Let me start by saying what we’ve told members of the Mayflower community – and the entire state of Arkansas – how sorry we are and how much we regret that this incident took place. And contrary to some reports surfacing today, ExxonMobil is paying for the cleanup and will honor all valid claims by affected residents and businesses.
Late on Friday, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment urging approval of the Keystone XL pipeline by a vote of 62-37. Critics were quick to note that the Senate’s action won’t green light the pipeline. Since authority for approving the pipeline rests with President Obama, they argue, the vote was symbolic. Move along, nothing to see here. Just because it was symbolic, however, doesn’t mean it’s not significant.
Previously I noted a number of the factors experts are citing to explain the recent increase in U.S. gasoline prices. They range from increased global crude oil demand to unplanned refinery outages. Such explanations are fine as far as they go and worth keeping in mind. But there is a larger point I want to emphasize, which is that there is never any one specific factor that fully accounts for the total price consumers pay at the pump.
Rising gasoline prices have sparked media attention and resulted in commentators struggling to understand and explain the latest market developments. I thought of this challenge recently as I read a piece in The Washington Post entitled “Gas prices are on a mysterious climb.” The story contained a lot of detail and useful information, but I had a problem with the headline. The issue is complex, but it is not a complete mystery.