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Tuesday, September 27, 2005 

Gas Prices Up! No, There Down!, No Wait…

Rita’s impact on oil/gasoline seems to have been the most dramatic overseas rather than at home. Three stories, all from the AP came out this morning. Three different outlooks, from three different parts of the world:

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - Crude-oil prices eased Tuesday after a robust rally a day earlier, but markets remained concerned over possible troubles with oil products as refinery damage by Hurricane Rita is still being assessed. […] "With all the refinery problems in the U.S., everybody is seeking higher quality crude oil, which is easier to process, and this is keeping pressure on Nymex and Brent futures," she added.

SINGAPORE (AP) - Crude oil prices rose in Asian trading Tuesday on concerns about lengthy production stoppages in the wake of Hurricane Rita, just as demand for heating oil picks up ahead of winter. […] Mid-morning in Singapore, benchmark crude oil prices on New York Mercantile Exchange electronic trading rose as much as 35 cents to $66.17 a barrel, before slipping back to $65.97. That's up 50 percent from a year ago.

DALLAS (AP) - Oil companies said Monday that damage to their massive Texas refineries from Hurricane Rita appeared lighter than expected, but analysts are still predicting that retail gasoline prices may remain near $3 a gallon for weeks or even months longer. […] That's a consequence of tight supplies and that fact that it may take weeks to restart all the closed refineries in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi - more than a dozen in all.

I am not sure what to make of this, but it seems that neither is the AP. Hopefully within a week or so we will have this sorted out and we will know if prices are rising or falling, and how much more (if any) our heating bills will be. That whole “alternative fuels” thing is starting to sound better to me about now.