The Madeleine Brand Show for February 24, 2012

Gas prices rise despite drop in demand

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Gas prices continue to climb in California despite a drop in demand.

Steve Profitt joins Madeleine to discuss the mystery of why gas prices are rising while demand is dropping. Consumption of gasoline is down 6.5 percent from this time last year. Yet, some experts say this is the highest we've ever paid for gas.

All this at a time when domestic production of crude oil is at a peak that hasn't been reached since the 1970s. As of this year, about 75 percent of our oil comes from North America, with 50 percent coming from within the U.S.

While one might assume this would help ease the cost at the pump, Steve Profitt explains that domestic prices still reflect the world price of oil. Factors like supply and demand, speculators, and global political tensions all play into that number. Currently, tensions in Iran, Iraq and Venezuela have spooked speculators and kept the cost of gas high. Politicians may promise a fix, but in reality they can do little to change these bigger issues.

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