Friday, April 18, 2008

From the column: More about gas prices

I found a great web site this week that provides all kinds of information about oil and gas prices.

For everything you ever wanted to know about the price points of petroleum products but were petrified to pursue (pretty peppy prose, eh?), check out "This Week in Petroleum," a project of the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration.

Although its title conjures up images of bespectacled, pocket protector-wearing bean counters, the site is written in a conversational style, and the data is laid out in an approachable and easily understandable way.

For example, this week's report says that "while gasoline prices have risen above $3 per gallon mostly due to high crude oil prices, increasing gasoline demand will likely take retail gasoline prices to $3.50 per gallon and above, even if year-over-year gasoline demand is negative."

I said it was approachable and easily understandable. I didn't say it was pleasant to hear.

A glance at comparison charts on the site shows that the average retail price (ARP) for a gallon of regular gasoline is just under $3.39 this week, up 5.7 cents from last week and a staggering 51.3 cents from this time last year. Similarly, the ARP for a gallon of diesel fuel is just under $4.06, up 10.4 cents from last week and -- get this -- a nauseating $1.18 from this time last year.

Something has to be done about this. Check back for more on that point later today.