Auto Club calls for investigation of high gas prices |

Auto Club calls for investigation of high gas prices

SAN FRANCISCO ” Representing more than 50 million members in North America, AAA today asked the federal government to find out why gasoline has reached a new record high price.

According to a new report from AAA of Northern California, which tracks fuel costs as a service to consumers, the statewide average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas is now $3.48. The statewide average has increased by 73 cents a gallon, or about 31 percent since the beginning of the year.

Explaining why drivers are facing this problem presents a challenge. Previous instances of record-breaking high prices were triggered when the cost of crude oil, the raw material from which gas is made, rose to $75 a barrel or more in response to natural disasters or war. Now oil is trading in the low $60 range and motorists are still paying record high gas prices.

People who speak for the large corporations that make and sell gasoline have pointed to a series of refinery production problems as the principal reason for the dramatic increase. What is unclear is why production has been weak.

“We are concerned about the number and frequency of refinery outages this year in light of the large profits the industry has been reporting quarter after quarter for most of this decade,” AAA Public Affairs Director Geoff Sundstrom told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

” Sun news service

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