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AFPM president on gasoline prices

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

AFPM President Charles T. Drevna told a House subcommittee on 7th March that high crude oil prices are the primary factor behind high gasoline prices, and said the most effective actions to help American consumers would be to increase US oil production, increase oil imports from Canada and reduce over-regulation.

Drevna said that according to the US Energy Information Administration, ‘only ¢ 6 of every dollar that Americans pay for gasoline goes to the refining industry that AFPM represents. The cost of crude oil accounts for ¢ 76, followed by taxes at ¢ 12, and distribution and marketing at ¢ 6.’

‘Refiners, as well as petrochemical manufacturers, are the first customers of a barrel of oil and the first to be impacted when oil prices rise,’ Drevna said in written testimony to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which conducted a hearing on gasoline prices on the morning of 7th March.

‘Refiners don’t set the price of oil any more than automakers set the price of steel, bakers set the price of wheat or restaurants set the price of cattle,’ Drevna added. ‘Oil is an international commodity that trades in the free market and its price is not controlled by its purchasers.’

Drevna called on the Obama administration to allow increased exploration and development of America’s vast oil and natural gas resources on federal lands and in federally controlled waters to meet America’s energy needs, create jobs and improve America’s economic and national security.

In addition, Drevna advocated approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring 700 000 bpd of oil from Canada to the US Gulf Coast refineries.

Drevna said overly burdensome and conflicting government regulations threaten American competitiveness. He said some regulations are not being anything to protect the environment but only jeopardise American jobs and raise consumer costs further. Examples of these are Tier 3 regulations to reduce sulfur in gasoline, greenhouse gas regulations, lengthy permitting delays, and requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard involving biofuels, Drevna said.

Oil prices have risen recently because of concerns about the future of Iranian oil production, increased oil demand in developing nations and the decline in the vale of the US$, Drevna said.

‘Historically, the best mechanism available to address high crude oil prices has been to take actions to increase the global crude oil supply,’ Drevna said. ‘When America has taken such actions in the past, it has sent a message to the market that our country is serious about meeting our energy and national security needs.’

Drevna said US exports of refined petroleum products, primarily diesel fuel because there is an excess domestic supply, are benefitting American consumers. He pointed out that America imports about 60% of the crude oil the nation needs and is not a net exporter of gasoline.

‘Exports don’t raise gasoline prices,’ Drevna said. ‘Rather, exports bring billions of dollars to America, preserve and create jobs, strengthen our economy and reduce our trade deficit. In fact, in allowing domestic refiners to run at higher utilisation rates, exports are likely keeping consumer costs from rising further. If all American manufacturers and agricultural interests were prohibited from exporting their products, they would produce less, and that could actually raise consumer prices.’

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