(Manufacture a shortage to increase demand, raise prices and you've got yourself some windfall profits, yessir! It's immoral and evil--what we expect from the oil industry scumbags. Gas is up to $4.19 here...--jef)
Published: April 30, 2011 - UPI
WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) -- U.S. oil companies are producing less gas with refineries operating at about 81 percent of capacity and exporting more of their production, experts say.
That is contributing to higher prices at the pump, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday, although higher crude prices are still the major factor.
In the past 20 years, the federal Energy Department has reported refineries have averaged 89 percent of capacity in late spring.
Exxon Mobil Corp. reported this week that profits were $11 billion in the first quarter, up 69 percent from last year, on sales of $114 billion. BP, with costs up because of last year's massive Gulf of Mexico spill, reported profits of $7.1 billion.
Gas averaged $3.88 per gallon this week across the country.
"This is a page torn right out of the handbook of gouge-onomics," Charles Langley, senior gasoline analyst at the Utility Consumers' Action Network in San Diego, told the Times. "We call it the law of supply and demand: They supply less product and demand more money for it."