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more on the gasoline price mystery

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    It was not until tuesday that I saw a newspaper article even acknowledging the price increase in gasoline I first noticed last friday. Even then the
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 13, 2003
      It was not until tuesday that I saw a newspaper article even acknowledging
      the price increase in gasoline I first noticed last friday. Even then the
      explanation didn't make complete sense. The main question is, why was the
      public kept in the dark for so long about this supposed rupture due to a
      defective pipe? I wonder if that's what really cause the rupture. The
      following article, attributed to Arizona Republic reporter Max Jarman,
      appeared on pages A1 and A2 of the Tuesday, August 12, 2003 edition of the
      Arizona Republic

      --Kevin Walsh

      VALLEY GAS PRICES SOAR AS PIPELINE SHUTS DOWN

      40-Cent Increase Seen; Shortages Are Possible

      A temporary shutdown of the pipeline that supplies roughly 30 percent of the
      Valley's gasoline is causing dramatic price increases and shortages of
      premium and midgrade gas at many stations.

      Independent dealers are the hardest hit, but many branded stations also are
      affected.

      While premium and midgrade are in the shortest supply, non-leaded regular
      could be affected eventually. And the price increases, as much as 40 cents
      a gallon since Friday, are across the board and not reserved for the upper-
      end products.

      Rone Dale, who operates an independent station at 48th Street and Southern
      Avenue in Phoenix, raised the price of regular to $1.89 a gallon Monday,
      primarily to keep from running out.

      "I raised the price to slow down demand, but it doesn't seem to be working,"
      Dale said. His supplies are low and his distributor told him not to
      expect any more product until next week.

      "Most suppliers are out of gas right now," said Wayne Rogge, manager of
      operations for Union Distribution, a gas wholesaler in Phoenix.

      AAA spokesman Dan Cowley said prices were going up sporadically around the
      Valley on Monday.

      Dan Cummings, a spokesman for ARCO in Los Angeles, confirmed that many of
      its 77 Valley stations are experiencing supply problems and most have
      recently raised prices. Cummings explained that the company typically
      receives its premium and midgrade gas out of the "east line" that extends
      from El Paso to Phoenix. The eight-inch line carries about 60,000 barrels of
      gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel a day. ARCO's regular gas typically comes
      from California refineries over the "west line," which is unaffected by the
      shutdown.

      The Los Angeles line, also owned by Kinder Morgan, supplies about 70 percent
      of the Valley's gasoline.

      Arizona has no gasoline refineries and all of its supply must be imported
      from other states.

      The state's dependence on out-of-state gasoline makes it particularly
      vulnerable to supply problems and related price spikes. In March, regular
      topped $2 a gallon after refinery outages crimped supply.

      ARCO and other retailers have asked Governor Janet Napolitano to relax the
      Valley's oxygenated fuel requirements to allow gas being stored in Tucson
      to be trucked to Phoenix. The gas in storage is not the oxygenated type.

      However, it is necessary to clear that fuel from the tanks before other
      gasoline, including the Phoenix blend, can be diverted from the pipeline
      in Tucson.

      "Right now the Tucson storage tanks are full and the pipeline is backed up
      to El Paso," ARCO's Cummings said.

      Napolitano's spokeswoman Kris Mayes said the governor has formed a task force
      to address the problem.

      "We're working to get the pipeline open as soon as possible, but safety is
      our primary concern," she said.

      Kinder Morgan Energy Partners closed its Phoenix-to-Tucson pipeline Friday
      after an investigation of a July 30 rupture found some of the pipe was
      defective. The leak spilled about 10,000 gallons of gasoline into a new-home
      subdivision in Tucosn. Patrick Gibbons, a spokesman with the Arizona
      Department of Environmental Quality, said a cleanup of the site is under way.

      Larry Pierce, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan in Houston, said the company is
      working with appropriate regulatory agencies to bring the pipeline back into
      service as soon as possible. He could not say when the line could be
      reopened.

      Heather Murphy, a spokeswoman for Arizona Corporation Commission, said the
      agency is working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and
      the federal Office of Pipeline Safety to come up with a plan to address
      the safety concerns and get the line back in service. Among other
      responsibilities, the Corporation Commission oversees pipeline safety in the
      state.

      Meanwhile, AAA is urging motorists not to rush out to buy gas.

      "The surest way to shortages is panic buying," AAA's Cowley said.
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