News From the Pump: Gas Shortages and Falling Prices

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November 6, 2012 ‐ By

A line for gas in New Jersey. Image: Cal Sport Media via AP Images

The news from the gas pump just won’t stop.

Gas shortages in the Northeast following Hurricane Sandy have led to long lines and mass frustration. In New Jersey, the rationing continues, with eligibility for a fill-up determined by a person’s license plate. And in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared that things are getting better but “[t]hat does not mean there will be a total alleviation of the problem in the immediate future.”

The ever-industrious have started selling gas on Craigslist. And the downright unscrupulous are being investigated for price gouging. According to NBC News, tankers full of gas have made their way to the area and continue to do so. However, ongoing power outages are a hindrance. Though the restoration of some utility service is helping to get gas stations back up and running.

Social media is, of course, helping. We tweeted a link this morning to a story about GasBuddy, an app that will let you know which gas stations have a supply, and which are tapped out.

If there’s a silver lining to all of this, it’s the news that gas prices are dropping. The average was about $3.49 per gallon nationwide as of yesterday, more than seven cents cheaper than last week and nearly 12 cents less than the week before. The drop in price has nothing to do with Sandy; it had been predicted a couple of weeks ago, when it was predicted that the price would go down to $3.25 per gallon by Thanksgiving.

Separately but related, a lot of talk during this election has been about what can be done by President Obama and Congress to lower gas prices. It should be noted: gas prices are largely based upon demand and international investors. Where our government can do something is in gas taxes. The federal tax is 18 cents per gallon, but state taxes vary, according to The Deseret NewsWould lowering these taxes make a big difference for your wallet?

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