Tuesday, October 30, 2012

With Apologies to Howard Shultz, et.al.

A couple of weeks ago, my younger daughter and I stuffed her two small kids and their six tons of gear into the car and made the drive to LA for my elder daughter's birthday celebration.

We filled the gas tank at Costco in Scottsdale at a cost of $3.74 per gallon, which I still think is obscene.  By the time we got to LA, the price of regular gas was $4.75 per gallon.  Between wondering what kind of modifyer was appropriate to intensify the word "obscene" to an adequate level and wondering if I'd have to sell one of the grandkids for gas money to get back home,  I received two explanations for why the cost of gas is so much higher in LA.

First, from the EPA; California state law requires a special formula of additives intended to make gas burn cleaner, reducing smog and health problems associated with air pollution.  Summer Blend, it's called.  Sounds so .... Seattle coffee house.  As a result, California is basically a separate gas market from the rest of the country.

Another reputable source indicated multiple refineries are down in California, one due to fire, others due to a chemical build-up in the lines that bring the oil to the refineries. 

I did manage to get back home with all the same kids I went with (and even my right arm and both legs), and returned to Costco for more gas.  There was a very long tanker filling the station's reservoirs.  The tanker was from California. Where the refineries are unable to produce adequate supplies for Californians but have apparently have enough to export to Arizona.  Maybe it's a weird tourism campaign.

I left Costco scratching my head and a few blocks later wove my way around an overflowing drive-up lane at Starbucks.  I wondered how much gas, at $3.74 per gallon was being burned sitting in line to buy $13 per gallon coffee (that to me, tastes as bad as gas).


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