Gasoline Prices: Policies and Proposals [Updated September 1, 2005]   [open pdf - 75KB]

From the Summary: "The high price of gasoline was a major consideration during the debate on major energy legislation, which ended August 8 as the President signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, H.R. 6. However, prices continued to surge, spiking at the end of August when Hurricane Katrina shut down refining operations in the Gulf of Mexico. A large number of factors combined to put pressure on gasoline prices, including increased world demand for crude oil and U.S. refinery capacity inadequate to supply gasoline to a recovering national economy. The war and continued violence in Iraq added uncertainty and a threat of supply disruption that added pressure particularly to the commodity futures markets. […] The Senate bill contains a provision, not in the House-passed version, directing the President to take measures to reduce total demand for petroleum by one million barrels per day (mbd) by 2015, but that measure also was dropped in conference. Supporters of ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] development are pursuing the measure as part of the budget process. The gasoline price surge heightened discussion of energy policy, but the urgency of previous energy crises has been lacking. In part this may be due to the fact that there has been no physical shortage of gasoline, and no lines at the pump. In addition, the expectation of former crises, that prices were destined to grow ever higher, has not been prevalent. However, the persistence of high gasoline and oil prices into a second summer has raised alarms over the economic consequences of the situation."

Report Number:
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10134
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