Pain at the Pump in California - Could it Spread East?

Economists say some of the contributing factors to California's recent spike in fuel costs could happen in other areas of the country? Should the government intervene to help bring gas prices down nationwide?

Californians are in shock at the recent spike in fuel prices, with many pumps already registering over $5 and even $6 a gallon.

While most of us in the rest of the country breath a sigh of relief that we don’t live there right now, economists are warning that it might not be a good idea to get too complacent.

According to a story in MSN Money, the scenario that set up California for its current gas woes is one that could happen anywhere in the US. Some of the reasons cited are an Aug. 6 fire at Chevron, a power failure in Southern California and a Chevron pipeline that was shut down.

According to MSN Money, these are all things that could have a similar impact on the fuel cost anywhere in the U.S. should the same thing happen.

One of the reasons given is that there hasn’t been any new refineries built in the US since 1976, leaving the whole country vulnerable.

In looking at ways to help itself out of the current crisis, California is looking to reduce regulation. The stringent regulations in California do make it more susceptible to sticker shock than the rest of the country.

So the question is, since deregulation is something expected to help bring the price of fuel down in California, wouldn't it work for the rest of the country too? While prices are nowhere near where they are in California at the moment, fuel costs have remained consistently higher nationwide than they were four years ago.

Would you like to see the government take steps to reduce fuel costs on a national level, not just in California? And if so, how do you think it could be done?


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