AAA urges US government to avert summer gasoline shortages : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

AAA urges US government to avert summer gasoline shortages

By the OGJ Online Staff HOUSTON, May 2 -- The American Automobile Association says the US government should take immediate action to avert the "the most potentially serious threat to adequate gasoline supplies since the early 1980s." It also said the US should move to a single national gasoline, rather than separate fuels for different areas. At its annual meeting in Palm Springs, Calif., AAA said that for a second consecutive year some areas of the US are already paying record-high gasoline prices and are bracing for prices in excess of $2/gal. AAA, which represents 44 million motorists and approximately 25% of the nation's households, said the return of record-high prices has been induced by last year's increase in the price of crude oil, a lack of domestic investment in refining and distribution capacity, industry consolidation, and policy decisions made over the years meet environmental objectives. To help deal with the prospect of record-breaking gasoline prices, AAA said Congress immediately should consider the Bush administration's energy policy proposals when they are offered in mid-May. AAA said, "To be successful, the strategy must include access to adequate supplies of domestic and foreign-produced crude oil, increased capacity in the nation's gasoline refining and distribution infrastructure, the maintenance of gasoline inventories sufficient to meet the needs of motorists during a national emergency, increased use of alternative energy sources, and vigorous government oversight of the energy industry's production and pricing practices." AAA said the government should sponsor the immediate adoption of reasonable gasoline conservation measures by car owners and businesses to ease the strain on low inventories of gasoline, especially in those areas required to use special cleaner-burning fuel during the summer. It said the White House should issue a policy statement urging that restrictive local gasoline regulations to be suspended on an emergency basis, if a determination is made that sufficient fuel is unlikely to remain available to meet the needs of motorists in any region, state, or metropolitan area covered by the regulations. AAA said the Bush administration should name a presidential commission that includes motorists, environmentalists, gasoline refiners, distributors, and station owners to study the economic feasibility of converting the nation to a single cleaner-burning fuel standard. "A return to a national fuel standard could enhance air quality while eliminating the destabilizing influence of market restricting local gasoline regulations. It would also come at a cost to industry and motorists, but it might stabilize prices at a lower level over the longer-term." The group said, "The goals of a national energy policy must be reasonable environmental protection, adequate domestic energy production to meet the demands of a growing economy, secure access to domestic and foreign natural resources, and adequate inventories of useable energy to respond to a natural disaster or a national security emergency."

-- Martin Thompson (, May 02, 2001

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