costco's. 6 # now 14.99. Why is Obama giving Brazil the OK too drill and we bill buy oil from them? He just gave them 2 billion dollars. Why was this money spent in Brazil and not here? that would have been jobs for our economy and if we have extra sell it too China to off set the money we owe them. Our country can't stay solvent by living up with the Jones by borrowing from Foreign countries. Eventally we will be bankrupt and they will own us. Obama should be drilling here! NOW! I WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR OBAMA.
  • Donna Hoover commented on 4/20/2011
    Having college students in the house who attend school full time and work part time does not allow one to stop driving. These who have to buy gas to get to and from school and work are being hit hard too. Others in the household carpool when they can. Drop gas prices down to below $3 a gallon, leave them there and stop all the wasteful spending from DC and we all will have more money in our pockets.
  • Jessica Rhodes commented on 4/20/2011
    I am a govt employee, i got no raise this year, but to be honest, the gas prices are affecting me in no way right now. The last time this happened, under Bush, I actually moved so i could be closer to work. Don't know if that explains my situation now but either way, i'm fine. Let's take care of the people it IS hurting please. BTW, i'm a GS-6 :) Thank you for listening!
  • Mona Smith commented on 4/20/2011
    I am presently unemployed and at the gas prices I won't be able to go to any job for a interview. I can't just apply on line and not show up for a interview. It is really sad.
  • Mike Hollaway commented on 4/20/2011
    Screw the oil buyers and OPEC,,,MY demand is decreasing,,,,its the only way to lower our prices for gas,,,,,,lower demand, equals lower supply requirements,,,,old rules but it works. I ride a Harley Davidson,,,,,,,less consumption than a truck. lower the demand........get it?
  • Pat Last Name commented on 4/20/2011
    In 2008, when gas prices were about to the current level, I decided I needed to make a change. I purchased an old diesel and converted it to run on vegetable oil. I currently save $200 a month at today's prices. Of course no plan is perfect and I spend approximately 8 hours a week making fuel. Time is Money. At least I am keeping a little money fron big oil.
  • Paul Woche commented on 4/20/2011
    The higher prices for fuel are affecting me in 2 ways; 1. I am a USCG Auxiliary volunteer and donate 1,500- 2,0in Portsmouth at least once a week, the increase has made a dent in my budget. I also travel to/from Suffolk Airport where I keep my airplane which is used to fly USCG support missions 4-6 times a month. That is also an increased cost. Additionally, my wife is chronically ill and requires treatment once a week in Hanover, VA (95 miles each way) and 3 times a week in VA Beach (45 miles one way). Where is our energy plan? Green may ameliorate our shortage and dependency on OPEC in 10-20 years but we need something concrete NOW. Obama has yet to get the message, Salazar is basically incompetent, and the Department of Energy has yet to do anything of consequence except spent our had earned taxes.
  • Curtis Rice commented on 4/20/2011
    It continues to amaze me that we are born of stock that in five short years defeated the greatest scourge the world has ever known and we are forbidden to use the greatest minds on earth to extract our own fuel. It is not about gas prices,it is about freedom. There was a time when our agenda was greatness,now it is about governmental obedience and roadblocks to any attempt at greatness. What a pitiful shell of the once boundless spirit of our forefathers we have allowed ourselves to become. Sad,very sad indeed.
  • Margot Deck commented on 4/20/2011
    I am dismayed and angry that more federal financial incentives are not in place to support liquified natural gas engines for big trucks and smaller vehicles. There are HUGE reserves of natural gas in the U.S. that could be used to displace petroleum fuels. Alas Congress is receptive to lobbyists for BIG OIL, so our representatives do little or nothing that would negatively impact oil company revenues and profits. The time is long past for oil companies to receive start-up tax subsidies that were put in place 100 years ago. Newer energy sources should now receive those start-up incentives.
  • Allen Muchnick commented on 4/20/2011
    Gasoline is priced--and most definitely taxed--way too low. It's arrogant and myopic to underprice and seek to deplete a natural resource whose historic extraction rate has likely already peaked and may be essentially gone in a few decades. Sustainability should be measured in tens of thousands, if not millions, of years. Bicycling and walking are practical for most trips and cost virtually nothing.
  • Truman Close commented on 4/20/2011
    More often than not, the difference between what I truly need and what I want is usually pretty significant. I am not in the position (as those elected to the U.S.Congress) to determine what people need, but I believe most of us could survive in the United States of America in relative comfort with less of 'this and that' including crude oil products. To be responsibly proactive in making a difference about this issue (and many others that are impacting our lives daily) depends fundamentally on our individual preferences and choices. Until we, the citizens of this great nation, accept the need to check our demanding, consuming appetites and are willing to make more responsible, selfless choices, we (including Washington) are not addressing the root of the problem and are blowing in the wind. Ask yourself this question, “What Difference Can I Make About...?”(soaring gasoline prices...out of control government spending... healthcare reform... etc.), then go and Make a Difference.
  • First Name Last Name commented on 4/21/2011
    Congress has had since 1972 to deal with our enegy resources rationally, and has failed miserably.
  • Jenifer Jewell commented on 4/21/2011
    Sadly, most Americans no longer believe that our government cares about its citizens. Our government is too busy interjecting itself in foreign wars and conflicts, which has driven our economy into a terminal wreck. We are the only major industrial nation which denies basic healthcare to its citizens and now the government now wants to take away parts of our senior citizens social security. While "futures" oil prospectors needlessly (and unchecked) driven our gas prices to outrageous levels, this will result in a catastrophic domino affect on our long suffering economy. As food, clothing, medical, electric costs, communications - Internet, cable, phone costs continue will inflate and sources for employment continue to dry up we are doomed to learn from history. As the population continues to suffer, Americans will reach a boiling point and may follow the same path which has broken many nations in the past. You cannot drain all the money from the working people and continue to keep them functioning as a normal healthy society. No one in government will stand up and demand an investigation into rising oil prices. No one will standup and demand we stop being the world police which is the real reason we have drained our economy to the crisis we are in today. No one will stand up and protect middle America..but at the same time, its the sons and daughters of middle America which have fruitlessly sacrificed their lives for a war which only benefits the wealthy. Our country should have serious energy program which will quickly wean us off of foreign oil without concurrently fatally destroying irreplaceable natural resources. And why does nothing get accomplished anymore? Partisan politics! Greed and selfishness will be the undoing of everything our forefathers wanted for America. Its not the foreign nations of terrorists we should fear.. it is ourselves which has proven to be our own worst enemy.
  • R Roth commented on 4/21/2011
    I just purchased Motherday flowers and got a "FUEL SURCHARGE", Really? Its out of hand and our Reps in Washington are focused on Elections and not us!
  • R Roth commented on 4/21/2011
    I was wondering when Congress and the Senate will start looking at the price of Gasoline and stop to remember how the Wall Street criminals got away with the stealing of our retirement accounts and the ruin of ours and the world’s economies? The Wall Street “speculators" are at it again. It’s to the point, these increases in Gas and other fuels are going to hurt any recovery we have seen. The increases are out right Piracy and bigger than any Somalia pirate ever conceived. I don’t buy into for one moment that “World” unrest is the cause, its Greed and that’s all it is in plain language. STOP the Wall Street criminals before it’s too late and we start another spiral down again. Food prices are already out of control and with gas & Diesel going through the roof, increases in Food will again take a big hit. How much more do you believe the American people will take before there’s another American revolution? I’ll be 64 this month and if it’s necessary, I’ll take to the streets again like we did in the 60’s. You’re our elected officials; don’t let all we worked for be stolen again.
  • sherry a commented on 4/21/2011
    i planned on gas going even higher that it is now by buying a car that get's over 30 mpg in the city.
  • Rob Last Name commented on 4/21/2011
    How many times have we seen this.......... the Oil Kings, raise the gas prices and soon after this increase, other things we as consumers need, increase, like food, auto parts, home project items, electricity, propane. Why is it that, us, the consumers have to point this out every time. Why has the government only done one thing about this, and that is talk. Why have they not taken any action? I remember as a kid the government speaking about taking action. Does things really move that slow? The way things are going, we the consumers will never see the results. Why does the government allow the price of oil per barrel to increase as it has? They should have stepped in months….. no, years ago and started using our resources. We have got to have plenty of our own oil to support the needs of America. When I filled up my car the other day, it took 13.3 gallons and cost $50.00, the price of gas $3.759, why does gas need to be so expensive. I live approximately 35 miles from work. Why should I have to move closer to my work to avoid the high cost of gas prices, to living where I want to live. Why do I have to pay $150.00 to $200.00 to go camping, the cost of gas to go to the camp grounds and back home and this is for a two night adventure. Somebody is making a lot of money on gas. The oil companies post millions if not billions of profit, this is after all their expenditures are paid, i.e. parts to keep their oil rigs up and operational, parts to keep their refineries up and operational, their employees paid and themselves. I wish I had stock in oil, I would be sitting back all fat and happy, but I am not, I am with the rest of the working class of America, trying to enjoy life. Why can’t America get back to the way things use to be, America supporting America.
  • Earle Gower commented on 4/21/2011
    The oil companies are making billions yet continuing to raise prices. They obviously do not care about the average person or the impact of their prices on the recovering ecomony. We need to freeze prices, similiar to what they did back in the 70s, somewhere between $2.50 - $2.75 per gallon. The oil companies would still make a decent profit and the freeze would help the ecomony continue to recover and grow. All of us have lost money/value in the decline of our houses, and our investments. Millions of people had to change their retirement plans or look for work as a result of the losses incurred. Others have lost their jobs and home. What has the oil companies lost? Isn't is time for them to contribute to help the ecomony to recover? That can be done by lower the price of fuel to a reasonable price.
  • Howard Cromwell commented on 4/21/2011
    Living in Smithfield and working at JBLE there is no public transportation so I cannot take advantage of that. Other employment is also not an option. Higher gas prices have cut my driving significantly. I try to stop at the supermarket or to get gas on my way home from work. I have gotten my work schedule changed so I work four ten hour days vs. five eight hour days. Generally when I arrive home on Friday, after doing business I cannot take care of after work, my car does not get used until I leave for work on Monday. The president does not have a clue on so many issues and the more his "YES MEN" advise him the worse it gets. I guess you can say his plan is no plan, and he says, but, " I am running for president in 2012". GREAT...4 more clueless years! We needed a comprehensive energy policy 35 to 40 years ago and we really need one now. Energy is just one issue, to comment on everything else I would need to write a book!
  • Suzanne Manske commented on 4/21/2011
    I am in danger of losing my home, the A/C has gone out in my car & I can't afford to fix it, I can't pay my utilities. I had 3 jobs. Because of their expenses, one cut my pay & one cut me. (I'm not angry w/ them, they 're having problems too.) I'm an(older) educated woman with 2 Teacher Certifications & I can't get a job in this economy. I keep reminding myself that "God is big enough". One day at a time. God-willing, I'll be fine.
  • Jerry Hart commented on 4/21/2011
    I recently obtained my Coast Guard credentials and approved licensing to own and operate a charter fishing boat in Tidewater. With the soaring price of diesel fuel (my boat has a 160 gallon tank), I cannot afford to go into this small business opportunity. The net effect is that I presently pay personal property tax on the boat to the city where I keep it, as well as slip fees and other expenses to the marina where the boat is located (another small business), and money to the marine repair services (again, another small business) who maintains my engine and performs other costly other repairs. I am now faced with selling the boat. So, not only am I affected by these fuel prices, but also the same goes for the other small businesses who I rely on to house, fuel and maintain my boat. In addition, the city of Portsmouth will lose revenue from the personal property tax I pay to them each year when I sell this vessel, the Sate of Virginia will lose revenue from the annual licensing fee and taxes I pay, and the Federal government will lose revenue from the taxes I would pay as a Small Business owner. Bottom line, it's a lose-lose proposition and all because of increasing fuel costs.
  • Paulette Bordwell commented on 4/21/2011
    Gas prices are unreasonably high and although that is causing some hits to the "pocket book", it is nothing to what is to come. For the short term, most people can bear up, however, the continuing climbing of gas prices will hurt each of us and ultimately our country. The world may look at America and call us spoiled, but we and those who came before us, have worked hard to attain the life style we enjoy. And oh by the way, God has blessed this country since its foundation. This is only one factor in what a liberal government can do to America. Have you missed George Bush yet?!
  • Joyce Taffer-Mays commented on 4/21/2011
  • Robert Rea commented on 4/21/2011
    As the comments show, high gas prices are promoting energy conservation and the development of alternative energy technologies. We need to find a way to keep oil prices at $100/bbl to help finance the implementation of these measures - perhaps by adjusting the federal gas tax. Europeans have been living with these prices for a long time without harm to their economies.
  • Eileen Ferrara commented on 4/21/2011
    Mr. Forbes - Your page is seriously out of date. In your capacity as a Congressman Im sure your know the reason why gas keeps climbing while demand falls lower. It certainly isnt because of anything you listed on this "Oil Refinery 101" blurp. You must know that it isn't the big bad companies or the cost of production. It is the direct result of the United States Congress looking the other way while Wall Street sticks it to the average Joe/Jane. Afterall sir, Congress did authorize the speculation that is currently driving the prices up at this time. Please, stop insulting our intelligence -take down this kindergarten page - and put up something that describes in detail the measures you are willing to take to get your constituents the relief we so desperately need.
  • Steven Moon commented on 4/21/2011
    I have to drive over 70 miles back and forth to work everyday which is costing my over $100 per week. My property value of my home which I've had since 1988 has dropped 30% which is most of my equity. Since I'm a govt worker my pay is frozen so no help there. I will have no vacation this year again and am having to buy less expensive, less healthy food. Look into passing legislation to limit or eliminate ability to speculate. We all know there is no oil shortage and the middle east situation is a scam to create more profits. We should be drilling more now to wean ourselves off middle east oil and the administration should crack down on OPEC to keep prices reasonable. This excessive price on oil is indirectly funding terrorist organizations and it's OUR MONEY! Even at $2.00 a gallon, the profit margin is huge. Please do all you can to lower oil/gasoline costs. Thank You
  • Kelley King commented on 4/21/2011
    Higher Gas prices are making going to work even more difficult. My family is to the point of paying to work only and there isn't enough money to pay for necessities much less for any frivolous purchases. I was still recovering from the last gas price increase and now I don't know what we are going to do.
  • Les Last Name commented on 4/21/2011
    There may be a silver lining in the higher gas prices. The biggest complainers seem to have too much "stuff" and too many entitlements. In the grocery stores I observe the junk foods and drinks in the carts and think maybe the higher costs will force them to start cooking real food again. I also note the comment about the expense to go camping or vacationing and would remind these folks that is a luxury that was rarely afforded in the 40's , 50's and early 60's. This latest assault on the wallet is incentive for folks to get back to some basics and stop thinking the government is going to solve your every problem. Cut back on your necessities like smoking and drinking and expensive weekend outings. Learn to do more things for yourself and if you don't know how go to the library and find out how. When you simplify your life it gets a lot easier. Try it.
  • robert o'day commented on 4/21/2011
    I can't understand why the price of gasoline or a barrel of oil that is derived from an American well is selling at the OPEC price. Since OPEC is a middle East organization primarly why are the American producers charging the same price as the Arabs for a barrel of crude. It appears to be gouging to me.
  • Loyd Smith Sr. commented on 4/21/2011
    Wife and i are both retired and are living on a fixed income of SS and Military retirement. Gas prices and well as cuts being imposed upon use by congress and the thret of cuts in Medicare is killing us. I could go on with my comments and thoughts but nothing but the same old thing will happen " NOTHING".
  • Annette Jackson commented on 4/22/2011
    Get rid of the $30 billion a year subsidies to the oil companies. They obviously don't need the government handouts we taxpayers have been giving them all these years.
  • Rich Reviello commented on 4/22/2011
    Seems again everyone has the answer to fix the problem of higher gas prices, debt,no jobs, health care and so on and so on. Every voter in this country seems to be unhappy with Congress and the Senate, the approval ratings reflect that. The voter who votes strickly along party lines aswell as the politicians who do so maybe our biggest problem. The Eagle needs both the Right & Left Wing to fly, this is a fact of life. Yet we continue to let Lobbyist Govern the Nation, who are only intrested in the profits for their particular endevor. Coal Companies say coal is abundent & clean it maybe be abundent but certainly not clean, oil companies claim to much government regulations that is why no new refineries and new exploration. Yet they all boast these outstading profits. Both sides of the isle say the HealthCare System needs to be fixxed but when one or the other attempts do doing something the other fights it. Are debt is the wars we currently are fighting the cost is the debt, look at the numbers. We can't help Americans that is Socialism, "How many times have we heard that", but we can help evrybody but ourselves. Seems we all need to look at the issues for real, there are good ideas on both sides of the isle, why is the approval ratings so low nothing is getting done to help Americans. The middle class is going to be a minotity shortly at the rate it is diminishing, the norm will be the below poverty level. If your reading this and your comment is," it"s the Republicans or it"s the Liberal Democrates fault" guess what, it"s your fault! Good ideas come from both and ideas that hurt come from both. If you see politicians stuck voting stricly along party lines you better take a good long look at that at that persons no matter what side of the Isle, because that person isn't working for you.
  • Carl Perry commented on 4/22/2011
    The high price of fuel is having a major affect on the things we need to do.I use to visit my mom, who is 94 and lives approx.200 miles from here, every 4-6 weeks, now I'm only able to go every 3-4 months. She was in the hospital recently for a week and we were unable to see her. We are also Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and haven't been able to respond recently due to the high cost of fuel and other financial drains ( insurance cost,(presently taking about half my company retirement) failure of our Real Estate business due to the downturn of the economy etc. and now even the cost of food and most other essentials. I appreciate your concern and efforts and pray that God will use you to help improve these things and that you will continue to stand for our nation as one nation under God. God Bless You and The USA. Happy Easter.
  • Marvin Westen commented on 4/22/2011
    Another proposal to achieve energy independence is fine. Unfortunately the people in this country are too fat, dumb, and lazy to do what it takes to get there. We've had since at least 1973 (oil embargo. gas shortages) to gradually work toward independence. The will isn't there now any more than it was then. We have instead chosen to richly fund the very people who now threaten to do us harm. Energy independence would require some small amount of personal sacrifice and structural infrastructure changes such a public transportation to get it done. Americans don't want to be inconvenienced. It's much easier to complain and point the finger elsewhere.
  • Lloyd Maynard commented on 4/22/2011
    I have been reading about the natural gas reserves that have been found, how about converting our cars to use it. From what I understand it's not that hard to do the conversion.
  • robert johns commented on 4/22/2011
    While everyone likes to complain about gas prices and propose programs that use other than oil based fuels the fact of the matter is that we need a balanced approach - including oil. There are coastal and non-coastal reserves under our control. And, oil deposits are often not exclusive to themselves - natural gas is often common to oil deposits. The gas prices and dependency fright should encourage drilling. Offshore included. Not only can we reduce our dependency on foreign oil, we can reduce our growing international trade debt which is about 1/3 energy related. Gee, eliminate dependency and impossible debt levels by attacking the trade side of the issue at the same time. Perhaps it should apply to the manufacturing sector as well. Jobs create taxpayers.....
  • Annette Jackson commented on 4/22/2011
    While I do not live in Chesterfield County, I do know that state of the art public transportation is a low priority for the supervisors. Just recently it was announced that bus service to Richmond and beyond from the county is on the chopping block for 2012. I do not know if that includes the flyer that stops at John Tyler several times a on its way between Richmond and Petersburg. Most of the people who have lived here since birth are seemingly unfamiliar with what happened in California between 1960 and the mid-1990s. California once had a great public transportation system known affectionately as the Red Cars -- a rail based system that went from the mountains to the sea, and every place in between. A combination of oil interests and the AAA as well as shortsighted government reps killed the Red Cars in favor of freeways and private cars. It wasn't until the 1990s that higher gas prices and an awakened public started a return of decent rail based public transportation to that area. Here, the VRE has been stuck at Fredericksburg for years instead of being extended to Richmond. Richmond and Petersburg have great bus service but Chesterfield Co, Colonial Heights, Prince George, etc are decades behind the times. Residents need to start bugging federal and local officials to start looking at state of the art public transportation -- if Europe & Japan can do it, why not us?
  • Walter Cobb commented on 4/22/2011
    The main reason for the high gas prices is the upward pressure being exerted by the "speculators". The wall street types are addicted to obscene profits and unfortunately the only place to make this is the commodity market. The US dollar is down and oil is traded in dollars. I wish we could get oil off the commodities market or limit trades to those that can actually use the oil for what it is.
  • Eric Rakes commented on 4/22/2011
    I'm very curious why we haven't spent more time and effort looking at research on more efficient ways of refining sweetgrass into ethanol. Up to now, it hasn't been worth it financially, but it seems like we won't get true energy independence until something analogous to meaningful research happens. My best guess on a solution - NON-FOOD sources of sugar being refined into energy sources like ethanol.
  • Thomas Williams commented on 4/22/2011
    This issue is "Quality of Life" as affected by gas prices: In Europe, one can and does walk to the corner market, and small, nearby stores for the range of daily necessities. In America, the "super" market has been allowed to drive all walking-distance corner markets out of business. In Europe, communities were not allowed to ignore mass transit planning, and there is room, distances, and housing to accept mopeds, too. In America, mass transit was factored mostly out of existence by business interests opposed, and city planning in most localities has been co-opted by developers paying taxes (and/or bribes) to local government and claiming to be "wheels of progress". They've overbuilt the road system in Virginia, and the "wheel" is the drum of a steamroller insofar as concern for an individual's quality of life. The problem is not so simple as you express: many adverse trends need to be reversed and blocked; "make vehicles more fuel efficient" is simplistic. City and township governments should no longer be allowed to whistle stop state highways with strip malls, large business may no longer be allowed to destroy neighborhood support and focuses, suburban sprawl may not be allowed to proceed without mass transit presence (like Paris' Metro and RER). Please do ALL the homework and develop a COMPLETE plan, and re-plan society's layout stateside sensibly and with foresight!!!!
  • Jon Untiedt commented on 4/22/2011
    I commute 84 miles to and from work four days a week. I work in a union shop which is in the midst of contract negotiations which have been ongoing for about 1 year hopelessly stalled on a wage increase. I am very thankful for my job but find it increasingly difficult to be able to afford diesel or gasoline to get back and forth to it. I have a diesel powered truck but it takes over $100 to drive it 4 days a week to and from work. Several of my co-workers and I have formed a carpool and we try to each only drive one day a week but there are doctor and dentist appointments and child care/school children issues that don't allow that to happen as frequently as we would like. Congressman Forbes, First, we must stop the speculative trading of oil futures. Second, it is imperative that we reduce our dependence on foriegn oil. Third, we must embrace renewables as our only hope for a secure future without dependence on a politically unstable world.
  • Jeff Griffin commented on 4/22/2011
    Gas prices have "gouged" my monthly income and has halted my progress towards paying off my debts within 3 years. I have tightened up on my spending to pay off my debts, something Congress, the Senate, Government agencies, and the President should also learn to do - the citizens are doing it and they expect the government to do the same. It is very difficult to pay off my debts with gas prices this high and getting higher. I travel 25 miles one way to work each day.
  • C. J. Faust commented on 4/23/2011
    President Reagan was one of the very few politicians who got it right when he said, "Government is not the solution, government is the problem." As long as we keep re-electing the same politicians to office who ARE are the problem , how can we ever expect the problem of high fuel costs to be resolved? I regret to say that Rep. Forbes is one of those politicians who doesn't GET IT when it comes to reducing fuel prices, paticularly, gasoline, diesel & jet fuel. His 20 year goal, [his Manhattan Plan legislation ] for the U. S. to become 100% energy independent should be shouted down as 100% UNACCEPTABLE. We won WWII in 4 years and sent a man to the moon and returned him safely to earth in 10 years. WHY should we accept a 20 year plan to become fuel independent? We aleady have the infrustructure to drill for oil, refine it and transport it. We slso know where the oil reserves are in this country and they are of ample supply for our needs. The current federal administration is encouraging other nations such as Brazil, Afhganistan & Saudi Arabia to produce more oil but it is hamstringing our own domestic producers. How can anyone argue that our own government is not the problem. Some argue that reducing consumption will solve the problem of high costs. This is a lie. Even now there are several state governments who are debating to raise taxes because of the revenue lost from reduced gasoline sales. Some states are now in process of passing fees on electric cars of up to $300 per year because of the loss of fuel taxes from these vehicles. So if you thought you could reduce your transportation costs by buying an elecric car, think again. Also, did you notice that the LESS you drive the more gasoline goes up? So, the answer to high fuel prices is three fold. INCREASE PRODUCRION, INCREASE PRODUCTION & INCREASE PRODUCTION. In a country that still calls itself FREE, we should not have to choose between driving our automobiles and buying groceries. This means no biofuels since they are not as efficient as gasoline and their use just further drives up food costs. OUR goal should be to become fuel independent in no more than FIVE years. Wouldn't it be nice to be in a position to tell the ARABS what they can do with their oil in 5 years. Finally, if our domestic oil companies refuse to increase production and reduce prices after the government eliminates the impediments to do so, the government itself could get into the oil business and drill, refine and transport fuel in competition with the oil companies. I belive this would bring the oil companies around. There are plenty of presedence for doing just that. One example is HOOVER DAM . It was built by the federal governemt in direct competition with other electric utilities. It is one of the few remaining government examples of a worthwhile economic project. It can be done with oil as well but we need to replace the current incumbent government representatives and bureaucrats!
  • Stuart Cardwell commented on 4/24/2011
    All I can say is "where have all you people in washington been? the gas prices didn't just start going up - I've been sending you notes on this for almost a year, while all of you folks have been squabbling about party differences. The oil companies did this some years ago - just jumped it over $4 a gallon for a few days and made millions before "the government" made the drop it or face price gouging - this time you let them creep up with it for almost a year and it's no telling how much they have put away - Now you want to do something - Tell Obama I can't afford a trade in - I've spent too much on everything else that has gone up because of the price of "oil futures" (Not oil itself) - What are you guys in washingtong going to do when we become a third world country? Just curious?
  • Annette Jackson commented on 4/25/2011
    Another thought about public transportation -- I lived for several years in Northern Virginia, an area much more in tune with providing public transportation, relying less on the car, and coming up with creative ways to commute. People going to work in D.C. from the Maryland and Virginia "slugged" to work --- that is they met at the park and rides and pooled with others going into downtown. Going home, they did the same thing at designated corners throughout the city. In Warrenton, VA., a goup of federal workers got together and chartered a bus that made stops along the way so that the bus was always full. The metro, after some initial resistence, was extended into the suburbs. Here, it seems that Chesterfield County, and some independent cities, are literally afraid of implimenting a bus service similiar to the GRTC and the Petersburg system in order to reduce the reliance on cars, which are generally occupied by one person, going to work in Richmond.
  • Marshall Foster commented on 4/25/2011
    Mr. Forbes, The Congress could help with the cost of gas if you would repeel some of the taxes being added at the pump. If the price does not come down soon, I plan to take one day a week off from work to save gas. Sincerely, Marshall Foster
  • Douglas Mahone commented on 4/25/2011
    I was going to retire. Can't do it now as I have no idea how to pay for gas with a stepson still in school. With ever increasing gas prices and teenager insurnace costs that idea had to go by the wayside. One thing that have never understood, if the oil companies keep making recordbreaking profits why is it that when the prioce of oil goes up the cost of gas goes up but when the price of oil falls the price of gas never falls back to what it was. I also am a government employee, thank you Obama for freezing my pay for 2 years.
  • Kimberly Stone commented on 4/25/2011
    Mr. Forbes, I find it distressing to note how many people believe that the short term answer to our energy issues it to authorize drilling at home and continue to pursue other well-trodden fossil fuel "solutions". As you know, were off-shore drilling to be authorized tomorrow, it would still be years before such a drill would become productive, and the short term problems would remain. If there were an easy answer, we would have jumped on it long before now. Calls to proceed without heeding the alarms of conservation groups are understandable when people are suffering, as they truly are. Nonetheless, we need our government leaders, such as yourself, to do just that: LEAD toward sustainable solutions for ourselves and our children; use your considerable resources to mine the truth, proceed to the middle and cooperatively develop solutions for us all. I heard a quote recently that I love, "The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones." While we expect you to honor the calls for help from your constituents, leadership, as you know, is not looking backwards to see in which direction the people are heading. It is rising to the crest of the hill from which you can gain the needed perspective and then inspire us to make uncomfortable choices to arrive together at the desired destination. Kimberly J. Stone, MD
  • Robert Mann commented on 4/25/2011
    Rising gas prices are ridiculous! How is this supposed to help the economy? Instead of people buying products, vacationing, etc. they will be spending what little free money they had on higher gas! Are they rising because of the war or what? If so, then lets take over their oil fields and cause them to have a financial crunch instead of us--we are over their trying to help them anyway! Lets hit the terrorists and rebels right where it'll hurt the most--THEIR POCKET!!!
  • Rich Reviello commented on 4/26/2011
    Increasing the amount of oil drilling in the United States will do little to help the people in this country. We can produce more, but what good does it do the people of this country if it will be sold by the oil companies on the open market. We give oil companies tax breaks/incentives to explore and drill and in turn they"ll make huge profits by selling it on the open matket. It may be "Free Enterprise", but it is anything but free for the American people.
  • Nancy Stevens commented on 4/27/2011
    It is affecting decisions on my health too. I have to cut back on presribed medications and doctor visits. I have not had a pay increase in 3 years. I am disappointed that I have to contribute via taxes to elected officials raises, as well as the so called 1 time bonus for state, county, and city workers. What the heck? The private sector is being punished. It now cost me double in my commute each week. Where is my bonus???? I only have this left to say. The people whom represent me are not doing a very good job. Listen up all taxpayers. The names you saw on the election ballot last time. Make sure that does not happen again. Don't repeat the same msitake. It is all about the Government. and nothing for the so called taxpayers. (little people) There is nothing left now. We cannot keep giving and giving.. This gasoline robbery is not effecting our government officials. They all can afford it.
  • Chesterfield Resident commented on 4/27/2011
  • Theodore Nelson commented on 4/29/2011
    It's obvious from reading most of the comments here that people don't understand how the oil/gas industry work and how the prices are impacted. As I view the choices people have made in cars (i.e., gas guzzlers) and life styles, it is apparent that they weren't thinking about the future. Even if oil is drilled for and discovered offshore, it really won't reduce the price of gasoline. The NY Mercantile Exchange sets this price, so we may import less but probably not see lower prices. The only way to survive financially is spend less! It is the only thing you can control! Learn to live below your means and budget and quite chasing the last and greatest gadgets for sale.
  • A Finney commented on 5/1/2011
    Rescinding the tax break to oil companies will enable the free market to work better for alternative energy sources. It seems clear that these tax breaks have helped oil company executives, lobbyists and people who manipulate the market more than they have helped the American people. In addition, congress needs to consider more innovative solutions that will decrease our dependence on foreign oil, decrease the amount of time we spend on severely congested roadways and decrease air pollution; ie improve transportation, do more to develop alternative energy, promote more fuel efficient and cleaner burning vehicles and plants.
  • Gravien Heart commented on 5/12/2011
    When Oil and Gas price always rising, Government should find alternative energy resource for the future ---------------------------------------------------------- Gravien Heart http://www.car-for-sale.net
  • Kate Wenns commented on 5/15/2011
    Personally, I think that we as people (worldwide) should just start purchasing hybrid vehicles, but I haven't researched everything about hybird vehicles, so that may change, as it could be a disadvantgae to hybrid vehicles as well. However, if thier isn't a catch or something unattractive about hybrid vehicles, then why not make them more attractive so more people could start purchasing them, and that could potentially cause gas prices tp drop as a whole. Just my thoughts. http://www.culinaryschoolsincaliforniablog.info
  • tebor tetboy commented on 6/28/2011
    Electric vehicles would be nice. More rail in urban areas would also help. http://familytentreview.com
  • Ted Navickas commented on 10/10/2011
    The problem is that the company's who sell the oil products have on my mind huge lobby of they interest in the government and in Senate and they greediness will cost us more in long run as early we are will turn to green energy's the better for all of us .Thank you to let us say our opinion Sir. Thanks , Ted - http://www.ApartmentRentalsUman.com
  • Sean kelly commented on 11/3/2011
    It would seem that alternate energy is becoming more and more in demand and finding more efficient ways to find food resources without having to use more gas such as professional fishing boats utilizing electronic fish finders is part of the equation. http://hummingbirdfishfindersinfo.net
  • mike Bauer commented on 11/27/2011
    As a student I can barely survive, trying to juggle tuiton,car payments, rent,cell phones, other gadgets. I found this site that all students should use to save some money. Its called www.greasyhooks.com . It saved my hundreds of dollars. I bought a netbook and tablet for school and it only cost 350$ for both. Its really really good.
  • Mark Test commented on 3/3/2012
    Like everyone else, my wife and I too have to cut back and prioritize our needs. Gas prices are the driving force in our current situation. We would love to take more trips back to Kentucky to visit family and friends, but we just can't do that anymore.
  • Exam Papers commented on 3/27/2012
    Gas costs have "increase" per month earnings and has stopped my success towards shelling out off my financial obligations within 3 decades. I have stiffened up on my investing to pay off my financial obligations, something the legislature, the Chair for economic council, Govt. departments, and the Chief executive should also understand to do - the people are doing it and they anticipate the administration to do the same. It is very challenging to pay off my financial obligations with gas costs this great and getting greater. I journey 25 kilometers one way to perform each day. http://www.exampapers.me/
  • Sam Rooke commented on 4/23/2013
    I always think of all the possible ways to reduce my gas consumption. http://www.expressplumbingandgasservices.com.au/
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