Illinois: Oil industry executives are planning for $3-a-gallon gasoline. : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

State panel warns of higher gas prices this summer

Chicago legislator says oil industry executives are planning for $3-a-gallon gasoline.

BY CHRISTOPHER WILLS Associated Press Writer

SPRINGFIELD -- This summer could bring a dramatic jump in gasoline prices unless producers take steps now to avoid shortages, a special legislative committee warned Wednesday. The Illinois House Special Committee on Gas Pricing said producers should carefully plan for the switch to low-pollution gasoline used in the summer and arrange new sources for gas now that an Illinois refinery has closed.

"What is really alarming and outrageous to us is that with four months left to go, the oil industry is treating $3-a-gallon gasoline as a foregone conclusion, rather than working hard to correct the problem," said Rep. Julie Hamos, the Chicago Democrat who was chairwoman of the committee.

The committee was created to investigate last summer's high prices.

Problems beyond the control of the oil industry contributed to the high prices, but do not entirely explain them, lawmakers concluded. But they acknowledged having no proof of wrongdoing.

"We do not have proof of price-fixing or Sherman antitrust violations, but we do have the clear conclusion that the explanations we were given do not hold water," said Rep. George Scully, D-Flossmoor. "We anxiously await the results of the Federal Trade Commission's investigation."

"I respectfully disagree that we didn't explain everything," said William Fleischli, executive vice president for the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association. "It was supply and demand. There was more demand than there was supply."

The committee found that higher costs for crude oil and low gasoline supplies helped drive up gasoline prices when demand rose last summer. Problems introducing new low-pollution gasoline also contributed to the shortage.

Because different areas of the Midwest use different varieties of gasoline, gas could not easily be brought in from elsewhere to ease local shortages, the committee found. For instance, the kind of gasoline used in St. Louis is not used across the river in East St. Louis, Fleischli said.

The panel urged Gov. George Ryan's new "Energy Cabinet" to work with the oil industry to ensure they are prepared for the summer driving season -- particularly because the closure of a refinery in the Chicago suburb of Blue Island could reduce supplies for independent gas stations.

A Ryan spokesman said the administration will work with lawmakers on the issue.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 08, 2001


Phil Greenspun- Why have you started storing cookies on our PCs as was done when I read this page? You've never stored cookies pefore.


-- slza (, February 08, 2001.


Greenspun does not read these forums as far as I know.

Maybe you should direct your queastion to:

-- Martin Thompson (, February 08, 2001.

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