It goes up and down but on average, adjusted for inflation, it's about where it should be.
Note the spike in 1981 during the Iranian Revolution and the all-time inflation-adjusted low in 1991. Then 9/11 hit and endless war. If it weren't for speculative fear over Iran now gas would probably be pretty cheap. So really, it's no big deal...absent spikes due to flair ups in the Middle East.
So why all the hysteria over gas prices? Ever heard of inflation? Do you support the free market deciding price based on supply, demand and speculation? Well, there you go.
On the other hand, it looks there is price manipulation going on when there is a spike: West Coast gasoline price spikes in May and October were widely blamed on idled refineries, but new research to be released at a hearing today shows that refiners continued to produce gasoline in periods when the public was told the contrary.
...state environmental documents showing nitrogen oxide emissions had returned to normal at the refinery a full week before it was reported to have come back on line. Similarly, Chevron's Richmond refinery was reported down for maintenance for two weeks in May, but emissions data suggests the refinery never ceased operation.
Recently I heard a gasoline discussion on talk radio. One talking head said we export 30% of our gasoline production to other countries AND at the same time we give the oil companies $300 million dollars in subsidies per day. Outrageous!
I haven't read all of these links yet but when I do I'll get back to you. At this point though, I suspect Forbes is on target.
BTW, check the last link. On the left margin are a few interesting maps about the Deepwater Horizon spill...and that reminds me. I heard a gulf coast fisherman on the radio the other day and he said there still is oil washing up on the beaches. He said the advertisements you see on television about how the gulf is back are bullshit. It will be decades before all that oil is assimilated into the environment. He said certain birds, reptiles and amphibians are decimated. There is one type of bird that breeds exactly where the oil hit and they were there in breeding season so they got hit very hard. Some parts of the coast are relatively lifeless compared to before. Oh, and BTW, the fisherman said the fish were okay to eat. As usual, opinions depend on self interest - Life 101.
If catsuck posts here I'm leaving. Not kidding this time.
For the most part, it's pretty normal down here. If we get a bad storm small tar balls can be found, the fishing is good. I still very much fear the day all the dispersed oil eventually turns up somewhere
"you go round the track as fast as you can, and i'll stand on the side of the track and chain smoke, and we'll see who dies first" - Jeremy Clarkson