Tag Archive: gas prices

Milgram says she’s sorry

Flashback to June.  Gas prices were hovering around $4 and the AG’s office was cracking down on violations:

In the May sweep, superintendents from the county and state Division of Consumer Affairs conducted inspections of a third of New Jersey’s 3,000 gas stations. But county inspectors were told to funnel their violations to the state, superintendents said. They saw the complete list after a press conference only Thursday.

Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association, characterized the list as a publicity stunt to prove it was responding to constituents hurting from gas prices.

[…]

At Thursday’s press conference, Attorney General Anne Milgram said the state’s findings were “deeply troubling,” and pointed to the prevalence of deceptive practices among facility owners trying to make up for lost profits.

Now back to today where Attorney General Anne Milgram is singing a different tune.

Ten gas stations cited for violations are getting apologies from New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram.

Milgram’s office mailed letters to 10 stations to inform them that minor violations identified earlier this year were incorrect. Following a thorough review, Milgram’s office found that half of them were still cited correctly for other valid violations.

I guess it’s nice that they apologize and admit their mistake, but I wonder why it took so long to realize they were wrong.  They painted these stations in a pretty negative light making a splash in the papers and now they quietly send a letter back apologizing nearly six months later.  The Attorney General’s office held May citations for a month until they had a large group to announce at once and make it look like they were taking aggressive action, but they didn’t check to see if all of those stations were actually guilty? I’m all for cracking down on people trying to take advantage, but is this really how the system is supposed to work?

What are you paying for gas?

If there is a silver lining to the economy, it’s that gas prices have plummeted from their high during the summer months of over $4 down to below $2 now:

AAA-Mid-Atlantic says the average price for regular is $1.97 a gallon.

A year ago it was $2.92.

It’s the first time since Dec. 5, 2005 that the average price was under $2 a gallon. The last time the price was $1.97 was March 29, 2005.

Gas is more expensive in the northern parts of the state, but here in South Jersey I actually paid $1.75 a gallon today.  If I would have searched a little, I could have saved seven cents more by going a few towns over to Collingswood and paid $1.68 a gallon.

I really didn’t think we’d see gas prices this low again and while I’m sure they will go back up, my wallet is thankful for the temporary relief.  Let’s hope this doesn’t lead people to get complacent and think we don’t still need to develop alternative forms of energy.  You can click here to check out the lowest gas prices in your area.

NJ-04: Zeitz Op-Ed on Oil and Gas Crisis

In today’s Times of Trenton, Josh Zeitz published a powerful op-ed piece on the crisis of energy prices facing American families this summer. Josh is the Democratic candidate for the House in New Jersey’s 4th district, and is challenging long-time Republican incumbent Chris Smith.

Josh rightly calls out Rep. Smith for a series of votes that have contributed to ridiculously high gas prices, in particular his vote to create the Enron loophole in 2000 and, even worse, against closing the loophole earlier this year.

More after the jump.

Wyka: Drilling Offshore Won’t Reduce Gas Prices Anytime Soon

By Tom Wyka, Democratic Candidate for Congress, New Jersey District 11 

www.tomwyka.com

On Monday, July 14, President George W. Bush lifted his father’s ban on drilling for oil and gas off the East and West Coast and in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. But before anyone can drill there, Congress would have to lift its own ban. The President said that “Now the ball is squarely in Congress’s Court.” However, the President knows full well that lifting this ban will do nothing to solve our current problems. The Energy Information Administration estimates that drilling in those areas won’t affect oil production and thus oil prices before the year 2030. In addition, oil companies already have 68 million acres under government leases that they can currently drill, and exploration ships are booked solid for the next five years.

We got a wakeup call about oil back in 1973, with the Arab Oil Embargo. We hit the snooze alarm again after the 1979 energy crisis. Starting in late 1978, a strike in the Iranian oilfields nearly shut off Iran’s oil production. Although other OPEC countries increased their production, the world’s output of oil decreased by about 4% in the short run. I remember the resulting gasoline shortages very clearly. I was a young teenager then, and I made some money selling newspapers at the end of my block to the people waiting in line for gasoline, at a station about half a mile away. We knew then that even a small decrease in oil supply could cause major problems. Yet what is our government doing while our gasoline prices are soaring? President Bush and our current incumbent Congressman, Rodney Frelinghuysen, opposed efforts to shift tax incentives from big oil companies to efficiency and clean energy technologies, such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. If alternatives are the future, why propose an oil-based solution that will not show any results for years?

Since the beginning of the oil business, the “problem” that the oil companies nearly always faced was overproduction. The big oil fields were discovered early, and it was all too easy to pump too much of that oil too fast. The resulting “oil gluts” would drop prices very low. But conditions have changed recently. There’s still lots of oil, but what’s left is harder and more expensive to produce. As a result, oil production hasn’t increased lately, despite the record prices. And it’s likely production levels can’t increase. Even Saudi Arabia might be able to produce only 10.4 million barrels per day on a sustained basis, and might not be able to produce more than 12 million barrels per day in emergencies. This is far less than recent optimistic estimates. When you combine stagnant supplies with rising world demand, you get today’s skyrocketing prices.

Currently, the rise in gasoline prices is causing real hardship for people throughout the country. We need Congress to do something that will make a difference now. For example, the American Trucking Associations want the national speed limit to be reduced to 65 mph. We also need more funding for public transit, which is having a huge growth in ridership. We also need to plan for the future. Back in 2006, I called for a new “Manhattan Project”—but this time to develop ways to conserve energy and harness alternative sources of energy. During his last few terms in office, your current Congressman has been too busy supporting the Bush administration and the oil industry’s profit margins to do much about these issues. Don’t you think it’s time for a change?

For further information:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/legislative/sap/110-1/hr6sap-s_2.pdf

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/06/offshore_drilling.html

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/otheranalysis/ongr.html

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/524632-12m-barrels-per-day-is-saudi-oil-limit

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7506346.stm

http://www.truckline.com/NR/exeres/E002129C-7BD1-4480-8603-A70538EFD74D.htm

http://www.lightrailnow.org/

 

NJ-04: Declaring Energy Independence Day

First, I want to wish you all a Happy 4th of July. I’ve been thinking about the meaning of Independence Day, a day on which we as a people publicly declared our desire to be masters of our own destiny, to chart our own course as a free and independent society no longer under the control of others. For 232 years we Americans have done just that. We have governed ourselves, and I’d say that our record is one in which we can justly take a great deal of pride.

On this 4th of July, I’ve also been thinking about another kind of independence, namely energy independence. We are a strong country with our best days yet ahead of us. Right now, however, we face tremendous problems because we are deeply dependent on foreign oil. And we’re not just importing oil from friendly democracies like Canada, but from places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, countries who have very different values and interests from our own.

More after the jump.

AAA predicts less travel for the 4th

If you’re traveling this weekend, you may experience less traffic than usual.  According to AAA, NJ will experience the 1st traffic decline on the 4th of July weekend this decade…

For the 2008 July 4th holiday weekend, about 1.07 million New Jersey residents in total will travel at least 50 miles from home, a 1.6% decline from last year, AAA projects.

This is a slightly greater decline than the 1.3% national average and stating the obvious, they think the price of gas has something to do with it…

It’s a tough financial climate for many families, and these projections reflect that, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman David Weinstein said, noting that New Jersey’s average gas price remained at $3.99 this morning, $1.17 more than this time last year. But even with record gas prices, these numbers also reflect that a substantial portion of the state’s population will still be traveling this weekend.

They don’t even mention the increased costs for food, entertainment and just about anything else we do because of higher gas prices as well.  It’s pretty hard to escape the impact of the rising cost of gas and it’s only logical that people will have to cut back on their vacations in order to handle everything else.

Politically, you have to wonder how much angrier the electorate will be when they step in the voting booth come November, if they can’t afford to even enjoy the free time they have anymore.  Another question is: Which party will they hold accountable for it?

Josh Zeitz (NJ-4): Gas Station Rip-Offs Unacceptable

Below is a blog post from the Josh Zeitz for Congress campaign. Josh is a Democrat challenging Republican incumbent (and anti-choice caucus chair) Chris Smith in NJ-4.

With gas prices at $4/gallon, the last thing New Jersey drivers deserve is to get ripped off by gas station owners. I read recently about the inspections conducted by law enforcement of over 1000 gas stations in all 21 counties of our state. Any violations would be unacceptable, but over 350 station owners, more than one in three, were found in violation.

You know, this past weekend I walked through two precincts in Bordentown Township and attended the really amazing Florence Occasion in the Park. People told me they were fed up with the high cost of gas, and one specifically brought up how many gas stations were cited for cheating drivers at the pump.  

Like most of you, I am outraged at these violations, which Attorney General Anne Milgram said are in all likelihood intentional attempts to deceive consumers. I’m glad that these inspections took place and that drivers can now be more confident that they are at least getting what they are paying four dollars a gallon for. I would suggest they mandate more frequent inspections.

It’s for reasons like this that I support strict criminal penalties for price gouging. The law has to protect drivers not only from gas station owners but also from the Big Oil companies who are making record profits and still receiving outrageous subsidies from our governments in Washington. We need measures that investigate price fixing by Oil Cartels like OPEC as well as unfair and ridiculous prices set by the biggest oil producers in the United States.

You can read more about where I stand on gas prices in my last post, available at: http://blog.joshzeitz.com/inde…

 

I’m going to stick around for comments. If you are interested in volunteering for the campaign, please contact me at ian_at_joshzeitz_com. I am a volunteer myself, and serve as Josh’s Netroots Outreach Coordinator.

Josh Zeitz (NJ-4): 5th Graders See Crisis at Pump

Below is a blog post from the Josh Zeitz for Congress campaign. Josh is a Democrat challenging Republican incumbent (and anti-choice caucus chair) Chris Smith in NJ-4.

Today, I paid $3.88 per gallon to fill up my car. Accustomed as I am to living on a history teacher’s salary, I know how much these high gas prices hurt, and how they impact everything else we buy.

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with 5th grade students at the Leadership Academy Charter School in Trenton about the issues they feel are important in this year’s election. Nearly every student talked about how hard it was for their parents to afford the rising cost of gas. They also knew that when the price of gas goes up, so does the cost of food, clothing, and other basic necessities. The problem is so obvious that even fifth graders realize we’re in a crisis, yet our leaders in Washington have let this problem fester so long that it’s squeezing New Jersey families to the breaking point.

More after the jump.

 

Protest Wednesday

It seems to me that the minimum speed on the NJ Turnpike is 45 miles per hour, and these truckers are creating a dangerous situation by going so slow and pissing off other folks who paid to use the road, too.

Truckers protesting high fuel prices are clogging the New Jersey Turnpike.

Turnpike Authority spokesman Joe Orlando says trucks “as far as the eye can see” are driving about 20 mph and heading south near Exit 14 in Newark.

He says truckers are also chanting and protesting at the Vince Lombardi Service Area in Bergen County.

Orlando says the protest is backing up Turnpike traffic.

We’re all pretty torqued off about high gas prices, but I think if a bunch of two-axle sedans started blocking the highway there’d be blue and red Christmas lights all over and a few arrests.

Hey, earlier I supported the kids protesting the Iraq War in Princeton getting detention because part of the point of protesting is risking something.  Let’s see it for the truckers, too.