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View from the Cab: Pump pains

By: Kent Casson

While March weather occasionally roars like a lion, March fuel prices are screaming bloody murder.

The national average gas prices have set a record and that is leading to even more sticker shock and pain at the pump for Americans. Many are pointing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the skyrocketing prices which are really starting to take a toll on drivers.

New information from the Energy Information Administration shows domestic gasoline stocks decreased in recent weeks while gas demand rose slightly. AAA reports this increase in gas demand combined with reduced supplies contribute to those rising prices at the pump.

Climbing oil prices also play a big role in pushing gas prices up. AAA noted on its website that consumers could expect the current trend of climbing gas prices at the pump to drag on as long as crude oil prices keep increasing.

The lingering situation in Ukraine has not only created fuel price concerns across the U.S. but has prompted biofuels leaders to encourage higher ethanol blends in order to provide price relief at the gas pump. Iowa’s Congressional delegation has told the Biden Administration that ethanol can and should be allowed to play a bigger role in bolstering America’s energy security and lowering prices.

A recent news release from the Renewable Fuels Association thanked the Iowa lawmakers for promoting ethanol’s benefits. In the letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, six lawmakers urged the current administration to “expand the production and potential export of domestic ethanol and biodiesel to meet global energy needs.”

RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper noted ethanol has reduced the cost of gasoline an average of 22 cents per gallon, courtesy of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Higher blends such as E15 can do more.

“We applaud these six champions for once again working together in the interest of our country’s energy security and rural economy,” Cooper said.

Ethanol was selling for about a dollar per gallon less than gasoline in wholesale markets. RFA claims the U.S. biorefineries have the room to entirely replace the volume of gasoline produced from Russian petroleum imports and that the industry is ready to help.

I don’t know what the answer is to the fuel price mess but I think we can all agree something needs to be done – fast.


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