Im no Bush fan, but this thread is demonstrating what a total lack of understanding of the oil markets there is in this world.
If you're referring to me, then you're sadly mistaken.
First of all, we are NOT discussing the price of crude here. We are discussing refining margins. The integrated oil companies are stuffing us by boosting their margins. Expect another .30 to .40 a gallon increase within the next couple of weeks -- to record levels -- before the summer driving season -- for absolutely no other reason than the oil companies can get away with it. Because other industries have high margins do not justify what is happening to us. Besides, pharmaceutical costs do not drain the lifeblood out of the majority of Americans -- who live paycheck to paycheck -- and single handedly wreck the economy from retail to restaurant to being able to pay the mortgage.
Regarding the so-called lack of refining capacity, the integrated oil companies have closed over 50% of their refineries in the last 20 years. Go on Google and look it up. The Kansas City Star broke the story. Living in Bakersfield, you should know that -- as Shell wanted to close their facility there. As with other closures nationwide, other companies wanted to buy the property -- but until the press reported what was going on, Shell was hell bent on closing it. Finally, when word got out -- the family that owns Flying J stepped in and bought it. Unfortunately, that's not the case elsewhere -- where refinery after refinery has been closed and dismantled for no good reason.
Why did this happen? It's very simple. Oil companies used to pay the Arabs a $1 a barrel for oil and pocket the rest when it sold on the open market. When the Arabs eliminated that profit center for them -- all the refineries in the US started disappearing so supply could be restricted. The resulting bottleneck drove margins on finished product up.
Regarding alternative sources of energy -- just who do you think is responsible for maintaining the status quo? Bush is in Brazil talking about gaining access to their sugar cane based ethanol. One problem, there's a $55 a barrel tariff, introduced by a TEXAS senator no less, on it's importation.
I could go on and on -- but let me close by saying that I fully agree with what you're saying about how our domestic energy policy sucks -- and that our only recourse is to use less of the stuff. However, that still does not justify a projected $1.30 to $1.40 per gallon increase -- when the cost of the raw material has only gone up .30 a gallon -- plus .05 a gallon for the more expensive to produce summer blend.