Inventory up, but fuel prices stay high; Bush promises veto on gouging bill

| 5/25/2007

Just when you thought you’d heard it all – in terms of excuses for high fuel prices – here are two more.

The financial publication Bloomberg reports that even though the government announced last week that fuel inventories are up – which normally would push prices down – the prices are still going up because speculators fear that inventories will go back down with increased consumption.

And the New York Times reports that big oil is now warning that supposed shortages of fuel could become permanent because of the growing biofuel industry.

No, that is not a misprint. According to the Times, some oil executives are claiming that the nation’s commitment to biodiesel and ethanol will mean less gas and diesel will be sold – and therefore less will be produced – and consequently prices will remain high.

On a related note, President Bush is threatening to veto a fuel price-gouging bill that was narrowly passed by the House on Wednesday, May 23.

The Washington Times reports the measure would make price-gouging a federal crime and would impose stiff fines for anyone whose prices were “unconscionably excessive.”

Critics question how “unconscionably excessive” can be defined and the White House argues the bill would effectively create price controls that would lead to fuel shortages.

– By Reed Black, staff writer